Water Supply Outlook for Alberta

November 2002

October 2002 Precipitation

Below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation was recorded in the northern half of the province in October (Figure 1). Normal to above-normal precipitation fell throughout most of southern Alberta, with much-above-normal precipitation around Calgary (Figure 2). In central Alberta, precipitation was generally much-above-normal, however much-below-normal precipitation fell in both the eastern plains and the mountains from Banff to Jasper (Figure 3).

Fall Precipitation (September 1 to October 31, 2002)

Below-normal to much-below-normal precipitation fell in much of Alberta this fall (September and October 2002) (Figure 4). In southern Alberta, areas south of Calgary recorded much-above-normal precipitation. North of Calgary, fall precipitation was generally above-normal (Figure 5). Much-above-normal precipitation fell in the Grande Prairie, Town of Peace River and Fort Chipewyan areas (Figure 6).

Long-Lead Precipitation Outlook

Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation forecast on September 1 for the September to November period indicates above-normal precipitation in the province with near normal precipitation in northwestern Alberta. The forecast for the winter period (December to February) is for below-normal precipitation in the southern two-thirds of the province and normal in the northern portion of Alberta. Environment Canada's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at: http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/saisons/index_e.html.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting below-normal precipitation in November 2002. NOAA is forecasting below-normal precipitation for the southern portion of the province during the winter (December through February) period. NOAA's long-lead precipitation outlook is available from their website located at: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/.

NOAA indicates that a moderate El Nino has developed in the tropical Pacific. Current indications are that the strength of this El Nino event will be less in magnitude than the event that occurred in the winter of 1997-98. The significance of an El Nino event to the province of Alberta is that winter precipitation is typically below-normal during such events. The last major El Nino event occurred in the winter of 1997-98.

For technical enquires about this web page please contact Alberta Environment - Environmental Management Water Management Operations Branch at AENV-WebWS@gov.ab.ca