With 2019 in the rearview mirror, we’re at a great point in time to be able to reflect on not only the year but the decade that was in terms of weather in our part of the globe.
To open the conversation on that topic, I was able to download historical data for Brandon from local weather stations and take my best shot at comparing the 2010s to not only the previous decade but the past 60 years in the city. The results based on that data should be seen as unofficial (I’m not a meteorologist) but they provide one potentially valuable look into trends we may be seeing in our area as part of wider global trends.
Based on my calculations on that data, the mean temperature for Brandon at the airport station for the period of 2010 through 2019 showed 2.33 degrees. The mean is come up with by taking the average of daily high and low temperatures, with this data focusing on the Brandon airport station that one usually sees by default on local weather pages. In a small handful of cases where data for a particular day was missing, values from other Brandon stations were substituted in order to come up with data that rounded out full years.
That 2.33 mean temperature for the 2010s compares to 2.14 degrees during the previous decade and 1.89 degrees for the 1990s.
Interestingly the 2010s came in where they did despite an unusually cold 2019, which at an average 0.91 degrees ranked as the coldest of the past five years thanks in no small part to a February that came up as the second-coldest since 1960. Looking at the other side of the coin, three of the nine warmest years in the results that go back to 1960 all fell during the 2010s (2016 at 4.27 degrees, 2012 at 3.78 degrees and 2010 at 3.09 degrees) making for a decade with its share of extremes.
Looking back further, due to two abnormally warm years my calculations on the data show the 1980s with a mean of 2.46 degrees. The 1970s came in at 1.36 degrees and the 1960s at 1.42 degrees, almost a full degree less than the 2010s.
Overall the mean of all of the past 60 years at the airport location came in at 1.97 degrees.
It would be great to hear others’ thoughts on trends they’ve come across in the same or other data.
The overall trend for the decade from this exercise relative to the 1960s would seem to be consistent with Canada’s Changing Climate Report, which states Canada’s average temperature over land as having risen by a best estimate of 1.7 degrees from 1946-2016. The same report states that while human and natural contributions exist in the rise, the human factor is dominant. Via the report, future rises are projected under both low and high emission scenarios with global temperatures estimated to increase between 1.0 and 3.7 degrees by late 21st century.
2020 is off to what some might see as a roller coaster of a start, with above normal weather in early days having recently given way to frosty temperatures and windchill values. The mean to-date through Saturday is -13.2 degrees, sure to get more than a little help from the inevitable warmup into the summer months!