Alberni weather aficionado Chris Alemany with some of his weather gear behind his house.

Taking the Alberni Valley’s temperature

Average temperatures in the region have climbed anywhere from half a degree to two degrees in the past 100 years, Chris Alemany said.

  • May. 2, 2013 3:00 p.m.

Of all the major weather events to happen in the Alberni Valley in the past decade, the first to come to Chris Alemany’s mind is the storm of November 2006, which caused major flooding and high winds through the city.

Alemany, who has a weather station set up at his house, said at the time, he had recorded 115 km/hour winds.

“Our house literally shook from the winds; it was pretty memorable,” he said.

On April 18, residents came together at the Alberni Valley Museum to talk about the weather, following a presentation by Alemany, who built and maintains the alberniweather.ca website.

“We talked a bit about how cold it was in the past, skating on Loon Lake and other lakes around the Alberni Valley and how that doesn’t happen anymore,” Alemany said.

Using data from Environment Canada over the past century, Alemany presented average temperatures in the region, which have climbed anywhere from half a degree to two degrees in the past 100 years.

One of the most dramatic numbers, in Comox, shows the annual daily minimum temperature has risen from 4.8C in 1935 to 6.4C in 2011.

“That’s huge,” Alemany said.

Global warming was a topic for discussion during the presentation.

“It’s clearly happening and an issue,” Alemany said. “Just from going over so much weather for the weather website, I see a lot of recent research, and it’s not encouraging.”

It’s hard to specifically say, however, how global warming could affect the Alberni Valley.

“If anything, the biggest change we’re going to see in the valley, is that the jet stream is going to change our weather pattern,” he said.

“The only thing you can really be sure of is that temperatures are going to keep rising as long as C02 emissions keep rising.”

He added it’s interesting to note that April marks the 75th anniversary of the discovery of global warming, made by an amateur meteorologist, Guy Stewart Callendar.

“His hand drawn graphs showing warming still match very closely the warming we have measured today,” Alemany said. “His paper will probably go down in history as one of the most important ever published.”

As for the near future, Alemany said residents and especially farmers will want to take note of predicted dry weather for the next month.

“There’s been some long-term forecasts that show April and May are going to be fairly dry and hopefully warmer than normal,” he said.

With its position in a valley and different microclimates, the Alberni Valley presents an interesting subject for weather.

“We do really have a unique place because we’re on the inlet, which brings in a lot of weather right off the ocean – lots of rain and warm winds in the winter time – but then we get a lot of cold air that gets stuck in the Valley and we’re always colder than a lot of places. And in the summer we’re often hotter than everywhere else,” Alemany said.

Alemany created alberniweather.ca in 2005, in an effort to build a web page. The data collected from his home weather station feeds directly into the site and updates every minute.

Now, the computer tech by day, weatherman by night keeps a blog on the site, as well as other helpful features, such as the highway web cams for travelers.

“There are lots of late nights making sure it’s working, but for the most part, it pretty much runs itself,” he said.

“Everybody likes to talk about the weather ­–I’ve just taken it a little bit further.”

Information from the museum presentation will be uploaded to www.alberniweather.ca in the coming weeks.

* Niomi Pearson is a freelance journalist formerly of the Alberni Valley

Just Posted

Port Alberni workers to honour Day of Mourning on April 28

Annual event honours workers who lost their lives on the job

Tseshaht First Nation athlete honoured with provincial sports award

Rain Thomas competes in three different sports

Alberni Valley firefighters pass the boot for Muscular Dystrophy

Annual fundraiser started in 1967 with Port Alberni Fire Department

Cougars spotted in Sproat Lake neighbourhoods

ACRD director warns residents to keep children, pets close

Who are the Frozen Franklins? Find out at the Alberni Valley Museum

The museum and Echoes in the Ice exhibit are open April 20 during Easter weekend

VIDEO: Alberni Valley celebrates Easter weekend

Port Alberni children enjoy Easter egg hunts and spring activities

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Most Read