EDMONTON – For months we’ve been hearing about the “super” El Ninõ, and it’s warm and dry effect on our city. And in the contest of warmest years on record — 2015 lost, but only by a fraction of a degree.
Dan Kulak, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said that “out of the past 12 months, there was only one month that was below normal” for temperatures, and that was in February.
“September was right on the normal mark,” Kulak continued, saying that the other 10 months were warmer than the long-term trends.
Most notable were March and October 2015, where average daytime highs sat at least 4°C above the 30-year average.
As a whole, daytime highs in 2015 averaged at 11.3°C, about 2°C warmer than normal, making it the third warmest year in a century.
In 1981 and 1987, average temperatures were slightly warmer at 11.5°C. You’d have to look back 126 years to find the next warmest year on record, when average daytime highs were 11.7°C in 1889.
While it may not have felt like it lately, Kulak thinks that the warm and dry conditions from 2015 will continue through the winter and into the spring of 2016.
“The latest predictions that we have for the El Ninõ is that it is in the mature and strong phase right now, and will probably be weakening through the spring,” to what’s called ‘El Ninõ neutral.’
“The longer term forecast for the spring for western Canada is the average condition being above normal.”
But that won’t stop Old Man Winter from delivering harsh weather from time to time.
“Storm systems can do their own thing within the larger average weather pattern,” Kulak explained. “We can still get a storm sometime this winter for Edmonton that’s going to give us a 25-centimetre snowfall in 24 hours.”
“I’m not saying that it’s going to happen, but it’s no less likely than any other year.”