‘Expecting the unexpected’: Experts say it’s hard to determine how 2023 weather will compare to other years

How does the weather in 2023 compare to previous years?

One expert said it was about “expecting the unexpected, it’s part of forecasting”.

Climate change is “clearly part of our landscape now,” said Armel Castellan, an early warning meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“If we look back at northern Canada, we’ve seen this many times over the past few years, if not decades.”

However, Castellan said he did see comparisons to a few different years: 2012 and “to some extent last year.”

But when it comes to exactly how 2023 will compare to previous years in terms of weather, Castellan said it’s “delicate” when it comes to the province’s update on the spring fresh air and wildfire season.

British Columbians in the southern part of the province are likely to enjoy a cooler spring, but a lack of rainfall since last fall could lead to an increased risk of summer drought and wildfires, officials said.

“The key is in the finer details of the 10-day, two-week forecast, and we’ll start to see events that really impact the dangerous season.”

David Campbell agrees.

“We need to look at what the weather looks like week-to-week throughout the year and how the river system responds to it,” explained Campbell, director of the B.C. River Forecast Center.

“We’re dealing with real wildcards and that’s the point we want to make,” he added, adding that the uncertainty over the coming months “really moves things forward”.

“We know we’ve experienced things like thermal domes. We know extreme rainfall, and looking back at recent years, seasonal rainfall in the Okanagan for example in 2017 did play a role in raising the risk there.”

Meanwhile, Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Preparedness, said the “climate crisis is already here” with extreme weather events “more frequent, more severe, longer lasting and more impactful”.

“In fact, in recent years, we’ve also seen that the time between these extreme weather events is decreasing, which means that it’s not uncommon for communities to actively recover from a previous event and then face the next one,” she said .

“These cumulative events do impact a lot of communities and, unfortunately, may become more common over time due to climate change.”

– File from Wolfgang Depner

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