For the record, I’m no expert on science, weather forecasting or climate affects.
With that out of the way, Canadian weather experts have stated this past year was not as cold across all regions of the country and saw less snow fall than normal fall in Canada’s most southern areas.
Weather or not that is an indication of warmer global affect, I have no idea.
However, I do know that 2018 was by far the strangest, most bizarre and significantly severe 12-month span of weather I’ve ever witnessed in this country.
While Environment Canada’s recent top 10 weather-related stories of the year showcases many of the historic and most publicized events, I’m going to focus on a few of the more relevant, local occurrences.
Starting with the winter that didn’t seem to want to end, grain producers were left in a huge lurch until late April and into May. While seeding for many was delayed by the cold, others remained slowed trying to figure out how to get off the crops that couldn’t be harvested the previous fall.
Sure, that’s not overly unusual for portions of Alberta, but the fact that nearly the entire province was affected and that it was the second straight year that farmers dealt with a late start made it somewhat strange.
What really was odd was the fact spring lasted for what seemed about a week. The weather went from chilly with frost to plus 15 degrees C with blazing sunshine in the span of only a few days.
And, then it stayed pretty much that way, which caused many more problems — with drought conditions hitting many fields and limiting yields.
Toss in the three weeks or so of winter experienced right in the middle of what was supposed to be harvest and it made this growing season even more odd and difficult.
Even with all of that, harvest managed to get completed with a somewhat average yield — albeit many hitting lower grades — following the return of fall that lasted into November.
Now while Alberta’s wildfire season was not nearly as hectic, the province was still highly affected by what was among the longest and largest season for our neighbour to the west.
Lighting up late, the severe heat combined with an extremely dry summer led to 25 major blazes being fought among the almost 2,000 separate fires during the season. Things were so bad at times that many fires were simply left to burn unless people or structures were threatened and that led to B.C. setting a new record of 460 fires being reported on a single day.
All of this led to huge plumes of smoke being carried over and covering nearly every inch of Alberta, but also affecting the air quality as far away as central Ontario.
From High Level and Fort Mac to Pincher Creek and Medicine Hat, the smoke and haze blanketed what should have been a blue sky for most of July and nearly all of August.
It made all sorts of outdoor activities and sports — baseball, soccer, football, running, etc — hard for many and nearly impossible for anyone with breathing issues. Even healthy people wound up having issues and limiting their time outside because it was so bad at times.
Though the combination of the smoke and the wave of heat that filled July and August made things worse and brought with it the strain on certain things people had come to rely on.
The provincial electrical grid was running at record levels on almost a daily basis because of everyone turning on fans and air conditioners in order to beat the heat and smoke. Meanwhile, many municipalities that had never even thought to come up with water restriction policies scrambled to figure out a plan after supplies became a concern as residents did whatever they could to survive.
I’m not stating these events on their own mean anything, but when put together as an ongoing trend — several straight years for greater extreme wildfire events, more and more strange weather occurrences, more abnormal and unpredictable patterns — it starts to make the case that the planet’s ecosystem is changing.
But that is…just an observation.