With an average winter temperature of -28.1°F (-33.4°C), the Canadian territory of Nunavut has one of the coldest climates in the world. However, residents will get an unusual break from the cold this week.

Iqaluit, the territory’s most populous city, will have warmer temperatures than much of southern Canada this week. In fact, Iqaluit will be even warmer than New York City on Wednesday.

Iqaluit’s forecast high for Wednesday, November 29 is 37°F (3°C). By comparison, Toronto is forecast to reach 34°F (1°C), and New York City is anticipated to be 36°F (2°C).

According to The Weather Network, the cause of this weather phenomenon is a trough in the jet stream over eastern North America. The trough is bringing cold air to southern Ontario and New York State, while contributing to above-seasonal temperatures in the Canadian Arctic.

New York City’s average high on November 29 is 49°F (9°C). This means that the city will be 13°F (7°C) below normal on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Iqaluit’s normal November 29 high is 7°F (-14°C), making the city 30°F (17°C) warmer than average.

The unusual weather will not last for too long. The trough will shift eastward this weekend. By early next week, Iqaluit will return to near-seasonal temperatures, while New York City will warm up.

The science behind jet streams

Jet streams are relatively thin paths of powerful wind found in the higher layers of the atmosphere, usually located at an altitude of around 30,000 feet. They blow from west to east.

Jet streams have a significant impact on the week-to-week changes in weather patterns. This is especially true in the middle latitudes, which are influenced by ridges and troughs in the jet stream. Ridges result in warmer-than-average conditions, while troughs result in colder-than-average conditions.

According to scientists, climate change is making jet streams wavier and slower-moving. This is causing an increase in extreme temperature anomalies. It’s also resulting in a rise in “blocking” patterns, which lock extreme temperature anomalies in place for extended periods of time.

A study published earlier this year in Nature Communications linked warming temperatures in Greenland since 2000 to a rise in blocking events.

Image Source: The Weather Network