Sunday, June 23, 2013

Canadian Weather Project - More Data

I have finally finished populating the day names in my weather database.  Now, I'm querying it.  But something odd has shown up...

Here are the fluctuations in the average annual air pressure for 1961 to 2000 in Vancouver.  Things largely don't change, then in 1985 there is a downwards trend until the mid 1990s when it recovers by snapping back in the opposite direction (positive).

Now here is whitehorse.  It has a slight tendancy to wobble under the 0 mark, but also starts to get worse in the mid 1980s, before snapping back up at the last moment.


Next we come to Calgary.  From this point and onward travelling East (the direction that the wind blows) a new trend emerges where the pressure is dropping year over year, and getting lower with each year.  That same point in the mid 1980s seems to be a key moment in time for this trend really taking off.

We see this same trend in other places to the east of Calgary too, as long as they're on a relatively high latitude (higher than Toronto).



Thunder Bay 

Here's Toronto...  Notice that Toronto has largely the same profile as Vancouver?  It's likely that because much of Toronto's air comes out the of the American Mid-West, rather than from Western Canada, it's escaped the bulk of whatever is causing the pattern in the more northerly locations.  Again, the mid-1980s is a key point, but it's not as affected as more northerly locations.

My current conclusion is this: 
What I am seeing from Calgary and directly east of it, is likely the Canadian Oil Sands pollution.  The drop seen everywhere including Vancouver and Toronto from the mid 1980s matches with when the oil sands started up properly around 1985/1986.  

The spike seen in places like Vancouver and Toronto corroborates this early hypothesis.  The oil prices were crashing in the mid-to-late 1990's and the oil sands had to reduce production accordingly, as extracting from the sand is rather more expensive than standard well production.  Of course, history tells us that prices would soon recover and soar not long after these charts finish...