Summary October 2015 – Much Warmer than Normal- Significant Data Holes – Climate Change Fingerprints on Blob

After an anomalously normal September, October got back into the swing of things with very warm temperatures including multiple new short-term records set at the Airpot over the month.  Unfortunately, the Airport station is again showing disturbing unreliability for both its rain measurements and has even missed some days completely.  The stations that did report the entire month show about half the normal rainfall for the month and average temperatures for the whole month of between 2.5ªC and 4ºC above normal.  This matches with the predictions for the rest of fall and winter across all of Western and especially northern Canada.

October is looking like the beginning of really feeling the combined effects of El Niño and the Blob of warm water in the North East Pacific.  The bar is being raised by climate change… and the outlooks into December, January and February are looking very hot and very dry.  It’s not a good forecast for ski season.  In fact, this time last year it would have looked more hopeful than it does this year.  Lets hope that part of the forecast is wrong.


Enjoy the Summary and the data below!

Two separate studies in NOAA report link Northeast Pacific heat to human-caused climate change.

The NOAA has been releasing annual reports that compile together studies done to determine whether extreme weather events that have happened in the past year can been attributed at all to human-caused climate change. The 4th and latest report dealing with events in 2014, will be published in the December 2015 edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Of the 29 events, from droughts, to rain storms to snowstorms and hurricanes, investigated by 33 different groups, about half were found to have likely been influenced or made more likely by climate change.  I highly recommend at least flipping through the headline conclusions of each report.  It is interesting both for what they found and what they did not find.

Two that I did want to highlight though are related to the same thing, the abnormally warm North East Pacific sea surface.

Page 61:


Conclusion: According to CMIP5 models, the risk of record annual mean warmth in European, northeast Pacific, and northwest Atlantic regions—as occurred in 2014—has been greatly increased by anthropogenic climate change.

According to the CMIP5 models, the risk of events surpassing the extreme (second-ranked) thresholds set in 1997, 2006, and 2003 over the EPac, Europe, and WAtl regions is almost entirely attribut- able to anthropogenic forcing, with FAR above 0.9 for the ensemble model and almost all of the 10 individual models examined.

However, the greatest attribution is to Europe more so than the East Pacific regions, which are more influenced by natural variabilities like the PDO, more on that in the next study.


CMIP5 models suggest that human influence has increased the probability of regional high SST extremes over the western tropical and northeast Pacific Ocean during the 2014 calendar year and summer.

For the [North East Pacific], the probability of SST anomalies such as those observed during 2014 has become about five times as likely with human influ- ences. However, owing to large variability on interan- nual to multidecadal time scales, there is evidence for the likely role of natural internal variability.

That uncertainty from natural variability comes in the form of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and something new to me, North Pacific Gyre Oscillation.  However, what is most likely is that the ‘floor’ is being raised, as they conclude.

Both climate phenomena are associated with large anomalies in the NEP but not particularly associated with anomalies in the [West Tropical Pacific]. When such natural climate fluctuations act in conjunction with a warming background mean state, annual or seasonal regional extremes are highly likely to continue, resulting in extreme patterns similar to natural climate variability.

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 — Gradually Cooler but overall way above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. 

Here are the 16-day GEPS consensus graphs from SpotX for November.  Looking gradually wetter and slightly cooler as the month wears on. Notice the dew point stays above zero.  No cold snaps in the cards.
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.22.14 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.21.44 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.21.55 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.22.03 PM

Three-Month Forecasts 

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

Here is December, January, February period.  The heat in Canada, especially northern Canada is stunning. Remember that this is an ensemble, so it is a collection of models.  If you go to the link above you’ll see some models have anomalies more than 4-5C above normal in the north. It gets worse through winter and early spring.


Here is last month’s picture for the previous three month period.


Here is the Precipitation Forecast.  The models seem to have coalesced more around a much drier forecast.  Overall, this is a worst case scenario for ski season on the West Coast.


Last month’s forecast for the previous 3 month period.


And finally the Sea Surface Temperature anomaly. the heat in the NE Pacific remains and widens slightly though the El Nino zone does shrink slightly.


Last month’s picture for the previous 3 month period


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

 Pssst: Switch it to HD. 🙂

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

Five new Airport high temps, 1 new rain high,  no all time records.

  • October 3 high 22.2º C : #1 is 28.9º C in 1932 at Beaver Creek.
  • October 10 rain 31.0 mm: #1 is 41.7 mm in 1941 at City of Port Alberni.
  • October 18 high 18.8º C: #1 is 25.0º C in 1907 at Beaver Creek.
  • October 26 high 17.8º C: #1 is 21.1º C in 1908 at Beaver Creek.
  • October 30 high 16.8º C: #1 is 21.1º C in 1905 at Beaver Creek.
  • October 31 high 14.8º C: #1 is 18.9º C in 1925 at Beaver Creek.

*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.

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

Alberniweather9.0º C, 12.4° C, 17.4º C
Alberni Elementary School : 8.8º C, 12.4º C, 17.4° C
Maquinna Elementary School9.0º C, 12.0º C, 16.9° C
Neptune Canada Station9.3º C, 12.5º C, 17.8° C
Overall City Average: 9.0º C, 12.3 C, 17.4º C
Environment Canada Airport6.8º C, 11.9° C, 16.9º C

1981-2010 EC Normal (Robertson Creek)5.0º C, 9.8º C, 14.4° C

Precipitation for October 2015:

Alberniweather: 108.7 mm
AES: 112.0 mm
MAQ: 136.8 mm
NEP: NA (not measured)
Overall City Average: 119.17 mm
EC: 122.0 mm (9 Days Missing Data!)

1981-2010 Env Canada Normal (Robertson Creek): 219.8 mm

City Stations Temperature Difference from normal:
+4.0° C, +2.5º C, +3.1º C
Official (Airport) Temperature Difference from normal:
 +1.8º C, +2.1º C, +2.5º C
City Stations Precipitation difference normal:
 -100.63 mm (54.2% of normal)
Official (Airport) Precipitation difference from  normal:
 -97.8 mm (55.5% of normal)

NEW: Days of Precipitation for October 2015 (As recorded at Airport*).
>= 0.2 mm:  Normal: 17.3 : This Month: 22
>= 5 mm:  Normal: 9.0 : This Month: 7
>= 10 mm: Normal:  6.4 : This Month: 6
>= 25 mm: Normal: 3.1 : This Month: 1

*Denotes incomplete data for the month using Alberniweather to fill gaps on days missing from Airport.

Comparison to recent Octobers at Alberniweather (unless specified)

  • 2014: See the October 2014 Summary Here. A lot wetter last year and but it was actually even warmer last year.
  • 2013: See the October 2013 Summary Here (Parksville Flash Flood!). 2013 was extremely dry with only a few drier in the history of the Alberni Valley.
  • 2012: Warmer this year (2015) less rain.
  • 2011: Warmer this year (2015) more rain.
  • 2010: Warmer temperature and less rainfall 2015.
  • 2009: Warmer temperature and less rainfall 2015.
  • 2008: Warmer this year (2015) and same rain.
  • 2007: Warmer this year, and same rain 2015.
  • 2006: Similar temp 2015 but more rain.

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