Yellowknife, NWT – Residents of the Northwest Territories can hope for some respite from last year’s punishing temperatures when this year’s winter rolls around.
David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told Moose FM there’s a 65% chance of the El Nino phenomenon appearing in the months to come.
El Nino’s effect on water temperatures and winds blowing across the tropical Pacific can see warmer air pushed up as far as the Arctic, resulting in a milder NWT winter.
“The last 20 El Ninos we’ve had in the Northwest Territories, I think about 14 or 15 of those have been milder than normal,” said Phillips.
However, he cautioned that a warmer winter was not guaranteed.
“Maybe four or five [of those 20] have been a little cooler,” he added. “It’s not something I would bet the farm or the family fishing fleet on.
“But if it does materialize and behave just like El Ninos of the past, then we’re likely to see quite a contrast this winter with last winter in the NWT – which was one of the coldest in many years. It was the length, the intensity of that winter.
“Even if El Nino did a deep-six and didn’t appear, I would say even if this winter turned out to be normal, it would feel at times like a tropical heatwave in the north because last year was so intensely cold.”
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