These are postings that originally appeared on the Net-weather forum. Due to the hostility of moderators and administration there (because of my refusal to accept all aspects of the IPCC theory of climate change) I am copying my material from Net-weather and posting it here for safer keeping. I suspect that the next move to be made against me will be removal of my postings or termination of account, so I want to act quickly to get ahead of that possibility doing permanent harm to the research material.
I am as interested in arctic climate change as anyone, but a lot of discussion goes on without much reference to actual data.
Cambridge Bay is located on the southern coast of Victoria Island, a huge and largely barren arctic island about the same size as Great Britain, and located between 68 and 73 degrees north latitude in the western arctic. The Inuit population of the eastern arctic have their own territory (Nunavut, or NU) and Cambridge Bay, a town of about 1500 population, is just inside its border while the western third of the island (and adjacent Banks Island) are in the Northwest Territories (NT). The weather station began operations in 1929 -- the airport is near sea level and just southwest of the town -- and the data from the years through 1939 are spotty at best. There are not enough continuous periods of observation to draw many conclusions about the local climate in that period.
Since 1940, the weather station has operated almost continuously, with a few missing stretches that must have been caused by staffing problems or perhaps loss of data. I have treated the data as continuous because very few days are missing, except where noted.
(added later _ After this section on Cambridge Bay, I will be adding similar data for Resolute, located in the central arctic islands to the northeast of Cambridge Bay _ look for that added information in the next few days).
The objective of this study is to pick some major climate features and study how these have varied, if at all, from the 1940s to the present time. I had read anecdotally that the climate in that region had warmed almost as much as the celebrated (wrong word probably) increases around Svalbard. The climate of the western Canadian arctic has little direct oceanic influence and is therefore probably more indicative of air mass frequency than changes to local modifiers. If ice cover has changed over the Beaufort Sea, it should be noted that Cambridge Bay is about as far from that body of water as Berlin is from the Atlantic Ocean, although similarly exposed to its west by mostly flat undulating terrain of Banks Island and then western Victoria Island.
Overview of the climate
Winter is of course very long and begins around the middle to end of September in most years with frequent snowfalls. Temperatures drop gradually through the range of -5 to -20 C by early November, with day to day variations. This first part of the arctic winter is windy and frequently stormy although snowfall amounts are typically light given their frequency. In a normal winter, about 25-40 cms of snow has accumulated by New Years and this coverage remains almost static but usually slowly increasing, as small top-up amounts in January to March are somewhat compensated by sublimation or settling (or redistribution by wind but that could also increase snow depth). Temperatures typically keep dropping through the two months of continuous darkness mid-November to late January, and bottom out in late January or February which is often the coldest month of the winter, with long spells around -35 to -40 not uncommon.
Lighter winds are noted by this portion of the arctic winter; it should be noted that despite tales of monster storms hitting arctic expeditions, most of the peak wind gusts noted at this and other arctic weather stations falls in the same range as we see in southern Canada, 80 to 110 km/hr. Wind gusts that strong seem to occur about three or four times a winter and often from directions between northwest and north-north-east, as the strongest low pressure systems of mid-winter are likely to be either heading due east (north of YCB) or situated off to the east around Resolute and looping around or dropping southward in the vicinity of the central arctic islands.
While March and April are hardly "spring" as we would know it, the human population finds the conditions more amenable to travel and outdoor activity, as there is often sunshine in the rapidly increasing daylight hours. By early May it is becoming light almost alll through the night and then comes two months of continuous daylight. While there can be significant storms in these three months, the average snowfall often drops off to 5-10 cms a month from its peak of about 15-25 cms in the early winter. There can be a secondary peak in snowfall just before the winter (or spring) gives way to arctic summer in early June. In a few years as noted, large snowfalls occurred in May or even early June before the main snowmelt began, but in other years this begins in the last few days of May. Going back through the entire winter-spring period, it can be added that rainfall almost never falls past mid-November at the latest or before mid-May, and there are seasons where roughly equal amounts of rain and snow fall, often on the same day, as a frequent synoptic pattern is for low pressure to track east along the northern Canadian mainland.
