Take that, Farmers' Almanac: Environment Canada's Dave Phillips predicts milder winter
Published Friday, August 31, 2018 10:12AM EDT
Before you book a one-way ticket to the southern hemisphere or prepare for a months-long hibernation in reaction to the Farmers' Almanac’s bleak winter forecast this week, you might want to wait for Environment Canada to weigh in.
Days after the Farmers' Almanac released its winter forecast calling for “teeth-chattering cold,” Environment Canada’s senior climatologist has teased a more moderate outlook that is sure to be welcome news to many Canadians.
Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips said Environment Canada is expecting a “milder than normal” winter this year, thanks to El Nino. The routine climate pattern related to warm water in the Pacific Ocean is projected to be weak to moderate this year, Phillips said.
“It’s a little bit uncertain right now, but we certainly think it will seem shorter than last winter and maybe not as tough as it was last year,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday.
“We’re not cancelling winter. We’ll still have winter in the second coldest and snowiest country in the world, but it won’t have the sting that we’ve seen in other times.”
The lead up to winter will also be kind to those who love the warmth, according to the senior climatologist. Phillips said the weather agency is anticipating a gradual transition from summer to fall.
“I think we’re not going to see all of a sudden a change because the seasons have changed,” he said. “I wouldn’t write the obituary on summer-like weather yet. There’s still some summer left in the air.”
Phillips credits the warmer-than-normal summer Canadians enjoyed this summer for heating up the lakes, rivers, and oceans. He said those bodies of water will continue to emit some of that lingering heat in the coming weeks, which will lead to some comfortable fall temperatures.
So, why is there such a discrepancy between the Farmers' Almanac’s forecast and Environment Canada’s?
Phillips said weather patterns have become more complicated since he began studying climate more than three decades ago. He said the Earth’s changing jet streams and melting ice in the North has greatly affected the planet’s climate and scientists’ ability to predict it.
“It’s almost like a crapshoot. It’s like weather whiplash,” he said. “I think weird, wild, and wacky is the way it goes. The new normal is to expect the unexpected.”
Environment Canada releases its official fall forecast on Sept. 1.