Last month was Charlottetown's 2nd warmest October ever recorded

It appears that October 2022 may be the second warmest October on record. (@nickjayphoto/Instagram - image credit)
It appears that October 2022 may be the second warmest October on record. (@nickjayphoto/Instagram - image credit)

October continued a long string of months of above-average temperatures at Charlottetown Airport.

"If you feel like October was warmer than normal, you're right," said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland.

"It appears that October 2022 may indeed be the second-warmest October on record."

It is unlikely any Islander remembers a warmer October. The record was set in 1913 with an average of 12.5 C.

Average temperature at Charlottetown Airport

The average temperature last month, combining daytime highs and overnight lows, was 11.9 C, 3.6 C above the normal. The daytime high was 16.3 C, a full 4 C above normal.

The temperature has been above normal for every month since July of 2021. Prof. Yuliya Rashchupkina, of UPEI's School of Climate Change and Adaptation, said that 15-month run is no surprise.

Carolyn Ryan/CBC
Carolyn Ryan/CBC

"It's expected," said Rashchupkina.

"We've been warned that the climate is changing and temperature rise is one of the main components."

While the weather was exceptionally fine in October, she said she wasn't always able to enjoy it.

If you think of longer term impacts ... it certainly makes me worried. — Prof. Yuliya Rashchupkina 

"It's nice … to be outside with friends and families and colleagues in this weather. But if you think of longer-term impacts, rising temperatures in summer, it certainly makes me worried," she said.

Those warmer summers will lead to higher demand for water and a greater need to cool homes and offices, and may require creating cooling stations for people who don't have air conditioning.

The strength of post-tropical storm Fiona has also been linked to climate change.

Persistent high pressure

Environment Canada is forecasting above-average temperatures for the month of November as well, including a rise into the 20s on Sunday.

The Island has been sitting in high pressure systems that have maintained a southerly flow of air, said Jim Prime, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, as well as bringing largely sunny skies.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

"If we had a low-pressure system that was affecting our area, that was mostly passing through Ontario and going into southern Quebec and transferring up to Labrador," said Prime.

"What that allowed us to do was keep into that warm air, but we never had kind of the low going over us or a cold front going over us which then switched us into the northwesterly flow."

Those were the conditions that kept the weather warm this summer as well, he said.

Prime is not as concerned as Rashchupkina about the implications of the current 15-month run of warmer temperatures.

"Over the long term they can really average out. We're near normal and this is just the weather pattern that we're in at this time," he said.

"I wouldn't want to make any conclusions based on what the weather pattern for this year or this long period of time is, but it is interesting to note."

A new normal?

Normal temperatures are calculated using 30-year averages, currently the period from 1981-2010.

Environment Canada is in the process of updating those climate normals, as it does once every 10 years, moving to a period from 1991-2020.

The process requires going through the daily records for every weather station in the country over that 30-year period, and that takes some time, said Prime. The pandemic has created additional issues. There are gaps caused by staffing issues or equipment problems that couldn't be repaired in a timely fashion.

Submitted by Deborah Cudmore Panton
Submitted by Deborah Cudmore Panton

At Charlottetown Airport, for example, the 2020 mid-May to mid-August preciptation data is missing.

"We don't want to have that skew the data," said Prime.

"It does take a long time to go through each individual site and make sure that all the data is correct and quality checked."

Environment Canada's transition to the updated normals is expected in March, he said.