Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's Going to Be an Interesting Winter

1997 saw a record El Nino.  It bore more energy than a million "Hiroshima" atom bombs.

By the time it had run its course eight months later, the giant El Niño of 1997-98 had deranged weather patterns around the world, killed an estimated 2,100 people, and caused at least 33 billion [U.S.] dollars in property damage.

Brace yourselves.  We're just months away from another El Nino and it's shaping up to be considerably more severe than what we got eighteen years ago.  

As for Canada, here's the 1997 recap from Envirocan:

It was one of the balmiest starts to winter in the west on record, bringing an unthinkable green or brown Christmas to Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. On the negative side, El Nino wrecked havoc with the construction of ice bridges and winter roads in the North, and generally caused grief for people who depend on seasonably cold and snowy weather. The warm "chinook-like" winds were also blamed for tinder dry grasslands that fuelled voracious wildfires in southern Alberta.

What truly made the weather remarkably unseasonable was that a year ago much of the Prairies had more than 100 cm of snow on the ground, and nighttime temperatures were between -20 and -30°C. In 1997, El Nino seemed to be turning the world upside down with knee-deep snowfall in Guadalajara (the first time in 116 years), and the fact that it was warmer on the Canadian Prairies than in Mexico City. El Nino mildness didn't make it all across Canada. Atlantic Canada suffered through one of its coldest and snowiest starts to winter on record.

Even though El Nino is something that occurs in the eastern Pacific, its impacts are felt worldwide and they vary from continent to continent and, within continents, from region to region.

For those needing a more scientific explanation, Chris Farley has you covered:


John's Aghast said...

'...eight years ago...'? Or 18 years ago?

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, John. You get to an age when 8-years, 18-years - not much difference. Thanks. Duly corrected.

Steve said...

Harpers economic plan is to heat up the world until only Russia, Canada and NZ are habitable. We win yeah!

Anonymous said...

Anyong said.....Yup! And Shell gets the final go-ahead to drill for oil in the Arctic....