Clear sky and sunshine in Nunavut after cold, foggy 2015
'No blizzard or blowing snow, or zero visibility, or face numbing wind chills,' says Environment Canada
In Nunavut, 2015 was an especially cold year, marked with foggy weather and shrinking ice cover, but the New Year is coming in with clear skies and sunshine.
2016 is off to a great start as far as the weather is concerned.
"Lots of clear skies, sunshine and no weather to stop you from enjoying the new year," said Dave Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist.
- Weather anomaly pushing North Pole temperatures above 0 C
- In Iqaluit, icebreaker paves way for season's supply ships
- Baffin Island gets showered with cold November rain
The forecast for New Year's Day is supposed to be a few degrees colder than normal across the territory but it will be otherwise fine, said Phillips.
"No blizzard or blowing snow, or zero visibility, or face numbing wind chills, just a little cold, crisp and bright," added Phillips.
The beautiful New Year's Day forecast might be payback for a bleak, cold winter in 2015. January and February were one of the coldest stretches in Iqaluit in 22 years.
"I just shudder when I say this, 14 days when the windchill was below -50 C, including five days in a row in the middle of February," said Phillips.
On Jan. 26 the windchill reached a bone chilling -68 C.
One of the coolest, wettest Julys on record
Nunavut's' weather made national news this summer with one of the coolest and wettest Julys on record.
At the beginning of summer, Phillips said 23 out of the first 25 days were wet.
"You deal with some tough winters, but you expect your summers to be at least halfway decent and warm and comfortable and it was endless rain and fog," said Phillips.
That fog delayed flights out of Iqaluit, Cape Dorset and Pangnirtung, leaving a lot of people stranded. Many communities couldn't get fresh food and stores had depleted stocks.
4th lowest Arctic ice cover since late 70s
2015 marked the fourth lowest ice cover that scientists have seen in the Arctic since the late 70s when they started monitoring the area with satellite, said Phillips.
He said the shrinking ice cover was most noticeable in late August and early September when the Arctic ice typically reaches its minimum.
"Particularly the Northwest Passage and the northern sea route were open simultaneously — something that was more rare in the past but is becoming more frequent," said Phillips.
Nunavut hoarding winter
"It makes me feel cold, we're not even into the dead of winter yet," he said.
"Until this week we were wondering where winter was, you've been hoarding much of winter."
Despite the cold temperatures in parts of Nunavut, many of the hamlets have had a relatively mild winter so far. In Rankin Inlet temperatures in December have been three degrees milder than normal, Phillips said.
Iqaluit also had a "southern kind of Christmas."
"My gosh I couldn't believe how mild it was. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we saw highs of warmer than -5 C," added Phillips.
The territory also saw unseasonable weather in late November.
"There was one time I was shaking my head because Pangnirtung and Toronto recorded the same temperature in November. I mean come on, I don't think that's ever happened before," said Phillips.
Blizzards in the hamlets
He said all the community's outdoor Christmas events were cancelled due to a blizzard that raged on for four days in the hamlet last week.
In Coral Harbour, visibility was so low on Christmas Eve that many church services were cancelled.
"We had almost zero visibility all day," said Leonie Pameolik, a Coral Harbour resident. "The Christmas Eve services were closed."
Clyde River's John Ivey said his community saw a three day blizzard over the Christmas holiday.
"We had to shut down the water and sewer services and I don't think any aircraft flew in during those few days," he said.
Ivey said it didn't slow the community down for long though.
"We have a reputation of having some of the strongest and the toughest storms I guess on Baffin Island."