‘It’s a Chinook’: Albertans mock Leo DiCaprio’s climate change comments

CALGARY – Albertans are poking fun of actor Leonardo DiCaprio over comments he made about having seen the effects of climate change firsthand while in Alberta filming his new movie The Revenant.

DiCaprio was quoted in the recent issue of Variety as saying “we would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.”

The actor, who is working on a climate change documentary, said locals told him “this has never happened in our province ever.”

The problem is, the warm gusts of wind DiCaprio described are a common environmental occurrence in Calgary known as a Chinook.

READ MORE: What is a Chinook?

Global Calgary Meteorologist Jordan Witzel was a forecasting consultant for the movie while it was filming, and said Chinooks were a challenge for the crew, which had been hoping for snow.

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“There were a lot of Chinooks through last year, more than average, so yes, we struggled with snow pack,” Witzel said.

The production was in such desperate need of snow that according to Vanity Fair, snow guns were brought in.

“It was scary,” said DiCaprio in Variety. “I’ve never experienced something so firsthand that was so dramatic.”

Witzel, meanwhile, suggests DiCaprio witnessed more Chinooks than Calgarians are used to.

“A stronger El Nino season means more Chinooks,” explained Witzel. “Late last fall and into the winter was the beginning, the building of those warm ocean temperatures and the strong El Nino that we’re now seeing.”

“You cannot make a statement on climate change based on a weather event,” added Witzel. “Weather is what’s happening now; climate is what we would expect to happen into the future.”

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Albertans familiar with Chinooks took to Twitter to tease DiCaprio, here’s a collection of some of the comments:


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