March 25th – A Couple of Days of More ‘Seasonal’ Temperatures

Returning Tree Swallows are already taking up residency in the river flat nest boxes.

We’re going to get a brief return to more “seasonal” temperatures for just a couple of days and then it’s back up again. Tonight it will drop below freezing and then do the same tomorrow night. But on Wednesday it’s back up to 18! The cold will be “uncomfortable” for the organisms that have been acting like it’s late April but the freezing temperatures will just occur at night and this “cold snap” won’t last long enough to cause serious damage to early-arriving birds. (I encountered the first Winter Wren of the year when I was doing a census this morning.)

The willow is leafing out and the grass is ready to be cut - in March!?

Many flowers - including Bloodroot - are emerging.

Are the hibernacula paying off? There seem to be more Garter Snakes around this Spring.

I’ve spent a good part of the day trying to pull together the results of the Snow Bunting banders across the country. If all the data comes in I hope to post a summary of the results tomorrow (or the next day). The picture has been pretty bleak…across the country. No wonder, given the prolonged absurdly high temperatures the continent has been experiencing. To summarize this weather I will pick out a few quotes, facts, and figures from my favourite weather blog by Dr. Jeff Masters:

From his March 23rd blog:
“The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America’s most extraordinary weather events in recorded history.”

“Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during “Summer in March, 2012”, a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada’s Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009. For some reason, that stat does not show up on EC’s normal/extremes climate site for Halifax, which only has data up to 2006 for extremes. More details on my blog at

And from March 22nd:

Canadian cities break all-time April record for warmth in March
Not only was yesterday the warmest March day in recorded history for many of Canada’s major cities, it was also warmer than any April day at St. John, New Brunswick. The city hit 25.4°C (78°F.) Not only did this crush the record high for March (previous record: 17.5°C), it is well above any temperature ever measured in April (extreme April temperature on record: 22.8°C.) Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 25.8°C yesterday, beating their all-time March record of 25.6°, and falling just short of their all-time April record of 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. As of 1 pm today, Halifax was at 27°C, beating their all-time April record. Other major cities in Canada that set all-time warmest March records yesterday included Ottawa (27.4°C), Montreal (25.8°C), Windsor (27.8°C), Hamilton (25.6°C), London (26.4°C), and Fredericton (27.1°C).

Figure 1. The intensity and scope of Summer in March is clearly visible in this data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the Terra satellite. The map depicts temperatures on March 8 – 15, 2012, compared to the average of the same eight day period of March from 2000-2011. Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red; near-normal temperatures are white; and areas that were cooler than the 2000-2011 base period are blue. These land surface temperatures are distinct from the air temperatures that meteorological stations typically measure, and indicate how hot the surface of the Earth in a particular location would feel to the touch. From a satellite vantage point, the “surface” includes a number of materials that capture and retain heat, such as sand in the desert, the dark roof of a building, or the pavement of a road. As a result, daytime land surface temperature are usually much higher than air temperatures—something that anyone who has walked barefoot across a parking lot on a summer afternoon knows instinctively. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.


Leave a Reply