Environment Canada expects mild winter in Nunavut

'That's what our probabilistic and deterministic models are showing at this time'

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Environment Canada is predicting above normal temperatures in Nunavut this winter.

All three regions including the Kivalliq, Qikiqtaaluk and Kitikmeot are predicted to be warmer during the winter months of December, January and February.

Environment Canada is predicting that temperatures will remain above normal for much of the upcoming winter in Nunavut. photo courtesy of Olivia Anguti

Environment Canada meteorologist Sara Hoffin didn’t provide specific details as to why her agency believes a warmer than average winter is on the way, stating “that’s what our probabilistic and deterministic models are showing at this time,” nor could she say whether climate change is to blame.

“We cannot attribute one expected warmer than normal winter to climate change,” said Hoffin.

“We can say that as our climate changes, we will expect more extreme departures from normals for temperature and precipitation. Both warmer, and cooler than normal.”

Based on past statistics from Environment Canada, the average winter temperature in Iqaluit is -25.2 degrees (1981-2010), while the average winter precipitation is 58.3 millimetres (1981-2010).

Last year, the average temperatures in Iqaluit for December, January, and February were -17.7, -25.5, and -23.6 C respectively. All three months were warmer compared to the 1981-2010 average temperatures for these months of -21.3, -26.9 and -27.5.

Meanwhile, the precipitation as well as El Niño and El Niña conditions are predicted to be normal throughout Nunavut this winter.

The Kivalliq region will continue to be prone to blizzards this winter compared to the Qikiqtaaluk and Kitikmeot regions. People in the Kivalliq are warned to take some necessary precautions, limit their travel, have sufficient food supplies and water, and check generators for fuel in case there is a power outage.

Although at this time it can only be said with some certainty that the North (including some areas of the NWT) will be above normal for winter, there is no clear evidence for the rest of Canada, according to Environment Canada.

As the winter season approaches, meteorologists will have a more accurate prediction of Nunavut’s winter weather conditions, according to Hoffin.

Environment Canada’s official winter weather report is expected to be available by mid-November.