B.C. winter to be one of warmest on record, but snow may still arrive

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Epic Mountain Biking on the Whistler Bike Park's Top of the World Trail

British Columbia’s upcoming winter could be one of the warmest on record, pulling the province into its third consecutive warm winter season.

AccuWeather is predicting well over normal temperatures across Western Canada for the 2015-2016 season, which likely come as dreaded news for the province’s ski and board enthusiasts, however they say coastal mountains will see more snow than they did last year.

Last year, Whistler Blackcomb only recorded 672 cm of snowfall over the 2014-2015 season, compared with 905 cm the previous season and 1112 cm the in 2012-2013. The last time Whistler marked a record snowfall was in 2010-2011 when the mountain received a total of 1579 cm.

The 14-year average is 1,122 cm, making last year a truly dismal year.

The upcoming warm winter is due to the growing El Nino which scientists believe may be the strongest ever recorded. According to climate data, this summer was the warmest on record for the Northern Hemisphere, average 0.96°C above average.

The news isn’t exactly a surprise to most British Columbians who have been following the weather patterns of late; early predictions of a warm and dry winter were given by Environment Canada as early as May. In August, NASA dubbed it the ‘Godzilla El Nino’ and predicted it could be the largest event ever recorded.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in their latest weekly report that there is 95 per cent chance the current El Nino will last until spring 2016 when it will gradually begin weakening. Sea surface temperatures began warming up above normal in February, March and April 2015, the earliest warming period in over 50 years.

Temperatures have continued to rise to 1.5°C above normal. The last time oceans were this warm was in 1997/1998 when temperatures rose to 2.3°C above normal, the warmest ever recorded.

If this data proves to be accurate, it may be a great year to take up mountain biking.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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