The Northernmost Permanently Inhabited Spot on Earth

If you travel to the northern latitude of 82.5°, you will arrive at the location of Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, in Canada.  Located 817 kilometers (508 miles) from the North Pole, Alert (82°30’05” ) is the northernmost place with a permanent (year-round) population.  Alert was named after HMS Alert, a British ship that wintered in the area from 1875–76.  As of the 2016 Canadian Census, the population is 62, up from 57 counted during the 2011 Census.

Alert is located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island where the Nares Strait opens up into the Lincoln Sea in the Canadian Arctic. The nearest Canadian city is Iqaluit, the capital of the territory of Nunavut,which lies  2,092 kilometers (1,300 miles) away.


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Map showing the location of Alert, Canada. Data from Naturalearth.com, map by Caitlin Dempsey.

Map showing the location of Alert, Canada. Data from Naturalearth.com, map by Caitlin Dempsey.

While Alert has no permanent residents, there are multiple facilities at the location that ensure a continuous presence of residents.  Alert is the location of the Canadian Forces Station Alert (CFS Alert), a co-located Environment Canada weather station, a Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) atmosphere monitoring observatory, and the Alert Airport. In 1986, Canada’s first research station for the continuous monitoring of background concentrations of trace gases and aerosols,  the Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmospheric Watch Observatory, was opened.

The Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory in Alert, Canada. Image: Dansk59, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory in Alert, Canada. Image: Dansk59, CC BY-SA 4.0

Record-Breaking Heat in Alert, Canada

Alert recently experienced a record-breaking high temperature of 21.0° C on July 14, 2019.  This broke the previous record of 20.0° C on July 8, 1956 and 19.6° C on July 18, 2012.  The average high during July for Alert, Canada is 7° C.

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