The year in numbers — a quick look back at 2015

Two things stand out when reviewing data from across Alberta — 
it was a little drier than normal and consistently warmer

With the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one, we traditionally take a look back at what was and then look ahead to see what the new year might have in store for us.

From a weather point of view there a number of ways we can do this — from a local Alberta point of view, to Canada-wide, and then the world. We’ll soon take a look at what the different weather agencies considered the top weather stories for Canada and around the world in 2015, but for this issue we’ll go back and take a brief overview of what 2015 was like weather-wise across agricultural Alberta.

As you probably already know, to summarize our weather I use three different weather stations — Calgary, Edmonton, and Peace River. In reality, if I was just going to look at the yearly totals and averages we could probably get away with just looking at one or maybe two stations, but I thought it would be interesting to list the average monthly high and low temperatures, the monthly mean temperatures and total monthly precipitation for all three stations. For those of you who would prefer to see the data in a more visual format, I included a couple of graphs of temperatures in Peace River and Calgary over the last 365 days. (Edmonton’s graph was missing data.)

These figures show the temperatures for both Peace River and Calgary over the last year. The top graph shows the daily departure from average, with red meaning above-average temperatures and blue below average. The middle graph shows the 31-day running average, which helps to smooth out the data and show the general trend in temperatures. The bottom graph shows the actual daily high and low temperatures.

These figures show the temperatures for both Peace River and Calgary over the last year. The top graph shows the daily departure from average, with red meaning above-average temperatures and blue below average. The middle graph shows the 31-day running average, which helps to smooth out the data and show the general trend in temperatures. The bottom graph shows the actual daily high and low temperatures.
photo: Climate Prediction Center/NCEP

 

Temperatures in the following tables are provided in degrees Celsius and precipitation is in millimetres. I’ve also included up and down arrows following the mean temperature and precipitation values. An up arrow indicates an above-average value while a down arrow indicates a below-average value (see below).

alberta-temperatures-2015

I’m not going to try to discuss all of the data — I’ll leave that for you to check out.

A couple of points of interest are that it was a fairly warm year, with all three locations reporting mean yearly temperatures that were between 0.7 and 1.7 C above average. The Peace River region did not report a single month with a colder-than-average monthly reading. The fall and early winter were even warmer, with temperatures averaging about 2.0 C above average over the last three months of the year. Secondly, it was a bit of a dry year, with all three locations reporting below-average amounts of precipitation.

Next time we’ll hopefully be able to start our look back at the top weather events of 2015.

About the author

AF Contributor

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

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