It seems inevitable that someone is going to win the 30C Contest in the next couple days. The only question is who!

No one actually guessed today’s date, so it looks like it will be a battle between Phil who guessed yesterday at 3:30PM and BillB who guessed tomorrow at 3:35PM so that means if we hit 30C before 3:32PM this afternoon then Phil will win, if we hit it after 3:32PM then BillB will win.

(And do note the contest temperature is based on the temperature at my station, not the Environment Canada station at the Airport)

I will announce here when there is an official winner.

Finally, thanks to that strong wind on Monday, it looks like the smoke from the Siberian fires has moved on. But it certainly took its toll on BC. I noticed on the EC website that there were a few air quality advisories for Interior locations but nothing here even though the smoke really did seem to be thick.

Smoke in Alberni - thanks Sandra Gentleman!
Smoke in Alberni – thanks Sandra Gentleman!

I put a question in to Anne McCarthy at Environment Canada in Victoria about how they determine when air quality advisories should be and she put me in contact with Earle Plain of the BC Environment Ministry. Here is his letter (sent yesterday morning) in full, it turns out we were around half way towards a full Air Quality Advisory.

Hi Chris. Yes there certainly is a haze out there still but the bulk of the Asian smoke plume has now moved through to the interior of the province. We experienced elevated PM2.5 values at air monitoring stations from Campbell River through to Duncan but 24-hour averaged levels did not approach our Provincial Air Quality Objective of 25 ug/m3 so an Advisory was not issued for any community on Vancouver Island.

Here is the rolling 24-hour average PM2.5 from the Port Alberni Elementary School site for the last 5 days (see and click on “what’s the air like today”; then click on map of BC and drag it in order to see the Port Alberni Elementary School station):

Air Quality Port Alberni July 9 2012
Air Quality Port Alberni July 9 2012

You can see that peak levels in Port Alberni occurred through the 8th and 9th and they are now tapering off.

We look at a number of things when making the decision whether or not to issue an Air Quality Advisory including levels of the pollutant of interest (in this case PM2.5) – is it approaching the BC air quality objective level, forecast air quality, the source of the pollutant, meteorology (current and forecast), and pollutant persistence.

Earle Plain – Air Quality Meteorologist
Ministry of Environment

Here is the graph again updated for today. You can see the levels are basically back to the ‘normal’ levels around 4ug/m3 (that’s Micro grams per cubic meter) since their peak at 13.3ug/m3 on Sunday night.

Air Quality July 11 2012
Air Quality July 11 2012

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell folks here that by Coincidence on Monday there was a council meeting where Mr. Tapics of Compliance Coal spoke about the proposed coal mine and turning our town into a coal port. I do not wish to turn this blog into an outlet for the coal debate, but I do talk about Climate Change here because I do think that we are starting to see changes in our weather patterns here and around the world due to human-caused global warming and climate change. In the May 2012 Global Climate Report from the US National Climate Data Center they stated that:

Much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures were observed across most of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, most of North America, and southern Greenland. Only Australia, Alaska, and the western U.S. / Canadian border region were notably cooler than average.

This is what has caused the fires in Siberia and across much of eastern Asia.

In fact, also by coincidence, on July 9th the NCDC released their monthly national report for June 2012 and announced that the last 12 months have been the hottest 12 month period in the history of the Continental United States weather records going back to 1895. The chances of this being a “random” event are around 1 in 100,000. (Longer odds than getting 5 of 6 numbers in Lotto 6/49). So by those numbers we should not see this happen again for 100,000 years…. of course, no scientist would think that. The odds are clear that something has shifted in our climate, the earth is warming, and the only thing that has changed is Humanity pumping trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To borrow from the Magic Eightball “All Signs point to Humans”.

So this is what I told Port Alberni City Council:

I would ask you to look outside, and consider our Air Quality right now… it’s being affected by Siberian fires which have come all the way across the Pacific, so I would ask Council to look at Mt. Arrowsmith tonight, consider what the worlds scientists are saying about Climate Change, and then decide whether new highways and coal mines are the right thing to pursue.

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12 thoughts on “Hot Hot Hot Contests and some more Smoke info

  1. well said, and it puts the responsibility for the consequences closer to home.
    we voted these people in to take care of our future, not sell us out    

  2. I think we will finally hit 30C today there has not been much fog this morning and the past few days we’ve been consistently 1C cooler than the Airport which has been hitting the forecast highs consistently. So since the forecast is 31C I bet we will top out at 30.2C

  3. Thanks Chris….I really appreciate all the information you provide. I check alberniweather every morning–You’re my Norm Grohmann!

  4. I like this post. It’s informative and thought-provoking. Had a conversation this morning with Ben about energy efficiency in building and how we might need to think about a longer future  and not focus on short-term financial issues. I appreciate your broader view and longer future perspective (of course you have, statistically and hopefully) a much longer future that I do!

  5. Missed it by that much!  It can’t possibly hit 30C 12 hours, so it looks like I missed again this year!

  6. EC has downgraded the highs a degree or two in the forecast now, so there does seem to be some cool air making its way into the valley.  The Airport reached 30C yesterday, and so did Alberni Elementary and Maquinna, but you and Nick stuck at just below 29C.

  7. Chris, could you go out and give your thermometer a tap this afternoon to give it a little bump over 30C?  This is becoming painful!

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