January 13, 2009

Into the Soup

The inversion is strengthening up now...take a look at the latest observations from the Seattle profiler..which measures temperature above Sand Point (Magnuson Park area of NE Seattle).
Temperature drops off with height to about 1000 meters (roughly 3000 ft) and then increases
rapidly with height--that is the inversion. Above the inversion it becomes not only warmer, but clear and sunny (check the view from Crystal Mt). During this week the inversion should
strengthen and lower, so you can always get out of the murk by moving upward. One of my favorite things to do in this situations is to climb Tiger Mountain. One can bask in the warmth and look down on the clouds below (there is a picture from one of my ascents in my book)

Although there were a few sunbreaks today, I expect low clouds to reform over night. The air near the surface is relatively moist (dewpoints in the mid to upper 30s) and as the air cools down overnight the air will become saturated and fog will form. The problem with fog is that one formed it can become very peristent--solar radiation is reflected off its top (helping to cool) and fog is very good at radiating infrared energy to space (also cools). Sort of like a cloudy refrigerator! So you have a positive feedback that can keep cold, stable air near the surface. Another factor is that the ridging will amplify, producing more subsidence (sinking) aloft that will producing warming aloft and strengthen and lower the inversion. I hate to say it, but this is an ideal situation for us to fog in and stay like that. Our only hope is that there will be enough offshore flow to mix it out a bit during mid afternoons.
Sea Tac often fogs out in this situation...so call before flying out. Sea Tac has a worse fog problem than Boeing Field because Sea Tac is higher (452 ft). During the day the fog often lifts a bit...Boeing can open up enough for landings...but Sea Tac remains in the murk. Portland should be fine because the strong outflow winds from the Gorge.
Air quallity is generally ok now, but it will decline as the inversion strengthens and lowers. More on that tomorrow.

I wanted to mention that I will be giving a talk on Northwest Snowstorms at Third Place Books next wednesday (jan 21) at 7 PM. Will desribe the situations that give us snow here.


  1. It was drippy & warm this morning as I walked the dogs along the Edmonds waterfront. As we crested the hill on Sunset Ave just north of the ferry I could see a fog bank stretching from Clinton on Whidbey to Mukilteo, very cool. Had a brief sun break this afternoon. Went out on the deck to enjoy it but it was very short lived. Gave me just enough time to realize how much yard work is needed to clean up after all that wonderful wind and snow... Thanks Cliff; I think I will head for the hills :-)

  2. Check out the this sat pic from 0000Z on 1-14-09.
    You can see the moon rising on the east side of the disk.

  3. Cliff, I don't know you, but given your comments about the snow situation in Seattle (with which I agree), thought you'd enjoy this:

    Twas the week before Christmas, and next to the Sound,
    Not a creature was stirring, for all were snowbound.
    Greyhound buses quit running, no matter the fare,
    And the mail men and garbage said they just couldn't get there!

    The children were sliding Queen Anne Hill on their sleds.
    While roofs were collapsing on old people's heads.
    And mama in her boots and I in my cap,
    Were stuck in the snow and ice and such crap.

    When at the Home Depot there arose such a clatter,
    I trudged from my car to see what was the matter.
    A group of sad souls were waving their cash,
    They couldn't buy shovels, they'd sold in a flash.

    Tires were spinning and just wouldn't go,
    And chains lay broken in the dirty old snow.

    Then, what to my surprise did my eyes look over and see?
    Eight representatives of Washington DOT,
    With a fat politician so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it was Mayor "Salt Nick".

    More rapid than gun bans, his excuses they came,
    "To save our environment the roads stay the same!
    On Broadway! On Boren! On Yesler and Denny!
    To clear off these roads would cost such a penny!

    Sliding down Thomas and into a wall!
    The buses hung over I-5, ready to fall!
    Still, he insisted it wasn't his fault,
    As the world's greenest mayor he wouldn't use SALT!

    That stuff's corrosive, could hurt the fish.
    (But the Puget Sound's SALT WATER you ignorant kish!)
    So snowy Seattle continued to stew,
    But Mayor "Salt Nick" just hadn't a clue.

    While I stood there astonished, on nearby TV sets,
    I saw the airport was packed, no de-icer for jets.
    Since others couldn't get down the roads to the ferry,
    The city decided to close Denny and Cherry.

    Police cars and firetrucks were highly impaired,
    Citizens got no impression that Mayor "Salt Nick" even cared.
    A house that caught fire, or a fight in progress,
    Was less important than "going green" in Seattle - I guess!

    An accident closed the I-90 bridge,
    And people couldn't drive down Phinney Ridge.
    Shovels, and salt had just flown off the shelf,
    And I laughed when I heard him in spite of myself.

