Nova Scotia·Weather

2021 was one of the warmest years on record in the Maritimes

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says the Maritimes has just recorded one of its warmest years, again.

Mild winter followed by a hot, humid summer and warm fall

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says 2021 finished off much like 2020 did — right near the top of the list for warmest years on record in the Maritimes. (Edmund O'Connor/Shutterstock)

Our planet is changing. So is our journalism. This story is part of a CBC News initiative entitled Our Changing Planet to show and explain the effects of climate change and what is being done about it.

Continuing the trend that we've seen over the past couple of decades, 2021 was one of the warmest years on record in the Maritimes.

While a final analysis will need to be completed by Environment Canada's Climate Atlantic Centre, it appears last year was the warmest on record in Yarmouth, N.S., and the second warmest in Halifax.

Pretty much everywhere across the Maritimes, it ranked fifth warmest.

(Ryan Snoddon/CBC)

With records stretching all the way back to the late 1800s, the top 10 warmest years list is now almost exclusively filled with years since 1999 — yet another sign of our changing climate.

(Ryan Snoddon/CBC)

If we rewind back to the winter of 2021, you might remember it was quite mild and even record-breaking in some spots. We also saw a major lack of sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The mild winter and sea surface temperatures gave us a nice head start into what was a warmer-than-average spring season, as well.

Now for some folks, the cloudier and rainier summer season we experienced might be the standout weather memory of 2021.

Despite that rain, summer temperatures averaged well above seasonal — especially in June, which was one of the warmest on record in the region.

We also had plenty of humid days and nights, which was key for keeping those overnight lows warmer than average as well.

Sea surface temperature anomaly reanalysis from late October 2021. Warmer-than-average ocean temperatures impact our temperatures on land, especially during the fall and winter seasons. (Ryan Snoddon/WeatherBell)

The warm ocean temperatures helped to keep us above average into the fall season. Record-breaking temperatures were observed in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and here on land, it was one of the warmest Octobers on record for most.

Despite a very stormy and chilly January and February, you may recall that December temperatures were above average and it was a quiet start to the winter season.


Ryan Snoddon


Ryan Snoddon is CBC's meteorologist in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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