June 27, 2017

Wicked winter spares Toronto during Christmas and New Year 2015

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

Typical winter in Toronto (left) and balmy winter in December 2015 (right).

Typical winter in Toronto (left) and balmy winter in December 2015 (right).

 

In a country famous for igloos and polar bears, snow passed by the financial capital Toronto and many other provinces of Canada this year, making the dream of a white Christmas a far illusion. Temperatures hovered in double digits around Christmas Eve in Toronto, and the balmy atmosphere made one wonder whether the friendly Santa Claus visiting from the frigid North Pole would feel toasted in Toronto. Instead of cozying up at home with a mug of cocoa or eggnog beside the fireplace and the glittering Christmas tree decorated with lights, many Torontonians sauntered in light clothing in parks and streets to soak up the holiday spirit.

Yet, only two years ago, Christmas holidays were a whole different story. Toronto was one of the hardest hit by the ice storm with freezing rain and ice coating the city and making tree branches collapse under the weight of the accumulation. The worst hit areas were along the shores of Lake Ontario. Widespread power outages and countless automobile collisions greeted Christmas with cold houses and soaring tempers. Almost a thousand people spent Christmas Eve in warming centers. The town of Woolwich declared a state of emergency on December 22 after it was determined that it would remain without power for 24 hours.

Fast forward two years to today and Toronto is experiencing a near early spring weather in the prime of winter. Although locals are not complaining, the strange twist in weather begs a question: is this uncanny turnaround attributable to global warming? According to the Canadian Press, melting glaciers, such as those in Glacier National Park, were among the ten indicators in the report pointing toward global warming.

NASA Global Climate Change that checks the vital signs of the climate quotes Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as saying, “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling:

  • Sea level rise
  • Global temperature rise
  • Warming oceans
  • Shrinking ice sheets
  • Declining arctic sea ice
  • Glacial retreat
  • Extreme events
  • Ocean acidification
  • Decreased snow cover

“Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.” — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

About the author:

Vinita Kinra has been featured among 150 most remarkable Canadians by Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.

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