The next generations of Quebecers will live under very different climatic conditions from what their elders experienced. It is now understood that increases in greenhouse gas concentrations act directly on the Earth’s temperature, which is gradually increasing.
For example, the year 2021 was the second warmest in the last 107 years in Quebec, with an average temperature exceeding the historical climate normal from 1981 to 2010 by 2.5°C. Also in 2021, the average annual temperature in Quebec was higher than the 20th century normal for the 24th consecutive year. These unusually high temperatures are occurring more and more frequently and will get worse in the future.
Learn more about the evolution of climate, changes in Quebec and climate modelling.
Definition | Climate normal
The average weather conditions, calculated from observations over a 30-year period, defining the “typical” climatic conditions for a given region.
List of remarkable Quebec climate events
The Quebec climate archives, maintained by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs date back to 1870 and make it possible to identify the province’s significant climatic events. Since 2013, the ministry has published key climate events on a monthly and annual basis, consisting of phenomena related to temperature, precipitation, snow cover, storms, etc. In recent years, records have often been reached or exceeded, especially for average temperature and extreme heat.
Source : MELCCFP
To describe changes in temperatures, several climatic indices are used, generally called thermal indices: heating and cooling degree days, length of the frost-free season, number of days of extreme heat and extreme cold, etc. These indices enable analysis of the past and future climate and can guide adaptation decisions.
For a long time, the historical normals of these indices were used in building standards and codes, the choice of crops and the forecasting of electricity demand. However, as the past climate is no longer a guarantee of the future, it is strongly recommended to use projected climate values to ensure better resilience, both for society and for ecosystems.
The Ouranos Climate Portraits offer interactive graphic representations of the changes in temperatures and thermal indices projected throughout Quebec on an annual and seasonal basis. You can view and download maps, figures and tables for all of Quebec or by administrative region.
The website ClimateData.ca provides access to indices and offers the possibility of setting personalized thresholds to meet specific needs.