April’s weather may have been cruel, but it’s not unusual

According to Canada's favourite weather guru, David Philips, although this year's April weather has been cruel for anyone hoping for the promised early spring, it certainly hasn't been unusual.

"Clearly April has stood out to be a very, very cool month," said Phillips in a CBC Radio interview on Sunday.

"Last year at this time, we had pool covers off, muscle shirts and tank tops were everywhere, gardeners were playing in the muck, farmers were onto their fields and spring had sprung in March," Phillips said in the interview.

[ Related: Why has there been so much snow this spring? ]

In 2012, temperatures were significantly warmer by this time, up into the mid-to-high twenties, and according to Environment Canada, thousands of temperature records were broken across the country (which is, in itself, a record). This year, records are being set as well, but it's more in the opposite direction, with several record cold temperatures being set, especially in the prairie provinces.

This year isn't anything particularly unusual, though. It may seem that way, but overall we've 'had it easy' for the past two years. 2011 and 2012 were fairly strong La Niña years, where stronger-than-normal winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean cause a stronger upwelling of colder water west of South America, which had a strong influence on the weather and kept much of the country warmer and drier. This year, the El Niño-La Niña (ENSO) cycle is more 'neutral', so we're just back to more typical spring weather.

[ More Geekquinox: Plants may help moderate warming of Earth's climate ]

"There's no question about it. Everywhere across the country, we've been disappointed Canadians. We endure our winters, they are the longest season. But we feel that we're owed good weather in the spring," said Philips, according to the CBC.

"Spring is the time when winter dukes it out with summer," he added. "It is a transition period and this one clearly has been much more winter-like."

Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting