Coming to a library near you!

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Prince Edward Island history comes to life in this first ever PEI weather trivia calendar of 365 stories about Prince Edward Island weather and its impact on Islanders’ everyday life.

Join us as we visit eleven community libraries, plus host a special launch event at The Pourhouse, for captivating stories and photos of PEI’s weather history over the past 150 years, shared by calendar authors Don Jardine and Adam Fenech.

FINAL Calendar Reading Tour Poster

 

A Warmer and Wetter than Normal September – UPEI Tracking Climate across PEI

By Adam Fenech and Don Jardine

The month of September 2014 was warmer and wetter than normal – the ‘climate normal’ being the average of 30 years of daily observations from 1981-2010. During the month of September 2014, the average temperature in Charlottetown was 0.4°C warmer than the climate normal of 14.1°C; and 16.3 millimetres (mm) or 17% wetter than the normal precipitation of 95.9 mm. The Climate Research Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island has established seven climate stations to begin tracking the local climates across the Island. These initial seven (7) stations have been established on private properties at Winsloe South, Flat River, Orwell Cove, Foxley River, Dingwell’s Mills, Argyle Shore and Cardigan Head.

All UPEI stations exceeded the 30-year monthly mean temperature at Charlottetown Airport (‘climate normal’) with the Orwell Cove station the warmest exceeding the climate normal by 1.4°C. The two stations in Kings County at Dingwell’s Mills and Cardigan Head recorded the coolest monthly mean temperatures at 14.4°C. The coldest daily temperature for the month at the UPEI stations was -1.7°C, recorded at Cardigan Head on September 20th. This did not break the extreme minimum temperature record for the month of September on Prince Edward Island of -3.3°C which was recorded at Long River, PEI on September 28, 1971. The maximum temperature for the month was recorded at Winsloe South and Foxley River at 27.8°C on September 5. Equally warm highs were reached late in the month on September 28.

These stations measured varied amounts of precipitation across the province during September 2014, but all were at or above normal.  The highest amounts were at Argyle Shore (although this station is an experimental new device that reports to your iPad and iPhone so its integrity and calibration need to be tested) and Cardigan Head. A significant rainfall event (storm) occurred on September 21st and 22nd depositing 71.1 mm at the UPEI Station at Cardigan Head. An Environment Canada climate station at Cable Head (St. Peter’s) reported a total of 90.8 mm during this event while the Environment Canada climate station at Charlottetown Airport reported 79.2 mm. This storm caused flooding in the southeastern section of Charlottetown near the Holland College Campus where students were photographed wading through knee-high water.

So while the Climate Research Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island is closely tracking the climate across Prince Edward Island, it is not the only one. Canada’s official Meteorological Service at Environment Canada maintains nine (9) hourly climate observation stations plus two (2) daily observation stations across the Island. Environment Canada also supports six (6) PEI climate observers who measure only the depth of snow in wintertime. Provincial agencies such as the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry (9) and the PEI Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (5) maintain climate observing stations for their own purposes, be it crop insurance or road conditions. There are many PEI volunteers who report their climate observations through the Weather Underground (14), a kind of citizen science program. And even the Confederation Bridge monitors the climate to report on bridge conditions.

UPEI’s Climate Lab is bringing all of these observations together into one dataset in order to report a current climate conditions map of Prince Edward Island (stay tuned) using the most stations reporting (should be about 46 stations). Over the next few years, the Climate Lab will also be establishing more climate stations on private properties. If you are interested in being a candidate for this equipment, please contact us.

. PEI’s first Weather Trivia Calendar for 2015 titled ‘Some Weather We’re Having’, is available for purchase at bookstores across the Island, Murphy’s Pharmacies and at the website peiweathercalendar.ca. The authors, Don Jardine and Adam Fenech, will be reading from the calendar at libraries across the Island starting at 6:30pm at Murray Harbour (November 3); Cornwall (November 5); Stratford (November 12); Breadalbane (November 13); Summerside (November 18); Montague (November 19); Borden (November 20); Souris (November 25); Hunter River (November 26); and Charlottetown (November 27).

. A fine night of music, food and drinks will re-launch the 2015 PEI Weather Trivia Calendar at the Pourhouse upstairs at the Old Triangle Pub on 89 University Avenue on November 4 starting at 7 pm.

Questions? Contact Adam Fenech at afenech@upei.ca or (902) 620-5220

CLIVE WINS!!!

clive

CLIVE, the coastal erosion visualization tool created by UPEI’s Climate Research Lab and the Spatial Interface Lab at Simon Fraser University, has taken first place in the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence contest on Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience.

