Summer 2023: Quebec enters uncharted territory
Published it 25 May 2023 at 21.55.
A new paradigm threatens to overturn a particularly favorable sequence of summers in Quebec. Explanations.
Heat has characterized the last five summers in Quebec. During this sequence, if the 2023 edition of the beautiful season was hot, six in a row would be the first. In fact, all of these summers were among the 15 hottest on record. But this year the situation may change. A major player actually risks disrupting the atmospheric context of North America.
“The installation of the El Niño phenomenon could favor a change towards cold, confirms Réjean Ouimet, meteorologist. At least in light of previous episodes. Regardless of the intensity of the warming of the Pacific Ocean at the equator, the arrival of El Niño often coincides with a decrease in summer heat. But can this change continue and degenerate into sequences of less interesting summers?
When the El Niño phenomenon activates in the Pacific Ocean, summers in Quebec tend to suffer. By analyzing sequences in the past, Réjean Ouimet paints a not so rosy picture. About twenty years ago, a situation similar to the one taking shape in 2023 arose. The result: summers left something to be desired.
“In the early 2000s, after experiencing a comparable sequence of La Nina years, the El Niño phenomenon took over,” explains Réjean Ouimet. Although less constant, lasting and intense, it was recurrent until 2004. Summers were then successively cooler. In addition, the unfortunate streak extended into 2009, with breaks in 2005 and 2006.
Note that since 1950, Quebec has experienced only fifteen summers under the influence of the El Niño phenomenon. This is explained by the fact that in the summer season the water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean is often in a neutral phase. Also remember that the last three years have been in La Nina mode and the summers have been particularly hot. However, it is still possible to turn the situation around.
“Other episodes have occurred in the past with perverse effects, notes Réjean Ouimet. From the early 1990s until the middle of the decade, El Niño episodes set the tone: we observed a dominance of cool summers. A strong El The Niño of 1982 and 1983 was also followed by disappointing summers into the 1990s.The causality still needs to be established, but we should not be surprised to see a sequence of summers very different from recent years.
In collaboration with Réjean Ouimet and Patrick Duplessis, meteorologists.