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2010: Record Warmth And Wet Globally

The Weather Vane is prepared by Daniel Bezte, a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the University of Winnipeg. Daniel has taught university-level classes in climate and weather and currently operates a computerized weather station at his home near Birds Hill Park, on 10 acres he plans to develop into a vegetable and fruit hobby farm.

Contacthimwithyourquestionsandcommentsat [email protected]

Last week we took a look back at the top weather stories for 2010 across Canada and the Prairies. This week we’ll continue our look back by taking a closer look at how the weather numbers added up across agricultural Manitoba. We will also take a look at how the whole Earth fared last year.

Let’s begin our look back at 2010 by looking at temperatures across the Prairies. Overall, 2010 was a little warmer than the long-term average at our three main sites, Dauphin, Winnipeg and Brandon. Both Dauphin and Winnipeg had a mean yearly temperature that was about 1.6 C above the long-term average and Brandon came in around 0.7 C above average. February, May, June and September were the “cool” months in 2010, with all three locations recording either average or slightly colder-than-average temperatures during these months. While there were some “cool” months in 2010, there were not really any “cold” months. With the exception of May in Brandon, no month at our three sites had a mean monthly temperature that was more than 1.0 C below average.

During 2010 we did have a fair number of really warm months. The year started off warm, with January coming in around 3.5 C above average. We then experienced the amazingly warm weather during March and April. March was around 5.5 C above average, while April was a little cooler, but still came in at an impressive 3.5 C above average. The really warm weather then disappeared until late fall. October and November were both quite mild, with October averaging around 3.0 C above average and November 2.0 C.

THE YEAR IN PRECIPITATION

As we discussed last week, precipitation was the big story of 2010. The year started off with near-average amounts of precipitation in January and February but then things dried out quickly during March and much of April. In fact, around the middle of April more and more people began to worry things were going to be too dry. Then the rains turned on and most regions saw well-above-average amounts of rain at the end of April through all of May and most of June. Out west, conditions dried out a little bit during July and August, with near-to slightly-below-average amounts of rainfall recorded. Further east conditions remained fairly wet, especially during August when well-above-average amounts of rain fell. During fall, the Brandon region saw near-average amounts of precipitation, while the Winnipeg area started off with above-average rainfall and then slowly moved toward average amounts by December. Farther north in the Dauphin region, conditions remained wet with well-above-average amounts of precipitation recorded right through the fall and into December.

When all the precipitation was added up, 2010 ended up being one of the wettest years ever for some regions and just a plain wet year for others. Pretty much every place in agricultural Manitoba saw over 500 millimetres of precipitation in 2010, with most of the eastern half of this region seeing over 650 mm. I’m having trouble getting complete sets of rainfall data for different sites across our region. As soon as I get the information I will pass it along to you.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

So, for our part of the world 2010 was a little warm and much wetter than average. Globally things were almost a reflection of what happened here. Last year ended up coming in pretty much tied for the warmest year on record, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Values from the U.K. and Japan are not in yet but are projected to be very close to those of NASA and NOAA.

For those of you into using satellite-based temperatures of the lower eight kilometres of the atmosphere, 2010 was also tied as the warmest year ever. In fact, all but one of the top 10 warmest years globally occurred during the last decade. Interestingly most of these warm years occurred when our sun was historically inactive, which usually results in slightly cooler conditions.

The planet as a whole was also very wet during 2010. However, just like with temperatures, not all places were wet, but overall the planet as a whole experienced the wettest year ever recorded – a full 13 per cent higher than the previous wettest year of 1956. With the wet start to 2011 in Brazil and Australia, who knows what this year will have in store for us? More on that next week.

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Whilethereweresome cool”monthsin2010, therewerenotreally anycold”months.

About the author

Co-operator contributor

Daniel Bezte

Daniel Bezte is a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the U of W. He operates a computerized weather station near Birds Hill Park.

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