On Wednesday, a beautifully sunny and warm day, in a walk that stretched from late afternoon at St. Clair west to early evening at home, I strolled through the midtown Toronto enclave of Wychwood Park. It was a beautiful stroll, surrounded by returning greenery and flowers. I felt spring around me.
CBC News' Kate McGillivray reports that this February just past is the warmest Toronto has been ever recorded as experiencing.
It's official — Toronto just lived through the warmest February in at least 80 years, says Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.
"It also had the warmest February temperature ever, up to 17.7 C on the 23rd," which broke records going back to the 1840s, he told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
The month didn't start off this way.
"We had temperatures at -12 C," said Phillips. "We had a month's worth of snow in the first ten days."
After that, the jet stream, a narrow band of strong wind, moved "almost into a summer position, well north of us in Northern Ontario. It allowed the warm air to just flood into Southern Ontario," he said.
All that warm air led to 12 days in a row with melting record temperatures. "So clearly, the look and the feel of winter disappeared in February," Phillips said.
The Toronto Star's Evelyn Kwong reported early this morning bout yesterday's record-breaking temperatures. Today was cooler, as predicted. Walking by Lake Ontario down at Woodbine Beach this afternoon, this late February day felt like a cool spring day.
Torontonians enjoyed an especially balmy day Thursday, but it wasn’t just a record high for Feb. 23; it was the warmest February day on record.
Spring temperatures soared to 17.7 C by early afternoon, before cooling down to 12 C closer to the evening.
The previous record for the warmest day ever in February was set last year on Feb. 3 with a high of 16 C. Weather records for Toronto started in 1938. The temperatures also shattered a 33-year-old record high of 14.9 C for Feb. 23, set in 1984.
On Friday, temperatures are expected to dip down back down to a high of 6 C, which is still over the average temperature for February. There will be a 30-per-cent chance of rain and drizzle, and possible thunderstorms.
CBC News notes the dense fog prevailing outside, not just in Toronto but in the wider Greater Toronto Area. The description of its density is entirely accurate.
Environment Canada has issued a fog advisory for Toronto, with a warning to drivers that visibility will be near zero in some areas.
The fog is expected to continue early Wednesday morning, and in some locations, it could last until noon.
Environment Canada said its fog advisory also applies to surrounding areas, including Peel, York, Durham and Halton Regions. Visibility will improve by mid morning as the fog dissipates.
Drivers should expect dense fog in some areas.
"Visibility may be significantly and suddenly reduced to near zero," the federal agency said in its advisory.
"Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility."
- blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the pleasure of using old things.
- Joe. My. God. notes the death of Roe v Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey.
- Language Hat notes that, apparently, dictionaries are hot again because their definitions are truthful.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if the Trump Administration is but a mechanism for delivering Pence into power following an impeachment.
- Steve Munro notes that Exhibition Loop has reopened for streetcars.
- The NYRB Daily considers painter Elliott Green.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that North Carolina's slippage towards one-party state status is at least accompanied by less violence than the similar slippage following Reconstruction.
- Window on Eurasia warns that Belarus is a prime candidate for Russian invasion if Lukashenko fails to keep control and notes the potential of the GUAM alliance to counter Russia.
- blogTO notes the amazing spike upwards in temperatures for this weekend.
- Dangerous Minds shares photos of some stark war memorials of the former Communist world.
- The Dragon's Gaze reports on brown dwarf HIP 67537b.
- The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump's interest in a Middle Eastern peace settlement that looks as if it will badly disadvantage the isolated Palestinians.
- Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen reflects on his reading of Julius Evola and other hitherto-marginal writers.
- The NYRB Daily notes the potential health catastrophe that could result from Donald Trump's anti-vax positions.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer suggests that the corruption marking the relationship of France and Gabon over that country's oil is finding an echo in the Trump organization's involvement in Filipino real estate.
- Torontoist calls for regulation of road salt on grounds of its toxicity.
- Transit Toronto looks at the various scenarios for King Street.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's economic growth will lag behind growth elsewhere for the foreseeable future, and looks at protest in St. Petersburg over the return of an old church to the Orthodox Church.
- blogTO notes an Instagram user from Toronto, @brxson, who takes stunning photos of the city from on high.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the limits of exoplanet J1407b's massive ring system.
- The Dragon's Tales notes evidence that the primordial Martian atmosphere apparently did not have carbon dioxide.
- Imageo notes that the California rivers swollen by flooding can be seen from space.
- Joe. My. God. notes that American intelligence agencies are withholding sensitive information from a White House seen as compromised by Russian intelligence.
- Language Hat talks about the best ways to learn Latin.