The summer is quite brief but can be intensely warm for the latitude. Heated air masses of Pacific origin from the Mackenzie valley region to the southwest are drawn in and suffer only slight cooling from having to cross narrow straits south of Victoria Island (and numerous mainland lakes that remain frozen into July). While lakes are less widespread on Victoria Island, any that are present can remain frozen almost into August and then start refreezing in late September. The summer weather regime begins to take hold in fitful periods of alternating damp chill and warming sunshine in late June, typically one or two days will reach 14-17C by then. With no darkness at night, the overnight lows are mild for the most part. By July, usually the warmest month, some long periods of warmth can be expected with highs into the 20s. However, even then, cold and rainy intervals are possible, as well as dank foggy spells. Snow is very rare from June 21st to August 15th. It tends to show up in about one third of late Augusts and in almost all Septembers. A typical September in Cambridge Bay would be rather similar to a November in the Lake Superior region of southern Canada, with bursts of heavy snow, some rain, and large swings in temperature, copious cloud and brief clear intervals that are much colder (especially if snow has fallen) but a rapid decline in temperature overall.;
This is a link to the 1981-2010 normals and period records (1929 to present) for Cambridge Bay.
Some of the extremes such as the highest temperature (28.9 C in 1930) occurred in those brief intervals of data collection before this study period begins in 1940.
Key Climate Indicators chosen for study
1. Coldest monthly mean temperature (winter rather than calendar year)
2. Lowest winter temperature
3. Deepest winter snow pack
4, Date of last snowfall
5, Date of last air frost
6. Change in snow cover reported April 30 to May 31
7, Warmest monthly mean temperature of summer
8. Highest summer temperature
9. Date of first air frost
10. Date of first snowfall
11. Date of first -20 C reading
Tables of these elements will be provided next. The snowfall season for dating first and last snow events arbitrarily runs from August 1st to June 30th so that any July snowfalls are noted by asterisks below the tables (there are only a handful). Any measurable amount is acceptable, traces are ignored.
The source of all data is Historical Data section of the Environment Canada website, monthly or daily data as required,
Analysis of trends and variability follows the data tables.
Using 1940 (or first reported year) as a guide, this is how to read the table.
Element 1 __ -296F __ Feb mean -29.6 the lowest monthly mean of 1939-40.
Element 2 __ -467F __ Min of -46.7 Feb coldest reading of winter 1939-40.
Element 3 __ msg ___ maximum snow depth from end of month which is the only time actually reported 1949 to 1954, or any other date if can be established -- for example in 1950 with 43 cm at end of April and May, estimated 46 cm on May 20 as first 20 days had 5 cm snow in small amounts, and sustained cold, then last eleven days little snow and some minor melting likely, so best estimate would be a slight increase to 20th then a decrease back to the late April value -- as there was no snow depth data until 1948, this column is "msg" until data begins -- where available, the report is an amount in cms followed by a date in number form, e.g. 46/140 for 1950 means 46 cm on May 20. When looking at these dates, remember that every fourth year (with data) after 1944 will be a leap year. Also, the date cited is the last date of the spring season where the amount is sustained for more than one consecutive day (for example in April 1962 the amount 25 cm was reported every day of April so April 30 is chosen as the date).
Element 4 __ 167 __ last snow of season June 15th -- entry is once again date number, typically in June when day 152 is June 1st and 181 is June 30th (non-leap-year). (153 to 182 in leap years). An asterisk beside this number will indicate a July snowfall event, details will be provided at end of tables. Since first posted, I have changed the logic of this to use the July date in the table and make the comment to indicate the earlier pre-July date. Basically, a snowfall season at Cambridge Bay normally winds down in early to mid June and resumes in late August. July and early August events are sometimes outliers, and sometimes more connected to the fading or emerging winter seasons depending on details.
Element 5 __ 205 __ air frost occurred on July 23rd day 205 of leap year 1940. There were frequent air frosts to end of June that year. Latest date accepted for this is July 31st then August 1st could be the earliest frost of the next cycle (same year).
Element 6 __ msg __ when available, this will be the difference of April 30 minus May 31 snow cover. e.g., --5 will indicate a loss of 5 cms. Zero indicates no change and any positive numbers indicate a net gain in snow cover in May. This element will track a vital precursor portion of the length of the arctic summer and melting period.
Element 7 __ 80J _ Indicates that the warmest month of 1940 was July with mean of 8.0. When it's June, the J will be replaced with jun. (The daily max in 1968 is the first case where June qualifies). August (A) will be the other month that might appear in this column. It is usually July.
