Published data were used to analyse the long-term annual temperature trends at ten locations located in the western and northern regions of Canada. Stations were located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Similarities in the trends for individual stations enabled a comprehensive trend to be established for the whole region.
The data used were all from the website of KNMI (the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute). Only raw data were used (ie as originally recorded, without any adjustments). Data were only used from stations located in rural areas or in small towns so as to avoid the possible influence of urbanisation on the temperatures.
The periods of the data ranged from 63 years to 127 years(the earliest record, at Prince Albert, commencing in 1884). Two stations, Cambridge Bay and Eureka, are located within the Arctic Circle.
The plots shown below are of the annual mean temperatures at each of the ten locations. On each plot a polynomial “best fit” trendline has been added. It should be noted that the trendlines near each extremity (ie near the start and end of the records) are quite sensitive to individual data points, whereas trendlines within the main body of the record are much more stable and reliable.
COMPARISON OF TRENDLINES
Annual Mean Temperature Trends
[ The basis of these trendlines can be seen from the analyses for the nine individual stations – see next section ]
Annual Mean Temperature Residual Trends
[ The individual trend-lines have been adjusted by constant amounts to be approximately zero at the trend peak around 1920-1940 ]
ANNUAL MEAN TEMPERATURE TRENDS FOR INDIVIDUAL STATIONS
Prince Rupert (British Columbia, Canada) 1908-2015
Banff (Alberta, Canada) 1888-2015
Fort Nelson (British Columbia, Canada) 1936-2015
Dawson (Yukon, Canada) 1897-2015
Fort Smith (Northwest Territories, Canada) 1928-2015
Prince Albert (Saskatchewan, Canada) 1884-2015
The Pas (Manitoba, Canada) 1910-2015
Churchill (Manitoba, Canada) 1884-2015
Cambridge Bay (Nunavut, Canada) 1929-2015
Eureka (Nunavut, Canada) 1947-2015
DISCUSSION AND COMMENTS
- The data analysed was limited to that which were available on the KNMI website.
- The annual mean temperature trend-lines for seven of the ten stations are remarkably similar with the exception of Banff, Fort Smith and Cambridge Bay.
- A well-defined cyclical pattern in the trend-line is apparent at seven of the stations. A Low occurred in around 1960, and Highs occurred in around 1930 (but varied between 1920 and 1940) and 2010, indicating a cyclical wavelength of about 80 years.
- The ~2010 peak was generally about 0.3-0.9 deg C higher that that in ~1930.
- The ~1960 trough was generally about 0.2-1.1 deg C less than the peak in ~1930.
- Banff and Fort Smith did not show any trough around 1960.
- Cambridge bay shows an decrease in temperature trend exceeding 1.5 deg C between 1940 and 1960.
- The consistency of the annual mean temperature trend-lines at seven of the ten widely separated stations provides support for the good quality of the data and the conclusions drawn from the analysis. Banff, Fort Smith and Cambridge Bay are outlier records (the reasons are unknown).
- There is no evidence of alarmingly increasing temperatures in recent years (except, perhaps, at Churchill). Conversely, there is strong evidence that a peak in the temperature cycle was reached in about 2010 and a decrease in the annual mean temperature of around 0.5 deg C could be anticipated to occur in the next 30-40 years.
This article was written by Brian Gunter of Narooma, NSW. In his previous life Brian was an engineering hydrologist involved over many years in the analysis of rainfall and river flow data for the planning of water resources projects in Australia, Asia and Africa. In recent years he has been one of the Marine Rescue NSW (previously Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol) volunteer weather observers who operate the Narooma station for the Bureau of Meteorology.