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Canada Has Warmest and Driest Winter on Record; Some Areas in Arctic and Northern Quebec 6 °C Above Normal

Environment Canada reported that the national average temperature for the winter 2009/2010 was 4.0 °C (7.2 °F) above normal, based on preliminary data, making this the warmest winter on record since nationwide records began in 1948. The previous record was 2005/2006 which was 3.9 °C (7.0 °F) above normal. At 3.2 °C (5.8 °F) below normal, the winter of 1971/1972 remains the coolest.

Mean temperature departures for winter 2009/2010. Click to enlarge.

All of the country, but for a small area over the southern Prairies, was above normal, with some areas of the arctic and northern Quebec more than 6 °C (10.8 °F) above normal. Southern Saskatchewan had a cooler than normal winter, with temperatures more than 1 °C (1.8 °F) below normal.

Winter temperatures have remained at or above normal since 1997; winter temperatures have warmed over the last 63 years by 2.5 °C (4.5 °F). The winter season shows the greatest warming of any season, but all seasons have shown a warming trend since 1948.

Of the ten warmest years, 4 have occurred within the last decade, and 11 of the last 20 winters are listed among the 20 warmest.

National Precipitation. Overall, Canada also experienced its driest winter out of the 63-years of record during the 2009/2010 winter: 22.0% below normal. The previous driest winter was 1977/1978, 20.1% below normal. The drier than normal conditions were widespread, with most areas of the country having at least 20% less precipitation than normal. Some areas, including parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario had 60% less precipitation then normal. Only three areas had more precipitation than normal: central Nunavut, northern Quebec, and western Labrador.

Normal precipitation in northern Canada is generally much less than it is in southern Canada, and hence a percent departure in the north represents much less difference in actual precipitation than the same percentage in the south. The national precipitation rankings are therefore often skewed by the northern departures and do not represent rankings for the volume of water falling on the country.

Most winters have been at or below normal since 1977/1978. The wettest winter was 1964/1965, 19.4% above normal.


Will S

Not a bit surprising.


That doesn't sound like "there's no global warming"..


We have seen a long term warming trend in this country but to be fair this winter was only as warm as it was because of this year being an el Nino year.

Bennett F. Parish

Again, cherrypicking data. Southeast USA has had coldest winter in 28 years. When you only give one side of the story you guarantee majority of people will
not be on your side.


We live about 150 Km North of North Pole NY and we have never seen a warmer winter with so little snow and ice in many decades. No snow falls for the last 6 weeks.

The river next door has been ice-free for over a month and the little snow we had melted away in early February. March (so far) has been exceptionally warm with daytime temps of up to + 14C to +17C almost every day.

Our winter heating bill (in $$) is 50% less than the last 10-year average. The difference in Kwh is closer to -66%.

This may be too good to last, at least for those who do not like long cold winters, but another +4C to +6C would be OK. Let's wait and see what summer will be like.


"Again, cherrypicking data. Southeast USA has had coldest winter in 28 years."

As a resident of the Southeast I can verify that there was a cold stretch in January but curiously my heating bill was not as bad as last year and I didn't put plastic on the windows this time. Would just like to see numbers to back the claim.


How about balancing this out with the kind of winters that have been experienced in the rest of the northern hemisphere.

For what its worth, it's been a record breaking cold winter in the UK, and my heating bill was higher, despite getting a energy efficient condensing boiler installed last year.

Global warming, it seems, is being a bit choosy about where it hits. How about a sweepstake for next year to find out where will be hotter and colder?


"Again, cherrypicking data. Southeast USA has had coldest winter in 28 years."

Now who's cherrypicking data? You're pointing to ONE winter in ONE region of the country. When you only give one side of the story you guarantee majority of people will not be on your side.

Those parts of the world that claim to have had a record breaking cold winter are really just getting record snowfalls. Snow has some interesting properties that result in it being both an effect and cause of cold weather and it may sound like a contradiction but global warming can actually cause more snow to fall: For every 1 degree of temperature rise the air gains the ability to hold 4% more water vapour. That water can't stay in the air however; whenever a warm/wet air mass hits a cold air mass the water condenses out and you get rain, or snow if it is cold enough (as it is in winter). Once you've got snow on the ground in one area you get lower temperatures because snow reflects sunlight and the deeper the snow is the longer this effect can work on lowering the temperature.

Denialists will often ask 'if AGW is real why is the Antarctic ice sheet growing?' The most likely explanation is that the snow and ice in Antarctica is so clean that its albedo is higher and it's already so thick the local cooling effect has staying power.

