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.
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.