a huge territory and the weather can vary widely. Generally
inland areas are warmer than coastal ones and the western regions
are warmer than the Baffin Region. Summer highs can be quite
different from community to community. The warmest day on record
in Iqaluit was a balmy 24.4° C, whereas Baker Lake once experienced
a torrid 33.6° C day in July. The highest temperature recorded
in the Arctic was 43° C in Kugluktuk. If the temperature is
right, visitors can even swim at some sandy beaches in Nunavut.
the other hand, has never seen a day warmer than 19° C. Spring
temperatures are more consistent throughout Nunavut, with average
daytime highs between -20° C and -10° C. Cool days are tempered
by lots of sunshine. From late March to the end of May, sun
reflected off snow and ice can cause severe sunburn.
In the winter, visitors should be prepared for cold temperatures
and short days. The
further north you go, the shorter the winter days get.
In Iqaluit the sun rises and sets within four hours on
the shortest days of winter. Communities north of the
Arctic Circle do not see the sun at all, although the sky may
lighten a bit at midday. Conversely, at the summer solstice,
the sun shines for up to 21 hours a day in Iqaluit and many
Kivalliq communities. The further north you go above the Arctic
Circle, the more days you'll experience 24 hour daylight. Unsuspecting
visitors, wishing to sleep in the open under the stars at night,
have been known to wake up with sunburns!
See our hours of
Low humidity reduces the impact of the cold, making a -20°C
day feel more like -5°C in Southern Canada. Winds, however,
can cause frostbite, so it is wise to have a parka with a ruff
around its hood for wintertime visits. January, February and
March are the coldest months, with an average high in Iqaluit
of -22°C and a low of -30°C. The record low was -46° C. Cambridge
Bay is even colder: January averages are -30°C for high and
-37°C for low. The coldest day on record anywhere in Nunavut
was in Kugaaruk where the temperature, combined with the wind-chill,
Most of the Arctic is a polar desert, long stretches of almost
cloudless days without precipitation are common. Total annual
precipitation in Iqaluit is 43 centimetres. Throughout most
of Nunavut, cool temperatures mean that snow cover generally
does not finish melting until June. The only months without
snow are June, July and August on
most of the land, . Sea ice does not melt
until later. Most rain falls just after the sea ice breaks up,
usually between mid-July and the end of August.
The wind always seems to be blowing in the Arctic! Many communities
have steady average winds of 15-20 km/h. Some communities are
notorious for occasional extreme winds. In Pangnirtung many
of the older houses have cables fastening their roofs to the
ground to protect them against gusts of more than 100 km/h.
Precipitation tends to fall sideways. It is almost always accompanied
by winds of 30-60 km/h. If you plan to spend extended time out
on the land or water, you must consider the wind as a factor.
The wind-chill factor is often more significant than the actual
Blizzards are most common during fall and early spring. Travel
to the smaller communities can be severely affected at these
times. Pilots must rely on good visibility to approach airstrips.
In the summer, weather delays can also be caused by strong winds,
unpredictable cloud cover and fog. Build time into your schedule
to allow for the possibility of being 'weathered in'or 'weathered
out' of a community by poor visibility or strong winds. If outdoor
activities such as hiking or boating are on your agenda, make
allowances in your plans for weather delays.
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