Brutal cold is considered the norm for Canadian winters, while we often “bask” in relatively mild conditions, despite being as far north as such chilly locations.
But why is there such a discrepancy in our respective climates despite being on similar latitudes? It is primarily down to one huge influence on our climate – the Atlantic Ocean.
The UK experiences what is known as a temperate maritime climate, meaning that we rarely endure extremes of temperature due to the fact we are an island nation, surrounded by sea.
Inland Canada has a continental climate, many miles from the influence of the sea.
The oceans take far longer to cool down during winter than land, meaning that they reach their coolest point in spring, while we are seeing the trees beginning to blossom.
Because the sea remains relatively warm through winter, it often means that cold air moving towards the UK is warmed up somewhat.
Another aspect of our maritime location is that we are at the mercy of oceanic currents. These strong flows of water encapsulate the world’s oceans, transporting vast quantities of water.
But how does this impact our weather?
Well, one such current is the North Atlantic Drift, which transports warm water all the way from the tropical Caribbean to our shores. This helps to modify our winter weather further.
Without this powerful current, our winters would be much colder.
These factors are illustrated perfectly in winter climate statistics.
The Aylesbury Vale area can expect an average winter temperature of around 6C, with between five and 10 days of lying snow per year.
Compare that to the Canadian city of Winnipeg, which has an average winter temperature of a bone-chilling -14C, with more than 50 days of lying snow per year.
What makes these stats even more startling is that Winnipeg is more than 250 miles further south than our location.
The current weather outlook for our area is a good example of the differences in climate, with a mild and damp theme looking likely for the rest of the week and into the weekend, although the occasional frost is possible.