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Summer of snow, Northern Ellesmere Island, July, 1989.

Camp on Ellesmere Island, during yet another snow storm in the summer, July 1989. -1o Celsius. The picture expresses frustration as it has been snowing continuously for five days. What can you do but wait. Higher up, where we were suppose to do field work, the snow is 50 cm deep.

Summer of snow, July 1989

The1989 expedition on Northern Ellesmere Island was the year of snow, snow and even more snow. It snowed every few days and even continuously for a solid week. Major depression systems with snow kept on rolling in from the South and covered the mountains in a near permanent layer of thick snow up to a meter thick. Only close to sea level the snow would melt.

This is very unusual for this area, as it is known to be a dry Arctic desert. Average yearly precipitation is only 50 mm on Ellesmere, mostly coming down as snow in the winter and very little as rain during the short summer.

Large volumes of melt water could make stream crossings tricky, especially on a are, extremely warm day of 18o Celsius. Some of the field students ran into trouble in a river crossing as the water level jumped from 1 m in the morning to 1.6 m at night.

1989 was a strong La Nina year, the opposite of El Nino. Now the water in the Pacific is cooler than normal. Very little happens in the Pacific Rim but for some reason moist weather systems moved up all the way the the Arctic region of Canada..


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