Category Archives: Climate Change

December and Annual 2016 Summary – Cold and Hot!

December cooled off an otherwise Hot Year.

It took me a while to get to this post… lots of stuff going on these days! However, it is worth the wait.  Wow, 2016 was another big year for weather!

Unlike the world, which had its 3rd consecutive warmest (header image from NOAA) year on record. Port Alberni did not repeat last year’s warmth, but it wasn’t far off. We managed to set a whopping 27 new high temperature records at the Airport including 5 All Time records.  A few of those new highs happened on the same days as 2015, but in the past two years we have set an incredible 73 new high temperature records at the Airport.  That means since 1995, 1/5 of all of the days of the year have records that have been set in 2015 or 2016.

For minimum (nighttime) temperatures, had 2015 not occurred, 2016 would have been the warmest year for minimum temperatures ever recorded in the Alberni Valley, even accounting for chilly December!  December was noticeably cold, almost 3ºC below normal, so were it not for that, 2016 would have been easily eclipsed 2015 for minimum nighttime temperatures.  As it is, 2016 had an average minimum temperature of 5.4 ºC compared to 5.5 ºC for 2015.  We set 9 new low temperature records at the Airport (since 1995) but none of those were All Time records.  Three of those new low Airport temperatures occurred in December.

For maximum temperatures, 2016 was above normal, +0.9 ºC but that was a pull back from 2015’s 2ºC more than normal.

We had a lot of trouble with the official precipitation records at the Airport this year.  Thankfully, in December, Environment Canada performed a major upgrade to the station. So we should get reliable records from now on.

That said, with the data we did receive, I think it is safe to say we had a below normal year of rainfall despite the extremes in October and November.  We set 17 new rain records at the Airport including one all time on November 2nd.

Most Notable Event of 2016

It has to be the incredible period of constant rain in October and lasting into November.  Even though no records were set, October had the most rainy days since 1963.  It just felt like it would never stop!


I am going to switch the order around and put the stats up today here.  Outlooks, River and Drought, Snowpack and El Niño are below.


Monthly Timelapse Video

You can check out the videos at:

Monthly Data

Daily records set this month at the Airport and compared to other stations* for “All Time” since 1900.

One new ALL TIME rain record, three new Airport rain records and five high temperature records.

*Short Term (since 1995) Airport Records are compared to the 30+ year weather stations of record since 1900 (1895 for rain) at Beaver Creek, Port Alberni “City” and Robertson Creek.  Note that records pre 1950 may be more likely to over-estimate high temperatures.

December 2016  Minimum, Mean, and High Average Temp, Total Precipitation and Highest Wind

See November’s and last December’s summary.

Alberniweather-1.2º C, 0.6º C, 3.0º C115.6 mm
Highest Wind: N 53.1kph on the 8th
Alberni Elem. School : -1.3º C, 0.5º C, 2.9° C, 186.4 mm
Maquinna Elem. SchoolNA — Station Offline
Nick’s Station 
(Maquinna area): -1.2º C0.2º C1.9° C132.8 mm
Neptune Canada Station: -0.8º C0.8º C3.1° C, NA
Overall City Average: -1.1º C, 0.5º C, 2.7º C 108.7 mm
Environment Canada Airport* : -2.9º C, -0.3° C, 2.4º C156.2 mm*

Normal 1981-2010 (Rbrstn Creek)-0.3º C 1.8º C 3.8° C 344.6 mm

*Denotes 4 days of missing data: 6/7/8th and 30th.

Differences from Normal at Robertson Creek

-0.8° C, -1.3º C, -1.1º C, -235.9 mm (31.5% of normal)
Official Airport
 -2.6º C, -1.5º C, -1.4º C, -188.4 mm (54.7% of normal)*
*Denotes missing precipitation numbers for 7 days this month.

Days of Precipitation for December 2016*

Amount : Normal Days : Days This Month
>= 0.2 mm: 20.5 :  18
>= 5 mm:  13.1 : 9
>= 10 mm: 10 : 6
>= 25 mm: 5.3 : 2

*6 Days Missing Data.  Filled in missing official days with data from Alberniweather and Cox Lake to get complete set. If amounts did not agree, I took the amount closer to the threshold.

Annual Data

Daily and All time records set in 2016 at the Airport (and compared to other stations* for “All Time”)

See Monthly Summaries to see specific temperatures.

