What will summer be like in your part of Canada? Here's what The Old Farmer's Almanac has to say
Should you get the umbrella, or the sunscreen?
Last year we asked The Old Farmer's Almanac — the 228-year-old periodical that serves up everything from weather predictions to astronomical tables to recipes — for their Canadian winter forecast. They predicted it to be notably snowy across all regions and, judging by how much snow shoveling we did — they were right on the money. So, we checked back in with Managing Editor, Jack Burnett, for their summer forecast to find out whether or not we should stock up on shorts this year.
How climate change impacts forecasting
Though the Old Farmer's Almanac forecast is ultimately a "top secret process", involving a multitude of calculations and predictions based on historical patterns, Burnett says they're three years into a study on how to evolve the way they forecast, due to climate change.
Burnett describes the earth as "a gigantic heat sink", with the melting ice making way for the sun's energy to warm "dark" ocean water, that's never been warmed before. Such warming trends, especially during the current El Niño cycle — where water off of Central America is also warmer than normal — has led to generally warmer winters in North America. Climate change is also having an effect on Arctic Oscillation, a circular pattern of winds in the Northern Hemisphere, which goes through positive or "tight" phases (think of a figure skater twirling) and negative phases, where the circle's path loosens. Currently in a negative phase, with the addition of climate change, the Arctic Oscillation pattern is now disrupted, causing disturbed weather trends of 7-10 day streaks (heatwaves, rainy/flood periods, etc.), rather than longer, more stable conditions. "The more we learn about the environment", says Burnett, "the more we learn we don't know."
Some larger patterns are still holding true, as Burnett notes the earth is currently in a cooling cycle, relatively speaking. Now more than ever, Burnett believes "Citizens everywhere need to keep an eye on the big sky to figure out our little lives."
The Weather Network's Chief meteorologist, Chris Scott, gave CBC News his long-range forecast for the country, including ongoing wet weather for Ontario and Quebec and more hot and dry weather for most of Western Canada. Here's what the Farmer's Almanac calls for across the country.
Southern B.C. will find the last part of spring to be both rainy and cool, before entering a summer that is both cooler and drier than usual. The hottest periods will be felt in mid-to-late July as well as mid-August.
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will end the spring seasonably, with on and off periods of sun and scattered showers. Summer will see slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures. It will be rainier in the West and drier in the East, but nothing terribly extreme. The hottest temperatures will come early, in mid-June, and then at the beginning of July and August.
Southern Quebec will spend the next few weeks with showers and cycles of cool and warm weather, before entering a dry summer with typical temperatures. The hottest periods will come in late June and mid-August. Southern Ontario with see the end of a cooler and rainier spring followed by a summer that is… also cooler and rainier.
The Atlantic Provinces are finishing up a cool and dry spring and those conditions are likely to spill over into summer as well, with the hottest summer periods coming in early-to-mid-July and August. However, the area will see a tropical storm threat of intense winds during the last few days of August.
The Yukon will experience a relatively rainier spring than normal and their usual summer temperatures with the warmest periods occurring in mid-to-late June, mid-to-late July and early August. Coming off a cool and rainy spring, the Northwest Territories and most of Nunavut will see a summer that is both wet and warm, with the hottest peaks occurring early-to-mid July and then again from late July into early August.
What does that mean for us?
While summer may seem dampened by some wet and cool weather, Burnett is quick to note that these forecasts are well within normal temperature ranges, so there is nothing too out of the ordinary this season.
As far as crops are concerned, getting the rain and storms out of the way earlier in June and July is much better than having it in the prime harvest time of August all the way into October. If you have livestock on your property, now is the perfect opportunity to protect yourself against potential fire hazards, making sure there are no combustibles next to structures like barns and ensuring all outdoor animals have adequate shelter and windbreaks during storms.
And, while Burnett can't give us details about the oncoming winter just yet, he did issue this warning, "Use this summer time to prepare for fall and winter." Make sure your grounds are kept clear and all of the leaves are collected and disposed of through autumn, otherwise, you'll find yourself in a world of trouble if the snow comes early, as latent leaves and debris can kill your property and harbour pests.
Are you ready for the oncoming summer? Do you have some weather-wise tips to share? Shower us below.