At this time of year, many folks dream of a white Christmas. But as the climate warms, that dream may come true less often … even in Canada, one of the snowiest countries in the world.

There, a white Christmas is defined as having at least two centimeters of snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

Phillips: “Years ago, you didn’t even talk about whether you’re going to have a white Christmas because it was a sure thing. Now, it’s not so sure.”

David Phillips is senior climatologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. He studied 60 years of data and found that in many parts of Canada, especially southern cities such as Montreal, the chance of a white Christmas is declining.

Phillips: “There were some places where, my gosh, the chance of a white Christmas had dropped maybe 30 or 40 percent.”

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And when there is snow, it’s not as deep as it used to be.

Phillips: “So the chance of kids using their toboggan or their sleighs or their saucers is less.”

Phillips hopes his research encourages more people to take global warming seriously.

Phillips: “When they realize that that precious, that wonderful, that treasured day of white Christmas morning will be lost in our memories, I think they might see climate change in a different light.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson has been a regular contributor with Yale Climate Connections since April 2014. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition...