Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is Getting Bizarre

I think we communally must have sinned.  I have followed the weather around here for a long time and I can't remember such sustained cool, cloudy weather during the middle to end of July (including what is going to occur).  The latest round of model runs--including the ensemble forecasts--suggest this situation is not going to end during the next week.    In fact, some days will be worse.

The latest Climate Prediction Center forecasts for the next 6 to 10 days are pretty emphatic:  a greater probability of cooler and wetter conditions than normal--here are the graphics (click to enlarge):



And for those of you  ready to make a crack about the fallacy of global warming, note that the eastern U.S. is experiencing a heat wave.  Average the whole country and we are above normal!

The causes of our cool, cloudy weather and their heat wave are the same: a persistent upper level flow pattern with a trough over the eastern Pacific and a ridge over the central U.S.  I can't tell you why it has been so persistent.  It could be random chance...like getting five heads in a row.  Or perhaps it is forced by some slowly changing sea surface temperature anomaly.  There are several possibilities.

The forecasts maintain this pattern for the next, with occasional strengthening of the trough leading to rain here on the western side of the Cascades.  Take a look:

Tomorrow:















Sunday:















Tuesday:
















 Thursday:

















You see the troughing along the West Coast in all of them? It is hard to tell them apart. 

And the ensemble prediction system, which averages many forecasts to give us the best possible prediction, provides the same answer.  In two weeks we will be in the middle of the meteorological summer--climatologically the driest and warmest time of the year.

Regarding the weekend, plan outside activities on Sunday...Saturday, particularly the morning, looks like a rain-out.  On the good side, you will save money on watering your garden.

49 comments:

TimVashon said...

Cliff, how much do the Atmospheric and Oceanographic scientists interact, consult and co-analyze? In terms of weather modeling, I know that must happen. But could you throw some light on the sorts of interactions both communities have with each other?

Molly Odell said...

This is the first time I've ever been in Seattle in July. I was starting to think today's weather was normal! Glad it's not!

smokejumper said...

I wonder if the severe drought in Texas is manifesting itself?

Because like you said, that ridge in the middle of the country is impressive. But its usually in the four corners, not Missouri

davidf said...

Our sins? Well lets start with we are the least Church going people in the US. We think our weather is great. Not too cold not too hot. We lie to ourselves and think we can live happy up here without sunny California. I have for 29 years. The truth is we all escape there and most of us will live there part of the year when older.
This is a prolific rain forest and to survive the coming 10 year cycle I suggest a sturdy Stihl for your overgrown landscapes.

DaveOnFidalgo said...

The woods are lush and gorgeous and my garden is happy.

C.P.O. said...

I blame KUOW ;)

Jim said...

well I scheduled climbing trips on back-to-back weekends. It's my fault and I apologize.

Scott said...

Molly, it is normal. Every year people here are surprised about how cloudy and cold and wet it is in the summer. I've lived here since 2005 and this is the third year we haven't had a summer, the second in a row. So that's three non-summers out of seven. Normal.

a progressive crank said...

I think it's all KUOW's fault *bonk*.

In all seriousness, I planted no veggies this spring and am glad about that decision: maybe fall/winter crops but in a year with no spring or summer, it would have been a waste of time and money.

Kay said...

www.coalitionagainstgeoengineering.org/

Enso said...

Too soon, @C.P.O. Too soon :-P

JoeVashon said...

I am sad.

Urbancowgrrl said...

Didn't we have a non-summer like this in 1993? I didn't live here at the time (I was sweating through 100+ degrees in Sacramento that summer) but I got lots of complaints from my Seattle friends that there was no summer in '93. Do you have the numbers from that year? I'd be curious to see if this year is similar or worse. Yes, at least we're saving money on watering - and this is a good year for it since we just moved and have all new plants that need lots of water this year while establishing.

Stefan said...

Is this the same kind of stuff that made April and May so cold? This decadal pacific oscillation?

JadeGreenImage said...

Same here in the UK, this "Summer".

The longwave pattern is not changing, MJO is doing weird stuff, Greenland high is barely moving.

Very sucky

Poser said...

It is because I planned my wedding there at the end of the month instead of getting married in NYC where I live (and has amazing summers). I thought Seattle would be nice because I grew up there. If it rains that day, Seattle and I are officially over and I am never, ever moving back. I hate the weather there!

Joe said...

As a life long PNW guy, this is my climate! I would much rather have this than the hot weather in the south. One can always put on a shirt to warm up but if you are too hot even if you take it all off you can't get cooler.

