Warm, wet summer


For many of us, summer has now come and gone. That is, if you consider summer to run from June through the end of August. Looking back at the summer of 2012 across Alberta, we could quickly sum it up as being warmer than average over nearly all regions, and near to above average for precipitation across all areas, except for the far north. Environment Canada is still having issues with weather data for a number of locations across Alberta, but thanks to the good work being done at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development there are very good summary maps of both temperature and precipitation data for agricultural Alberta.


I have included two maps that show temperature and precipitation patterns this summer (maps cover the time period from May 28 through to August 26). The first map shows the average daily temperature during this period as compared to the long-term normal or average. The advantage of this type of map is that it makes it relatively easy to see which regions experienced warmer-than-average temperatures (orange, pinks, and reds) and those regions that saw cooler-than-average temperatures (different shades of blue). The green regions saw near-average temperatures. Another interesting feature of this map is that it gives you the frequency of how often you should expect these types of temperatures to occur. For example, near-normal temperatures (light green) should occur once every three years, extremely warm conditions (bright red) can be expected to occur once in every 25 to 50 years.


A quick look at the map shows us that a good portion of the northern and Peace River regions saw warm to extremely warm conditions this summer, with some areas even seeing heat that occurs less than once in 50 years. Farther south, most regions were moderately to very warm, with only a few areas seeing near-normal temperatures.


The second map shows precipitation amounts as compared to the long-term average. This map easily shows how nearly all of agricultural Alberta saw near- to above-average amounts of precipitation this summer. Only the far northern areas reported moderately low to low amounts of precipitation. The wettest region was the central region, where some areas reported precipitation amounts expected to occur less than once in 50 years.


Now it’s time to take a look ahead to see what the different forecasters are predicting for this fall’s weather. Environment Canada is calling for the mild weather to continue, as all of Alberta is expecting to see above-average temperatures from September through to November.


Precipitation is not as well defined, but overall, EC is calling for near- to below-average amounts during this time period. 


Over at the Old Farmer’s Almanac they are also calling for above-average temperatures in September and November, with near-average temperatures in October. Precipitation according to them will be near average this fall. The Canadian Farmers Almanac is singing a little different tune for this fall. They appear to be calling for near- to above-average temperatures in September as they mention fair and pleasant several times. Temperatures then look to cool down to near or even slightly below average in October as they mention fair and cold a few times. This cooling trend looks to continue into November as it seems that it will be a colder-than-average month with several mentions of cold or turning colder. Precipitation this fall according to the Canadian Farmers Almanac will be near average for September and above average for October and November. For November they mention snow several times and call for heavy snows late in the month.



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