Despite a full week of frigid temperatures already this year, the global climate is still warming. Climate is the average weather over a span of about 30 years, while weather is the current or short-term state of the atmosphere. So while in mid-January, we experienced very cold weather, if you track our weather over a much longer time-frame than a week, a very different story emerges.
Since 1917, Edmonton’s mean annual temperature has risen by 1.7°C, with winters showing the most warming, by 3.2°C. If, globally, we continue to emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) at a rate similar to today, the world could see an overall warming of 4°C by 2100. As temperatures rise and there is more energy in the atmosphere, Edmonton should expect more frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as hail and strong winds. In response to this warming, the City is accelerating its plans to reduce GHG emissions.