TORONTO, March 23 (UPI) -- Canada is getting warmer as temperatures are rising, especially in the north, just as predicted by climate change models, researchers say.
A study by Statistics Canada of annual and seasonal temperature data for 11 climatic regions and the country as a whole from 1948 to 2009 found the average annual temperature for the country increased by 2 1/2 degrees Fahrenheit in the period, the Toronto Sun reported Wednesday.
The biggest warming trends are occurring in the north, the study said, including the Arctic Tundra, the Arctic Mountains and Fiords, the Mackenzie District and the Yukon and North British Columbia Mountains.
The most significant warming trend -- an increase of almost 4 degrees F -- was in the Mackenzie District, covering most of the Northwest Territories and small portions of Yukon and Nunavut.
Bob Whitewood, climatologist with Environment Canada, said the results aren't unexpected.
"Clearly what we're seeing in Canada is an increase in temperatures throughout the year, mostly in the winter months," he said. "And what it's showing is a warming that is above the global average."
The greater average warming in Canada is in line with climate change model predictions of greater temperature changes in the Arctic regions, Whitewood said, and confirms climate scientists have a good understanding of the phenomenon.