Calgary Climate & Monthly Temperature Overview – Canada


Calgary experiences cold, snowy winters with average temperatures ranging from -10°C to -1°C (14°F to 30°F). January is typically the coldest month, with average lows dropping to -15°C (5°F). Snowfall is frequent and can accumulate significantly, with an average of 40 cm (16 inches) per month. Cold fronts can bring extreme temperatures, occasionally dipping below -30°C (-22°F). During winter, outdoor activities are often limited due to the frigid temperatures and icy conditions.


Summers in Calgary are warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F). July is generally the warmest month, with average highs reaching 25°C (77°F). Precipitation is more infrequent during summer, but thunderstorms can occur occasionally, bringing brief periods of heavy rain. The days are long and nights are mild, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying the city’s parks and green spaces.

General Climate Patterns

Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, Canada, experiences a continental climate characterized by significant temperature variations throughout the year. The city’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains, as well as its elevation above sea level, influences its climatic conditions. Winters are typically cold and dry, with average January temperatures hovering around -7 degrees Celsius. Summers, on the other hand, are warm and short, with average July temperatures reaching up to 22 degrees Celsius. Precipitation is relatively low throughout the year, averaging around 300 millimeters annually.

Seasonal Variability

The average temperature in Calgary varies drastically throughout the year. In the winter months, temperatures consistently fall below freezing, often reaching lows of -20 degrees Celsius or colder during the night. The cold temperatures are accompanied by limited precipitation, resulting in a dry and often sunny winter season. In contrast, summers bring warm and pleasant weather, with average daytime temperatures ranging between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. The precipitation increases slightly during the summer months, bringing occasional showers or thunderstorms. The transition between seasons is typically gradual, with spring and autumn temperatures gradually increasing or decreasing.

Cloud Types Observed in Calgary, Canada

Calgary experiences a wide variety of cloud formations throughout the year due to its location in the transition zone between the Pacific and Arctic air masses. Some of the most common cloud types observed in Calgary include:

  • Cumulus clouds: These are puffy clouds with flat bases and rounded tops. They are often associated with fair weather, but can also develop into more significant weather events such as thunderstorms.
  • Stratus clouds: These are gray, uniform clouds that cover the entire sky. They often produce drizzle or light rain.
  • Cirrus clouds: These are high, thin clouds composed of ice crystals. They are often seen as wispy streaks or tufts in the sky.

Influence of Weather Patterns on Cloud Cover in Calgary

The weather patterns in Calgary have a significant influence on the cloud cover observed. During the winter months, cold Arctic air masses often bring clear skies and limited cloud cover. However, when warm Pacific air masses move in, they can bring increased moisture and cloud cover, leading to precipitation.

In the spring and fall, Calgary experiences a mix of weather patterns, resulting in variable cloud cover. During the summer months, the city often experiences warm and sunny days with scattered cumulus clouds. However, occasional thunderstorms can bring heavy rainfall and cloud cover.

Annual Precipitation

Calgary has a relatively dry climate with an average annual precipitation of about 390 millimeters. The city receives the most rainfall in the summer months, from June to August, when thunderstorms are frequent. Precipitation tends to be heaviest on the western and southern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, where it can exceed 800 millimeters per year.

Seasonal Distribution

Winter precipitation in Calgary is primarily in the form of snow, which can accumulate to significant depths, especially in the colder months of December and January. The city averages about 120 centimeters of snowfall per year, with the bulk of it falling between November and March. Spring and fall precipitation is generally lighter, but the city can experience occasional thunderstorms and rain showers during these seasons.

Monthly Rainfall Patterns

Calgary experiences significant seasonal variations in rainfall. The summer months (June to August) generally receive the highest amounts of precipitation, averaging around 60-80 mm per month. During this period, frequent thunderstorms and heavy downpours can contribute to localized flooding.

In contrast, the winter months (November to March) are characterized by much lower rainfall. Monthly precipitation typically ranges from 10-30 mm, with occasional snowfall. However, it is not uncommon for Calgary to receive sporadic rainfall events during the winter, especially during Chinook events or warm fronts.

Annual Rainfall Distribution

On average, Calgary receives approximately 400-450 mm of precipitation annually. This is relatively low compared to other major Canadian cities such as Vancouver (1,200 mm) or Toronto (800 mm). The distribution of rainfall throughout the year is somewhat uneven, with the majority falling during the summer months.

However, rainfall patterns can vary significantly from year to year. Extended periods of drought or heavy precipitation are not uncommon in Calgary, and can impact local water resources, agriculture, and environmental conditions.

