Canadian Winters Not Getting Warmer – More Cold All Around

By Matti Vooro, P.E.

I recently read a news clipping from the Canadian Press headlined: Never mind that cold snap-fed stats suggest Canadian winters are getting warmer. According to the article, the figures were compiled by Environment Canada and released to the Canadian Press on January 25, 2011.

I checked the Environment Canada data and have come to a different conclusion from their climate data record. I have produced two graphs of past winters from 1998-2010 showing the annual winter temperature departure for 11 of the Canadian regions and Canada as a whole. All temperature data comes from Environment Canada.

Here are the 11 climate zones in Canada:

This is what the graph shows.

Canadian temperatures 1998 - 2011

Here is what the graph tells me in my opinion:

* For Canada as a whole, the average linear winter trend is negative (cooling), see graph above.
* The linear winter trend of 8 of the 11 regional areas was also cooling, see graph below.
* The linear trend of the Atlantic coast is flat.
* Only the linear trend for the Arctic tundra and fiords (far Arctic North) shows warming.

Next is a chart showing the plots for all 11 regions of Canada and their winter temperature departures from 1998 -2010. The Canadian average is also included together with the linear trend for all of Canada.



What my objection to the Canadian Press article and its headline was that it implies to the Canadian public that Canadian winters are getting milder when they have not for the last 13 years. That is significant.You can’t ignore that if you are going to write an article about changes in Canadian winters. The article compared winter data sets between 1970’s and today. I however compared 1998 and 2010/2011 which is much more current and up to date.  

The 1970s were at the bottom of the climate cycle when both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as measured by AMO and PDO were in the cool mode. Now we are near the top of the current warm cycle and starting to come down fast. So naturally any comparison will show a warming. But it does not mean that the warming will continue. It is like comparing winter datasets to summer datasets and saying we are warming – forgetting that after the summer comes another fall and winter. The PDO and AMO are again heading for the cool phase like the 1970’s.

When costal waters around North America cool, the inland areas will cool first and to a greater degree. This is exactly what is happening in North America and Europe and Asia.

The SST anomalies for US coastal waters [20N-50N] dropped more than 0.65 deg C by January 2011. The January 2011 reading for the U.S. Coast Waters is the lowest on record for the satellite-based Reynolds Oi.v2 SST dataset [as to Bob Tisdale’s recent post on WUWT].

So I think what was missing in the article was the fact that, yes, it is interesting that our Canadian winters have warmed between 1970’s and today but what it did not say is that we should not to expect this to continue, since the climate factors that caused the cooler climate back in the 1970′ are back again and have already caused the cooling to return during the last decade. More cooling can be expected during the next 20-30 years. Even the AGW climate scientists have admitted to the media that there has been no statistical global warming since 1995.

The winter of 2009 perhaps is indicative of what might be ahead for some of the future Canadian winters. It already had winter temperatures close to those of the 1970’s for many regions . Most regions (7 in total) had below normal winter temperature departures except (4) Atlantic coast, Mackenzie District and Arctic Tundra, Mountains and Fjords. The 2009 winter had both the AMO and PDO negative or cool, like what we may get again in the decades ahead.  The 2011 winter also mimiced similar conditions as the coastal waters around North America had cooled to record low levels [similar to a negative AMO and already a negative PDO]

The second wrong message in the article was that the warming between 1970 and 2010 was due to global warming when it has clearly been shown by climate scientists, including the Met Office, that natural planetary cycles ENSO (stronger El Nino’s) were behind the recent warm phase.

Not just Canada is cooling – but the United States too

– Winter temperatures have been dropping for 10 years since 2000.
– Annual temperatures have been dropping for 4 years.
– US winter temperatures have dropped 6°F between 2000 and 2010.

 Global snow extent

– 2011 winter had the 3rd highest snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere and North America since 1967.
– 2010 winter had the 2nd most snow extent for Northern Hemisphere since the1978/1979 winter [2008 had the 3rd highest since 1967].
– 2010 winter had the highest winter snow extent since 1967 and the extent has been climbing since 2006.
– 5 of the11 highest snow extents for Eurasia have happened since 2003[2003 was the2nd highest since 1967]. 

Let’s do some fact checking about our current GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE ANOMALY

Other regions of the globe

– The cold weather in US has reached the Mexican/US border with significant lost crops this year.

– Record snow or new cold temperatures set in December 2010 across various parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

– Sweden had coldest December in 110 years and 2010 was the coldest in two decades. Norway had its coldest year since 1941 and 10th coldest since 1941.