Jenn said...

Scott, I've lived here since 1995 and this is not normal. Sure, summers here are typically cooler than the rest of the country, but wearing jeans and sweatshirts in the middle of July is unusual - we typically do get to break out the shorts and Ts for a good 6 weeks straight or so. And usually everyone's lawn is brown by August because it is so dry. The last few years have moved to a cooler, rainier model and this year is by far the worst. But in the middle we also had one of our hottest summers and reached temperatures over 100* several times - go figure. For the record, I prefer this cooler extreme (if we can't have our normal back), but I am actually excited about a trip I have to take to New Jersey next week so I can dry out my bones a bit!

Lance said...

Reminds me of July 1993:

SeaTac
Avg Hi: 68
Avg Lo: 54
Pcptn: 1.40"

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KSEA/1993/7/15/MonthlyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

Unknown said...

Well, if the only two choices are this cool, damp weather and the brutal east coast heat... I'll take this weather, thank you very much.

But I miss our more typical "78 degrees and sunny" summer days!

Mattster said...

Scott

With all due respect, having lived here for 6 years is not long enough to opine on what is normal and what is not. This is not normal Molly.

My sample size is 35 summers. Of those, 7 were lackluster granted the first three were fuzzy. ;)

We have been breaking or nearing records for cold the past several months. That means a lot more to whether the weather is typical or not, regardless to the number of years in our own, personal experience.

ericephoto said...

I'm getting good use of my hoodies this year! Love it. That's why I'm here.

Polistra said...

Seems like the summer of 2008 was similar. Lingering cold in the north, causing floods and tornados in the midwest. Snow in June here in Spokane.

And we know what followed the summer of 2008..... the worst winter ever.

GaryP. said...

Even with the cloudy weather it's been for great bicycling to work.

I've also noticed that there is plenty of wind for sailing on Lake Washington in the evening. I can remember many years when it was hot/dry and no wind on the lake until the thermal kicked in as the sun set. Then a westerly along the West side and almost nothing over along by the Gate's place.

The Drennans said...

Weatherwise, we are turning into England. Please tell me it's not permanent.

GC said...

I'd say that we are being blessed, not cursed, with this weather. I, for one, having grown up here and loving this area, would never trade a cool wet summer for a hot dry one!
thanks for the ongoing weather blogging, Professor Mass, as it does help with plans for sailing and other activities

Unknown said...

Re: Scott, I have lied here for 24 years and the past several summers have not been "normal"...at least not like they usually wee when I first moved here. Yes, it was usually a bit cooler than the interior, and we had cloudy days, but we also had brilliant had sunny summer days, warm enough to go swimming. For me, this intense cloud cover is difficult...so gloomy. I know some people like it...and I don't dislike it in general...but by July I need some sun. I'm wondering if this is the new "normal..." Might have to get a "summer home" in Wenatchee.

Mike said...

Thanks loads for the depressing forecast:-) My golfing buddy, Joe Weiss, put me onto your blog. I'm kind of a weather geek - don't know much, but love to follow it, so thanks.

cassandra said...

I'm with you! Why don't you people stop complaining about the wonderful moderate climate we have here and be thankful we don't live in place that are 'enjoying' 100 + degree weather all over the east coast and the midwest?

Unknown said...

two things...first...daughter is getting married outdoors on 7/30/11. Please make it not rain that day :)

Second...we could use this as a tourist attraction: "Tired of the heat? Come to the great Pacific Northwest and cool off" - lolol...

TVN said...

I'm OK with 70-72. It's the rain and lack of sun that kill me.

Unknown said...

I just read this on Jeff Masters's blog at Weather Underground - the whole lower 48 bar the PNW will be experiencing a heatwave! You have to laugh!

"An unusually intense, widespread, and long-lasting heat wave over the majority of the U.S. continues to set numerous daily record highs. The latest long-range forecasts from the GFS and ECMWF models predict that the ridge of high pressure entrenched over the country responsible for the heat wave will move little over the coming week, and the heat wave should continue for all but the Pacific Northwest through July 23."

Lindsey said...

Thanks Jenn, Unknown and Mattster for adding your voices of reason to these comments.

JayDee523 said...

Some long time friends wanted to visit. Based on my sample size of 15 years, I said, no problem, come between July 12th and August 12, sun more than not, no rain to speak of. Well they arrive tomorrow on a day when rain is forecast. But it's been not so nice weather since March. I live for July/August/September weather to bank up reserves of tolerance for drippy 38/45 degree weather we do get. This is not fair.