    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
    He tried to convey we had nothing to dread;
    He spoke many words, but did little work,
    Yet Seattle knew they should never have elected this jerk.

    Then thumbing his nose at his citizens' plight,
    He turned to the crowd and exclaimed "We've done right!",
    And then to his limo refusing to yield,
    He left to get solar panels installed on Qwest Field.

    But I heard him exclaim, as he skidded past me
    "Happy Christmas to all, heck, I gave myself a 'B' "

  4. Definitely no basking on Tiger today, but based on the forecast I’m looking forward to Thursday. I hike Tiger several times a week and I’ve been a little surprised at how few times I have encountered a temperature inversion. I did notice a dramatic inversion one day back in the fall. Usually there is a noticeable temperature drop somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 way up, and it seems to be there the year round, so when there is an inversion I always take note.

  5. the inversion is too high today..wait until Thursday..you want the inversion below 600 meters....cliff

  6. You haven't told us yet. When, exactly, should we expect the 60 degree weather at Paradise?

  7. Paradise Forcast: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=sew&textField1=46.781078&textField2=-121.742081&smap=1

    not quite sixty but i'll take it

  8. Booooo! This is not great for skiers. Any hint of mountain snow in the forecast?

  9. inversion is gone.

    didn't take much work to see that clouds looked "normal" on tuesday morning and not inversion-like. the pressure eased up a bit and allowed the air to move. the giveaway was the sun start to break out tuesday around lunchtime in seattle.

    i was up at 3 this morning to gorgeous moonlight.

    it will be a lovely day at last.

  10. Inversion is still there and will be for some time to come.

    Temperature profiler

  11. Several comments by "TreeCity Bob from Lake Forest Park:

    First, concerning the poem posted here by "Anonymous", Jeff Denton posted it here weeks ago, and we still don't know who the author is, and would like to thank her or him for this wonderful contribution! Maybe "Anonymous" can share that info?

    Here are some related posts, and emails that Jeff and I exchanged. I think I posted some of this earlier, but I haven't learned how to Search this blog for earlier posts, so I'll risk repeating stuff since I can't identify it or point you to it. I have all of this in a 2-page Word.doc that I've emailed all over the planet, and I'd be glad to share it with anyone who requests it, either by email or as hardcopy for some of Cliff's book-signings (next post).

    Here's my "Title"

    Mayor "Salt Nick"
    (Author Unknown, search in process)
    Jeff said... On
    Cliff Mass’ Weather Blog

    T'was the week before Christmas, and next to the Sound,
    Not a creature was stirring, for all were snowbound.
    Greyhound busses quit running, no matter the fare,
    And the mail men and garbage said they just couldn't get there!
    But I heard him exclaim, as he skidded past me
    "Happy Christmas to all, heck, I give myself 'B' ".

    For those not aware, Mayor Greg Nickels is rated by many as a buffoon.

    Comments on this poem posted by “Anonymous” and me (Bob), sharing emails exchanged by Jeff and me:

    Anonymous said...
    Jeff, that was a pretty bad poem. It's bad enough it calls snow "crap," but to put down someone that much?
    January 4, 2009 10:09 AM
    Bob Moore said...
    As, you can see from the email-copy below and my Comments re the Survey below, I disagree with "Anonymous" that this poem is "crap," and that both Jeff and I disagree with some of the poet's messages, which AREN'T Jeff's!

    Subject:Sharing your Mass Blog Poem Post?
    Jo and Bob 11:21 PM Dec 3

    I like your poem so much that I've done a copy/paste/edit to Word, with a few tweaks in layout and syllables to fine-tune the scan, and I'd like to share the attached version with friends in my Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church tomorrow, and then with our Social Action/Great Turning ("Green Save-the-Planet") group on Monday evenings, where we'll probably be discussing my suggestion (posted last week) that we replace salt (sodium chloride) with the best of several [allegedly] green salt-subsititutes that lower the melting temp of ice and snow, now marketed for residential driveways and walks/stairs. As I'm sure you know, your lines are only half the picture:

    "That stuff's corrosive, could hurt the fish.
    (But the Puget Sound's SALT WATER you ignorant kish!) "

    since streams and lakes and the ship-canal are fresh water, with many inhabitant animals and plants that would be poisoned by sodium chloride or most other "salts"

    so Nickles doesn't want to dime them to death, and maybe we shouldn't buck his basic mission -- does that make cents?

    [Bob's addition at 3:10 -- is this money-talk/punny-talk distracting?]

    So, I'd appreciate your feedback on this, ASAP.