– UK had its coldest December since in 120 years. Germany had its coldest December in 41 years, Ireland had its coldest December since 1881 or in129 years

– Similar cold records were set in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula, Mexico, China, and India.

– Following another extended stretch of sub-zero temperatures, ice coverage on the Baltic Sea is greater than it’s been in nearly a quarter century, Sweden’s meteorological agency reports.

– The Russian are having one of hardest winter in the last 100 years during the 2011 winter. The average temperature for February in Moscow was 11°C below normal!


So how can we say that Canadian winter temperatures are getting milder when the data shows that Canadian winter temperatures as a whole are getting cooler for 8 of the 11 regions since 1998? Only the high Arctic shows warming.  The more logical conclusion would be the winter temperatures were fluctuating but the trend is cooling. For some regions like the Prairies and Northwestern forest areas, there was 6.6 to 7.1 C  of cooling between 2006 and 2009. Once the 2011 winter gets added to the data, the cooling aspect will be even more evident.

Here are the winter temperature departures for all 11 regions of Canada. As you will note, the linear trend line for all are negative or cooling with the exception of the Atlantic coast which is flat or no real change and Arctic Mountains , Fiords  and Tundra  which show warming or rising trend line.


Trends for different Canadian climate zones:

BC Pacific coast and South BC Mountains winter temperature

MacKenzie district, north BC Mountains, and Yukon winter temperature

Arctic tundra, Arctic mountains, and fjords winter temperature

Atlantic coast, Great Lakes, St Lawrence and NE forest winter temperature

Praries and Northwestern Forest winter temperature

21 responses to “Canadian Winters Not Getting Warmer – More Cold All Around”


    The1970’s were one of the coldest periods in Canada with 6 years out of the 10 years in the decade being below normal . So to compare this period with the recent warm period will naturally show warming . If you look at the Prairies and Northwestern Forest graph , note how the winter temperatures have been decling between 2006 and 2009, a drop of 7.2 C.
    Here are the 10 coldest winters in Canada since 1948 showing the temperature departure from the 1948-2010 base.
    Yr Dep. °C
    1972 -3.2
    1950 -2.6
    1965 -1.9
    1957 -1.7
    1949 -1.6
    1979 -1.5
    1971 -1.3
    1962 -1.2
    1994 -1.2
    1952 -1.1

  2. Edward

    Great post Matti,

    Anyone who has studied Geography, kinda gets it, trouble is, the education system is fubar now, especially in the UK – they don’t know where Canada is.

    Canada warming up, wow, such hyperbole.

    Anyway, useful figures and graphics, I shall devour them, thank you.

    Always had great interest in Geography and climate of; Aus, Canada, SA and other great countries too because we were taught about these areas.

    1. Jimbo

      The following represents the achievements of the Kyoto Protocol.

      “Worldwide, emissions soared by nearly 40% from 1990 to 2009, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.”

      Why countries insist that their reductions will make a difference to me is baffling.

      P Gosselin, please read the article and if you have time write something on the utter futility of European nations attempting to reduce their co2 output. It won’t make any difference to the mean temperature of the Earth. None!

  3. Don B

    As a follow-up to this, why not look at global temps from UAH, NCDC, HadCru, and the outlier Giss, starting in the same year 1998?


    Canada‘s total area [about 10 million square km] is the second largest in the world[ Russia is the largest] and is about the size of all European countries taken together and slightly bigger than the US area. The region that has seen extra warming recently is called Nunavut and represents the Arctic Tundra, Mountains and Fiords. These represent about 21 % of Canada’s total area. The extra warming was mostly in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2010.Of these 4 years , three were El Nino winters and perhaps accounting for the extra warming. The temperatures dropped in 2008 and 2009 which had no El Nino. I anticipate 2011 temperature anomaly to be lower than 2010 record level of 5.3 C


    For those who may be still concerned about the rising temperatures in the Canadian high Arctic , the temperature at IQALUIT in Nunavut is -30C. The warming is no longer there and has not been there for much of this year

  6. R. de Haan

    Very good post. Thanks.

    In the mean time, whoever is interested where Joe Bastardi has gone:

    Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 03/11/2011
    Joe Bastardi hired by start-up firm WeatherBell
    By Jason Samenow
    Bastardi joins renowned forecaster Joseph D’Aleo
    Less than three weeks after resigning as AccuWeather’s chief long-range forecaster, Joe Bastardi announced Friday that he has accepted the position of chief forecaster at WeatherBell, a fledgling weather consulting firm.

    WeatherBell has also hired veteran meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, who served as the Weather Channel’s first director of meteorology.

    Based in New York City, WeatherBell Analytics LLC will offer meteorological products and services geared toward helping businesses manage weather risk. The company is funded entirely by angel investors.

