The winter deep freeze is barely behind us but B.C. has been warming up over the long term, says meteorologist Mark Madryga. He looked at Prince George, Penticton and Vancouver Airport (all have long-term weather data). “The averages I looked at compare the periods of 1961–1990 and 1981–2010, which gives some info about long-term trends,” he says. Snowfall has been decreasing and winter temperatures rising. Prince George, Penticton and Vancouver, respectively, registered 12%, 19% and 30% declines in annual snowfall.
Spring and summer temperatures have climbed too. “The average April temperature in Vancouver has trended higher on average, from 8.8 C in 1961–1990 to 9.4 C in 1981–2010,” says Madryga. Prince George increased from 4.7 C to 5.0 C; Penticton from 8.7 C to 9.1 C. “These slightly warmer springs make for an earlier spring freshet (snowpack run-off from snow melt).” Expect summer nights to be balmier too. “July temperatures, which correlate with summer, are rising both day and night, with more warmth showing up in the nighttime temperatures over time.”
What does it all mean? “Climate change is registering through B.C. It is particularly obvious with warming throughout the year and with significantly less winter snowfall. Similar trends are evident globally.”