Wearing tuques, snowshoeing, building igloos in the backyard, skating to work on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, are all typically-Canadian ways to enjoy the prolonged winter season. Unlike for the majority of Americans, for those living in the northern reaches, asking whether or not any particular Christmas will be a “white Christmas” has traditionally been a pretty silly question. That, it seems, it starting to change. This year, says the Canadian Press, the majority of Canadians won’t see snow on the ground on December 25th.
“We have this reputation. We are known as the Cold White North. But I don’t think we’re as cold and white as we once were,” said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips to the CP. “Our reputation is being undermined. Winter is not… what it used to be. It was more of a done deal. It was more of a guarantee.”
During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, says the CP, there was an 80% chance that it would be snowy on Christmas.
Fast-forward to the last 20 years, and those odds on average have slipped to 65 per cent, according to Environment Canada.
That’s most true in Toronto where there hasn’t been any snow on the ground on Dec. 25 since 2008.
This year’s likely lack of a white Christmas in Canada coincides with a recent report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announcing that 2012 is all but guaranteed to be the hottest year for the continental United States on record.
More from Smithsonian.com:
Climate Change Tipping Point: Research Shows That Emission Reductions Must Occur by 2020