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In Pond Inlet, Nunavut, the sea ice is still waiting in December

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec11,2023

À Pond Inlet, in Nunavut, the sea ice is still awaited in December

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Loose ice floats near Pond Inlet in eastern Nunavut in early December.


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Apart from the long period of darkness, there is nothing to indicate that the month of December is already well underway in the community of Pond Inlet, in the northeast of Baffin Island, in Nunavut. A rare phenomenon for this time of year: the fast ice has still not formed, forcing hunters to change their travel habits.

Andrew Arreak, a resident of Pond Inlet, says the lack of sea ice held on shore is unusual for December, since it usually forms a month earlier.

The latter is also head of regional operations in the Qikiqtaaluk region for SmartICE, an organization that integrates traditional Inuit knowledge with modern technology to facilitate travel on the ice in northern communities.

I had never seen this before in my entire life, he said. We find that the ice forms later and later and breaks up a little earlier each year.

Faced with the impossibility of traveling by snowmobile on the ice floe, some hunters continue to use their boats, while others must take different paths on land farm for fishing and hunting.

Senior meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, Bradley Drummond, confirms that solid ice, which is safe enough for hunting and fishing, should have formed about a month ago. However, he indicates that mobile ice has been floating near the community since October.

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Normally, the ice freezes up around mid-November and it stays that way until the breakup in July, he explains in an email.

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A view of the community of Pond Inlet from a boat on December 5.

The current ice conditions in Pond Inlet echo a widespread phenomenon in the Far North. Rain, strong winds, temperatures above seasonal norms: unusual climatic events for this time of year have increased in the Canadian Arctic in recent weeks.

The mild weather affects the entire North, but it is particularly felt on Baffin Island, in eastern Nunavut.

Pond Inlet recorded temperatures above zero degrees Celsius on several occasions, between the end of November and the beginning of December.

With information from Emma Tranter and Noel Kaludjak

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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