Not quite records and Port Alberni “A” station gone for good.

So close!

The forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is still pretty awesome. Highs of 22°C , 26°C and 24°C respectively.

This does approach our all time modern record (since 1961) for April which was set April 30th, 1998 when we hit 29.5°C.

I don’t expect to get anywhere near 30°C tomorrow, so the April record might be challenged, but should be safe. That also means we won’t set a daily record for that day either.

May 1st, 1998 hit 31.5°C so we won’t be breaking that mark either. But 26°C still ain’t bad! 🙂 Consider this: those temperatures in 1998 occurred during the strongest El Niño ever recorded. As I’ve detailed in previous posts, scientists are watching developments in the South Pacific very closely as they appear analogous to the 1997 run up to the 1998 event. So perhaps this time next year we will make a run for those records. In case you are wondering though, May 1 1997 wasn’t anything like this year. In fact we didn’t get up to the mid twenties until the middle of May 1997.

The end of an era – Port Alberni “A” Somass weather station retired from records.

In my travels yesterday I noticed a couple things and you may have noticed a couple changes.

#1 Environment Canada has released the 1981-2010 climate normals on their website. You can access it from the Climate Normals link in the Almanac. Once you are there just type in “Alberni” and our station will pop up.

This brings me to….

#2 When you type in Alberni you will be presented with this


Notice anything missing? What’s missing is this:


That would be the record for the station that was at the old Somass River Airport until the mid 1990s. It likely did not have a long enough period of measurements to warrant being used as a station of record for the 30 year period since 1981. That means Port Alberni now no longer has a climate record from a station near the City and at sea level.

In my opinion this is a big loss for the data gathered for our climate. We all know locally how different the weather can be between the Harbour and Airport or Great Central Lake areas. With the huge cuts to Environment Canada is unlikely we will ever see another official station in the heart of the City.

So what is the station of record now? Well of course we have the Airport station, but we won’t have a valid climate record from it until the 1991-2020 records are compiled next decade.

In the meantime, we have the Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery station. This is now the longest continuous weather station in the Alberni Valley (active since 1961) and while it isn’t perfect being as far from town as it is, it still represents the best record of climate we have. Over the past few months and years I have noticed a lot of missing data from this weather station and I’m worried that it is also going to be deactivated and lost as well which would mean we would lose that continuous record.

I have long been concerned that the Robertson Creek station might be in danger, so I am going to see if I can’t get some answers from Environment Canada on their intentions for the station and their willingness to see it maintained.

At the very least I would hope that it can be maintained until at least 2020 at which point it could conceivably be retired in favour of the Automated Airport station. That would give us overlapping climate record from 1991-2020 to compare between the two similarly placed stations.

In these times of dramatic changes to our climate, data is critical. Our unique climate on Vancouver Island is worth having a solid and continuous record. I would also say it is important to have an official measurement from sea level near the City, but I fear that ship has sailed for good.

Farewell Port Alberni “A” station, you served us well.

About The Author

3 thoughts on “Not quite records and Port Alberni “A” station gone for good.

  1. Remember Stu Woods broadcasting info from that station back when most of the feed on local radio was local?

    1. Stu Wood and George (can’t remember the last name). I did the yard maintainence for several years out there, along with the weekend records when they dropped to just 5 days a week being manned.

Comments are closed.