April 21, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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Summer 2023: Quebec enters uncharted territory

Published on May 25, 2023 at 9:55 pm

A new paradigm threatens to change a particularly favorable summer sequence in Quebec. Explanations.


Hot line

The last five summers in Quebec have been classified as warm. In this row, if the 2023 edition of the beautiful season is hot, it will be the first time six in a row. In fact, all of these summers rank among the 15 hottest summers on record. However, the situation may change this year. Indeed, a major player threatens to disrupt North America’s atmospheric environment.

“The establishment of an El Niño event favors a shift toward cold, at least in light of past episodes,” confirms meteorologist Régène Ouimet. Regardless of the intensity of equatorial Pacific warming, the arrival of El Niño often coincides with a drop in summer heat. Can you?

El Nino 1

Disappointing times

When the El Niño event is active in the Pacific, Quebec summers are affected. Analyzing scenes from the past, Réjean Ouimet paints a less than rosy picture. About twenty years ago, a situation arose that seemed to take shape for 2023. The result: Summer left something to be desired.

“In the early 2000s, after experiencing a comparable sequence of La Niña years, the El Niño phenomenon took over,” explains Régène Ouimet. Although less stable, lasting and intense, it was repeated until 2004. Summers were successively cooler. Additionally, with breaks in 2005 and 2006, the streak of bad luck lasted until 2009.

El Nino 5

Paradigm shift

Note that since 1950, Quebec has experienced only fifteen summers under the influence of an El Niño event. This is explained by the fact that during summer, the waters of the equatorial Pacific region are mostly neutral. Also, remember that the past three years have been in La Niña mode, and summers have been particularly hot. However, it is entirely possible to change the situation.

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“Other episodes have happened in the past with disastrous consequences, notes Rejean Ouimet. From the early 1990s to the middle of the decade, El Niño episodes set the tone: we observed a predominance of cool summers. A strong El Niño in 1982 and 1983 was followed by disappointing summers until the 1990s. A causal link has yet to be established, but it would not be surprising to experience a sequence of summers different from recent years.

El Niño3

In collaboration with Rejean Ouimet and Patrick Duplessis, meteorologists.


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