It’s not often that people in Saskatchewan could wear shorts for a weekend in March, but that was the case in many parts of the province, including Regina and Saskatoon.
Temperatures reached as high as 13 degrees on the weekend, which could signal the end of another unusually warm winter in the province.
The University of Saskatchewan’s Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change John Pomeroy says average temperatures in February were 5 degrees above normal.
Pomeroy says a strong El Nino, warm temperatures in the Pacific and climate change all played a part in the warm winter.
He says the 5 year trend of warm winter will continue in the future, but so will extreme fluctuations.
For example, he looks back at last year’s weather, where in May we had an extreme drought, but at the beginning of fall we had high levels of precipitation.
He says Saskatchewan will need to adapt to weather conditions, adding the practices we did in the past won’t work now.
Pomeroy says potential changes include greater warning of extreme events like drought and flood forecasts, and farmers will need to make the most of good weather while preparing for years with unfavourable crop conditions.