Canada’s Far North just saw its hottest temperature ever recorded

Astonishing heat across the Far North ranks among the hottest temperatures ever recorded near Canada’s Arctic

Another summer day brings another spell of unprecedented heat for Northern Canada. Saturday afternoon saw the hottest temperature ever recorded so far north in Canada, and it’s just one of the many notable heat records that have fallen in recent days.

It’s been a historic week for heat around the world. We’ve seen the record for the hottest global average temperature on three separate days in the past week.

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Monday was the world’s hottest day ever measured until Tuesday broke the record again. Tuesday’s benchmark record itself only stood for two days until Thursday’s global average temperature came in as the new hottest reading on record.

Fort Good Hope NWT All-Time Record High Temperature

While much of this feverish global heat is driven by unprecedented warmth in the world’s oceans, persistently hot temperatures across North America -- and Canada, in particular -- are contributing to the seemingly endless spell of fallen records.

Just days after three communities up north broke their all-time heat records, a sweltering Saturday afternoon saw the record fall in two more communities -- one of which measured the hottest temperature ever recorded so far north in Canada.

Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., witnessed an astonishing high temperature of 37.4°C on Saturday afternoon. Saturday’s high temperature in Fort Good Hope eclipsed the community’s previous all-time record of 35.0°C back on July 5, 1998, and it earned the dubious distinction of the Far North's hottest temperature on record.

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NWT Heat Records

The community of a few hundred sits on the eastern bank of the Mackenzie River in the northern half of the Northwest Territories. Residing at about 66.26°N, the community is just a few kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, which is located at 66.33°N.

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A high temperature of 37.4°C is a remarkable feat for the Far North even under the most favourable circumstances. The hottest temperature ever measured within the Arctic Circle itself was a 38°C reading in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk back on June 25, 2020.

Norman Wells, N.W.T., also shattered its all-time high temperature on Saturday with a reading of 37.9°C. For some perspective, Ottawa's all-time hottest temperature was 37.8°C set on two separate occasions during a heat wave in August 1944.


Saturday’s historic heat is the result of a sharp upper-level ridge that nosed over the N.W.T. Ridges of high pressure aloft foster sinking air, which warms up as it descends toward the ground. Stronger ridges can produce extreme heat under the right conditions, which we’ve seen in abundance across the North in recent days.

Persistent heat throughout Northern Canada is taking a toll on multiple fronts. In addition to health concerns related to the heat itself, the stagnant air and ongoing wildfires have led to degraded air quality throughout the region.

Wildfires have burned more than 600,000 hectares of land in the N.W.T. so far this year, and an extreme fire danger will persist across the territory through the upcoming week.

Thumbnail courtesy of Getty Images.