  • 27 new high temperatures including 5 All Time (February 25*, March 30, March 31, April 7, and June 5).
  • 17 new rain records including one all time on November 2nd.
  • 9 new low temperatures, none all time.
    *February 25 is a likely all-time record as the previous record of 21.7ºC may not be credible.

All Time High Averages. Minimum, Overall and High Historic and Modern Stations.


Beaver Creek (1900-1959):
5.4º C (1934), 10.8° C (1926), 17.1º C (1925)*’

Port Alberni City (1917-1960):
6.4º C (1934), 11.7º C (1934)*~17.0° C (1934)

Robertson Creek (1961-2014):
5.8º C (1998)’, 10.7º C (1998), 15.6° C (1998)

Port Alberni “A” Somass (1969-1995):
5.6º C (1992), 10.6º C (1992), 15.8° C (1987)

Port Alberni Airport (1995-Now):
5.5º C (2015), 11.0º C (2015)’, 16.5° C (2015)

Overall City Averages – All stations (2007-Now):
7.4º C (2015)^*~, 11.4º C (2015)^16.6° C (2015)^

Daily records set this month at the Airport and compared to other stations* for “All Time” since 1900.

One new ALL TIME rain record, three new Airport rain records and five high temperature records.

*Short Term (since 1995) Airport Records are compared to the 30+ year weather stations of record since 1900 (1895 for rain) at Beaver Creek, Port Alberni “City” and Robertson Creek.  Note that records pre 1950 may be more likely to over-estimate high temperatures.

Year of 2016  Minimum, Mean, and High Average Temp and Total Precipitation

See last Year’s summary.

Alberniweather7.2º C, 10.9º C, 15.5º C1642.6 mm
Highest Wind: SE 70.8 kph October 7
Alberni Elem. School : 7.0º C, 10.9º C15.4° C, 2312.2 mm
Highest Wind: SE 61.6 kph October 7 and 14
Maquinna Elem. SchoolNA — Station Offline December
Highest Wind: SE 64.4 kph October 14

Nick’s Station 
(Maquinna area): NA, 10.5º CNA1841.8 mm
Highest Wind: SE 64.8 kph in March
Neptune Canada Station: 7.4º C10.9º C, 15.6° C, NA
Highest Wind: NA
Overall City Average: 7.2º C, 10.8º C, 15.5º C 1932.2 mm
Envirnmt Canada Airport* : 5.4º C, 10.5° C, 15.5º C2069.2 mm*

Highest Wind: NE 57 kph October 15
Normal 1981-2010 (Rbrstn Creek)4.5º C 9.6º C 14.6° C 2153.6 mm

*Denotes 54 days of missing precipitation in 2016 at EC Station

Differences from Normal at Robertson Creek

+2.7° C, +1.2º C, +0.9º C, -221 mm (90% of normal)
Official Airport
 +0.9º C, +0.9º C, +0.9º C, -188.4 mm (54.7% of normal)*
*Denotes 54 days of missing precipitation in 2016 at EC Station

Days of Precipitation for 2016*

Amount : Normal Days : Days This Year
>= 0.2 mm: 190.8 :  175
>= 5 mm: 94.9 : NA (over 2.5 mm = 114)
>= 10 mm: 65.6 : NA
>= 25 mm: 27.6 : 17

*Using Alberniweather to get complete set as 54 days missing from Official record.

Comparison to recent months of December and Years at Alberniweather



River and Drought Conditions

River streamflow conditions have not updated since October.  BC River Forecast Centre site. 

The overall Drought Level picture is not a problem. 🙂

Snowpack Situation


We had a very productive December in terms of snowpack.  We didn’t set any records, because it was fairly dry, but everything that did fall likely fell as snow, so we ended the month with pretty normal levels.

South Island/Jump Creek (near Nanaimo Lakes) elevation 1134m

The Wolf Creek station is running just a little below normal.  This is logical as it would be expected already that a larger amount of the precipitation would fall as snow in that area so the cold temperatures had less of an impact and instead we see the reflection of a lower than normal amount of precipitation charging up that snowpack.

North Island/Wolf Creek (near Gold River) elevation 1422m.

16 day Outlook — Looking a little dreary!