Element 8 __ 172J _ Indicates that the warmest temperature of summer 1940 was 17.2 in July (same protocol for June or August as above).
Element 9 __ 215 __ First frost occurred August 2nd. This was an unusually cold day with a high of only 4.4 and a trace of snow. The range of this element will normally be mid-August to early September.
Element 10 __ 286 __ First snowfall in winter 1940-41 was October 12th. This is unusually late and looking at the September data one has to question whether some snowfall in September went unreported. This is not a general problem in the later records. When available, first snowfall from August 1st on, by date number. In non-leap years, August runs from 213 to 243 (214 to 244 in leap years). September runs from 244 to 273 (or 245 to 274 l.y.). This is the range that will usually be found here.
Element 11 __ 325 __ First -20 minimum occurred on November 20th in 1940. The range for this variable will be late October to early December. This is often a rough indicator of when ice will be sturdy enough for travel near shore at least.
Key Climate Indicators 1940 to 2016 -- part one 1940 to 1970
YEAR __ 01 ___ 02 ___ 03 ____ 04 ___ 05 __ 06 __ 07 __ 08 ___ 09 ___ 10 __ 11
1940 __ -296F_ -467F_ msg ___ 167 __ 205 _ msg _ 80J _ 172J _ 215 _ 286 _ 325
1941 __ -326J_ -433J_ msg ___ 147 __ 180 _ msg _105J _ 206J _ 217 _ 244 _ 293
1942 __ -366F_ -467F_ msg ___ 162 __ 179 _ msg _105J _ 211J _ 237 _ 252 _ 305^
1943 __ -337J_ -467J_ msg ___ msg$__ 173 _ msg _103A _ 194J _msg%_msg%_296
1944 __ -340F_ -433F_ msg ___ msg!__ 176 _ msg _ 72J _ 172J _ 239 _ 285 _ 300
1945 __ -315F_ -456J_ msg ___ no summer or Sept data for these stats ______ 293
1946 __ -372F_ -483F_ msg ___ 146 __ 190 _ msg _ 75J _ 194A _ 220 _ 256 _ 284
1947 __ -343J_ -467J_ msg ___ 135 to May 31 but no June to mid-Jan 1948 data __
1948 __ -349F_ -467F_ 13/121 _ 172 __ 175 __ 0 _ 110J _ 233J _ 240 _ 257 _ 287
1949 __ -380F_ -482F_ 41/151 _ 191*__ 190__+3 _ 82A _ 200A _ 237 _ 236 _ 287
1950 __ -391J_ -478F_ 46/140 _ 174 __ 177 __ 0 __ 63J _ 156J _ 227 _ 226 _ 293
1951 __ -372F_ -461F_ 45/110 _176#__ 178 __-5 _ 73A _ 228A _ 228 _ 254 _ 289
1952 __ -357F_ -450J_ 47/110 _ 130 __ 187 _ -18 _ 81J _ 200J _ 236 _ 244 _ 290
1953 __ -366J_ -461J_ 59/144 _ 175 __ 179 __-2 _ 77J _ 194A _ 230 _ 272 _ 293
1954 __ -338J_ -478F_ 38/120 _ 178 __ 179 _ -15 _110A_ 233A_ 246 _ 248 _ 289
1955 __ -382F_ -506F_ 42/147_ 171 __ 196 __ 0 __ 78J _ 233J _ 245 _ 251 _ 305
1956 __ -386F_ -456F _ 50/146 _ 203*__ 204 __-7 _ 94J _ 222J _ 237 _ 258 _ 285
1957 __ -371F_ -462F _ 46/150 _ 168 __ 179 __+2 _ 66J _ 189J _ 225 _ 258 _ 294
1958 __ -393F_ -483F _ 58/126 _ 159 __ 173 _ -12 _ 88A _ 167J _ 250 _ 270 _ 301
1959 __ -325F_ -433F _ 53/162 _ 174 __ 177 __+7 _ 61J _ 172J _ 238 _ 249 _ 290
1960 __ -348J_ -483J _ 25/152&_134 __ 175 _ -17 _ 92J _ 239J _ 250 _ 260 _ 290
1961 __ -377M_ -461M _20/143 _ 168 __ 176 __-5 _ 98J _ 211J _ 239 _ 251 _ 278
1962 __ -367F_ -483J _ 23/120 _ 152 __ 162 __ -8 _ 94J _ 228J _ 231 _ 247 _ 294
1963 __ -362M_ -456J _ 33/139 _157 __ 176 __ -5 _ 73J _ 189J _ 235 _ 243 _ 282
1964 __ -380J_ -483J _ 30/126 _ 195*__ 196 _ -15 _ 72A _ 211J _ 249 _ 255 _ 289
1965 __ -376F_ -467F _ 36/ 72 _ 158 __ 184 __ -7 _ 73J _ 167J _ 242 _ 243 _ 287
1966 __ -383J_ -494JF_ 20/135 _ 145 __ 176 _-17 _ 94J _ 189J _ 247 _ 260 _ 285
