Sebastian Rangel-Ortega / Edge columnist
Last February, I found myself walking amidst a snowy street. It was freezing cold, and the only thing I could hear was the sound of my steps against the sidewalk – a sound like stepping on top of a spring mattress.
There was emptiness there, and the only company I had was the cold, which was stinging my ears and hands. I was frustrated about the weather- the ever-changing lighting and temperature of the place where I lived.
It has been about a year since that cold snowy night, and British Columbia is again close to the winter season. Colorful Christmas lights can be seen atop trees around Port Moody the shape of snowflakes, people around the mall are sporting Santa Claus hats, and reindeer antlers on cars have marked the beginning of the holidays. One can only hope for a white Christmas this year, but what are the chances of snow this 25th actually happening?
Due to Coquitlam’s proximity to the mountaintops that may be a possibility. Coquitlam receives a whopping 12.4 inches of rain average mid-November, according to environment Canada, meaning that we have a higher chance of receiving snow because of cold atmosphere in Coquitlam’s altitude.
This is further supported by Brett Anderson, senior meteorologist, who explains this season will be impacted by la Nina, a change of ocean waters in the west coast of South America that affects global temperature around the globe.
“Normal snowfall for an average winter in Vancouver is only 38cm, but this year it may end up closer to 45-50 cm,” says Anderson, when asked about his weather prediction this year.
Today’s forecast is more accurate than ten years ago because of the work paved by modern forecasting, which has worked tirelessly to make complex mathematics, and models to let us be more precise towards something as inherently unpredictable as the weather. The atmosphere is a chaotic system, and a small change in a location can have remarkable consequences.
This effect can be closely associated with the work of Edward Lorenz, who metaphorically explained that the details of a tornado can be affected by the flapping of a butterfly before a tornado’s formation. Today’s supercomputers are capable of trillions of calculations per second, but our accuracy is still far from perfect. Only time can really tell if the weather will ever be governed by human intellect.
Weather predictions are as accurate as they could be, but despite the high probability of a white Christmas this year, meteorologists cannot know for certain the weather’s patterns. People can only be hopeful to wake up this Christmas and be gifted with white calmness outside their houses.