January 16, 2009

Great image

This is an ultra-high resolution image from NASA Aqua satellite....much better quality than the NWS geostationary satellites I have shown you in the past...but only available twice a day (click on the pic to see it better). You can see so clearly the low clouds over Puget Sound and eastern Washington. Look carefully and you can see fingers of low clouds pushing into mountain valleys..and even some contrails over the ocean. Also Tiger Mountain and the Issaquah Alps are apparent sticking out of the murk.

It really has been cold the last few days in the lowlands...with a lack of sun due to the low clouds. Take a look at the temps during the past two weeks (see figure). You can see that the temps the last two days has been hanging around the normal minima.

I am heading up Tiger Mt. Sunday morning..perhaps I will see some of you...want to experience some sun and warmth myself.

PS: I will be at UW Bookstore at 1 PM if anyone wants to talk in person.


  1. Cliff

    You were an expert witness on a trial where I was a juror. A fire-fighter trainee had fallen from a ladder sustaining substantial permanent injuries. Weather conditions at the training site were important. That day and previous training days had been unusually hot. You provided such data from available sources with interpolation to the training site.

    The trial went on for several days. The jury learned about the trainee experience with regard to sleep, nutrition, breaks, and most importantly, hydration. We learned about training events including some in hot rooms containing burning material. We learned about the chain of command, previous training standards, practices elsewhere, and physiological needs of the body.

    My judgment was that a macho mentality had prevailed over good decision making. Trainees were sometimes mocked for wanting drinking water. What had worked under more normal weather regimes was too drastic in hot weather. Dehydration was a problem. The jury gave a substantial award.

    One thing about the trial amused me and that is why I am writing. All prospective jurors were given a list of names of those who would have a role in the trial. When I came to your name I had an impulse to identify you as a friend because I had so much enjoyed your presentations on KUOW for a long time. Your delivery style is like that of a friend helping me to better understand something of interest to me.

    Charlie Brown, Shoreline

  2. Cliff, I think you should go to Paradise instead of Tigger. We need a pic from there and you'd be the perfect one to take it! ;-).

    Enjoy Tigggger. It's near and dear to our hearts, and the air inversion "miracle" makes it even better.

    Bring sunscreen, and I guess a warm jacket for the way down! ;-).

  3. Hi Cliff.

    Andy here...over here in Woodinville. I see your going up too Tiger Mountain Sunday. Hopefully you`ll see some sunshine and be above the cold/cloudy/foggy inversion.

    If ya take any pics on your hike, maybe you post one here on your blog that shows the fog down below.

    Did see a few, but brief peaks of sun with few spots of blue sky today here in my area. Have fun on your hike Sunday.

  4. This picture is amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

    I flew to Portland Thursday and had the opportunity to see this close up from the top. It was one of the most beautiful flights I've been on. The clouds really look like a river or sea, washing up on the shores of the mountainsides. Mountain valleys become inlets and fjords. The foothill mountains stick out, isolated from their parents like islands off their shores.

    Most of the cloud surface was an even relatively flat wave pattern very much like the surface of a sea or lake only a snapshot in time as the waves were static. Occasionally you can see the eddies where the clouds form a circular pattern, presumably around a hill blow. You could also see clouds lapping upward from the surface of the "sea" like a wave that has broken on the rocks.

    The mountains were crystal clear and absolutely gorgeous with their snowy mantles.

    It was amazing. If I had remembered to put my phone on "Airplane mode" I would have attempted some pictures, but we all know how those turn out.

    I have always imagined what a boon air travel must have been to meteorologists and geologists who could for the first time see patterns from on high that weren't evident from the ground.

  5. I went outside yesterday at about 2:00pm, stopped for a second and heard a crackling noise that sounded like newly "milked" rice crispies.

    I realized after awhile that it was the tiny fog-ice-cicles falling off the trees. Very interesting sound. Hope we have it again today.

