One of us travelled to western Canada last weekend and was astonished to discover by looking out the aeroplane window that the prairies, from Manitoba through Alberta, are covered in a blanket of unseasonable snow. Rather than attribute it to carbon taxes, although we do have to ask how success would otherwise be defined for such a policy, we are quite prepared to shrug and say that weather is variable. Thus Ottawa in our absence had its wettest Remembrance Day on record, proving nothing. But if the Canadian west were more than a dozen degrees above the seasonal average, instead of that far below it, it would have been international climate news. Whereas temperatures falling as fast as the thick wet snow barely made the weather report.
During our stay in Calgary temperatures got well into the negative double digits C. And as we noted in September, a thoughtful reader had suggested to us that weather reports ought, instead of trying to scare us with colour coding, to tell us how conditions on any given day compared to the average for that day, the records for that day and when they were set. Calgary, for instance, is forecast to have a high of -10°C on November 17. A typical high for the month of November is +3°C. So again imagine what they’d be saying if the forecast were not for 13 degrees below average (again for our American friends it would be 23.5°F below normal) but 13°C above.
Right. They’d show a map charred red from here to the horizon. Whereas when it’s white, a restrained silence prevails.