Climate of Nunavut
Arctic Of Canada

Map of Nunavut, Canada. Source: Environment Canada.

The climate of Nunavut is generally classified as "modified maritime Arctic" climate. The mean annual temperatures range from just below -9C in the extreme southeast, to near -18C in the Ellesmere Islands.

Nunavut does not have a summer season, as is known in southern Canada. During the cool, brief summer, the ice-filled polar waters have a surface temperature near -12C. Thus, the air in contact with it is kept cool.

In July, the warmest month, temperatures are prevented from rising much above 7C.

Iqaluit Nunavut Canada. Temperature and precipitation normals, 1971 to 2000. Source Environment Canada.

In winter, most of the polar waters are frozen over by a layer of ice generally less than two meters thick. The polar waters, not far below, have a "warming" influence on the lower atmosphere. Freezing temperatures can occur more than once, between June and August.

Resolute Nunavut Canada Normals. Source of data: Environment Canada.

The Nunavut Climate Not The Coldest!

It is interesting to note that, in spite of it's geographical position, well within the Arctic circle, record low temperatures in Canada are not generally observed in Nunavut! They occur in more dryer, inland portions of northern Canada!

Also, in spite of the presence of the Arctic ocean, Nunavut, in the Arctic Archipelago, is one of the driest in the world! A scant 50mm of precipitation falls on most of Ellesmere Islands … in any given year. Yearly totals of precipitation increase southward to near 375mm on southern Baffin Island.

In general, 50 to 80% of the yearly precipitation falls as snow. However, the snow flakes are so small that they are blown into ravines and shallows, leaving much of the ground bare all winter!

In short, Nunavut's climate, when compared to southern Canada, is still not as "inhospitable" as one might think! Everything is relative!

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