Impact of Snowfall on Calgary’s Infrastructure and Economy

The heavy snowfall experienced in Calgary can significantly impact the city’s infrastructure and economy. The snow and ice accumulation can cause road closures, disrupting transportation and affecting emergency response times. Additionally, the snow can weigh down power lines, leading to power outages and leaving residents without electricity for extended periods. These disruptions to infrastructure can have a negative impact on businesses, forcing them to close or operate at reduced capacity.

Mitigation and Response Efforts

Calgary has implemented various measures to mitigate the impact of snowfall and ensure the safety of its residents. The city’s snow removal budget exceeds $50 million annually, and snow clearing operations prioritize critical routes such as main roads, bus routes, and hospital entrances. Additionally, the city has invested in snow melting systems to keep sidewalks and public spaces clear. Emergency response teams are also on standby during snowfall events to address road hazards, power outages, and medical emergencies. Through these efforts, Calgary aims to minimize the disruptions caused by snowfall and keep the city functioning as efficiently as possible.

Sunshine Duration

Calgary, Canada, boasts a remarkable amount of sunshine, averaging over 2,400 hours annually. This translates to an average of 6.5 hours of sunshine per day, making it one of the sunniest cities in the country. The city’s high altitude and its location on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains contribute to its ample sunshine by allowing clear air and reducing cloud cover. During the summer months, Calgary experiences long days with extended periods of sunlight, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and soaking up the sun’s rays.

Seasonal Variations

The amount of sunshine in Calgary varies throughout the year, with the summer months receiving significantly more sunshine than the winter months. The longest days, with over 17 hours of daylight, occur during the summer solstice in June. Conversely, the shortest days, with only about 8 hours of daylight, occur during the winter solstice in December. Despite the decrease in sunshine during winter, Calgary still enjoys a fair amount of sunlight, with the city experiencing an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day even during the darkest months.

Moon Visibility in Calgary, Canada

The visibility of the moon in Calgary, Canada, depends on various factors such as the moon’s phase, time of day, and atmospheric conditions. During New Moon, the moon is not visible in the sky. As the moon progresses through its phases, its visibility increases. The Full Moon appears as a complete circle and is most visible at night. The moon’s position in the sky also affects its visibility. The moon is highest in the sky during the summer months and lowest during the winter months. Clear skies provide the best viewing conditions for the moon.

Moon Activities in Calgary, Canada

Calgary offers a variety of activities related to moon observation. The McDougall Centre hosts public stargazing events where visitors can observe the moon through telescopes. The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory also offers guided tours of its facilities, providing an opportunity to learn about astronomy and view the moon through professional-grade telescopes. Additionally, the Calgary Skywatchers Society organizes monthly meetings where members share their knowledge of astronomy and host observing sessions. These activities provide an excellent opportunity for residents and visitors to appreciate the beauty of the moon and explore the fascinating world of astronomy.

Average Humidity Levels

Calgary, Canada, experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by low humidity levels. The average annual relative humidity is approximately 54%. During the summer months (June to August), humidity levels tend to be slightly higher, averaging around 58%, while in the winter (December to February), they drop to an average of 48%.

Seasonal Variations in Humidity

Throughout the year, fluctuations in relative humidity occur. During the spring and fall months (March to May and September to November), when temperatures are more moderate, humidity levels tend to be higher, averaging around 56%. This is due to the increased moisture content in the air caused by melting snow and precipitation. However, during the peak summer months, when temperatures soar, humidity levels often drop as the air becomes warmer and holds less moisture. In contrast, during the cold winter months, the air is unable to hold as much moisture, resulting in lower humidity levels.

Wind Patterns in Calgary

Calgary, situated on the Canadian Prairies, experiences a continental climate characterized by wide temperature variations and frequent wind. The prevailing wind direction in the city is from the west, bringing in cool, dry air from the Rocky Mountains. During the winter months, strong chinook winds can occur, causing temperatures to rise rapidly and melting snow and ice. These warm, dry winds originate on the western slopes of the Rockies and are often accompanied by strong gusts.

Impact of Wind on Calgary

The wind in Calgary has a significant impact on various aspects of the city. It can affect transportation, causing delays or cancellations of flights and disrupting ground traffic. The wind also influences outdoor activities, making it difficult to engage in certain sports or enjoy time spent outdoors. Furthermore, the constant wind can contribute to air pollution and the spread of dust and allergens. Wind energy is also harnessed in Calgary, with numerous wind turbines located on the outskirts of the city, contributing to the city’s renewable energy goals.

