The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The weather of 2005

Courtesy of Environment Canada:

Victoria had their sunniest February on record in 2005 (193.6 hours), breaking the previous record of 151.5 hours set in 1996. The normal sunshine total is 88.9 hours. While less cloud means cooler nights, days were near perfect for tennis, golfers and hikers in the city. Tourism Victoria's annual flower count was underway much to the annoyance of the rest of Canada. For those who care, final counts were more than 3.7 billion blooms, well over the 1.8 billion tallied up in 2004.

Vancouver boasted a record high bright sunshine total for February - more than 151 hours - but the exact figure will never be known because someone made off with Environment Canada's sunshine recorder. The 12-cm-diameter glass globe is valued at more than $2,000 and resembles a crystal ball. Psychics and fortune tellers are among the prime suspects!
Nice to know the stereotypes are holding firm.

We missed the damaging parts of any hurricanes, but across the country we seem to have experienced our share of just about everything else: sometimes even within the same week, as when southern Ontario experienced its variant of the chinook ("It kills the trees but it's good for the soul" - Rick Mercer), going from negatives to +18°C (64°F) on January 17 to -31.1°C (-24°F) on January 24, setting records in both directions -- and yes, the drop was sudden, pouring rain to blinding snow in the course of a single night.

We also saw the highest ultraviolet index ever measured in Canada (including under the magnetic north pole and occasional ozone hole): 10.56, or "extreme". Along with the new record for least area covered by sea ice in any given season (and there will be new records set again next year), these two spell long-term climactic trouble.

More Canadian weather records, weirdities, and occasional general good-humoured griping at Environment Canada's webpage.

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