May 16, 2012 11:00 am
Updated: March 20, 2013 12:41 pm

Canada’s summer 2012 weather forecast: why so hot?


TORONTO – The summer of 2012 will bring a heat wave across most of Canada, according to AccuWeather’s forecast released Wednesday.

Warmer than normal temperatures and humidity are expected throughout much of the country, especially the southern Prairies with extended heat spells.

Live in Calgary or Edmonton? Temperatures are predicted to be hot with less rainfall than normal.

Spending time in eastern Ontario or southern Quebec? You can expect stormy weather.

There are some exceptions: Toronto and surrounding areas from Windsor, Ont. to Montreal, Que. as well as coastal B.C. residents, should see near normal temperatures, according to AccuWeather.

Global News’ meteorologist Anthony Farnell agrees with most of the forecast, suggesting Alberta and Saskatchewan will likely be the hottest places in Canada compared to normal this summer.

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“Western Canada looks to be in for a very warm summer with above normal temperatures and several lengthy heat waves,” he says. “This heat ridge that sets up over the Prairies during the heart of the summer means that eastern Canada, along with Quebec and southern Ontario, will see a more back-and-forth weather pattern with frequent troughs.”

Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, Dave Phillips, confirms their preliminary data for the June-July-August forecast also shows almost all of Canada will be warmer than normal. “Normal” is defined by the average temperature in a location over the 30-year period from 1971-2000.

But why is Canada getting hotter, and is it a new trend?

“The controlling factor for this summer’s forecast is a transition from La Nina to El Nino,” explains Farnell. “The waters in the tropical Pacific have warmed above normal, and this means a weak to moderate El Nino is setting in. This will have the effect of increased shear and less hurricane activity in the Atlantic, along with persistent ridging and heat in the western U.S. and Canada.”

Phillips adds that in the last several seasons, we’ve seen more of a southerly flow of American air coming into Canada, and less influence from Arctic air.

“It could very well be the disappearance, the vanishing of the ice at top of the world that could be having an influence on our seasons,” says Phillips. “There could be a number of factors: warmer oceans, more El Ninos than La Ninas, more southerly flow, pressure patterns, several possibilities as to why we seem to be stuck in this trend to warmer than normal.

“According to the United Nations, April was the 326th month in a row where the temperature of the world has been warmer than normal. So really, we live on a warmer planet, and it’s no different here in Canada as second-oldest country in the world.”

However, this doesn’t mean that every season will be warmer than normal in the future.

“The one season that has truly shown its change in Canada is the season that we’re most famous for: that is, the winter,” he says. “Winters in Canada over the last 65 years have warmed up by about 3.2 degrees, where our summers have warmed up by only 1.2 degrees. Now that’s significant, but it tells you that most of the difference is shown in the winter period, not in the summer.”

© 2012 Shaw Media

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