And it is going to get warmer tomorrow.
Let me illustrate the profound nature of the warmth we are facing. A lower atmosphereic level meteorologists often look at is at a pressure of 850 hPa (located about 5000 ft above the surface).
This morning (at 4 AM) the temperature at this level measured by a radiosonde (weather balloon and sensor) on the Washington Coast (Quillayute) was 7.5C with a freezing level of roughly (10,000 ft). See sounding below for the details (red is temperature, blue dashed is dew point).
A warm front has moved through this morning and even warmer air is coming in--here is the forecast from the UW WRF model at 850 hPa for 1 AM Monday morning. Shading and the blue lines are temperature.
14 C air over Seattle!. For those of you who are not meteorologists, this is crazy warm. Let me prove it.
The NOAA storm prediction center has a wonderful site that provides the climatology of the upper air data around the U.S. Let's take a look at the climatology of 850 hPa temperatures at Quillayute (UIL) on the Washington Coast throughout the year. The black line indicates the average temperatures for the day (dark black is a smoothed version). The red line shows the extreme warmest temperature on each day. The green line is the temperature forecast for Monday AM.
Pretty amazing. The temperatures on Sunday and Monday will probably exceed the all time records for the date. They are WAY WARMER than the average temperatures for July and August, our warmest months. So the air above us tomorrow will be warmer than typical summer temperatures.
Today there is considerable cloudiness, but there will be only some high clouds tomorrow and few clouds on Monday. Here is the cloud forecast for Monday..sunny,with summer air above us!
Let's look at the WRF temperature forecasts for Sunday afternoon at 2 PM. Temperatures well into the 60s over western Washington and around 70F over the western slopes of the Cascades. The only issue with this forecast is that there will be a low-level inversion between cooler air at the surface and warmer air aloft. That will keep some low clouds in on Sunday morning, something the model tends to mix out too quickly. But where the clouds burn off it will get warm quickly.
And warm or warmer on Monday. A weak front comes through on Tuesday and then the ridge builds again for warm and dry conditions. The latest NOAA extended (6-10 day) temperature forecast (below) indicates much warmer than normal temps on the West Coast and cooler than normal over the eastern U.S.
The extraordinary warm temperatures and persistent high pressure has led to very low snowpacks in some locations, particularly the Olympics. Here is the last cam shot of the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and surroundings today. Hard to believe for late January...MOST OF THE GROUND IS BARE!
Is this warmth associated with human-caused global warming? The answer in a future blog.
And enjoy summer in January.