It’s been more than just hot on P.E.I. this month: It’s been historically hot.
The current average temperature for the month of July counting through Sunday, including daytime highs and nighttime lows, has been 22 C.
That’s 3.3 C above average according to Environment Canada, and a half-degree above the previous record set in July 1947.
“It’s a signal that climate change is here,” said Don Jardine, a researcher at the UPEI School of Climate Change.
“It’s going to continue to be this way. We ‘re going to see more records like this set.”
Warmer waters means warmer breezes
The temperature of the water surrounding the Island has been a factor in the continuing heat, Jardine said.
He’s been recording temperatures as high as 23 C, which is about the same as water temperatures at the end of the summer last year.
That water temperature is having an impact on the summer breezes typical of the Island, Jardine said.
“If the water around us is warmer, that means we’re going to be warmer because the breezes off the gulf and the Northumberland Strait aren’t going to be as cool,” he said.
23 hot days and counting
Warm nights have been a big contributor to the record average.
While Charlottetown Airport typically wouldn’t see nights where temperatures remained above 20 C at this time of year, there have already been three nights like that in 2023. That’s a record for this time of the year.
The long-term trend toward hotter summers can be seen in the trend toward more days where the maximum temperature hits 25 C.
Looking back over the decades to the 1960s, the number of hot days per year on the Island remained remarkably consistent for 50 years at about 25 days. It bumped up a little in the 1990s and the 2000s to 27.
But last decade, the average has been 36 days. This year has already seen 23 hot days and — if the forecast holds — it will be 27 days by the end of this week, with August and September still to come.