  6. Late yesterday afternoon I hiked up to a power line trail above our house on Tiger Mt which tops out at a large overview of the western horizon, probably about 1100-1200 feet. We have been in dense fog on Tiger the last few days, but I was above it up there, and it was glorious--a sea of fog at my feet, blue sky, a few high clouds, and Mt Rainier so clear it looked like it was cut out of the sky. And warmer! It was glorious.

  7. Paradise - 68 F at 1500 yesterday afternoon. That's crazy.


    Anybody know if the twice-daily NASA Aqua pic that Cliff posted in publicly available? A link would be great.

  8. Yes, here it is

    you might have to paste that url back together

  9. Today's inversion must be something like a layer cake: fog, sun, strong wind, fog, sun.
    I'm sitting here at Snoqualmie Summit and it's completely fogged in. Skiers can't tell the snow from the clouds, so they're feeling their way by gravity.
    The trees are heavily frosted. At first glance, you'd think it's snow, but each branch is perfectly flocked in white.
    In fact, every exposed fiber is gathering frost, including the hair peeking out from beneath my daughter's ski helmet.

  10. It's been crystal clear for the last two days here in the Fraser Valley (BC), and that shows up very well on this satellite image. Is that due to outflow or some other phenomena?

  11. snoqualmie pass is on fog...but this is eastern washington fog that has pushed in from the east! see my main blog

  12. I'm going to enjoy it here in the lowlands and avoiding heading up into the murk. Have fun in the murk tomorrow morning. :)

  13. Cliff, do you think that if the meso model was taken down to 1km the forecast would improve? Like our "grids" at the NWS which are 4km, there are spots that are hard to resolve. Some forecasts are not close--passes for instance. We show highs for Stevens and Snoqualmie on our zone forecast today of 40 and 42. Now, you can ride chairlifts up and get temps that are far above that, or you can be in the parking lot and have 20s. Tough problem. If it is off topic, just say the word of course.

    Also, the mesoscale models are having a time resolving things in the vertical, especially lowlands. Could acars dew points into the initialization improve the model (if more of those sensors had dew point--I think I have seen dew points in some aircraft soundings...)

    I have a bit of a flu bug today and would rather be on the chairlift, but making the best of it. There is some blue coming out here in MLT, maybe a little more mixing today hopefully.

  14. Wow, just in the last half hour we have got halfway to scattering out here in MLT. Maybe we will see 50 today instead of 40F.

    I think there used to be a rule that went something like this: When the stratus is deep enough enough in Eastern Wa to reach into the passes, downslope begins and the west side scatters out. Lets hope that is what is happening, nice to see the sun.

  15. You know Mike, you see the sun almost constantly for 9 of the 12 months of the year. Why is it so nice now? Let us enjoy the nice cloudy skies for awhile, eh?

  16. In any event, it scattered out at noon, and is clear now--at least here in Mountlake Terrace.

    The cross Cascade gradient is minus 10mb, an easterly gradient, and that certainly must be the reason.

    My guess is that when cold air/stratus fills up Eastern Wa, then it can flow over the passes, and then we can mix out here. The stratus in the passes rule. I am sure we will hear from our expert soon, and with that I'll sign off and get my dose of sun. I've posted too many times the past couple days anyway.

  17. Its clearing up here in Kingston!!!!

  18. Satellite reveals most of Puget Sound is clearing out. I bet it's those darn easterly downslope winds from eastern Washington. They're destroying the nice conditions we've had here.

    I'll blame my friends in eastern Washington later. :)

  19. Was the flow over the Strait easterly or westerly? Whatever it was it is broken up or diminished in the latest images.

  20. Cliff, I know you're at the book signing, but when you can, can you tell me when the weather will get nicer again?? Maybe someone else can.

  21. Just back from Tiger mountain. It was amazing the taking off of hats and gloves as we went up, then having to put them back on as we descended, even with sun below. Little ice balls were falling from the trees in the middle elevations.

  22. It's been beautiful and sunny, but very windy here east of North Bend on Saturday, Jan. 17th. Drove homw from the city last night at around midnight and hit pea soup on I-90 right around exit 25, Lasted until about Exit 27 and then clear as a bell. AMAZING stars!


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