Jenny said...

I agree that this is not normal, based on almost 40 years of summers here! It does seem to be the "new normal" though, and I'm not happy about it. I thought for sure after our terrible summer last year, followed by a miserable winter and spring, that we would be back to the mid 70s, low 80s, dry summers that I think of as normal. I would be happy with high 60s even, just no more grey skies and rain!!! We learned the song "The bluest skies I've ever seen are in Seattle..." in elementary school. Haven't seen those blue skies consistently for far too long!

Upupaepops said...

the lack of above 70 temos is not what gets me, it is the perpetual gray

I am 54 yo tomorrow and a third generation Seattleite.

but I find it is wearing on my spirit.

I am off to hike thru the Cascade Tunnel, or perhaps over in Thorp, at least if it rains it will not matter.

Jphoenix said...

I just spent two weeks in Oklahoma City where they were setting heat records and rationing water - let me tell you how happy I am to be back here in the 65 degree weather. I love this place, I only need sun once a month at most.

Tom said...

I'm NOT complaining about missing the 100+ stuff that the rest of the US has. 75 degrees is fine with me, but how about dry and sun with that temperature? My Vitamin D gland hurts!

richard583 said...

".. can't tell you why it has been so persistent. It could be random chance... Or perhaps [being] forced by some slowly changing sea surface temperature anomaly. There are several possibilities."

Perhaps you could expand on this idea, more at some point. ...

Also interested, regarding Tim Vashon's, interdisciplinary question, above.

richard583 said...

http://xplanet.sourceforge.net.nyud.net:8080/clouds/clouds_2048.jpg

kimmie said...

I was just thinking this morning about how this must be payment for our perfect fourth of July. I would take it back if I could :)

stepc said...

Cliff,
Last July was as bad, the wettest on record I remember people saying (you?). I've noticed the selective amnesia northwesterners have, remembering the one or two sunny days and calling it a good month. Last summer local farms had to dig under their tomato plants which weren't growing due to lack of sun, and the growing season was unusually late and short. Yet you say you don't remember such a gray July.....

Gary said...

Cliff, I'd be very interested in a comparison of the past two years with the cold records set in 1954-55, and any connection these cold periods might have being in the cold phase of the PDO. KOMO's weather blog back in June noted that our spring this year compares most closely to the spring of 1955, which was the coldest year on record. It seems like we might be at the peak of the cold PDO phase, which could mean that over the next 20 years we'll be slowly transitioning to a warm phase (one can hope, right?)

mb said...

Definitely bizarre. It's about 5PM on Saturday and it's thundering in Port Angeles.

Alex mason said...

"Global" warming, would mean the whole planet. Fallacy, not. On my way outside to enjoy the "global" warming.

Bow Back Mountain said...

I watch TV Japan regularly and this week there is a very large typhoon, typhoon 6 (Japan numbers their typhoons instead of naming them) headed towards Japan. By the 22nd the mass of moisture the typhoon pushes into Japan will be heading out into the northern Pacific. When these huge storms shove all this moisture into the northern Pacific, does this moisture inevitably end up here? What effect do typhoons in Japan have on weather in the Pacific Northwest?

weatherlover said...

I just spent five days in Winthop on a camping trip and even though the weather was better there it still was the worst I have ever seen it. It rained on every single day, from Tuesday to Sunday and we only got above seventy one or two days. We originally started camping in Eastern WA because every single time we went camping up in the Northern Cascades it poured. We decided we had had enough when it rained so much that a flood warning was issued and some of the tents flooded. I hope it doesn't become that way in Winthrop.

Gary said...

Another point, and not to pick on forecasters unnecessarily, but it seems like the forecasts during this cold summer have been unusually inaccurate. For example, just before the start of this weekend, Sunday was forecast to be the better of the two days, yet it turned out to be the opposite. Today has been awful--dark, rainy, and cold. Yesterday had some rain, but it was also warmer and sunnier. I'm guessing that forecasting these fronts is more difficult than a typical rainy season polar front. Is that something that would be aided by the new dopplar radar about to come online? Do the forecast models need to be refined? For first time in a long time, I don't feel like I can have confidence in the next day's weather forecast.

Dan said...

Cliff,
Thanks for your continued work. I'm (well, my computer is) having a slower time viewing your newer blog version - could just be the computer, but all other things are just the same. Has anyone else mentioned a similar experience?