1967 __ -369F_ -467J _ 20/154 _ 150 __ 189 __+7 _ 65J _ 228J _ 225 _ 245 _ 296
1968 __ -351J_ -472JF_ 51/148 _ 191*__ 184 _-11a_ 63J _ 189jun 216a_215a_301
1969 __ -340J_ -439J _ 28/121 _ 177 __ 184 _ -18 _ 91J _ 228J _ 243 _ 261 _ 301
1970 __ -348J_ -439J _ 18/144 _ 172 __ 172 _ -15 _ 94J _ 200J _ 229 _ 244 _ 279
means _ -359 __-466 __37/134 _ 166 __ 182 __ -7 _ 84 __ 202 __ 235 _ 253 _ 293
freq ___ J 12 __ J 14 ________________________ Jun 0 _ Jun 1
_______ F 17 __F 16 ________________________ Jul 23 _ Jul 23
_______ M 2 __ M 1 _________________________Aug 6 _ Aug 5
(frequency is 0.5 when months tied).
(last snow avg date 162 if only pre-July cases used and 164 if all July cases but the 1956 outlier are used.)
1971 __ (note, data 1971 to 2017 will appear in the next post to keep this one manageable and so that the notes below are closer to the years that they reference.)
$ _ no precip data June 1943, temps sometimes suitable for snow to 15th.
^ _ temp data msg 302-303, no -20 readings on days with data in October 1942
% _ all data msg Sept 1943, no air frosts or snow in August which was unusually warm
! _ no data May 1944, data but no snow June 1944, value 152 or lower
* all July snowfall notes
_ * In July 1949, a very cool month, 1.3 cm snow July 10 (after 0.3 cm 8th) can be considered the actual last snow as this did not happen after any substantial warmth, so when assessing trends will use 191 as value here. The date of the last pre-July snowfall was day 174 (June 23rd).
_ * In July 1956, 1.5 cm snow fell on July 21st during an otherwise rather warm month, and this was followed by an air frost, otherwise the latest frost had been June 16th (day 168). This is so far the only case of a true mid-summer outlier. Its value in terms of days is 203. The last snowfall before this had been on day 157 (June 5th in this leap year).
_ * In July 1964, 0.5 cm snow fell on July 13th, and there was little sustained warmth until after this event, so that the value 195 is probably appropriate. The last snowfall pre-July was on day 175 (June 23rd).
_ * In July 1968, 0.8 cm snow fell on July 9th, and the value 191 is probably appropriate. The last snowfall pre-July was on day 169 (June 17th).
# _ The last snow June 26 1951 was unusually heavy, 11.9 cm, None was reported as snow depth by June 30 despite ongoing chilly temperatures.
& _ A snow depth of 25 cm was reported from late December 1959 into early May 1960, not sure if this value is reliable or not (total snowfall was rather low so probably close, but the never-changing value over five months suggests a data recording problem or perhaps a frozen snow pack with small amounts being blown away from the site).
a _ There were several odd features to the end of winter and summer of 1968. The snow depth increased steadily from 36 cm to 52 cm during May, peaking on the 27th, then rapidly diminished to 25 cm. Then with late frosts and snowfalls noted under * there was no real summer at all, and unusually early snowfall and frost was noted in the first three days of August. After that no further snow fell until September 2nd (day 246). Temperatures from mid-September to mid-October were considerably above normal.
(continues next post)
(will edit for style and spacing later)