Average Weather in Yellowknife Canada
In Yellowknife, the summers are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are frigid, snowy, windy, and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -21°F to 71°F and is rarely below -41°F or above 79°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Yellowknife for warm-weather activities is from early July to early August.
The warm season lasts for 3.5 months, from May 23 to September 8, with an average daily high temperature above 55°F. The hottest day of the year is July 21, with an average high of 71°F and low of 56°F.
The cold season lasts for 3.5 months, from November 22 to March 6, with an average daily high temperature below 8°F. The coldest day of the year is January 15, with an average low of -21°F and high of -7°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
In Yellowknife, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Yellowknife begins around April 18 and lasts for 5.2 months, ending around September 25. On June 24, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 55% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 45% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around September 25 and lasts for 6.8 months, ending around April 18. On November 17, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 73% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 27% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Yellowknife varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 5.5 months, from May 6 to October 22, with a greater than 14% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 21% on August 24.
The drier season lasts 6.5 months, from October 22 to May 6. The smallest chance of a wet day is 6% on February 22.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Yellowknife changes throughout the year.
Rain alone is the most common for 6.0 months, from April 22 to October 22. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 21% on August 24.
Snow alone is the most common for 6.0 months, from October 22 to April 22. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 10% on November 17.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Yellowknife experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 5.7 months, from April 27 to October 17, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around July 3, with an average total accumulation of 1.5 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 6.3 months, from October 17 to April 27. The least rain falls around December 28, with an average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.
As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Yellowknife experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.
The snowy period of the year lasts for 7.7 months, from September 24 to May 16, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around November 19, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.4 inches.
The snowless period of the year lasts for 4.3 months, from May 16 to September 24. The least snow falls around July 24, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall
The length of the day in Yellowknife varies extremely over the course of the year. In 2020, the shortest day is December 21, with 4 hours, 57 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 20, with 20 hours, 0 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 3:39 AM on June 19, and the latest sunrise is 6 hours, 29 minutes later at 10:08 AM on December 25. The earliest sunset is at 3:03 PM on December 16, and the latest sunset is 8 hours, 36 minutes later at 11:39 PM on June 21.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Yellowknife during 2020, starting in the spring on March 8, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 1.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for 2020. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases.
Moon Rise, Set & Phases
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Yellowknife, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Yellowknife experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 3.0 months, from March 26 to June 25, with average wind speeds of more than 10.6 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is May 2, with an average hourly wind speed of 12.2 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 9.0 months, from June 25 to March 26. The calmest day of the year is December 23, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.1 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Yellowknife varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the south for 2.7 months, from July 6 to September 26, with a peak percentage of 32% on August 3. The wind is most often from the east for 9.4 months, from September 26 to July 6, with a peak percentage of 39% on January 1.
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Yellowknife throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Yellowknife for general outdoor tourist activities is from early July to early August, with a peak score in the third week of July.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Yellowknife for hot-weather activities is for the entire month of July, with a peak score in the third week of July.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Yellowknife typically lasts for 4.0 months (123 days), from around May 22 to around September 22, rarely starting before May 6 or after June 6, and rarely ending before September 4 or after October 9.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Yellowknife should appear around June 6, only rarely appearing before May 27 or after June 17.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.1 months, from May 1 to August 5, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 5.0 kWh. The brightest day of the year is June 21, with an average of 6.3 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 4.4 months, from October 12 to February 23, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 1.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 21, with an average of 0.1 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Yellowknife are 62.454 deg latitude, -114.372 deg longitude, and 623 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Yellowknife contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 184 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 595 feet. Within 10 miles also contains only modest variations in elevation (292 feet). Within 50 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (673 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Yellowknife is covered by sparse vegetation (35%), water (24%), trees (23%), and bare soil (10%), within 10 miles by trees (71%) and water (22%), and within 50 miles by trees (54%) and water (33%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Yellowknife, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Yellowknife.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Yellowknife according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Yellowknife is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Yellowknife and a given station.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for airports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.