Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2080

Welcome to Election Day 2080.   

Here in the Pacific Northwest, temperatures the past few weeks have been more representative of September than November.  Yesterday, Seattle temperatures soared to 66F, a daily record that is 13F above normal.  A plot of the observed and normal (high and low) temperatures at Seattle tells the story (see below).  Minimum temperatures have been roughly 7F above normal the last two weeks, maximum temperatures around 4F warmer than typical.  Today (Tuesday) temperatures should surge to the upper 60s.  Just amazing.
The warm temperatures are not limited to Washington State as illustrated by the differences of temperature from normal over the past two weeks.   The Northwest is warm, but the Rockies and Great Plains are crazy warm.


Climate models suggest that the temperature conditions that we are experiencing the last few weeks in the Northwest are what will be typical in 2080 if we don't get a handle on global warming.  That is why many scientists (such as myself) are strong supporters of I-732, the carbon tax swap initiative in Washington State.   And why many of us are in disbelief that some "environmental organizations"  such as the national Sierra Club and Seattle's Climate Solutions are not supporting it.   They, the Koch Brothers, and some of the worst polluters in our State are aligned in an unholy alliance to do nothing about global warming.

Let's be careful

One thing must be made clear.  Most of the the recent warming over the Northwest is NOT due to global warming resulting from greenhouse gas emissions.

How can I be so sure about this?   Because the warmth is associated not with  thegeneral warming expected from greenhouse gas effects, but rather due to a very anomalous atmospheric circulations pattern.   Let me show you.

Here is the upper level (500 hPa) height anomalies (difference from normal) for the past week.   A VERY amplified pattern, with a high amplitude trough (purple/blue) over the NE Pacific and a huge ridge (high heights or pressure) over the much of the U.S.   This pattern is very conducive for warming over the U.S.  

There is no reason to expect global warming from greenhouse gases produces such a pattern;  global climate models do not project this.  In fact, they suggest the opposite: deamplification of the amplitude of upper level waves in the  North American midlatitudes.

Global warming from increasing greenhouse gases has certainly made some minor contribution to our above recent normal temperatures (perhaps 1F), but the overwhelming majority is natural.  But by the end of the century everything will be different, with the greenhouse gas contributions increasing to similar magnitudes if mankind does not get CO2 emissions under control.

26 comments:

Meteor Redemption said...

Yeah, but what happens when normal climate variability provides today's upper-level pattern circa 2080? If GCMs suggest higher average temperatures with deamplification, then should they not also suggest even higher temperatures with variability?

Which is to say that on election day circa 2080, we should expect 60-degree weather, but we should get occasional 80-degree weather.

Bryan Black said...

So with this being a neutral year winter-wise, can we expect a chaotic jet stream that might pour some modified arctic air down into the PNW? At least a better chance right?

Russell Cunningham said...

I sent a scathing email to the Progressive Voter's Guide this morning. They are advising voters to say "NO" on I-732, and they are on the logically and ethically wrong side of history.

J said...

My personal weather station in Bellingham currently shows 73°! Other weather stations close to me show similar temperatures.

Crazy weather for November and not according to my internal plan... I want Snow!

J said...

My personal weather station in Bellingham currently shows 73°! Other weather stations close to me show similar temperature.

Crazy weather for November. Not at all according to my internal plan... I want Snow!

Ansel said...

Seventy degrees in Bothell right now. 2:00 PM. Just amazing.

Shannon said...

Hi Cliff up here in Bellingham we are currently at 73 degrees. I checked our RECORD high for November and that was 68° in 1999 according to intellicast. Really crazy!

FMR said...

72.3 in Bellingham at 2:45 11/8/16

crf450ish said...

I really hope you all understand a mass warming period is indicative of an upcoming cooling trend. The only people who buy into the global warming PROPOGANDA are those who financially benefit from its political agenda.

Organic Farmer said...

Beautiful day!
Think of all the reduced carbon emissions.! No one had to burn fossils fuels for heat, and no one wasted fossils fuels driving to ski resort's, for frivolous privileged class "play".

Bob said...

Seattle got to 71° in November 1949. Take a look at records for December '49 and January 1950 - all-time record cold and snow!

mike helminger said...

just remember, it's not global warming effects unless it applies to cliff's research areas (increased precipitation records in october).

