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Top climatologists agree this winter has been gloomy


Environment Canada's Senior Climatologist, Dave Phillips, loves the weather, but even he admits it's been one of the gloomiest winters on record.

"I can assure you we've had the least amount of sunshine that we've ever had," Phillips said from his home in Barrie after crunching some numbers Thursday.

Phillips looked at the three months from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 and came up with the statistics.

"I looked through the 90 days, and I only found 18 that were clear. When the sun came out, people would ask, 'what is that strange glow in the sky?" he said. "It really was remarkable there were so few sunny days."

Phillips said in a normal winter, we shovel, plow and push snow, "but at least we don't have the doom and gloom. This year, there were only five days of partial sun in January."

"Barrie is very indicative of how overcast and depressing this winter has been."

But it wasn't just Barrie folks who forgot what a sunny day felt like.

Brian Brettschneider is also a climatologist. He just happens to live in Anchorage, Alaska.

Brettschneider got the idea to see how dark this winter was, so he checked with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting – one of the finest weather measuring organizations on the planet, said both Brettschneider and Phillips.

Accordingly, its dataset records solar energy for the planet and recently released its findings.

"They determined we had the least amount of solar energy since 1940," Brettschneider said.

While it can get tricky measuring half days of sunlight, the European Centre measures the solar energy level, and it can be quantified in an easy-to-understand format, he said.

Brettschneider said if you had solar panels working for the past 83 winters and you measured how much energy you had generated, you'd find this year had the least amount of solar energy.

"We had a very cloudy month of February. It's like we never saw the sun." Top Stories

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