Christmas in Montreal has been losing its white

Long-term weather trends show temperatures have been rising and snow levels have been falling around the holidays.

See how many snowy Christmases you've had in your lifetime with our handy calculator

Where is winter?

Throw open the window: There is nothing to indicate winter is upon us. No snow, no face-numbing cold. Winter coats and boots are still waiting to come out of the closet.

Does this mean another green Christmas, like last year's? It's hard to say. But the trends are not encouraging.

"We're seeing this in most of Eastern Canada. The winter is missing in action," Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, told CBC's Radio Noon Friday.

To wit: the average temperature this November and December was 3.8 C. The previous warmest was 2.1 C in 2001.

El Niño the culprit

El Niño is the main culprit, Phillips said.

The phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean is very intense this year, changing the weather patterns all over the world, and in Canada, it has a reputation for bringing milder winters.

Phillips says winter as we know it will definitely arrive – eventually.

"There will be times you'll wish you were down south," he said.

While you may be beset by a nagging worry about climate change, Phillips said the warmer temperatures have a silver lining.

"We know that this winter won't cost us as much in terms of heating and getting around."

On a mobile device? See the interactive chart here.


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