Nearly 600 projects were submitted to MIT’s Climate CoLab for this year’s competition. CLIVE made it through several rounds of competition and broke through to the finals against two other projects. Through the support and votes from the UPEI community, CLIVE won the Popular Choice, as determined by online voting.

“I just want to say what a wonderful feeling it is that the UPEI community and campus were so supportive through the competition,” said Dr. Adam Fenech, Director of the UPEI Climate Lab. “To win because of the support of a community, that’s a nice feeling. I’ll not forget this.”

Dr. Fenech and members of his team will be travelling to Cambridge, Massachusetts to receive the award in early November.

To view a video on CLIVE, click here.

UPEI scientist at New York climate meetings

Adam_NY_092014Dr. Adam Fenech, Director of UPEI’s Climate Research Lab, presented CLIVE, the coastal erosion visualization tool, during Climate Week in New York City, recently. Dr. Fenech’s talk was one of a series showcasing innovative tools and planning methodologies at the Rising Seas Summit: Developing Resources to Inform Decision Making and Planning for Resilience.

CLIVE is the Coastal Impacts Visualization Environment, a sea level rise and coastal erosion video game, which allows users to fly over Prince Edward Island raising and lowering the sea level and turning on/off coastal layers to identify areas of risk and vulnerability.

Just days left left to #VOTE4CLIVE!

CLIVE_LennoxIsland_2mSLR_pluserosion_400pxTEASERCLIVE, the coastal erosion visualization tool created by UPEI’s Climate Research Lab and the Spatial Interface Lab at Simon Fraser University, has reached the FINALS in MIT’s CoLab Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience contest. Now it needs your votes to help it win the Popular Choice award. Click this link! and click “VOTE for this proposal.” It’s that easy!

Nearly 600 projects were submitted to MIT’s Climate CoLab for this year’s competition. CLIVE made it through several rounds of competition and broke through to the finals against two other projects. It is eligible for the “Popular Choice Award,” as determined by online voting, and for the “Judges Choice Award,” based on the project’s merits as determined by a panel of judges.

Voting is currently open and runs until September 30. Log on and vote to support this great co-initiative with SFU and UPEI!

The Summer of 2014: Hotter and Drier than Normal

Remember at the beginning of the summer when headlines across the country were saying that Prince Edward Island was in for a typical run-of-the-mill summer this year, and I was called upon to make a prediction. The Weather Network and Environment Canada said that the summer of 2014 would be “normal”; the Old Farmer’s Almanac said “warmer and wetter”; I said “warmer and drier”; and I had my colleague flip a coin (to demonstrate the integration of probability into the science of forecasting) who said it would be “colder and wetter”. Well, the observations are now recorded – the summer of 2014 was warmer and drier than normal.

Normally, a PEI summer (the months of June, July and August) has an average temperature of 17.6 degrees Celsius and receives about 28 cm of rain. This represents the “climate normal” or the average of 30 years of data, in this case the most recent climate normal titled 1981-2010.  Last year’s summer (2013) was 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than “normal”, and 30 percent drier than “normal”. But what about this year? Well, let the record show that the summer of 2014 was about 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than normal (even warmer than 2013) and about 10 percent drier than normal. Less than 1 degree Celsius warmer may not seem like much, but we must remember that the average global temperatures were only 6 degrees Celsius cooler during the last ice age when we had kilometres of glacier ice above our heads in North America. There were 15 extreme hot days during the summer of 2014, three more extreme days than the summer of 2013. “Extreme hot days” are defined by Occupational Health Canada as those days when the maximum temperature exceeds 27.5 degrees Celsius above which it is recommended that outdoor workers have a break every hour.

The summer weather continued to play havoc with our lives this year. Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, on P.E.I. for four days in June to mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, missed the morning scheduled events of the first day due to the wet and foggy weather that wouldn’t allow his plane to land on time. Post-tropical storm Arthur was the big weather story of the summer with strong winds sinking three boats in the yacht club in downtown Charlottetown, and cutting power to roughly 5,000 Maritime Electric customers. The storm caused the cancelling of all of the Saturday night performances of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival when travel woes grounded country-music stars Blake Shelton and Darius Rucker. And the PEI 2014 Celebration Zone at Confederation Landing in Charlottetown was closed the day following the storm while staff assessed the site for damage. Arthur also caused some crop damage to the Island’s ripe strawberries by the wind pushing the stems into the fruit. And while one of P.E.I.’s piping plover nests was lost in the storm due to flooding, these endangered species fared better than feared with all of the chicks surviving in the other nests.

