Freeze thaw cycles in Toronto, Canada in a changing climate

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Freeze thaw cycles are examined in Toronto Canada. Using data from 1960 to 1989 for three Toronto area weather stations, trends in freeze thaw activity, the relationship to mean monthly temperature and projections of freeze thaw activity are examined. For downtown Toronto the annual frequency of freeze thaw cycles is decreasing significantly, most notably in the shoulder months of October and April. At the Pearson International Airport and the Toronto Island Airport similar annual trends were not found, however there was evidence of decreased freeze thaw activity in April and October. Polynomial curve fitting provided functional relationships between mean monthly temperature and freeze thaw activity. These relationships enabled the assessment of freeze thaw activity under synthetic warming conditions. The results of this analysis show that the warming of the magnitude typically projected for the rest of this century will not likely generate a significant change in the freeze thaw activity although there are indications that the freeze thaw season will contract.

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