Is Scotland Colder Than Canada?

Is Scotland Colder Than Canada?

As the northernmost part of the United Kingdom known for its bad weather called dreich (gloomy and gray), it would make sense to believe that Scotland has a colder climate than Canada. But is it really true? Is Scotland colder than Canada?

In this article I’m going to compare these two countries, see how their climates differ, and which one is colder.

Labrador vs Scotland: Same Latitude, Different Weather

Scotland has roughly the same latitude as Labrador in Canada. And Labrador in Canada is a really cold place. In the winter, the sea freezes over and the average temperature, particularly at night, is extremely cold.

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which is in the central part of Labrador, average temperatures reach -13 °C during the day in the coldest month. At night, they drop to -23 °C.

Scotland in comparison is much milder, due to the Atlantic Ocean moderating its climate. Extreme cold is unheard of there. Aberdeen in northeast Scotland has much warmer temperatures in the winter: 7 °C during the day in the coldest month and 1 °C at night.

We could also take a few other Scottish cities such as Glasgow or Edinburgh further south than Aberdeen on the east coast. But the climate in Scotland is relatively similar, with temperatures differing at most 2-3 degrees Celsius between the warmest and coldest cities.

The exception are the Shetland Islands which are more than a bit colder (they’re colder by about 4-5 degrees) and some colder places in the Western Highlands.

Located roughly in the “middle” of the country, Aberdeen is a good “average” city for climate comparison purposes with Canada.

Labrador Is Colder Than Aberdeen

Scotland vs Canada: Which Is Colder?

So as for what is colder during winter: Labrador in Canada or Scotland, the answer is clear: Labrador. Scottish winter is mild compared not only to Labrador but most places in Canada (we’ll discuss this in a while).

Summers are a different matter. Because of an oceanic climate, Scotland never gets really hot in the summer months. Wearing a t-shirt alone may be insufficient.

Aberdeen’s temperatures in the hottest months are more spring-like, reaching about 18 °C during the day and 11 °C at night. Then there’s also potential wind chill factor because Scotland is one of the windiest countries in Europe.

In comparison, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay summer temperatures go up to 21 °C during the day and drop to 10 °C at night. So while it gets colder winters, it has more pleasant summers in exchange.

Based on the average temperatures, Scotland on average is colder than Labrador in Canada during the summer.

And how does Scotland compare to other places in Canada?

Scotland vs Canada’s Provinces and Territories

Aberdeen Climate

Let’s compare the “average” Scottish weather of Aberdeen with the capital cities of each of the Canadian provinces and territories.

Aberdeen’s yearly daily mean temperature is 8.8 °C. In the winter months (December-February) it sees temperatures around 7 °C. In the summer months (June-August), they’re around 16-18 °C.

Alberta vs Scotland

The capital of Alberta, Edmonton has an average yearly temperature of 4.2 °C. Winters in Edmonton are very cold compared to the mild Scottish winter. The average temperature is between -6 and -3 °C. Summers are much warmer, with temperatures between 21-23 °C.

Alberta is colder than Scotland except for the warmest months.

British Columbia vs Scotland

The capital of British Columbia, Victoria, has better weather conditions than Scotland. The daily mean temperature is 10.3 °C. Winters are milder, with temperatures between 7-9 °C. Summers are slightly warmer, with temperatures between 18-20 °C.

British Columbia is warmer than Scotland year round. Its climate most resembles Scottish weather, except that British Columbia is much sunnier.

Manitoba vs Scotland

Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, is the opposite of Scotland’s climate which is rarely extreme. Winnipeg’s average temperature is 3 °C. The coldest months bring temperatures of -8 to -11 °C. Summer months can be hot, with temperatures between 23-26 °C.

Alberta is colder than Scotland except for the hottest months when it’s much warmer.

New Brunswick vs Scotland

Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, is one of the warmer Canadian capitals, with a daily mean temperature of 5.8 °C. Winter in Fredericton is much colder than in Scotland but not as cold as in other parts of Canada. Average temperatures are between -1 and -4 °C. Summers are pleasantly warm, with temperatures between 23-25 °C.

New Brunswick is colder than Scotland except for the hottest months when it’s much warmer.

Newfoundland and Labrador vs Scotland

We’ve already compared Scotland with Labrador but we haven’t compared it with the capital city, St. John’s, which is located on the island of Newfoundland. Similar to other coastal areas, St. John’s has a relatively mild for Canadian standards climate. Its mean temperature is 5 °C. Winters have temperatures between -1 and 2 °C. Summer months are similarly mild to Scotland, with temperatures of 16-21 °C.

Newfoundland and Labrador is primarily colder than Scotland during winter. The rest of the year, they have a fairly similar climate.

Halifax Climate

Nova Scotia vs Scotland

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, has a climate that borders on oceanic (which is the climate found in Scotland). Because of that, it has some of the mildest winters in Canada. Temperatures are between 0 and 3 °C. Summer months bring warm weather, with temperatures between 20-23 °C.

Nova Scotia is colder than Scotland in the winter and transitional seasons and warmer the rest of the year.

Ontario vs Scotland

Toronto, the capital of Ontario, has a higher yearly daily mean temperature than Aberdeen. It’s 9.4 °C compared to 8.8 °C in Aberdeen. While Toronto has colder winters (temperatures between -1 and 2 °C), starting in early spring weather gets warmer than in Scotland. Summers in Toronto can be hot, with average temperatures of 24-27 °C.

Ontario on average is warmer than Scotland but colder in the coldest months.

Prince Edward Island vs Scotland

Charlottetown, the capital city of Prince Edward Island, has an annual mean temperature of 5.7 °C. In the winter, it has temperatures between -3 and 0 °C. Summers are warm, with temperatures of 19-23 °C.

Prince Edward Island is colder than Scotland except for the summer.

Quebec vs Scotland

Quebec City, the capital of Quebec, has a daily mean temperature of 4.2 °C. In the winter months, temperature drops to -4 to -8 °C between December and February. Summers are warm, with temperatures between 22-25 °C.

Quebec City is much colder in the winter than Scotland and warmer between May and September.

Saskatchewan vs Scotland

Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan, is one of the coldest capitals in the winter months. Its daily mean temperature is 3.1 °C, with average winter temperatures between freezing -6 and -9 °C. Summer months, as is the case with many previous cities, are warm, with temperatures reaching 23-26 °C.

Saskatchewan is much colder than Scotland except for the warmest months.

Northwest Territories vs Scotland

Yellowknife, the capital of Northwest Territories, has the coldest and longest winter in Canada. With an average temperature of 0 °C, it’s much colder than Scotland. Winter months bring extremely cold temperatures of -18 to -21 °C. Summers are slightly warmer than in Scotland, with temperatures of 18-21 °C.

Northwest Territories are much, much colder than Scotland. Temperatures are only higher between June and August.

Nunavut vs Scotland

Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, has an extremely cold tundra climate. Scotland in comparison is extremely warm year round. The average temperature in Iqaluit is -9.3 °C (!!!). Winter temperatures are between -17 and -23 °C. Summer temperatures are still much colder than in Scotland, reaching only between 7-12 °C, which is closer to the weather conditions in Scotland in the winter months.

Nunavut is extremely cold year round and always much colder than Scotland.

Yukon vs Scotland

Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, has a cold subarctic climate. Its average temperature is -0.1 °C. Winter averages are between -8 to -11. Summers are slightly warmer than in Scotland, between 18-21 °C.

Yukon is colder than Scotland except for the months of June, July, and August.

Further Reading

You may also be interested in reading my article on the warmest cities in Canada and the warmest cities in the UK.

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