Shameful: Environment Canada’s Sunshine Data

Once up a time (June of 1978 to be precise)  if you downloaded Environment Canada’s monthly summaries, you would have found 313 stations with “Bright Sunshine” hours.

Even two years ago, these stations were reporting sunshine data:

TORONTO LESTER B. PEARSON INT’L A
CARTWRIGHT
GOOSE A
VICTORIA INT’L A
COMOX A
VANCOUVER INT’L A
WIARTON A

As of today, only WIARTON A reports sunshine data and for May 2015 25 out of 31 days had no valid measurements.

Canada Monthly Summary Analysis - 1900 to 2015 - Sunshine - 1x1 Grid - WIARTON A ( 3 or fewer missing days)

More Sunshine in North America From 1982 – 2012

Well … technically they say 4.2% less clouds. But that does mean more sunshine (except at night).

The emergence of satellite-based cloud records of climate-length and quality hold tremendous potential for climate model development, climate monitoring, and studies on global water cycling and its subsequent energetics. This article examines the more than thirty-year PATMOS-x AVHRR cloudiness record over North America and assesses its suitability as a climate-quality data record. A loss of ~4.2% total cloudiness is observed between 1982 and 2012 over a North American domain centered over the contiguous United States.

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00068.1?af=R&

 

As you know, land base sunshine monitoring is atrocious in North America. Once upon a time Canada had over 300 stations collecting sunshine data. How do we know whether major ups and downs in climate aren’t because of more or less clouds?

 

(h/t Hockey Schtick)

 

The Sad State of Environment Canada’s Sunshine Data

Once up a time (June of 1978 to be precise)  if you downloaded Environment Canada’s monthly summaries, you would have found 313 stations with “Bright Sunshine” hours.

As of January 2014, there is only one. (Ignore the title. Those are hours , not anomalies. I’m just depressed about the loss of data. How do we know whats going on if we don’t collect sunshine data???)

EC MonthlyNormalsSunshine1978-06

EC MonthlyNormalsSunshine2014-01

Staggering 20% Increase in Surface Solar Radiation Due to Cleaner Air In Just One Decade

"Clean-air policies in developing countries have resulted in reduced levels of anthropogenic atmospheric 
aerosol pollution. Reductions in aerosol pollution is thought to result in a reduction in haze and 
cloud layers, leading to an increase in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface, and ultimately, 
an increase in surface temperatures. There have been many studies illustrating coherent relationships 
between surface solar radiation and temperature however, a direct link between aerosol emissions, 
concentrations, and surface radiation has not been demonstrated to date. Here, we illustrate a coherence 
between the trends of reducing anthropogenic aerosol emissions and concentrations, at the interface 
between the North-East Atlantic and western-Europe, leading to a staggering increase in surface 
solar radiation of the order of ∼20% over the last decade."

Abstract here.

Clean air legislation really got going in the late 1970s.

Bright Sunshine Canada March 2013

Once upon a time, there were over 250 weather stations collecting bright sunshine data in Canada each month.

Alas we are now down to 7 stations. In 3 provinces. And only 5 of the 7 are considered reliable enough or old enough to have “% of Normals” calculated.

March 2013 was pretty sunny in BC (really Vancouver Island / Vancouver) where sunshine was around 115% of normal  (the 1971-2000 average).

(I’m not sure why Vancouver has an NA for % of normal as it usually has a value )

I think most of the sunshine arrived the last week of March.

Goose A was pretty gloomy. 61% of normal.

Province Station Year Month Bright Sunshine Hours Bright Sunshine % of Normal
BC VICTORIA INTL A 2013 3 160 112
BC COMOX A 2013 3 144 115
BC VANCOUVER INTL A 2013 3 156 NA
ONT WIARTON A 2013 3 130 88
ONT TORONTO LESTER B. PEARSO 2013 3 146 NA
NFLD CARTWRIGHT 2013 3 58 NA
NFLD GOOSE A 2013 3 82 61