A Canadian Climate Scientist on this Wintry April

I am a former climate research scientist at Environment Canada. I was an Expert Reviewer for the United Nations Climate Body’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its 2007 […]

I am a former climate research scientist at Environment Canada. I was an Expert Reviewer for the United Nations Climate Body’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its 2007 Climate Change Report.

It has been a long winter.

The wintry weather continues its grip over most of Canada, from Vancouver to St. John’s, as snow, freezing rain, ice pellets and ferocious winds are hammering everyone (as of April 18). A few noteworthy wintry tales:

1) Calgary is set for record snowfall in one season

2) Edmonton set a record of continuous 127 days of below freezing temperature this winter

3) Most of the Canadian Prairies still in winter-like weather mode

4) Toronto recording one of the highest numbers of Heating Degree Days at 3485 so far and still counting

5) Atlantic Canada bracing once again for wintry weather with snow accumulation of 10cm to 25cm

This year’s winter is possibly the longest, snowiest and coldest in 40 years.

In the last six years, Canada has witnessed four significantly colder and snowier winters: 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and the present winter, which refuses to go away.

Elsewhere, Europe has witnessed five significantly colder and snowier winters since the new millennium: 2002/03, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2011/12, including the most recent one. Eastern Europe experienced one of the coldest spells in early February 2012, with low temperatures in parts of Czech Republic falling to -40°C and leading to several dozen deaths. In January 2017, a killer cold snap gripped eastern Europe and parts of Romania in particular where 73 deaths were blamed for the brutal cold snap.

This past winter, there was a “beast from the East” in late February 2018, with low temperature at -62°C in parts of Siberia, one of the heaviest snowfalls in Moscow (45 cm) with low temperature at -17°C and an unusual cold spell in France on February 26-27, 2018. The reference to “Beast from the East” was to an outbreak of extreme cold air over Europe from Siberia. A similar cold outbreak produced extreme low temperature of -40°C in parts of Czech Republic in early February of 2012.

Over North America, the winter of 2013/14 was one of the longest, coldest and snowiest on record. There were several thousand cancellations of air line flights across US and Canada and major delays in road transportation and in the construction industry. According to a report by the US Department of Commerce (dated April 30, 2014), the US economy grew by a minuscule 0.1% as against a projected increase of about 1.2 percent. A similar downturn in the economy of about three to five percent was reported for Canada. Using appropriate GDP (Gross Domestic Product) values, this translates to about an USD$100 B shortfall in growth for the US economy and about CAD$25-30 B for Canada.

Against this backdrop, Canadian federal and provincial politicians are ready to push carbon taxes and carbon pricing in order to stop global warming. What global warming?

Finding global warming in Canada and elsewhere is like the proverbial “finding a needle in haystack”. I am sorry to say that there is no global warming anywhere in the world today.

What is being achieved by levying carbon tax? Will it not cool the earth’s climate further, as most environmentalists are blaming increased levels of CO2 for the warming of the climate?

It is time for Canadians to take a closer look at the changing climate in Canada, instead of simply clamoring for reducing so called greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing carbon dioxide levels in Canada will have no measurable impact on the earth’s climate. Finally, Canadians need to accept the fact that human CO2 emissions are not responsible for changing the earth’s climate.


Dr. Madhav Khandekar holds a Ph D in Meteorology from the Florida State University USA ( 1968) and an M Sc in Statistics from Pune University India ( 1957). Khandekar has been in the field of weather and climate science for over 60 years and has published well over 150 papers, reports, book reviews and scientific commentaries. His current interest is global weather anomalies and extremes and their possible linkage to climate change. He retired as a Research Scientist at Environment Canada in 1997 and lives in Toronto.

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