- Marginal Revolution links to a paper observing a decline in inter-state migration in the United States.
- The NYRB Daily looks at the interesting failure of a public sculpture program in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the remarkable heat that has hit Australia in recent days.
- The Planetary Society Blog reports on the intersection between space technology and high-tech fashion.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at how Argentina gave the Falkland Islands tariff-free access to Mercosur.
- The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the countries likely to be vulnerable to rapid aging.
- Transit Toronto notes the Bombardier lawsuit against Metrolinx.
- Window on Eurasia argues that poor Russian statistical data is leading directly to bad policy.
I post Gary Mason's Friday column in The Globe and Mail mainly so that I can criticize it. Does it make sense to criticize Vancouver for not being prepared for an unexpected bout of weather? I write this, incidentally, on a day in Toronto where some centimetres of softly falling snow seem to be on the verge of shutting the town down.
Every few years or so, Vancouver gets to do something it does better than any other city in the country: embarrass itself.
This occurs when there is a snowfall. And when this happens, the rest of the country gets to laugh as the snowflakes that call Vancouver home melt into a puddle of tears and self-pity. Yet the hysteria that has greeted winter this year has set historic records for wailing and chuntering.
For those who haven’t heard, Vancouver has been experiencing a few weeks of real, genuine, Canadian winter. They are conditions the rest of the country (and B.C.) greets with a yawn around this time of year. But in Vancouver, it has touched off near riots.
There are now calls for an independent inquiry into how the city has managed the recent spate of snow and freezing rain. Yes, you read that correctly: an inquiry.
Look, I get that the city could have been better organized for the blast of winter it has received. It lost a gamble that the weather would warm, and the ice on the streets and sidewalks would melt. To be fair though, Vancouver is experiencing a weather reality it hasn’t faced in three decades.
For the past couple of winters, I've been feeling as if I live in a foreign country.
Canadians self-define their country as a northern one, verging on the Arctic. This is true, and yet, most of the major population centres of Canada--the great Windsor-Québec City corridor, the Maritimes, Vancouver, Winnipeg, even--are concentrated in the extreme south of the country. In terms of latitude, all of these cities are located considerably further to the south than many European cities we think of regularly, not just as peers but as warmer destinations. It is the Gulf Stream that keeps Europe warm, that gives Tallinn (for instance) the chance to enjoy a climate significantly more clement than the northern Manitoba port of Churchill.
This has been changing in the past couple of years. It hit me most strongly last year, just before Christmas, when I went out for lunch with a friend (hi Mark!). He was wearing bike shorts, and comfortable wearing them. Why not? It was 15 degrees out. Afterwards, I got out of the TTC at Spadina station and just stood for a moment, looking at the Annex around me. It was 4 o'clock, and starting to get dark, and yet it was warm.
Canada, unlike Europe, doesn't have a Gulf Stream. It does share in the greenhouse effect that is already contributing to record winter highs in the Arctic, and elsewhere.
- Bad Astronomy notes the discovery of water vapour clouds in the atmosphere of nearby brown dwarf WISE 0855.
- blogTO notes the imminent arrival of winter weather.
- Centauri Dreams reports on a new theory of the Moon's origins suggesting the impact collision which create it was much more violent than we thought.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes how snowlines migrate across a system in the course of a star's life.
- The LRB Blog reports on the mind-numbing legal complexities of Brexit.
- The Map Room Blog reports on a new book of maps of New York City.
- The NYRB Daily explores the making of a documentary in 1970 on Thomas Bernhard.
- Seriously Science notes that kittens recognize the sounds of their mother.
- Towleroad reports on a South African imam promoting gay rights at a Cape Town mosque.
- Window on Eurasia argues Putin's annexation of Crimea made reform in Ukraine essential, and reports on budget cuts and their threat in the North Caucasus.
- 'Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about when it is appropriate to judge a book by its blurb.
- Beyond the Beyond examines the remarkable scandal in South Korea involving with the cult and its control over the country's president.
- blogTO notes unreasonably warm weather in Toronto this November.
- Dangerous Minds shares a corporate sales video from the early 1990s for Prince's studio.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes the effect of Proxima Centauri on planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
- The Extremo Files notes unorthodox ways of finding life.
- Language Log talks about the language around Scotland and Northern Ireland and their relationship as complicated by Brexit.
- Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting inheritances reduce inequality.
- Savage Minds talks about an anarchist archaeology.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers a controversy at the Library of Congress.
The Toronto Star's Emma McIntosh lets us know that this fall will be a calendrical expression, mostly.
