Montreal's Christmas Eve record-breaking temperature matches Los Angeles

The temperature in Montreal on Thursday matched Los Angeles, Tijuana and Kuwait with a high of 16 C , close to 20 C higher than normal for this time of year.

Dec. 24 high of 16 C matches cities synonymous with sunny, warm weather at this time of year

A girl skates on the watery refrigerated rink at Beaver Lake on Montreal's Mount Royal on Dec. 24, 2015. (CBC)

The only thing missing are the palm trees.

The temperature in Montreal on Christmas Eve reached 16 C by mid-afternoon, a coat-shedding 20 degrees higher than normal for this time of year.

That makes Montreal just as warm as places like California, Kuwait and Delhi on Christmas Eve.

The balmy temperature was the last thing Anaum and Muhammed Sajanlal were expecting when the siblings arrived in Montreal from Kuwait recently.

They had big plans for winter fun.

"I was looking forward to building a snowman because we see in the movies and cartoons that they build lots of snowmen. We can't do that in Kuwait," said Anaum, 11, on CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"I thought it was going to be all white with snow and we could play lots of games, roll around in the snow," said Muhammed, 10.

The previous record high in Montreal on Dec. 24 was in 1957 when the temperature hit 8.3 C.

Compare Montreal's temperature today with other world cities:

Montreal was also on par with daytime highs Thursday with Los Angeles (16 C), San Diego (17 C), Delhi (19 C). 

Montrealers don their shorts

Montrealers reacted to the warm weather on Twitter, with many expressing their surprise at being able to wear shorts in December.

El Niño, yes — climate change, maybe?

The unusual highs are due in part to a "super" El Niño that is sending hot air from the Pacific Ocean our way.

Golfers in Trois-Rivières, Que., take advantage of the balmy Christmas Eve weather for a round of golf. (Radio-Canada)

El Niño changes the weather patterns all over the world, and for Canada it has a reputation for bringing milder winters.

But El Niño only accounts for 16 to 20 per cent of the temperature rise, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The organization says record temperatures are a product of El Niño combining with "human-induced global warming."

That conclusion, however, is disputed by Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Leblanc.

"We can't say 100 per cent that it's climate change," he said.

Between the two, he said El Niño is more likely to blame than climate change.

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