Seasonal Temperature Trends in Canada

Temperature trends during the last sixty years are not at all consistent from season to season across Canada. In all but one instance, though, the climate has indeed changed. Only during autumn in the extreme south of Ontario and Quebec has there not been any rise or drop in the average temperature since 1948.

Overall, winters have warmed the fastest between 1948 and 2007, while autumn temperatures remained relatively stable. But some regions show surprising exceptions to this general pattern.

The most dramatic warming has taken place during winters in the northwest portion of the country. December, January and March in the Yukon and northern British Columbia are now nearly 5 C (9 F) warmer than they were 60 years ago. At the same time, winters in the Atlantic maritime provinces have actually gotten colder.

This is not the only case where temperatures have declined. For the months of September, October and November average temperatures have also dropped across the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as in the Yukon and northern BC.

For most seasons and regions however, the trend since 1948 has been to a warmer climate.

The table below gives the seasonal changes in temperature for each of Canada's climatic regions. Locations of the regions can be seen on this map of Canada.

Seasonal and annual changes in average temperatures (C) from 1948 to 2007 throughout Canada.
A blue temperature indicates the region with the smallest increase (or biggest decline) for a season, while red shows the largest rise.
Region Winter Spring Summer Autumn Annual
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland -0.7 0.5 1.0 0.3 0.2
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands of southern Ontario and Quebec 0.9 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.6
Most of Ontario Quebec, Labrador and northeastern Manitoba 0.9 1.3 0.8 0.2 0.8
Central and northern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and northeast BC. 4.4 2.2 0.7 -0.3 1.8
Prairie region of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba 3.7 2.4 0.3 -0.6 1.5
British Columbia's southern and central interior 3.0 1.8 1.0 0.4 1.5
Pacific coast of BC, including islands and Coast Mountains 1.9 1.4 1.0 0.5 1.2
Northern British Columbia and Yukon 4.9 2.3 1.1 -0.1 2.1
Southeastern Nunavut and Northwest Territories, except Arctic coast 4.7 2.4 1.0 0.3 2.1
Northern Quebec, coastal NWT, and most of Nunavut 2.0 1.3 1.1 1.6 1.6
Eastern Nunavut's mountains and fiords 1.1 0.7 0.7 2.0 1.1
Canada 2.3 1.5 0.9 0.6 1.4
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