Here are the 16-day GEPS consensus graphs from SpotX.  February can often be a pretty bright and sunny and cold month.  But while the last few days of January might be decent, the first couple weeks of February look like they will be pretty stagnant.  Temperatures hovering at a constant 0-3ºC, cloud cover, and the occasional bit of moisture.  Dreary, but might make for good skiing conditions?


El Niño/La Niña Discussion:

The latest El Niño status bulletin from the NOAA is from January 12.  They have switched again, this time from a weak La Niña to neutral conditions.  In general the last few months have been a weak La Niña (cool equatorial ocean) or neutral.  A breather from the big El Niño that ended last year.

Synopsis: A transition to ENSO-neutral is expected to occur by February 2017, with ENSO-neutral then continuing through the first half of 2017.

La Niña continued during December, with negative sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies continuing across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific [Fig. 1]. The weekly Niño index values fluctuated during the last month, with the Niño-3 and Niño-3.4 regions hovering near and slightly warmer than -0.5°C [Fig. 2]. The upper-ocean heat content anomaly was near zero when averaged across the eastern Pacific [Fig. 3], though near-to-below average subsurface temperatures were evident closer to the surface [Fig. 4]. Atmospheric convection remained suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and enhanced over Indonesia [Fig. 5]. The low-level easterly winds were slightly enhanced over the western Pacific, and upper-level westerly anomalies were observed across the eastern Pacific. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system remained consistent with a weak La Niña.

The multi-model averages favor an imminent transition to ENSO-neutral (3-month average Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C), with ENSO-neutral lasting through August-October (ASO) 2017 [Fig. 6]. Along with the model forecasts, the decay of the subsurface temperature anomalies and marginally cool conditions at and near the ocean surface portends the return of ENSO-neutral over the next month. In summary, a transition to ENSO-neutral is expected to occur by February 2017, with ENSO-neutral then continuing through the first half of 2017 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).

Even as the tropical Pacific Ocean returns to ENSO-neutral conditions, the atmospheric impacts from La Niña could persist during the upcoming months (NOAA’s 3-month seasonal outlook will be updated on Thursday, January 19th). The current seasonal outlook for JFM 2017 favors above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation across much of the southern tier of the U.S., and below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation in portions of the northern tier of the U.S.

Note the portion of the northern tier of the US that we are closest to is likely to get below-normal precipitation and normal temperatures.   See more detail in the following below.

Three-Month North America Forecasts 

North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) 3-month Temperature, Precipitation and Sea Surface Temperature.


In the interest of getting this update out the door, I’ll save the seasonal forecasts for the January summary but you can still go to the link above to check them out from the source.

That’s it!

Freezing Rain possible Monday morning – Heavy Rain expected for next 3 Days

The kink in the jetstream (climate change) has finally untwisted (you can see the faint twist left in the image below) and we are now the target for some very heavy rains dragged across the Pacific from the Phillipines and the Himalayas!

It actually makes me wonder how much smog from China might be coming our way.

The jet will be close enough to us early in the week to bring us significant rainfall, but one more image of it before I get into our rain, check out California later this week getting the full force of that jetstream. Expect flooding down there.

Now, for our forecast locally.

In the 72 hours (3 days) between 4PM Sunday and 4PM Wednesday, we are expected to receive between 63-130mm of precipitation (black). It may start as snow, but it will all melt and most of it will be rain.

Notice areas on the west coast and the high elevations could receive up yo 500mm (20 inches).

This is the same time period, but for snowfall. Notice it is nearly blank.  This is going to be a warm, and very wet series of storms.

We have already recieved a few ice pellets and possible freezing rain.  This will be a risk through Monday morning.

Rain should beginn shortly and the UWash hourly model shows no break in the precipitation between now, and Wednesday.

Strong rain should begin around noon today:

This first bit of rain may fall as sleet or snow to begin but it should become rain quickly.

The rain should build through the afternoon and the strongest rain will be around 7PM tonight,


It will ease off a little tonight before picking up again after midnight.

The rain will be strong early Tuesday morning and then back off late Tuesday morning before getting heavy again on Tuesday evening.

Wednesday will be the final day with rain heavy again around midday before finishing off the storm Wednesday evening.

Clear out your gutters and storm drains if there is anything blocking them and batten down the hatches. 🙂