The reason this does not happen in the Arctic is because the northern hemisphere's jet stream meanders more than the southern one due to northern landmasses(a polar jetstream forms at about 60 degress latitude, that places the northern one over mostly land and the southern one over mostly ocean) getting in its way: Bringing cold air south and warm air north. It's these "Rossby Waves" that causes warm/wet air fronts to hit cold air fronts and generate the afore mentioned rain/snowfalls.

Aaron Turpen

Just wondering (again) what this has to do with Green CAR Congress.

I don't see any references to CARs in that anywhere.



Accellerated climate changes = ICE machines/cars + coal fired power plants?


Not that the denialistas will believe it.

There is no end of peer reviewed research that takes the hot & cold temperatures occurring daily around the world and averages them. It shows that global temperatures are rising. Just like a hockey stick.

And no cherry picking.

But let's not debate the temperature. Lets get the denialistas latest conspiracy theories for rising sea levels (just how do they rise if the planet isn't getting hotter?).

And finally, why are the oceans becoming more acidic? God knows, might be something to do with the CO2 emitted by "trains and boat and planes" to quote Burt B.


To all the ignorant Naysayers: Anytime you read a report that states "hottest/coldest on record since nationwide records began" a significant "change" has been recorded. It's not an 'opinion'.... it's data.... a fact!

The brainiacs in the media jump up and down to proclaim record colds as proof there is no global warming... HELLO!! RECORD highs correspond to record lows.

Any temperature RECORD AT ALL is a significant warning that change is occurring and you ignorant denying idiots need to pull your head out of the illusion that is your day to day existence and GROW UP!

You guys are like a Deer standing in the headlights so dumb you can't avoid getting run over.


Aaron, what you think this website should be about has NOTHING to do with what the site owner thinks the GREEN Car Congress should be about. If you don't like the way he runs his website just remember we're all just guests here and it's impolite to to criticize your host.


Cherrypicking or not. Denialist or not. These types are arguments are pretty meaningless anyway when the debate is about sustainable mobility, rather than C02. Happening or not, it is a red herring when the elephant in the room is energy security. And this sort of childish squabbling just takes the emphasis away from what this site is about - greenmer motoring.

Its not about the left or eco-facsist definition of sustainable motoring - the "Thou shalt not drive regardless" which come from the likes of the UKs Campaign for "Better" Transport. Its about making driving more sustainable, be it biofuels burnt through and ICE, hybrids or electrcity. So this site has to be applauded for that.

But I do agree with Al Vin that listing AGW hysteria does not help the debate at all, when the focus should be on the sustainable rather than the AGW. AGW is a symptom after all if it does exist.

If anything the proponents of AGW are denialists in that, first they deny that the climate is changing anyway. Second that motoring can be sustainable (hidden agenda anyone?), and third that there are far more many things than just ICEs that generate the CO2 that they whinge about.

So wind your necks in a get on with the proper debate

Thank you!


It's only a "proper debate" as long as it doesn't threaten to make sausage out of your sacred cow?

AGW and anything else which threatens radical change to biomes—especially desertification—is certainly relevant to any blog with a "green" emphasis. That includes GCC. Both the derivation of the energy supply and the effects of the effluents are relevant here.

Will S

True, global temperatures are what really give us a better picture of *global* warming. Jan and Feb of this year were so warm that skeptic Roy Spencer changed his satellite interpretation formula to make them appear lower;

February 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update: Version 5.3 Unveiled


Roy Spencer may be a skeptic but even his new formula shows a warming trend; "The new dataset version does not change the long-term trend in the dataset, nor does it yield revised record months; it does, however, reduce some of the month-to-month variability, which has been slowly increasing over time."

Thiis is the difference between being a skeptic and being a denialist.


The unseasonably warm temps in Canada are a relatively short-term meteorological (seasonal) phenomena resulting from persistent positive height anomalies over that particular region. Meanwhile...a persistent trough over much of the U.S. resulted in persistent negative height anomalies and significantly colder temps than climatology (based on previous three decades).

In my opinion, no climate implications can be drawn one way or the other from these meteorological anomalies.

Mirco Romanato

Moving the thermometers away from the air vents would help to reduce the temperatures. Also, moving them away from car parking lots, building, etc. would be useful.


Is that a reference to Anthony Watts' "research?" He pointed out that some weather stations were poorly placed near AC units and parking lots and suggested this producing a false warming trend so the P.T.B. removed the offending stations from the data set and recalulated the trend lines and found... a greater warming trend. :^/

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