Add a location
Edit your saved locations

What's up with the weather?

Lyndsay Morrison, reporter
April 9, 2012 — The Weather Network will be airing a special series this week, discussing the strange winter many Canadians just experienced. Is there a connection to climate change?

Summer came early to Ottawa in March, 2012
Summer came early to Ottawa in March, 2012

A heatwave in March. 

Thunderstorms in February and, in one case this winter, a tornado watch. 

A severe lack of snow in cities like Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg. 

Unfrozen lakes, ponds and rivers. 

That was winter 2011/2012 in Canada. Or, at least, what it will be remembered for. 

"We had a very zonal jet stream, meaning it was predominantly a west to east pattern," says Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Pacific air continually flowed across the country, keeping cold arctic air masses well to the north."

That's why we got so many Chinook winds in Alberta. And a lack of cold snaps in Manitoba. And a lack of snow squalls in Ontario. 

So, this all begs the question: What's up with the weather?

On April 12, The Weather Network will examine the meteorological side of this question and whether or not there is a connection to climate change. The panel will include: Chris Scott, The Weather Network's  Director of Meteorology, and David Phillips, a Climatologist, and Dr. Andrew Weaver, Lansdowne Professor and Canada Research Chair. The series will be hosted by Chris St. Clair. 

Swimming in the ocean near Oxford, Nova Scotia ... in March
Swimming in the ocean near Oxford, Nova Scotia ... in March

Some noteworthy points about the last few months in North America:

- According to Environment Canada, this past winter was the first in 70 years that Winnipeg did not dip below -30°C. The coldest days were January 18 and February 10 at -28.9°C.

- Edmonton's coldest day of the 2011/2012 winter happened in November. The temperature fell to -36.1°C on the 20th. 

- 1/3 of Lake Erie is normally frozen in late March. At that point this year, the lake had already been completely unfrozen for three weeks.

- There was only one "classic" winter snowstorm that hammered the northeastern United States this year. It happened in October. 

- Hundreds of daily temperature records were broken in March. Cities like Halifax, Charlottetown and Fredericton broke their all-time March temperature records twice. 

- The "March heatwave" brought an early start to allergy, bug, wildfire and golf season in parts of the country. 

We encourage you to watch 'What's up with the weather?' exclusively on The Weather Network. Expect a candid conversation about whether these anomalies are indeed weather or climate change-related.


What's up with the weather? will premiere on Thursday, April 12 beginning at 8:33am EDT. You can catch the segment throughout the day, usually beginning at :03 or :33 minutes past the hour. 

This special series will also air on Saturday, April 14, also beginning at 8:33am EDT. 


We want to hear from you!

What is it about the winter of 2011/2012 that stands out for you? Join us on Facebook and Twitter to share your thoughts.
We also want to give you a chance to ask our panelists some questions. Watch for the QR code when the show airs, scan it and ask away! 

We'll seek out the answers and broadcast them in the coming days.

Sign in or Sign up to submit a comment.


Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.