JeffB said...

Well good. Even in a county where the only diversity of ideas is that a few races were between two Democrats, voters were wise enough to reject a tax regarding an alleged future climate threat. I'm looking forward to Dr. Mass getting back to science.

John Bower said...

In this post and in previous posts you have shown no logical argument against the possibility that the "very anomalous atmospheric circulations pattern" we are currently experiencing (and we have experienced regularly over the last few years) is influenced by climate change. I am a scientist, and the history of science is filled with examples of well-meaning scientists not recognizing the limitations of their science. Given that climate scientists have been playing catch-up on the complexities of climate change from the get-go, it is absurd to think that you can dismiss the current aberrant atmospheric circulation pattern as being simply natural variation. Another example that comes to mind is your past proclamations that "the blob," another highly unusual recent NW environmental change, is dead, only to find that the blob keeps returning. Yours is a wonderful blog, which I assign to my natural history and ecology students as regular reading, but you could stand a little humility in recognizing that climate scientists don't fully understand climate change, and thus, can not say with certainty what is due to climate change and what is not due to climate change.

Cliff Mass said...

John,
Please read my blog more carefully. A wide collection of global climate simulations suggest that climate change will being deamplification not amplification of the upper level wave pattern Thus, our best tools suggest that the high amplitude wave pattern, that produced the blog and temperature anomalies, will be less likely under global warming. Email me and I will be happy to provide you with references in the peer reviewed literature that support this...cliff

J said...

Yea...down with the tax on breathing!

Ansel said...

This is horrible- just horrible. What'll we do? We could secede...

zagbag said...

I wish people like weather forecasters/reporters/scientists would use the word 'average' instead of 'normal'. People get freaked out when, in this case, temperatures are "X degrees above normal" or whatever. If it's 80F one year and 60F the next, is 70F 'normal'? Not in my mind (scary place anyway).

MRT said...

Thanks Cliff, and shame on all the stupid idiots who A: Voted for trump, B: Did not vote for 732. You know, all the stupid, dumb talk I have listened to during the Obama years, and the famous statement "you are going to get what you asked for." Well guess what? Now all the dumb people who put this person in office are going to have to deal with it. When things go bad, look to your own self, because you voted, and you are responsible. And as much as love these blogs, these comments are truly abhorrent, save for some very intelligent posters. Sad to see this place hijacked by the ignorant and uninformed in this state. Peace out.

Len Hanson said...

2080 could be about the time the damage may be reversed by yesterdays events.
Think long term sitting Supreme Court Justices.

RLL said...

I have seen no explanation of the ever higher minimum temperatures we experience now. USDA and the Sunset garden book have raised both Seattle and Chehalis by one plant hardiness zone in the last 40 years. First and last frost dates are showing similar longer growing seasons. Obviously a plus for us gardeners.

Garry Klouzal said...

I can hardly wait till 2080. This weather is very nice.

Eric Blair said...

To MRT - thank you for displaying the usual tolerance and respect we've seen for decades now from those who are in reality closet fascists in disguise.

Ansel said...

Yeah, my backyard grapefruit tree in Bothell is gonna love it. No kidding!

Unknown said...

Hello Cliff,
I'm wondering, how can you always say this is not a part of global warming? Every little piece of data put together shows a warming trend. This is a data point with in a warming trend. You can not say this is not part of global warming. We are already experiencing it every day. Am I correct?
Whether it's a cold or warm day we are experiencing a warming climate. Through the trends of melting glaciers, changes in natural habitats and global weather.

I understand you can say this is an anomaly but they are still part of our mass amount of data adding to the warming trends of our planet. We are in the thick of global warming with the highest levels of co2 in our atmosphere in recent history and you say this isn't a part of climate change.

Every day we are living in a slightly changing climate that is going towards being warmer. That doesn't mean it won't snow in two weeks and be very cold which is also part of the whole data picture. You are confusing people and making the issue seem like it's not as big of a problem as it is. I just want to have a nice planet to live in 20 years in the future and Trump is trying to revive coal and old American fuels that are poor for the environment. I'm worried that some people may use what you say to push aside the idea of how we as humans affect our climate and planet. We only have one home our heavenly planet earth.

Tommy Matala said...

I'll be dead in 2080 so men ;-)