Temperature Change in Canada

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Changes in climate variables such as temperature, precipitation and humidity affect a wide range of natural processes and human activities. In 2014, the global average temperature was one of the warmest ever recorded, with a temperature of almost 0.6 degrees Celsius (°C)Footnote [1] above the 1961–1990 reference value (or the average temperatures recorded between 1961 to 1990).Footnote [2]

In Canada, the national average land temperature for the year 2014 was 0.5°C above the reference value. Annual average temperatures were consistently above or equal to the reference value from 1993 onward. The warmest year was 2010, at 3.0°C above the reference value. Canada's coldest year since 1948 was 1972 at 2.0°C below the reference value.

Five of the ten warmest years occurred within the last decade. From 1948 to 2014,Footnote [3] a trend was detected in annual average temperature departures, indicating an overall warming of 1.6°C over that period. Patterns are different across regions of the country however (see Regional temperature change).

Annual average temperature departuresFootnote [4] from the 1961–1990 reference value, Canada, 1948 to 2014

Graph

Long description

The markers show the annual average temperature departures from the 1961–1990 reference value over the period 1948 to 2014. A line is also presented showing a statistically significant increasing trend in annual average temperature departures from the reference value of 1.6 degrees Celsius over the 67-year period. A dashed line represents the 1961–1990 reference value.

Data for this chart
Annual average temperature departures from the 1961–1990 reference value, Canada, 1948 to 2014
YearTemperature departure
(degrees Celsius)
Warmest year ranking
1948-0.249
1949-0.250
1950-1.366
1951-0.661
19520.816
19530.817
19540.040
1955-0.248
1956-0.864
1957-0.356
19580.526
1959-0.457
19600.428
1961-0.252
19620.042
19630.233
1964-0.660
1965-0.662
1966-0.355
1967-0.458
19680.235
19690.432
1970-0.253
19710.041
1972-2.067
19730.620
1974-0.863
1975-0.145
19760.038
19771.012
1978-0.559
1979-0.251
19800.429
19812.04
1982-1.065
19830.136
19840.234
19850.043
19860.039
19871.59
19880.818
1989-0.254
1990-0.147
19910.430
1992-0.146
19930.431
19940.527
19950.623
19960.044
19970.622
19982.33
19991.77
20000.913
20011.86
20020.524
20031.111
20040.037
20051.68
20062.42
20070.814
20080.621
20090.815
20103.01
20111.410
20121.85
20130.719
20140.525

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Annual average temperature departures were computed for weather stations across Canada with sufficiently long data records to allow for trend calculation and were then interpolated to a 50-kilometre spaced grid. Annual grid points values were averaged together to produce an annual time series of temperature departures representing the entire country.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2015) Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data (AHCCD).

Seasonal temperature change

Like the national annual average temperature, seasonal average temperature increased over the 67-year period (1948–2014). Among seasons, warming has been most pronounced for winter, with a 3°C warming trend detected over the 1948 to 2014 period. Warming trends of 1.6°C, 1.4°C and 1.5°C were detected for spring, summer and fall, respectively. The warmest winter and spring recorded were both in 2010.Footnote [5] The warmest summer was in 2012, while the warmest fall was in 1998.

Seasonal average temperature departures compared with the 1961–1990 reference value, Canada, 1948 to 2014

Graphs

Long description

The markers show the seasonal average temperature departures from 1948 to 2014 for winter (top-left chart), spring (top-right chart), summer (bottom-left chart) and fall (bottom-right chart). A linear trend line is also presented in each chart showing a statistically significant increasing trend in the departures, which translates into an overall increase in annual average temperatures of 3.0 degrees Celsius for winter, 1.6 degrees Celsius for spring, 1.4 degrees Celsius for summer and 1.5 degrees Celsius for fall over the 67-year period. A dashed line is present in each chart and represents the 1961–1990 reference value.

Data for this chart
Seasonal average temperature departures compared with the 1961–1990 reference value, Canada, 1948 to 2014
YearWinter temperature departure
(degrees Celsius)
Spring temperature departure
(degrees Celsius)
Summer temperature departure
(degrees Celsius)
Fall temperature departure
(degrees Celsius)
19480.2-1.80.51.7
1949-2.00.3-0.20.8
1950-3.0-0.9-0.8-0.9
1951-0.30.2-0.3-0.6
1952-1.51.6-0.10.7
19532.01.2-0.11.3
1954-0.4-1.40.21.2
19550.8-0.60.7-0.3
1956-0.4-1.4-0.5-0.6
1957-2.10.2-0.50.5
19581.21.2-0.20.1
1959-0.9-0.8-0.5-1.1
19602.5-0.70.30.2
19610.6-0.90.6-0.4
1962-1.6-0.20.10.9
19630.5-0.50.11.1
19641.3-2.0-0.6-0.1
1965-2.00.1-0.7-0.9
1966-0.4-0.10.2-0.7
1967-0.7-2.0-0.10.5
19680.50.7-1.01.4
19690.3-0.2-0.40.2
19701.4-0.40.40.2
1971-1.20.50.10.5
1972-3.6-1.3-0.8-1.8
1973-1.30.90.80.6
1974-1.1-2.0-0.1-0.5
19750.1-0.10.70.1
1976-0.50.30.00.2
19771.62.0-0.20.7
19780.3-0.8-1.0-1.5
1979-1.7-0.2-0.20.7
19801.81.30.00.3
19812.41.60.51.5
1982-0.9-1.3-0.5-0.5
19830.2-0.80.61.1
19840.00.90.7-0.7
1985-0.40.2-0.3-1.1
19861.80.4-0.8-1.8
19873.10.90.01.2
19881.61.80.70.4
19890.0-0.70.9-0.6
1990-1.01.20.4-0.8
1991-0.61.10.8-0.5
19921.0-0.1-0.9-0.2
1993-0.11.20.2-0.5
1994-1.60.90.81.5
19951.70.80.70.1
1996-0.5-0.50.5-0.3
19970.6-0.70.60.8
19982.82.81.82.5
19992.52.50.61.2
20002.51.30.20.8
20011.31.70.91.6
20022.4-1.80.50.9
20032.10.10.81.6
20041.5-0.5-0.20.7
20050.42.00.61.9
20063.93.01.31.1
20073.10.30.80.8
20080.40.30.91.6
20090.1-0.50.31.9
20104.14.01.22.3
20112.5-0.11.12.1
20123.71.61.81.2
20131.60.50.81.3
2014-0.4-0.61.00.5

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.62 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Seasonal average temperature departures were computed for weather stations across Canada with sufficiently long data records to allow for trend calculation and were then interpolated to a 50-kilometre spaced grid. Seasonal grid points values were averaged together to produce a seasonal time series of temperature departures representing the entire country. Seasons are defined as winter (December, January, and February), spring (March, April, and May), summer (June, July, and August) and fall (September, October, and November).
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2015) Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data (AHCCD).

Regional temperature change

In 2014, British Columbia, the territories and some areas in northern Québec and the Maritimes had temperatures above the 1961–1990 reference value, while parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario had temperatures below the reference value. The rest of the country experienced temperatures near the reference value.

Regional average temperature departures from the 1961–1990 reference value, Canada, 2014

Map

Long description

The map shows the average temperature departures from the 1961–1990 reference value in degrees Celsius for the year 2014.

How this indicator was calculated

Note: Annual average temperature departures were computed for 338 weather stations across Canada and were then interpolated to a 50-kilometre spaced grid.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2015) Canadian Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Anomalies (CANGRD).

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