hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:34:19 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Top Left of Navigation Bar The Nature of Alberta Title
Species at Risk in AlbertaView our site layout to navigate to specific areasSearch our site for informationObtain help for navigating our sitePlease emails us your questions and comments!View our partners that helped us in this project

Ecosystems OverviewEnvironmental IssuesGeological History of AlbertaAlberta's Natural RegionsAdditional Resources
Visit Alberta Source!
Visit the Heritage Community Foundation
Visit Canada's Digital Collections

The Climate of Alberta

View of the blue sky climateWhen the ice melted from Alberta and signaled the end of the last Ice Age over 10, 000 years ago, the landscape that remained was empty and lifeless. Today the glacial drift that covered the surface is largely hidden beneath thick, productive soils. On top of these soils are found the plant and animal species that combine to form the Natural Regions of Alberta. The climate that existed in Alberta at the end of the Ice Age evolved to become the one that exists today and is the single most important agent in the establishment of these natural regions.

Featured Quiz

Angel Glacier in Jasper National ParkClimate is the summation of daily weather patterns over a long period of years in a given region. The elements of daily weather that are significant in determining the climate are temperature, wind, sunshine, and precipitation. A change in climate caused Alberta to be a desert at one time in its geologic history, and at another time to be a rain forest. It was the climate acting on the post-Ice Age landscape that resulted in the plants, animals, and soils that are now found. The regional differences in climate provided conditions for different soil types and a range of plant and animal species to inhabit specific "regions".  These "regions" are comprised of the six Natural Regions of Alberta, each defined on the basis of their physiography and biological characteristics.

Hoar Frosted Spruce BoughsWhile within Alberta there is a large variation in climate, generally Alberta is described as having a cool, continental climate. The coolness is largely a result of the latitude at which the province is found. Alberta is between the 49th and 60th parallels of latitude north of the equator. As a result the area receives considerably less solar radiation than the equatorial regions. The reduction in solar radiation results in average temperatures considerably lower than areas to the south. The temperature of some regions of the province can reach as high as plus forty degrees Celsius, and most areas have days of thirty degrees. These are isolated cases, however, only found in the months of June, July and August, when the levels of solar radiation are highest. Winter temperatures all over the province can drop to minus forty degrees Celsius. Overall, the temperatures in Alberta are described as cool and continental.

Reprinted from Alberta Natural Regions Poster Series Manual with the permission of Alberta Community Development, Parks and Protected Areas.


Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the natural history of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved