Geography of Halifax, Nova Scotia

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The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) in Nova Scotia, Canada has a widely varied geography.

Physical geography[edit]

HRM has an area of approximately 5,850 km², comparably larger than Prince Edward Island, and is approximately 165 km in length between its eastern and western-most extremities. HRM's shoreline "as the crow flies" is approximately 150 km in length, while its northern boundary is usually between 50–60 km inland. The coast, which is mostly rock with small isolated sand beaches in sheltered bays, is heavily indented by numerous inlets the largest of which are St. Margarets Bay, Halifax Harbour, Cole Harbour, Musquodoboit Harbour, Jeddore Harbour, Ship Harbour and Sheet Harbour. Given this fact, it takes approximately 3 hours to drive along the shore from Hubbards, located in the southwestern end of HRM, to Ecum Secum, 195 km (121 mi) away at the northeastern end.

Halifax Harbour from the air looking South including the Halifax Peninsula, Dartmouth, and Bedford

The Chebucto Peninsula, created by the indentations of St. Margarets Bay and Halifax Harbour (including the Bedford Basin), is a defining feature for the shape of the coastline at the western end of HRM, from which the Halifax Peninsula forms a sub-peninsula.

Despite the size of its landmass, the population of the municipality is heavily concentrated, with rural communities located along the Eastern Shore and South Shore or in the Musquodoboit Valley. The majority of residents are concentrated in the urban core surrounding Halifax Harbour/Bedford Basin and extending up the Sackville River valley and northeast of the harbour along the Highway 102 corridor.

Sable Island is part of HRM, despite being located 180 km (110 mi) offshore of neighbouring Guysborough County and approximately 300 km from HRM's urban core. HRM's boundary includes all of the former Halifax County, except for several First Nation reserves.

HRM's topography is quite varied, ranging from rocky shorelines to sandy beaches on the coast, to landscapes shaped by glaciation including exposed bedrock, numerous freshwater lakes, medium-sized rivers and streams, drumlins and low hills. The fertile valley along the Musquodoboit River in the northeastern part of HRM is the only agricultural district of note in the municipality. Aside from the settled communities and the urban area surrounding Halifax Harbour, the rest of the municipality's landscape mostly supports a dense combination of mixed Acadian or coniferous forests.

HRM's urban area is built on a series of hills and plateaus surrounding Halifax Harbour; the central part of the City of Halifax lies on a peninsula extending from the western side of the harbour and dominated by the drumlin which supported the Citadel Hill defensive works. The Dartmouth was clustered on the eastern side of the harbour directly opposite the Halifax peninsula, its defining geographic feature being a series of glacial lakes. Suburban growth around both cities included many existing mining (east of Dartmouth and the Shubenacadie Valley), farming (in the Musquodoboit Valley and northwest of Halifax) and fishing (along the shores of the harbours and the Atlantic coast south of both former cities) communities.

Climate[edit]

Halifax
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
151
 
 
0
−9
 
 
114
 
 
0
−8
 
 
134
 
 
4
−4
 
 
121
 
 
8
1
 
 
119
 
 
14
6
 
 
108
 
 
19
11
 
 
106
 
 
23
14
 
 
98
 
 
23
15
 
 
107
 
 
19
11
 
 
135
 
 
13
6
 
 
154
 
 
8
1
 
 
160
 
 
3
−5
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Environment Canada [1]

Halifax is marked by a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), but the area climate is heavily influenced by water temperatures in the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. Numerous local microclimates make weather somewhat unpredictable but the region is generally milder than inland areas having a continental climate (e.g. central Canada); HRM air temperatures average between -5 °C (23 °F) in January and 19 °C (66 °F) in July.

Snow falls and melts alternately mainly from November through April, for a seasonal total of 152 centimetres (60 in).[1] Some, but usually very little, snow falls in May and October.[1] Halifax usually experiences several strong winter storms. In February 2004 a record of 95 centimetres (37 in) of snow fell in one such storm. The storm was nicknamed "White Juan", after the recent Hurricane Juan. Spring is cool and foggy, early autumn is often sunny and warm, and summer can range from hot and dry to cool and rainy. Hurricanes are fairly uncommon but do occur occasionally. There can be considerable variations between the weather near the Atlantic Ocean and the weather even several kilometres inland. This is partly caused by the effect of the Labrador Current, which transfers cold water from the Arctic along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast in the spring and summer, while the Gulf Stream brings warmer water from the Gulf of Mexico along the coast during the fall and winter.

Precipitation stands at nearly 1,510 millimetres (59.4 in) annually, and is somewhat heavy year-round, though summer is drier.

The Halifax Regional Municipality is home to 6 weather stations operated by the Meteorological Service of Canada:



Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Based on station coordinates provided by Environment Canada and documentation from the Nova Scotian Institute of Science, weather data was collected in West End, Halifax from January 1863 to July 1933, at Citadel Hill from August 1933 to August 1939, at Downtown Halifax from September 1939 to July 1974, at Citadel Hill from August 1974 to January 2002 and at CFB Halifax (Windsor Park and Halifax Dockyard) from September 2004 to present.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Halifax Citadel, Nova Scotia". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ Station 44258 - Halifax Harbour
  3. ^ "Shearwater A, Nova Scotia". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Monthly Data Report for 1871". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada. September 22, 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Daily Data Report for October 1930". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada. September 22, 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Monthly Data Report for 1939". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada. September 22, 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Daily Data Report for April 1945". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada. September 22, 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Halifax Dockyard". Canadian Climate Data. Environment Canada. September 22, 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Abstract of Meteorological register, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1863" (PDF). Myers, W. J. (1867). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1867. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Meteorological register, 1864" (PDF). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1867. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  11. ^ "Abstract of Meteorological register, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1865" (PDF). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1867. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  12. ^ "Abstract of Meteorological register, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1866" (PDF). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1867. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Meteorological record, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1867" (PDF). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1868. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Meteorological summary, 1868" (PDF). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1869. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "On the meteorology of Halifax, 1870" (PDF). Allison, F. (1871). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1871. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "On the meteorology of Halifax, 1871" (PDF). Allison, F. (1872). Nova Scotian Institute of Science. 1872. Retrieved 4 September 2016.