September 2015 Summary – A respite from the heat – El Niño is a Beast – Arctic Melting


It was a fairly nondescript September.  Interestingly, it was actually cooler than normal on average and we set a couple day low temperature records for the Airport station though not all time lows for the Valley.  We set a day rain record and a high temperature record as well.  Neither all time.

Perhaps what was most notable about the month was what was happening elsewhere and how that is going to set us up for the fall and winter.  The Arctic set its fourth lowest minimum extent on record… that will likely give more impetus for a super bendy jet stream. El Niño is in full force and is going to definitely influence our weather in some way… likely in a warm, and dry way.

After this weekends pulse from Hurricane Oho, we might not see a whole lot of rain compared to the average and the end of the month is looking cool.

Enjoy the Summary and the data below!

Arctic Ice Season in Review.

From the National Snow and Ice Data Centre summary released on October 6th.

The Arctic melt season has ended and sea ice extent is now increasing after reaching the fourth lowest minimum on record, on September 11.

Through 2015, the linear rate of decline for September Arctic ice extent over the satellite record is 13.4% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. The nine lowest September ice extents over the satellite record have all occurred in the last nine years.


But here is the most interesting quote from this years Arctic summary.

Maps of ice age at the beginning of the melt season and at the time of the September minimum extent (Figure 5a) reveal that most of the old ice transported into the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas melted out this summer. This resulted in a 31% depletion of the multiyear ice cover this summer for the Arctic as a whole, compared to only 12% in 2013 and 38% in 2012. There was also more first-year icelost this summer than during the last two summers. Sixty-two percent of the winter first-year ice was lost. Overall, this was the third largest amount of first-year ice lost in a melt season, behind 2012 (73%) and 2007 (67%).


El Niño update

The latest El Niño forecast was released October 8th. The confidence for the El Niño conditions to last through fall and winter has increased from 90% last month to 95% now.

There is an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016.

In September the forecast said:

There is an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016.

So no change in the main synopsis.  But they now say we are officially in a strong El Niño.

Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a strong El Niño….. All models surveyed predict El Niño to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2016, and all multi-model averages predict a peak in late fall/early winter

So what does that mean for our weather?  Since we know that El Niño’s can affect our weather quite a bit?

Outlooks generally favor below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States, and above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation over the northern tier of the United States.

Check out the long range models from IMME below to see a little more detail.

Outlooks — October Looks Cooler, Pulses of Rain. 

Here are the 16-day GEPS Consensus graphs from SpotX for October:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.21.40 PM
Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.22.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.22.37 PM

Three-Month Forecasts remains Warm with normal Precip.

NMME 3-month Temperature, Precipitation and Sea Surface Temperature

Here is November, December and January period.  It is a little confused precipitation wise though I would lean to drier for our area.  Not so much for temperature.  Way above normal, especially northern Canada, wow.

NMME_ensemble_tmp2m_us_season1-2 NMME_ensemble_prate_us_season1-2

Below is the Sea Surface Anomaly.


Notice 1 thing:

#1:  In a warming world… what gives with the cold water right below Greenland?  Hmmmm… others are wondering too.

That’s it!  Check the data for the month is below!

Monthly Timelapse Video

I got a replacement for my second camera this month and I also got new lens attachments that give a super-wide angle view (and also a kind of a ‘goggle’ view).  In time I’ll be repositioning one or both of the cameras so that they each provide a unique view of the landscape.

 Pssst: Switch it to HD. :)

Daily records set this month at the Airport (and compared to other stations* for “All Time”)

Two new Airport low temps, 1 new high temp, 1 new rain high,  no all time records.

  • September 1 rain 4.6 mm : #1 is 35.6 mm in 1967 at Robertson Creek.
  • September 4 low 4.6º C: #1 is 1.1º C in 1910/56 at Beaver Creek.
  • September 5 low 3.7º C: #1 is 1.7º C in 1956 at Beaver Creek.
  • September 29 high (tied 2003) 24.1º C: #1 is 30.6º C in 1935 at City of Port Alberni.

