Hottest year on global record was Canada's coolest in 18 years

Last year broke another heat record, becoming the hottest since 1880. But did it feel that way to you? Probably not, since it was Canada's coolest in 18 years.

Despite that, the country was 0.1 C warmer than 'average'

Winter, spring and summer were all colder than normal in Ontario and Quebec, and fall was just average in 2014, Environment Canada says. (Associated Press)

Last year broke another global heat record, becoming the hottest since 1880. But did it feel that way to you? Probably not, since it was Canada's coolest in 18 years.

NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that last year broke the global temperature record for the third time in a decade.

Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, acknowledges some of us might be surprised.

"I think most Canadians are going to say, 'Huh?' We weren't that warm."

NOAA reported many corners of the Earth experienced record heat last year, including most of Europe, the western U.S., part of interior South America and swaths of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. 

But in Canada, it was our coolest year since 1996, Phillips said.

Of course, that doesn't mean it was cooler than average.

"It was tad warmer than normal in Canada, believe it or not," Phillips said.

By a "tad," he means the average temperature across the country from December 2013 to November 2014 was 0.1 C warmer than the annual average since Canada started keeping nationwide records in 1947.

Of course, most of the past two decades have been unusually warm, which is how it is possible for the coolest year in 18 years to be warmer than "average."

On the other hand, parts of the country – especially Ontario and Quebec, where two-thirds of Canadians live – actually were cooler than average.

No warm season in Ontario, Quebec

"We didn't have one warm season –  winter was colder than normal, spring was colder than normal, summer was colder than normal, and fall – well it was right on  normal."

However, that was counterbalanced by hotter than normal temperatures in British Columbia, the Arctic and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Phillips said with seven per cent of the world's land mass, Canada is big enough to have a significant impact on the global average temperature. In 2014, it held the temperature back a bit.

"If Canada had been warmer than normal, then my gosh – this would have broken the record by that much more."

Around the globe, NOAA said 2014 averaged 14.58 C, 0.69 degrees above the 20th century average.

Earth also broke NOAA records set in 2010 and 2005. The last time the Earth set an annual NOAA cold record was in 1911. 

With a file from The Associated Press


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