How cold it has been relative to recent decades? - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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How cold it has been relative to recent decades?

I live on the northern edge of the Chinook belt in Alberta. I'd never gone looking, but it always seemed like it was rare to go more than a week without getting above freezing. And the forecast never seems to correctly predict how fast and when it will warm up, so this year, I kept assuming that this would be no different, but it wasn't. When this spell is over, it will be 37 days of below zero highs, mostly way way below zero. I just went through environment Canada monthly records back to 1993(weather station changes prior to that).

The longest cold spell was in the mid 90's at 22 days, a few more 14 ish day spells where it never got above zero.

Conversely, there are many more January's and February's where there were only 2 to 6 days in the entire month with highs that WEREN'T above zero. For example, Feb 2016 had only 2 days with highs below freezing, both at -0.9C

Our average HIGH in Feb 2019 was -12.4, I found many Jan's and Feb's with average LOWS, much higher than that, in fact, the normal Feb average low is only -15.

Many months in that period with AVERAGE highs well above zero, Dec 99 was had an average daily high of +6 C for example.

So, it wasn't my imagination that this was extremely long or cold, or that we normally rarely go a week without getting above zero.


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 06:37 PM
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My recollections are similar to yours. The last few winters have had much longer cold spells and very few chinooks. From what I've heard, this is the third coldest February on record here in Alberta. Apparently the reason for this could be the weakening jet stream, which usually keeps the colder air circulating near the pole.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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The station moved NE for a period, then was back close to its original prior to 1985(I'm working backwards...) So, I kept searching between the two sites.

Found a close to record long cold spell. Dec 92 to Jan 93, at 35 days, but the average temp was way higher than the one we are enduring during this 37 day period.

Another noteworthy month, Feb 1984, average daily high, +7 C, only one day below zero all month.

Dec 80 through Jan 81, was a 33 day period with all above zero highs. January average high of +5.3 C. With Nov averaging 7C

Found a 26 day period with no above zero highs around Christmas of 78, but average highs are still way warmer than this current pattern.

Prior to 78, they claim there is data, but keeps coming up as not available or under review, so that is as far as I can go. Any station further north or east of that would be drastically different during Chinook season, so no point in trying to compare the data. South gets drastically warmer in mid winter, so no apples to apples comparison available. I'm sure temperature records in the period just prior to the end of that last cold spell, (where they just so happen to start measuring CAGW from)going missing, or needing modified has nothing to do with needing to prove a certain political ideology either.

So within the records available, this is the longest and coldest spell, here anyways.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Edit, I somehow made a duplicate post. Not sure how to delete it completely. Edit again, now I see a delete button...

Not sure if anyone else is interested or not ( thanks Torriem), but I'll post it in the public realm for at least my own reference down the road. Weather fascinates me.

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Last edited by jvw; 03-08-2019 at 07:02 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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One other item of note. I often claim that we can get 30, 40, even 50 degree temperature swings around here, and it turns out, I wasn't exaggerating.

The only really common theme in all the data I saw was wild swings. I would leave one month, with a string of -20's to see the previous left off at +10, and assumed I must have skipped a month, but no, that was just normal.

Wasn't really looking for them, but saw some 30 degree swings within one calendar day, and 40 to 50 degree swings within a couple days.
We went from +14 to -36 within just over 2 days at the beginning on this cold spell this winter.
Not unusual for our forecast to have an abnormal temperature warning where it cools off drastically during the day, or warms up drastically at night.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 07:55 PM
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Quite intriguing, when you spell it out like this. Until early "80's everyone snowmobiled here. After mid 80's you had to go to the mountains to put any miles on those machines. It would snow, but the chinooks seemed to immediately take it away, sometimes not even leaving any in the ditch banks. This year, snowed all September, then nothing til end of January. And that snow is still here.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 08:26 PM
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I just had a similar conversation today with a buddy. He had heard a climatologist talk at a meeting last winter and the climatologist stated that if old timers think long ago the winters were harder, you were correct. He states that we are in a 40 year cycle and the part of the cycle we're in now is the warmer, drier winter cycle. According to him, this weather cycle is to end around the year 2020. The piss pounding we took this winter has me thinking he is correct.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 09:07 PM
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My dad and his brothers did a lot of snowmobiling when they were teenagers in the 70s. But when I was young we didn't do any really, because we never had consistent snow. Most Christmases when I was between the age of 10 and 18 seemed to have been be brown and warm. Now I'm not sure what is normal.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2019, 12:48 AM
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Food for thought..... today was the first time since the first week of January it has gotten warm enough to start melting the roads, only the ones with salt on them. Can't remember what the temp needs to be to start melting snow and ice with salt, above -20 or something like that. So about 60 days since we have been above that temp. Hydro bills will make you retch. And no I'm not exaggerating. I remember in around 1995 it got to -30 every night for a month, it stands out in my mind because I was working at the high school I went to after classes so had to plug my truck in at school so it would start.

It's easy enough to be pleasant, when life goes by like a song. But the man worth while, is the man with a smile, when everything goes dead wrong!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 10:55 PM
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Few years back i came across a guy that has linked tree ring data with how the moon orbits the earth. The moon doesn't orbit the earth on the same path, it moves around.

Lunar procession, nodes, inclination, yada yada yada. Anyways we have a Lunar Standstill every 18.6 years, that number matches pretty good with the weather patterns in my area.

So yeah, moon guy is as good as any weather guy in my book. Instead of a 40 year cycle, i'd guess it's probably two 18.6 year cycles, give or take a few years.

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