A Quick Progress report

By: Ingrid Gendron

We have finally reached the midway point of the semester, as this week concluded the last of our midterm examinations. As well as studying for my last batch of midterms, I was tasked with downloading the temperature and precipitation data for the last weather stations that were located along the Saint Lawrence river. As well as being placed along the Saint Lawrence river, these weather stations can also be found throughout different parts of Quebec, gathering data such as temperature, humidity, precipitation and other atmospheric conditions. I was able to speak with someone in the Quebec government climate department to help me download large portions of my data. Surprisingly, my laptop only crashed once in this process, as I went beyond the amount of storage that I have accessible. With this, we were able to generate many graphs that represent temperature and precipitation in different ways. For example, we graphed precipitation and temperature as yearly means and with this we found some preliminary results.

The most exciting outcome was the relationship found between the average temperature in winter and the length of the ice season. For this specific case, we defined winter as the temperature between October to March and the ice season as when the area of the Saint Lawrence is above or below 10% ice coverage. If the average temperature was colder for a specific year, then the ice season was also measured to be longer. The inverse happens as well; a generally warmer winter caused a shorter ice season. It reminds me of those winters when Montreal hits those negative 40 degrees Celsius temperatures. Those years, the season seems to drag on longer than usual.

On the other hand, the precipitation data did not go as well. We initially hypothesized that there should be an increase in precipitation as many of our references predict so. The data seems to have no prominent increase nor decrease in precipitation. This was a little disappointing as temperature has a clear general increase throughout the years as we expected. Either way, we all worked hard on finalizing our graphs by sharing code even if the results are not what we anticipated.

Average precipitation in Rimouski. This is an example that the precipitation has no eye catching increase nor decrease.

For the next month, we decided to try and solidify the relationship between ice cover, the length of shipping season and the temperature. We hope to find some sort of variation in precipitation to link it to our other variables mentioned above. Even if in the end we don’t, there is nothing to be disappointed in as this is what research is like, lots of trial and error!