I guess I’ll begin with an apology for not being able to provide a new article for last week’s issue of the Co-operator. I was off exploring the wilds of Vancouver Island after competing in the Whistler half Ironman. I knew cellphone and data coverage was going to be tough on the Island, especially when we were away from any towns or cities, but what I didn’t realize is that it really would be non-existent! That said, it was nice to be forced “off grid” for a week to just enjoy the beauty of the mountains and lakes.
The missed issue would normally have been our monthly look back and our glimpse ahead to see what the long-term weather trends may have in store for us. We’ll still take a quick look back at this July and peer ahead to see what may be in store for us as summer comes to an end and we begin the transition into fall, but we’ll first take a global look at July, then work toward our own little region of the world.
So far, only two agencies have released information about July global temperatures. First, the University of Alabama in Huntsville released its July summary of global temperatures for the upper eight km of the atmosphere. This group uses data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA, NASA and European satellites to produce temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rainforest areas where reliable climate data is not otherwise available. What I like about this information is twofold. First, and I am using their exact words about the two lead scientists, “Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.” The second thing is, “Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a ‘public’ computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.” This means anyone can look at the data and check or analyze it as much as they want.
Anyways, their analysis of the July data showed this July was tied as the second warmest in their 41-year database. What I also found interesting was that the intense heat wave that hit parts of Europe didn’t show up in the overall data, showing the difference between surface-based events and the atmosphere as a whole. If you didn’t hear about the European heat wave, here are a few highlights:
- Hundreds of sites broke their all-time record highs during this heat wave. Usually we only see a handful of sites break all-time records at any one time.
- Some of the all-time records were broken by more than 2 C. Usually these records are broken by just a couple of tenths of a degree.
- The Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford, England, has been making regular temperature measurements since 1815. On July 25, the observatory hit 36.5 C, breaking the all-time high of 35.1 C set on Aug. 19, 1932, and Aug. 3, 1990.
The second group to announce global temperature results for July was the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), based out of Europe. This group ranked July 2019 as the hottest month in recorded history.
Next, looking at ice conditions over the Arctic, current observations have ice levels running at record-low levels. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “As of Aug. 5, 2019, the total sea ice extent has dropped below six million square km, something which has not occurred prior to 1999. Sea ice extent in September of 2019 is likely to be among the five-lowest minimums recorded.”
So, as the planet continues to run warm, let’s take a quick look at how warm or cold it was in July across our part of the world. Alberta was about a degree colder than average and was a little wetter than average. Across Saskatchewan, July was also cooler than average with both Regina and Saskatoon seeing mean monthly temperatures about 0.8 C below the long-term average. Precipitation was a bit above average in Saskatoon and a little below average in Regina.
Here in Manitoba, we bucked the cool trend with warmer-than-average July temperatures, but just by a bit. All three locations recorded mean monthly temperatures that were between 0.3 and 0.5 C above the long-term average. Precipitation was a little more varied with both the Brandon and Dauphin regions seeing less than average with the Winnipeg region seeing a little more than average.
Now a quick look at what we may expect over the last half of August and the first part of September. According to both almanacs, we should expect to see near- to below-average temperatures along with near- to above-average amounts of precipitation. According to the CFS weather model, we should expect to see near- to slightly above-average temperatures and precipitation. The CanSIPS model calls for near- to slightly above-average temperatures in August followed by well-above-average temperatures in September. Both months are forecast to have below-average rainfall. NOAA is calling for near- to slightly below-average temperatures in August followed by near- to slightly above-average temperatures in September, with both months forecast to have near-average amounts of precipitation.
Finally, my spin of the weather wheel. It looks like the warm start to the month will be offset by a slightly cooler-than-average second half of the month. Precipitation looks to be below average. September is really up in the air, but I’ll have to admit, my gut is leaning toward a warmer and drier-than-average September.