The city of Calgary has been covered in smoke this summer, prompting a number of Special Air Quality Statements from Environment Canada.
People have been posting all kinds of photographic evidence online and commenting that this is the smokiest summer they can remember.
That observation has now been validated, after Calgary broke a smoke record at 12 p.m. Monday, according to data from Environment Canada.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, Calgary has recorded 321 hours of smoke this summer, breaking the old record of 315 hours set in 2017.
Environment Canada considers smoke hours to be caused by forest fires so their observational data covers the timeline of May to September.
With that framework in mind, a number of Alberta cities have set new records for the smokiest summer, including Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Grande Prairie. With the exception of Grande Prairie, all of the old records were set in 2017 (Grande Prairie’s old record of 134 hours was set in 1994).
Calgary’s third smokiest summer was in 2015, when 155 smoke hours were recorded.
The smoke in Alberta over the past two years far exceeds what is considered normal for smoke hours. Thirty-year averages show Calgary can expect around 12 smoke hours per summer. This year, Calgary has had over 26 times what is considered average.
According to Alysa Pederson, decision support meteorologist at Environment Canada,
“Calgary has so far had the most smoke hours in Alberta for 2018.”
Pederson warns there are likely going to be more smoky days this summer, starting as soon as Wednesday for some parts of central and southern Alberta.
As of early Monday morning, Calgary had over 125 consecutive hours of smoke, starting Aug. 15. There has been smoke recorded every day for at least part of the day since Aug. 7. The last full clear day was two weeks ago on Aug. 6.
The majority of the smoke the summer has come from forest fires in British Columbia, however some smoke has also trickled up from fires as far away as California.
Want your weather on the go? Download Global News’ Skytracker weather app for IOS and Android.