Catlin Arctic Survey Ice Base reports ‘unheard of’ April rain – A surprise for experienced polar team
The scientists and staff at the Catlin Arctic Survey Ice Base in the high Arctic off Ellef Ringnes island in the Canadian High Arctic have reported an abnormal occurrence at the weekend: it rained.
Paul Ramsden, the Catlin Arctic Survey Ice Base Manager, reported big raindrops fell during the shower. “I had to look twice. Snow flurries we expect, not rain. It is obviously quite worrying when you are camped out on ice! I felt distinctly nervous for a while because the consequences of getting wet here can be serious – but eventually it stopped and we are all safe” he said.
April rain in more southerly climes may be common, but according to the metrological services at Environment Canada – rain in the high Arctic around 79 degrees North in April is extremely rare. Experienced Arctic explorer Pen Hadow, who is Expedition Director of the project said: “Rain that far north is not at all normal at this time of year. According to the Canadian met services there was also some rain at Borden Camp a hundred miles away. We’re told that southerly winds to the west of a strong high pressure that’s been sitting south of Resolute Bay have been pumping very warm air from way down south up over Borden and Ellef Ringnes Islands for the past week. It is pretty unusual for such a strong southerly to push warm air over this area in April.”