Though summer is officially over as of Thursday, Toronto’s lingering warmth weather likely isn’t.
Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips says southern Ontario can expect temperatures in the 20s through November.
“We shouldn’t write the obituary on summer-like weather yet,” he said.
But even if those temperatures don’t materialize, Phillips said the extreme heat of this summer will probably be enough to make 2016 Toronto’s hottest year ever.
“We’ve seen that globally, but my gosh, not always in Toronto,” Phillips said.
CBC News looks at how climate change will hit an unprepared Toronto.
Canada's largest city isn't immune to the effects of climate change, Toronto government research has found.
In addition to sweltering hot July and August temperatures this year, there are predictions that summer temperatures in Toronto could reach 44 C by 2050, according to Toronto's climate driver study.
"It's startling," David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Program at the UN's World Meteorological Organization, said of recent NASA data pointing to a leap in global temperatures. "It's definitely a changed planet. ... It makes us nervous about the long-term impact."
Scientists say global warming is also causing more powerful downpours, droughts and rising sea levels.
Extreme weather has also hit Toronto in the form of massive storms. In July 2013 the city saw 126 millimetres of rain dumped in a matter of hours. The storm flooded subways and saw dozens of cars partially submerged in water and abandoned on major roads like the Don Valley Parkway. It also left tens of thousands of people without power.
The storm flooded many homes, including that of Bev Silva, who didn't know her former North York home was on a flood plain when she bought it more than 30 years ago.
CBC News' Emmett Shane and Jay Scotland describe how yesterday, the 7th of September, set a heat record. Today has not been much different.
If you thought this was the hottest Sept. 7 you've ever experienced in Toronto, give yourself a pat on your undoubtedly sweaty back. You were right.
The city broke a temperature record Wednesday, with the daytime high of 34.5 C, breaking the previous record of 33.9 C, which was set in 1969.
And the city could break more records before the summer is out, according to CBC Toronto meteorologist Jay Scotland.
"Today was also the 38th time we've topped the 30 C mark this year, compared to only 14 times last year and seven the year before," Scotland said.
"The record is 43 days at 30°C or higher set back in 1959."
CBC News reports.
According to the Canadian Farmers' Almanac, this winter is going to be icy cold and snowy.
That's bad news for anyone who enjoyed last year's mild winter months, which stayed as mild as Canada gets thanks to the El Nino weather pattern.
That's all over, the Almanac's editor Pete Geiger told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
"We think old man winter is going to return," he said.
"It's going to be downright cold."
blogTO had a brief note, linking to the CityNews report.
John-Michael Schneider's National Post article went into more detail.
[I]t was the second-hottest summer on record in the GTA and the hottest August on record.
“So far we’ve had 36 days over 30 degrees,” 680 NEWS and CityNews meteorologist Natsaha Ramsahai said on Wednesday.
The record for the highest number of 30 C days or more was 44 days set in 1959.
August was the warmest one on record with a mean temperature of 24.4 C, beating the previous record of 23.8 C in 1959.
It also was the sixth-driest summer on record, as measured at Pearson, with 113 millimetres of rain for June, July and August.
John-Michael Schneider's National Post article went into more detail.
For passengers riding on Toronto’s subways, the combination of unbearable heat and no air-conditioning on roughly one quarter of trains made travel sticky and uncomfortable. Toronto Mayor John Tory recently accepted a Twitter challenge to ride on one of the TTC’s trains sans air-conditioning. Sweltering commuters endured temperatures as high as 34C in some subway cars.
GO Transit had to slow down its trains throughout the summer, adding delay times to their schedules. The change was a safety precaution, as areas on train tracks can bend and buckle under the extreme heat, and increase the risk of derailment for fast-moving trains.
The record temperatures in Ontario can also have significant health costs. A Health Canada study of five large Canadian cities found that high temperatures during June, July and August are correlated with increased deaths. One large-scale U.S. study of over 850,000 people in California found that a roughly six-degree increase in average temperatures corresponded to a 3.5 per cent increase in strokes, a 2 percent increase in all respiratory diseases, a 3.7 per cent increase in pneumonia, and a 10.8 per cent increase in dehydration.
Heat impacts on health are worse when high temperatures continue throughout the day and night. For nearly one quarter of all people in Ontario who do not have an air-conditioning system, warm nights are a barrier to finding relief from daytime heat. Households making less than $20,000 a year are the least likely to have access to cool space.
On especially warm days, cities like Toronto can become “urban heat islands” — places where air temperatures are a few degrees higher than surrounding areas. Urbanized areas tend to be built from dark, non-reflective materials that absorb radiation from the sun and gradually release the additional heat.