Best Time to Visit: Summer (June-August)

Calgary’s summers are warm and dry, with average temperatures ranging from 15-25°C (59-77°F). This makes it an ideal time to explore the city’s outdoor attractions, such as Prince’s Island Park, Nose Hill Park, and the Bow River. The Calgary Stampede, a world-renowned rodeo and festival, takes place in July, bringing a festive atmosphere to the city. Warm evenings allow for al fresco dining and enjoying the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Best Time to Visit: Fall (September-October)

As summer transitions into fall, Calgary experiences milder temperatures and vibrant foliage. The days are still warm, with average temperatures between 10-18°C (50-64°F), while the nights become cooler. This is a great time to enjoy hiking or biking in the surrounding Rocky Mountains, as the trails are less crowded and the weather is still pleasant. The city hosts several fall festivals and events, including the Calgary International Film Festival and the Marda Loop Harvest Festival.

Potential and Challenges:

Calgary, Canada, boasts a significant potential for solar energy utilization. With an average of 2,600 sunshine hours annually, the city offers ample opportunities for harnessing solar power. However, challenges also exist, such as Calgary’s northern location experiencing extended periods of low sunlight during winter months. Additionally, the city’s high electric consumption, particularly in the winter, creates a substantial demand that solar energy may not always be able to meet fully.

Government Initiatives and Incentives:

To promote solar energy adoption, the Calgary government has implemented various initiatives and incentives. These include the Solar Electric System Rebate Program, which provides homeowners and businesses with financial assistance for installing solar photovoltaic systems. The GreenTRIP program offers incentives for installing zero- and low-emission vehicles, including those powered by solar energy. These initiatives aim to make solar energy more affordable and accessible, encouraging its widespread use in the city.

Bow River Valley

The Bow River Valley is a prominent feature in Calgary’s topography. The meandering Bow River flows through a wide valley, carving out a landscape of rolling hills, steep slopes, and fertile floodplains. The valley’s geography has played a significant role in shaping the city’s development, with the riverbanks providing a natural transportation route and the surrounding slopes offering panoramic views of the city.

Foothills and Rocky Mountains

To the west of Calgary, the topography transitions into the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. The foothills rise gradually, forming a series of parallel ridges and valleys. These foothills provide a picturesque backdrop to the city and offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Further west, the majestic Rocky Mountains form a jagged skyline, towering over the landscape and providing a breathtaking backdrop to the Calgary region. The mountains offer a diverse range of recreational opportunities, including skiing, snowboarding, and mountaineering.

Calgary International Airport (YYC)

Calgary International Airport (YYC) proudly stands as the primary aerial gateway to the vibrant city of Calgary and the surrounding region. This world-class aviation hub is conveniently situated just 17 kilometers (11 miles) northeast of downtown Calgary and boasts a strategic location in Western Canada. With its state-of-the-art facilities, YYC caters to both domestic and international travelers. The airport features five concourses, each equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and efficient travel experience. For travelers looking to embark on a culinary adventure, YYC offers a diverse array of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants, tantalizing taste buds with a medley of flavors.

Additional Airport Options

While YYC reigns supreme as the closest airport to Calgary, travelers seeking alternative options may consider two additional airports. Springbank Airport (YBW), albeit further afield at approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of downtown Calgary, is a popular choice for private aircraft and charter flights. Located 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of Calgary, the Red Deer Regional Airport (YQF) provides access to the neighboring city of Red Deer and the central region of Alberta. However, it’s important to note that YBW and YQF primarily cater to general aviation and regional flights, offering limited commercial airline services compared to the extensive connectivity provided by YYC.

Calgary’s Vibrant Arts and Culture

Calgary boasts a thriving arts and culture scene that caters to diverse tastes and interests. With its award-winning opera company, the Calgary Opera, and the highly acclaimed Theatre Calgary, the city offers an array of live performances from opera to theater productions. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Alberta Ballet are also renowned for their artistic excellence. Calgary’s vibrant art galleries showcase works by local and international artists, while its many museums, including the Glenbow Museum and the Contemporary Calgary, delve into the city’s history and culture. The city’s annual events, such as the Calgary Stampede, the GlobalFest, and the Sled Island Festival, attract visitors from across the globe with their rich cultural programming.

Calgary’s Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation

Nestled at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. The city’s extensive park system offers an oasis for recreation and relaxation. Nose Hill Park is known for its panoramic views, while Edworthy Park boasts a picturesque lake and ample hiking trails. Prince’s Island Park, situated on the Bow River, provides a serene escape with its lush gardens and arts programming. Calgary’s proximity to the Rockies allows for easy access to world-class hiking, skiing, and snowboarding opportunities. The city is also home to the Calgary Zoo, a 125-acre wildlife sanctuary featuring over 1,000 animals from around the world. Whether enjoying the urban green spaces or exploring the surrounding wilderness, Calgary’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation amenities offer something for everyone.