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Global warming is a reality. The cause however is not quite as clear. How can we measure the extent to which the Canadian climate is actually changing without requiring manipulation or adjustment? In other words, how can we examine the raw data and make some sense of it.

The first step is to find the raw data. For this we go to the agency that is reponsible for collecting that data. For most of the major weather stations in Canada, Environment Canada has been recording hourly temperature readings for many years. There are exceptions however. For example, in the city of Vernon, Environment Canada started recording hourly readings in 2007. Before that they only recorded highs and lows.

Once we have that data, how do we process it. For that we turn to a related organization; WeatherStats.ca. They have compiled that raw data in many different forms. They have not manipulated or adjusted the data, just mathematically compiled it into numerous different formats. For example, temperature is available on an annual basis as Maximum, Minimum, Hourly Mean, Min/Max Mean, Days < -20, Days < 0, Days > 30, Heating Degree Days, Cooling Degree Days, and a number of Growing Degree Days. Of all these statistics, we found the one that best represented the average or mean temperature was the Hourly Mean. In other words, they averaged the daily hourly readings, and then averaged those over the entire year.

From there, we entered 20 year Hourly Mean numbers for various locations in each province (the Atlantic provinces were lumped together), while trying to get a reasonable distribution. 20 years was chosen so that it could be easily compared to IPCC 30 year projections. These numbers were then line graphed by year, and a best fit trend line calculated and plotted.

British Columbia
Altantic Provinces

We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions, keeping in mind that the IPCC projected a rise of 0.5 degrees Celcius per decade.

That covers the provinces, but what about the far north. The Arctic page below reveals that there is substantial warming in the Western Arctic. I have no idea why the Eastern Arctic is not similarly affected, but then again I cannot explain why the tree line starts below the Hudson Bay and curves up to the Arctic ocean near the MacKenzie Delta.


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Statistics provided by Weatherstats.ca courtesy of Environment and Climate Change Canada.