Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 warmest year on record in Canada (since national records began in 1948)

2010 ended up as the warmest year on record in Canada since national records began in 1948, according to the latest climate bulletin released from Environment Canada. On a national basis, 2010 finished with a mean annual temperature that was 3.0C above normal, surpassing the previous warmest year of 1998 which was 2.5C above normal (normal as defined by 1951-80 average - see table of ranked years) The bulk of the warmth over the past year has largely been concentrated over the Arctic, especially the eastern Arctic which has seen some exceptionally warm weather for 14 consecutive months now. In particular, Iqaluit on Baffin Island finished with its warmest December on record, a phenomenal 14C above normal, capping off its warmest year ever recorded. 5 of the top 10 warmest years in Canada have occured in the past decade.

Precipitation wise.. the country ranked near normal for precipitaion in 2010, posting a national average that was just 0.4% above normal. The notable exception however was over the Prairies, which recorded its wettest year on record (since 1948), beating the previous wettest year of 1951. (see regional precipitation table)

In Winnipeg, 2010 ended up as the second wettest year of all time (722 mm total precip) , as well as the 8th warmest year on record (annual mean temperature of +4.1C, about 1.5C above normal) Records in Winnipeg began in 1872.


  1. Rob

    How much snow is forecasted for thursday? Right now there just calling for periods of snow.

  2. Daryl..

    The snow on Thursday is from a weak clipper system coming from Montana that will drop into the Dakotas. Most of the snow associated with that system should occur over SW Manitoba (maybe 5 cm or so), but we may get brushed with 2-3 cm here in Winnipeg/RRV by it. Overall though, doesn't look like a major system to worry about.. but we'll keep you posted if things change..

  3. It's Friday nights clipper that looks more impressive which will drag some pretty cold air down with it!!!

  4. Rob,

    Will a new average soon be adopted using the data from 1981-2010? Considering the amount of warmer than average years in this recent 30-year period, I suspect the new average will be slightly warmer than the old average currently being used.

    How effective is such an approach when trying to evaluate long-term climate trends? The true magnitude of long-term trends would seemingly get diminished everytime a new average gets calculated.

  5. Brent..

    Yes, eventually EC will be moving towards using 1981-2010 normals.. but it may take a year or two to implement (due to the number of stations that are deemed qualified, and the quality control of the data that is required before it can be declared official). Until then, we'll continue to use the 1971-2000 normals.

    You're correct in noting that these updated 1981-2010 normals will be milder than the previous set of normals.. thanks to some very mild winters over the past decade. This will be reflected in higher "normals", especially for winter, once we adopt the 1981-2010 values.

    This trend of higher 30 year normals has been occurring since the 70s, with every new set of 30 year normals rising each decade, mainly due to milder winter temperatures. For example, the 1951-80 normals for winter temps in Winnipeg (DJF) was -16.3C. That figure rose to -15.3C for the current 1971-2000 normals, and the 1981-2010 winter normal will be -14.5C, almost 2 full degrees warmer than the normals we used back in the 1970s. January is the main culprit.. it used to have a monthly mean of -19.3C using 1951-80 normals.. 1981-2010 will have a January mean of -16.4C, a whopping 3C warmer. So a "normal" January in the 1970s would be considered 3C below normal in the 2010s.

    Average summer temperatures have remained fairly steady in Winnipeg over the past 30 years.. but they have become wetter. Normal summer precip (JJA) used to be 231 mm using 1951-80 normals. That value will rise to 247.5 mm with 1981-2010 normals, reflecting the very wet summers we've had over the past decade.

    30 years is the world-wide standard for defining "normals".. and it's interesting to see how climate patterns are changing when you compare successive 30 year values.

  6. Rob!
    Quite a few snow events in the next week!!!
    One tomorrow, Another on Friday!
    Maybe one more on Monday???

    Finally some fresh snow!!

  7. Still looks like a general 2-5 cm across southern MB with this next system. Snow spreading into the RRV tonight and diminishing by midday Thursday. Bulk of the snow in Winnipeg expected between 3 and 9 am. Not a big storm by any means, but the morning commute may be a little slick with a 2-3 cm of fresh snow.

    As daniel noted, another clipper will brush us with more snow on Friday, although the bulk of that system may stay to our southwest. Again, not a major system expected so far with general amounts around 5 cm according to current model projections.

  8. Everytime I turn on the news there is always some new flood disaster that is happening!

    This La NINA is really wreaking havoc across the globe!

  9. Noticed what appears to be a tendency recently with 3 to 5 day forecasts of colder weather than actually occurs. A few years ago ( 08-09) the opposite appeared to occur.

    Is any of this due to the the much warmer Eastern Arctic this year?

  10. Looking at the radar tonight, seems the majority of snow is heading due east as opposed to it going south into the dakotas as earlier thought!

  11. Daniel

    I think you may be right. Unless it takes a quick jog to the south or dissappeares maybe we will get more that a dusting

  12. 3.5 cm in Charleswood as of 7:30 am.. light snow still falling. Could see another 1-2 cm this morning before it tapers off..

  13. Looking at the radar the snow was very quick to move in last night but much slower to move out!

    The back edge of the snow is hanging on!

  14. Snowfall reports around southern Manitoba as of 8 am.. with snowdepth on the ground in cm /xx/.

    Rivers....... 7 cm /60/
    Rossburn .... 5 cm /56/
    Carman....... 4 cm /41/
    Winkler ..... 4 cm /34/
    Miami........ 5 cm /27/
    Brandon ...... 3 cm /47/
    Portage...... 3-6 cm /33/
    Winnipeg ..... 3-4 cm /26/
    Oakbank ...... 2 cm /30/
    Rennie ....... 2 cm /38/
    Pinawa ....... 2 cm /37/

    Another clipper will bring more snow Friday..with potential for 5-10 cm over southern MB. Timing on this one will be a little different than today's system with snow moving into Winnipeg/RRV Friday by 9 or 10 am, becoming moderate at times in the afternoon before tapering off in the evening. Winds during the event will be light so blowing and drifting snow shouldn't be a problem during the day.. ..however the winds do pick up from the north in the evening as the snow is tapering off so some blowing and drifting snow will likely develop in open areas Friday evening into Friday night. Overall amounts for Winnipeg look to be around 5-8 cm cm with Friday's system with the bulk of the snow falling between noon and 6 pm. Friday morning commute should be OK but evening commute will be slow..