*Short Term Airport Records are compared to the 30+ year weather stations of record since 1900 at Beaver Creek, Port Alberni City and Robertson Creek.

September 2015  Minimum, Overall and High Daily Average Temps See last month’s and last September’s summary.

Alberniweather10.2º C, 14.4° C, 20.0º C
Alberni Elementary School : 9.9º C, 14.3º C, 19.7° C
Maquinna Elementary School10.0º C, 14.0º C, 19.6° C
Neptune Canada Station10.9º C, 13.5º C, 18.0° C
Overall City Average: 10.3º C, 14.1 C, 19.3º C
Environment Canada Airport8.5º C, 14.1° C, 19.7º C

1981-2010 EC Normal (Robertson Creek)8.0º C, 15.3º C, 22.4° C

Precipitation for September 2015:

Alberniweather: 59.7 mm
AES: 73.8 mm
MAQ: 75.6 mm
NEP: NA (not measured)
Overall City Average: 69.7 mm
EC: 73.0 mm (4 Days Missing Data!)

1981-2010 Env Canada Normal (Robertson Creek): 61.4 mm

City Stations Temperature Difference from normal:
+2.3° C, -1.2º C, -3.1º C
Official (Airport) Temperature Difference from normal:
 +0.5º C, -1.2º C, -2.7º C
City Stations Precipitation difference normal:
 +8.3 mm (113.5% of normal)
Official (Airport) Precipitation difference from  normal:
 +11.6 mm (118.9% of normal)

NEW: Days of Precipitation for September 2015 (As recorded at Airport*).
>= 0.2 mm:  Normal: 10.3 : This Month: 14
>= 5 mm:  Normal: 3.6 : This Month: 4
>= 10 mm: Normal:  1.8 : This Month: 3
>= 25 mm: Normal:  0.52 : This Month: 0

*Denotes incomplete data for the month

Comparison to recent August’s at Alberniweather (unless specified)

Thanksgiving Weekend Forecast! Oho flyby – Rain likely less than expected – Windy Coast.

The remains of Hurricane Oho are making their way North.  Judging by the latest satellite pic, I think the former “core” of the storm is currently off of northern California and heading in our general direction pretty quickly. (See the arrow)  The moisture from the storm is very front end loaded and is already impacting the Central and North coast of BC.imageThe big Gulf of Alaska low is really what is driving the bus in terms of our weather and Oho’s end of life.

The current storm track from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center for Oho below shows a more westerly and northerly route. The closest the core will come is several hundred kilometres west of the Island.


The Current Advisory states the hurricane is now transitioning from a “warm core” hurricane to a “cold core” extratropical low.  However, that does not mean we will not feel some impact.  That transition and its interaction with the big low in Alaska will cause the storms winds to expand in range.  As a result exposed sections of northern Vancouver Island will see winds in the 90-110kph tonight and tomorrow.

We should not see anything like that, in fact UWash has the central and south Island staying dry through the day Thursday with the main force of the rain hitting north of Tofino. We might get a few showers from it.


The rain will drape south by 5AM Friday morning and be strongest in the 5-8AM period.


That will not be the end of it. The rain and showers will linger all day Friday and continue into Saturday with a stronger pulse of rain coming Saturday afternoon in the 11AM-2PM period.


That will be the last gasp for any remnants of Oho and it will dry up Saturday evening.  There might be some gusty winds while that dries up,

Showers will return late Sunday and the strongest of the weekend are predicted to come Monday morning before sunrise.


This could bring us some more gusty winds but it should be very short lived as the front passes through before noon Monday.  We might even see some sunny breaks in the afternoon.

Total Accumulations of rain for the Thursday to Monday afternoon period:

  • UWash: 60mm
  • US GFS: 65mm
  • Cnd GEPS multi: 140mm
  • Cdn GEM: 140mm

That is quite a split but I would personally lay my bets on the UWash/GFS predictions. I will update that list and any graphics on this page if they change significantly.  Otherwise, this will be you Thanksgiving weekend forecast, hope you have a great one.