    Chief executive officer Michael Barak said the name of company was inspired by someone close to him.

    The company will target the financial, agriculture, and energy sectors, said Barak. It intends to leverage the forecasting talents of Bastardi and D’Aleo to help businesses in these sectors make the best decisions, he said.

    “We will provide the most accurate forecasts anywhere, and because of this our clients will be able to adjust their business strategy and maximize profits,” said Barak.

    WeatherBell has partnered with Skyline Software Systems, Inc., a 3D geospatial visualization software and services company based in Chantilly, Va. Skyline’s suite of web-based software will allow WeatherBell customers to fuse their own data with weather data and forecasts.

    Barak, 27, previously worked as a vice president at an aerospace engineering firm. Although he has had a passion for weather since childhood, he is not a meteorologist and stressed that Bastardi will be given complete independence in developing his forecasts.

    “Joe will have unlimited freedom at WeatherBell, and you can expect to see that enthusiastic bold forecaster many of us have followed for years,” he said.

    Bastardi says he is relishing the opportunity to help build a new forecasting enterprise.

    “WeatherBell will give me the chance to display my ability and my good name in the way I am most suited,” he said. “I look forward to building from the ground up an operation that will become the standard in private sector forecasting.”

    Bastardi said it was a “difficult decision” to leave AccuWeather after 33 years without providing reasons for his departure.

    “I wish my former employer well just as they have wished me well, but I would like to keep my reasons for leaving private,” he said.

    While at AccuWeather, Bastardi developed a large following on AccuWeather’s subscription-based “Pro site” featuring blog commentary and video discussions.

    Barak said WeatherBell will also have a subscription-based site where Bastardi will provide forecast commentaries and video. Bastardi’s first blog posts for WeatherBell are now available. D’Aleo has also published his initial blog post on the WeatherBell website.

    During his tenure at AccuWeather, Bastardi was also a frequent guest on Fox News where he discussed not only weather but his skeptical position on global warming. Barak said Bastardi as well as D’Aleo would be free to do television appearances and speak their mind but emphasized WeatherBell is “not a media company.”

    Barak is well aware of Bastardi’s controversial position on global warming not to mention D’Aleo’s, who independently runs the skeptic website Barak said his company does not have a position on the issue and will not interfere with either Bastardi’s or D’Aleo’s opinions.

    By Jason Samenow | March 11, 2011; 4:30 PM ET
    Categories: Latest, Media

    So we have Bastardi and D’Aleo, my favorite Weather Frogs working together.

    Isn’t it great.

    I wish them all the luck of the world but I don’t think they are going to need it. Good quality forecasts have nothing to do with luck.
    It’s a profession.


    R de Haan

    I Agree. The two Joe’s are two of the best in the business and I also wish them both well . I hope they will continue in their efforts to bring reality to climate science as they did in the past.

  8. Don

    It’s been well over a decade now that I’ve thought Dave Phillips and that smug jerk from the Weather Network have been clueless twits.

    I think it was 2002, that we were suffering from one of the coldest winters in the Great Lakes region – it was in the top 15 coldest, if not top 10, and most of the other regions were cold as well – and they claimed it was a ‘normal’ winter. Why? Because the northern regions were about 6C warmer.

    Right, so a -30 is now -26, and this matters to those of us that live in civilization?

    The article is also a bunch of crap because it doesn’t even compare average temps, it just counts the number of days below -15C for a decade. I’ve never seen this as an acceptable measure of climate before, and makes me think they are simply grasping at straws.

    More importantly, why didn’t they mention the fact that El-Ninos have been far more frequent during the 2000-2009 time frame? I guess that didn’t seem so important, eh?

  9. Jimbo

    There was a time we were told to expect warmer northern hemisphere winters, now we are told to expect colder northern hemisphere winters.

    Northern Hemisphere winters to be warmer
    Northern Hemisphere winters to be colder ;O)

    “…yes, it is interesting that our Canadian winters have warmed between 1970′s and today but what it did not say is that we should not to expect this to continue, since the climate factors that caused the cooler climate back in the 1970′ are back again and have already caused the cooling to return during the last decade. More cooling can be expected during the next 20-30 years.”

    Hopefully, over time, it will become increasingly clear who the real ‘deniers’ are. GISS will continue to find warm hotspots and spread it large but there are limits to these statistical Nintendo computer games.



    You said
    “I think it was 2002, that we were suffering from one of the coldest winters in the Great Lakes region – it was in the top 15 coldest, if not top 10, and most of the other regions were cold as well – and they claimed it was a ‘normal’ winter. Why? Because the northern regions were about 6C warmer. ”

    Your memory is quite good . The 2003 winter was the 10 coldest for the Great Lakes and St Lawrence area while it was the 12 warmest for all of CANADA. 1994 was the coldest since 1948. The extra warming was in the Northern areas and the West mostly due to an El Nino. I think you bring up a valid point. This happens quite often for Canada since it is such a large area and there are so many different climate factors that affect the different regions. The second graph shows how over a period of about a decade how the winters have varied.It is somewhat meaningless to take a large area like Canada [ or the Globe ] and reduce the variety of temperatures that exist to a single digit or temperature . No area in Canada matches that that single climate , while unique situations like you point out go unnoticed or are down played.



    You are right . The new deniers are the “warmist” who deny that cooling is even happening and deny that the climate might cool in the future. I recently blogged with a jornalist who despite all the cooling evidence that I supplied even for his own province since already 2003 , kept denying cooling . I keep reminding the deniers about Dan Gardner’s book , FUTURE BABBLE which is all about why the predictions of experts fail so often and why people are unable to let go of these false beliefs despite clear evidence that the expert was quite wrong in the first place.

  12. R. de Haan

    Bastardi: I Finally Have The Weapons I Need for all out Weather Wars!

  13. R. de Haan

    Keep up the good work but let it be clear that the entire climate scam has nothing to do with climate.
    It’s a political doctrine to enable a power grab that eventually will take away our freedom, our future and possibly our lives.

    No scientific argument will stop them.

    Only a broad resistance against the imposed measures and a political defeat. Nothing more, nothing less.


    R, de Haan

    One has to resist bad politics and global warming misinformation with the facts, confidence and certainity every time it happens . Otherewise a thousand lies will be accepted as the truth.

  15. R. de Haan

    Global Warming R.I.P.

    A nuclear fall out map you won’t hear about from the MSM.

    And if you agree with them or not Resistance is building in the USA:

    Hacker Group Anonymous Brings Peaceful Revolution To America: Will Engage In Civil Disobedience Until Bernanke Steps Down
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2011 21:30 -0500

    Bank of America Ben Bernanke Federal Reserve Global Economy International Monetary Fund Morgan Stanley World Bank

    The world’s most (in)famous hacker group – Anonymous – known for effectively shutting down their hacking nemesis security firm (with clients such as Morgan Stanley and, unfortunately for them, Bank of America)- HBGary, advocating the cause of Wikileaks, and the threat made by one of its members that evidence of fraud by Bank of America will be released on Monday, has just launched communication #1 in its Operation “Empire State Rebellion.” The goal – engage in “a relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience” until Ben Bernanke steps down and the “Primary Dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy effective immediately.”

  16. R. de Haan

    The nuclear fall out map image is a fake!

  17. R. de Haan
  18. Joe

    So much is being made about cold temperatures and record setting winters, as if summers have gotten cooler. On September 27, 2010, Los Angeles experienced their hottest day ever when the temperature soared to 113°F. Yep, that sounds mighty chilly to me.

    But one day really means nothing, for one needs to look at what the temperature average is over the course of a year to get a good gauge of temperature change. In that case, Winsor Locks, Connecticut, experienced the the warmest year EVER in 2010.

    The average temperature in 2010 was 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit which is 2.5 degrees warmer than a normal year and beat the previous record warmest year of 1990 by 0.1 degree.

    That wasn’t the only place in New England that set a record. Boston also had the warmest year on record in 2010. Providence, Rhode Island experienced the second warmest year ever with Worcester Mass reporting the 4th warmest year on record. But somehow Global Warming isn’t happening. Hmmmm…..

    I do think I understand why you global cooling nuts can’t see the truth. When your head is that far up your ass, you can’t see anything, especially the truth.

  19. Ted

    Joe, you sound so much like a typical inane(look it up) left winger; tossing the insults at someone who opviously knows much more about a subject than themself(yawn). A day in LA means nothing to climate. Do you know what adiabatic heating means? I didn’t think so. And a year in Boston means nothing with climate. And you are thew god of truth? Your childish rant hear betrays your lack of knowledge on the subject. Talk to any HONEST meteorologist and they will tell you it’s all a bunch of nonsense. The MSNBC Weather Channel has an agenda. And You believe Al Gore? A lawyer who has tons of $$ to gain by the world going green…? Keeping the earth clean and going green may well be the right thing to do, but don’t be decieving yourself and others to get there. Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see…

  20. Al Love

    Green is not just the color of authority. Green is the place we all need to have our eyes on. Going green is a lifestyle and the more we think of it the more we can live in it. We have a good start with the threads you provide. … <a href=""

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