With 322 hours of smoke recorded in Calgary, 2018 is the smokiest year ever recorded in the city, according to one amateur weather sleuth.
Rolf Campbell is a computer scientist who developed software that pulls in Environment Canada data that he can use to create weather statistics.
His figures don’t exactly match what Environment Canada has, but the agency says the numbers are very close.
Campbell said earlier Monday, this year was already the second smokiest year since Environment Canada started tracking the phenomena in 1953.
The smoke has finally (officially) cleared, but not before breaking #Calgary's record for smokiest year ever recorded. With 322 hours of smoke, we flew past last year's record of 315 hours. #YYCWeather #ABStorm pic.twitter.com/AfA8BWZSGh
— YYC Weather Records (@YYC_Weather) August 21, 2018
“I think this is still going to be an unusual year,” said Campbell.
He doesn’t think this represents a new normal and says there were several smoky years in the past.
“The late 1960s and early 1970s — I should say most of the 1970s — had high and consistent smoke every year,” said Campbell.
This year’s numbers are fuelled by hundreds of forest fires burning next door in British Columbia. It’s the fourth worst year on record for fires in that province.
Earlier numbers declared 2017 as the worst year on record at 321 hours, but according to Campbell, the data incorrectly recorded smoke on July 8 and Sept.1, which dropped that number down to 315 hours.
Campbell’s analysis doesn’t include the intensity of the smoke, only the number of hours that are smoke-filled. Campbell reports Calgary weather data on his Twitter account — @YYC_Weather.