Study: Temperature trends in Canada

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1948 to 2009

During the past 60 years, the trend in average annual temperatures for Canada as a whole has increased by 1.4 degrees Celsius.

The article "Temperature trends in Canada" in EnviroStats examines data consisting of temperature departures from normal on an annual and seasonal basis for 11 climatic regions and the nation from 1948 to 2009.

The climatic regions that showed the strongest warming trends were located in Canada's far north, specifically the Arctic Tundra; Arctic Mountains and Fiords; Mackenzie District; and Yukon and North British Columbia Mountains. The Mackenzie District climatic region recorded the strongest warming trend, rising 2.2 degrees Celsius over normal during the six decades.

The Atlantic Canada climatic region recorded the smallest increase in average temperatures, 0.5 degrees Celsius over normal.

The analysis of seasonal departures from normal suggests that increased winter and spring temperatures contributed to the warming trend to a greater degree than the other seasons. Average winter and spring temperatures got milder over the study period. Average summer and fall temperatures also increased over normal, but at slower rates.

The Atlantic Canada climatic region experienced significantly cooler winters during the six-decade period, while 7 of the 11 climatic regions experienced warmer winters.

Note: This article examined temperature departures from normal for the period 1948 to 2009 for each of 11 climatic regions as well as Canada as a whole. Temperature departure from normal is the difference between observed temperature values and a temperature "normal", which is the average of observed temperatures over a specified period of time.

Research and reporting of departure from normal temperatures is conducted by Environment Canada's Climate Data and Analysis Section. Data in this study came from Environment Canada's Climate Trends and Variations Bulletin. Further information related to departure from normal temperatures can be found in this bulletin on Environment Canada's website (www.ec.gc.ca/adsc-cmda).

Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Statistics Canada are collaborating on a project to prepare a series of CANSIM tables, which will be available late in 2011.

The article "Temperature trends in Canada" is now available in EnviroStats, Spring 2011, Vol. 5, no. 1 (16-002-X, free), from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

The articles "Operation and maintenance costs of drinking water plants" and "Ecoregion profile: Fescue Grassland" are also available in this issue of EnviroStats.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the information officer (613-951-0297; environ@statcan.gc.ca), Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.