After an unseasonably warm winter, many scientists expect the spring to follow a similar pattern. This will affect the majority of the country and could have implications for people and the natural world.
Much of this trend is being driven by El Nino, according to CTV News. Even as weather patterns normalize, Canadians will see lingering effects in the form of an unseasonably warm spring. Already March and April have been balmier than in years past, and a lack of snow and chilly temperatures will have long last implications.
What is El Nino?
Much of the planet has experienced changed weather patterns during 2016, and the atmospheric anomaly known as El Nino is a driving force. The International Business Times reported that although the phenomenon is centered around the Pacific Ocean, changes in that region of the world have a cascading affect for temperatures and weather patterns all over the globe.
Under normal conditions, winds blow east to west due to the rotation of the earth, resulting in certain pockets of cooler water and rain events along the equator in the Pacific Ocean. When an El Nino has taken hold, these patterns shift, and the regular expected weather systems shift.
Although there are localized affects along the equator in the Pacific like drought or changing ocean temperatures, global weather patterns are disrupted. In 2016, warmer air was forced north, keeping Arctic blasts at bay and promoting higher winter temperatures through much of North America.
How this affects Canada
The Weather Network found that although the El Nino phenomenon is weakening, spring in this country will still see altered weather conditions. Already the usually wet and sometimes cool weather that affects the early parts of the season have been pushed out by high pressure systems to the south.
During mid and late spring, warm and dry air is expected to settle over the central United States. This will push the cooler air located in the northern part of the continent out and keep the jet stream from dipping further south. In Canada, this will result in a "warm spring from coast to coast," according to The Weather Network. Areas like Newfoundland, Northern Quebec and Labrador may not see as severe a departure from northern weather.
For many Canadians, a warm spring is an invitation to celebrate the season and enjoy outdoor activities. For stir-crazy seniors, this will be an opportunity to exercise and get physical activity like walking or playing sports at a nearby park.
The news site Deutsche Welle found that this recent El Nino event - one of the strongest on record - may have negative implications for plants and animals around the world. In a country with such distinct seasonal weather like Canada, ecosystems will face strong challenges to adapt.
Although other parts of the world have been hampered by droughts or other natural disasters because of El Nino, Canada has not faced as many serious weather events. Regardless, even a mild spring can play a role in disrupting wildlife.
Because the Ocean is so vulnerable to temperature increases, a change in air temperatures is often heightened under the sea. Certain species of algae or plankton may flourish in warmer waters and out-compete other species. Algal blooms can suffocate areas of nutrients or oxygen and even cause health issues for humans.
Elsewhere, temporal forests and the sub-Arctic ecosystem are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes. Plants may bloom in response to warmer weather, even if crucial pollinators like bees or hummingbirds have not returned to the area. This disruption in breeding patterns affects flowers and trees, as well as the animals that utilize vegetation for food or protection.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living