Friday, January 27, 2017

Precipitation and Temperature Averages by Province

I am helping a graduate student who would like to obtain the following data for all Canadian provinces:

Average total precipitations AND temperature
  • At the provincial level
  • On an annual AND monthly basis
  • For the latest 35 years available
Although it is easy to obtain this data for specific locations (weather stations) from the Historical Climate Data page ( , I could not find provincial averages anywhere. I am aware that precipitation and temperature averages at the provincial level should be treated with caution because there is got to be great variability between different locations on such large geographic entities, but nonetheless I have verified that this is what the student wants.

I did manage to find the following resources:

Article - Precipitation trends in Canada
Summary Table - Weather conditions in capital and major cities
Environment Canada - Temperature and Precipitation information (note: non-Statistics Canada information)

Your student might find this of interest for Alberta… the data behind the visualization is from a national climate dataset:
Alberta Climate Records
  • This visualization web site allows users to explore temperature trends and variability from a dataset of nearly 5 million observed climate records between 1950 and 2010 for 6,834 locations across the Province of Alberta.
  • “The dataset originated from the National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS), part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), who released the daily 10km gridded climate dataset for Canada for the period 1951-2010. Grid values were interpolated from daily climate station recordings (Environment Canada).”
  • Data can be exported from individual grid cells at bottom right of each grid “page.”
One possible source of this information is the Canadian Climate Normals web site

The site provides data for specific time periods 1961 – 1990; 1971 – 2000 and 1981 – 2010. It provides data by specific weather station name, by weather stations by province and by proximity to major cities in Canada. It does not provide data on the average for the temperature and precipitation by individual province. But the user can download CSV files of various weather station data and could work the data in order to derive the average temperature or precipitation for a province if they wanted to put the effort in to do this.

“Even though we published data about temperature and precipitation in the past, we used data from Environment and Climate Change Canada in our publications. Here are a few links of interest for you client:

But even if those links might be of interest to your client, they either don’t hold the information he is looking for or they are broken links. So, I think he will have to contact Environment and Climate Change Canada at this address or this address for daily adjusted climate data. I think he has a better to find the dataset he wants with the second email address.”