The summer weather also brought some positive things. The approximately 200 blueberry farmers on P.E.I. had a bumper crop due to the heat this summer with a sizable yield of larger-than-usual berries. Tourism operators with the Harbour Hippo welcomed the summer’s warmth in July as they recorded sold out tours beginning in July. And several pool and hot tub companies on P.E.I. continued record sales from last year fuelled by this July’s humid weather.

As the sunshine and warmth turn to grey skies and cold, remember the summer of 2014 as one of warmth and dryness. And keep our fingers crossed as December approaches that the winter will not be as severely cold and snowy as last year.

. CLIVE, the coastal erosion visualization tool created by UPEI’s Climate Research Lab and the Spatial Interface Lab at Simon Fraser University, has reached the FINALS in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s CoLab Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience contest. Now it needs your votes to help it win the Popular Choice award. Register to vote at the  contest website (http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300801/planId/1309316). Nearly 600 projects were submitted to MIT’s Climate CoLab for this year’s competition. CLIVE made it through several rounds of competition and broke through to the finals against two other projects. It is eligible for the “Popular Choice Award,” as determined by online voting, and for the “Judges Choice Award,” based on the project’s merits as determined by a panel of judges. Voting is currently open and runs until September 30. Log on and vote to support this great initiative!

. Remember the 2015 PEI Weather Trivia Calendar can still be purchased at peiweathercalendar.ca or at your local Murphy’s Pharmacy.

Questions? Contact Adam Fenech at afenech@upei.ca or (902) 620-5220

Get voting! CLIVE reaches FINALS in an MIT competition

CLIVE_LennoxIsland_2mSLR_pluserosion_400pxTEASER

CLIVE, the coastal erosion visualization tool created by UPEI’s Climate Research Lab and the Spatial Interface Lab at Simon Fraser University, has reached the FINALS in MIT’s CoLab Communicating Coastal Risk and Resilience contest. Now it needs your votes to help it win the Popular Choice award. Register to vote at the contest website.

Nearly 600 projects were submitted to MIT’s Climate CoLab for this year’s competition. CLIVE made it through several rounds of competition and broke through to the finals against two other projects. It is eligible for the “Popular Choice Award,” as determined by online voting, and for the “Judges Choice Award,” based on the project’s merits as determined by a panel of judges.

Voting is currently open and runs until September 30. Log on and vote to support this great co-initiative with SFU and UPEI!

 

 

CLIVE to visit 8 Island Communities in July

Dr. Adam Fenech, director of UPEI’s Climate Research Lab, will tour Prince Edward Island communities in July to give demonstrations of CLIVE – better known as the CoastaL Impacts Visualization Environment tool.

This tool allows users to manipulate a 3-D map of Prince Edward Island with a video game controller and experience simulated erosion and sea-level rise and their impact on our infrastructure over the next 90 years.

Dr. Fenech will lead discussions about coastal erosion and sea-level rise, and the risk to homes, cottages, roads, and communities.

Attendees will be encouraged to share ideas about how we might best adapt to these conditions, and through CLIVE, view local areas that may be affected.

Demonstrations and discussions will be held at 8 locations across the island, as follows:

Tuesday, July 8                       Victoria, the Old School House on Victoria Road

Wednesday, July 9                  Souris, St. Mary’s Parish Hall

Tuesday, July 15                     Abram-Village, Rec Centre

Thursday, July 17                    Montague, Wellness Centre

Tuesday, July 22                     North Rustico, Lion’s Club

Wednesday, July 23                Charlottetown, Beaconsfield Carriage House

Thursday, July 24                    Summerside, Silver Fox Curling Club

Wednesday, July 30                Alberton, Community Centre

Each presentation will run from 7:00-8:00pm, with drinks and light refreshments provided.

The events are sponsored by the PEI Department of Environment, Labour and Justice, and by the Climate Research Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island.

A Hurricane in July on P.E.I.? Isn’t It A Bit Early?

News of Hurricane Arthur heading towards Prince Edward Island this weekend and dumping from 50 to 100 millimetres of rain with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour has the Island in a bit of a tizzy. Several weekend events in Nova Scotia have already been cancelled or postponed in anticipation of Arthur’s landfall. Concert organizers on P.E.I. are watching closely. I’ve been asked many times today, “Isn’t it a bit too early in the season for a Hurricane to affect P.E.I.?” Well, July is not too early at all. A new student to the UPEI Climate Lab, Jerry Jien, has been examining the historical records for hurricanes and has come up with some interesting facts about how hurricanes impact Prince Edward Island.

When we talk about hurricanes, we are really talking about large storms known as tropical cyclones. Most of the typical storms that we experience here on Prince Edward Island are the result of weather frontal systems coming in from the west or from the north. Tropical cyclones, however, are storms that come from the south with a characteristic cyclonic rotation around a central core or “eye” of the hurricane, with low atmospheric pressure and high winds. Tropical cyclones are formed in warm tropical waters of at least 28 degrees Celsius closer to the equator. Heat is drawn up from the oceans creating a ‘heat engine’ of tall convective towers of clouds formed within the storm as the warm ocean water evaporates. As the air rises higher, it cools and condenses releasing latent heat which causes even more clouds to form and feed the storm. Most of these tropical cyclones are accompanied by lots of rain and storm surges along the coastlines.

The classification of tropical cyclones is determined based on the hurricane’s strength of wind speeds and the damage it may cause ranging from tropical depressions (wind speeds less than 63 kilometres per hour) and tropical storms (wind speeds from 63 to 118 km/hr) to several types of hurricanes ranked using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale from 1 (wind speeds from 118 to 153 km/hr) to 5 (wind speeds greater than 251 km/hr).

Jerry examined all 338 storms that have affected Prince Edward Island since the year 1851, that is, all tropical cyclones that have travelled within 500 kilometres of the Island, known as a hurricane’s “zone of influence”. He found that July is not too early for tropical cyclones to impact P.E.I. In fact, 7 percent of all tropical cyclones impacting P.E.I. since 1851 occurred in July, 4 percent in June, and 3 percent in May. Surprisingly, the earliest tropical storm on record impacting P.E.I. in any given year occurred in February of 1952! Most of the tropical cyclones occur in September (38%), October (24%) and August (21%) with a few tailing off in November (3%). We only have to go back to 2006 to find a tropical storm that impacted P.E.I. earlier in the year than Hurricane Arthur – June 15, 2006 to be precise which brought 26 millimetres of rain and wind gusts of over  54 kilometres per hour.

Everyone asks the question: “Will climate change increase the number of hurricanes affecting P.E.I.?” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global community’s scientific authority on climate matters, released its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) last year concluding that they were “virtually certain” that there had been an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since the 1970s; and “more likely than not” that these intense tropical cyclones would increase in the North Atlantic in the late 21st Century. They did conclude that there was “low confidence” that humans had any influence on these observed increases in tropical cyclone intensity. Preliminary results from Jerry’s research have concluded a similar increase in tropical cyclone activity affecting Prince Edward Island (see graph below). Jerry will continue his Ph.D. work on tropical cyclones, and we’ll report any further findings at a later date. Decadal Changes

Note:

  • The month of June in 2014 was a little cooler (0.2 degrees Celsius cooler) than “normal” (14.5 degrees Celsius) and a little drier (10.8 millimetres drier) than “normal” (98.8 millimetres).
  • CLIVE, the Climate Lab’s visualization tool of sea level rise and coastal erosion, will be touring to eight communities across P.E.I. in July to view local areas that may be impacted, and to share ideas on how to best address the risk. See upei.ca/climate for full details.
  • Remember the 2015 P.E.I. Weather Trivia Calendar can still be purchased at peiweathercalendar.ca or at your local Murphy’s Pharmacy.

On the Road with CLIVE: PEI’s Coastal Erosion Visualization Tool

Dr. Adam Fenech, director of UPEI’s Climate Research Lab, will tour Prince Edward Island communities in July to give demonstrations of CLIVE-better known as the CoastaL Impacts Visualization Environment tool.

FINAL CLIVE Poster bleed tc E cmyk

This tool allows users to manipulate a 3-D map of Prince Edward Island with a video game controller and experience simulated erosion and sea-level rise and their impact on our infrastructure over the next 90 years.

Dr. Fenech will lead discussions about coastal erosion and sea-level rise, and the risk to homes, cottages, roads, and communities.

Attendees will be encouraged to share ideas about how we might best adapt to these conditions, and through CLIVE, view local areas that may be affected.

Please see poster for list of communities that CLIVE is scheduled to visit.