    Bob Moore

    Jeff Denton 5:19 AM
    I thought after I posted it I should have included “Author Unknown” because there is no reason I should get credit for someone else’s wonderful cleverness. It was sent to me from my girlfriend who received it from a friend so on and so forth. As soon as I read it I knew I had to put it on Cliff’s blog because of the subject content and all the recent discussion about salt vs. sand. So yes, you have my permission, which you don’t need, to do what ever you want with it.
    Personally I disagree with using salt but I won’t get into that here. Your idea of salt substitutes is probably a good idea but I suspect it would cost more.
    Jo and Bob 7:43 AM Dec 4
    Thanks so much, Jeff!

    The poet deserves public recognition, if you can track him down. Maybe, for now, we should post some of our email exchange. I have to scoot off to church and won't have time to compose a careful edit until afternoon, but you're welcome to do whatever feels right to you. (Right now, I'll hooked on Puzzlemaster Will Schortz on KUOW -- I'm a Sudoku junkie and a big fan of Lianne Hansen!)

    Bob Moore

  12. Next, concerning Cliff's lectures and book signings:

    (1) I was originally planning to join in on his gig on January 21 at Third Place Books in "my Lake Forest Park", for several reasons (below), but my fitness Trainer at Gold's Gym just called to my attention that this is next WEDNESDAY, when I have an essential Japanese class at the Seattle Japanese Language School 6:30-8:30 PM so I couldn't get to Third Place until almost 9PM! I'm a long-time supporter of owner Ron Sher's "Third Place Community" vision for his LFP and Ravenna stores, which I tell folks that they feel to me like "consumer co-ops" (like REI, PCC Natural Markets, Group Health Co-Op, and "our University Bookstore"), and I want to support the REAL co-op Friends of Third Place Commons by joining book signings, organizing my own events (like our Nidoto Nai Yoni "Let it Not Happen Again" memorial to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII), and donating time and money to that group!)

    (2) So, I'm really thrilled to see on the calendar that his signing at "our co-op U Bookstore" on the Ave at the convenient time of 1:00 PM (grab a good lunch at Ave cafes almost as good as those at Third Place!)on Saturday Jan 17, where I can even get 10% off on the price of his book (and he and I could probably advance-order discounted copies for other blog fans if you email us in time, although those of you who are students, alums or colleagues can get that price break too, if they don't get sold out -- so HURRY!!)

    But, re (1) vs. (2), I'm hoping via this post to persuade Cliff to share a preview of his "Snow in the Puget Sound" Third Place lecture at "our U Bookstore" too, and I'll bring copies of my "Mayor Salt Nick" Word.doc to share, emphasizing my message in the last post:

    "so NICKLES doesn't want to DIME them to death, and maybe we shouldn't BUCK his basic mission -- does that make CENTS?
    [Bob's addition -- is this money-talk/punny-talk distracting?]

    (3) Fortunately, I/we also have other options later, and I urge ALL blog fans to join one or more of them, even if you already have an autographed copy of his book (probably decorated with MANY "bravo" marginal notes, if you treat your favorite books like I do -- I often even attach "page tabs" so I can find my favorite stuff ASAP, even at the risk of tearing pages...)

    So, BOTTOM LINE, let's join together and support Cliff and "our UW Press" in these events, ignoring the state of the economy and (unreliable, we hope?) forecasts about that! Does somebody in our UW Econ. Dept.
    have a blog like Cliff's where we can get more reliable info about THAT stuff?

  13. This is for the poem post

    Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.

    Costello: Are you the manager?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: You gonna be the coach too?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?

    Abbott: Well I should.

    Costello: Well then who's on first?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: I mean the fellow's name.

    Abbott: Who.

  14. On January 12th, 2009 my weather station recorded a pressure of 30.590 in (243ft elevation), which was the highest reading in over a year. In fact, just over a year ago on Jan 5, 2008 the pressure was the lowest my station has recorded at 28.671 in.

  15. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO CONTINUALLY SHOW EVERYONE HOW MUCH YOU DON'T LIKE WEATHER?? PLEASE KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF. Those of us who LIKE weather and LIKE the clouds and fog would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

  16. Here's the first part of a Comment I just posted in detail on Cliff's Weds Jan 14 posting:
    "Following up on my last Comment posted on Cliff's Jan 13 post, concerning his lecture/book signings, here are some corrections and details:
    Details Bob couldn’t see when posting his earlier message:.
    "Upcoming Events
    • 17 January, 1 PM. Book signing at the University Book Store, Seattle
    • 6-7 March, Northwest Weather Workshop. NOAA, Seattle (details later)"

    and concluding
    "Notice that the U Bookstore event description doesn’t announce any “Lecture” or “Talk” as all others but the NOAA one do, and I now can’t recall any “auditorium” in the present UBS building where that kind of presentation could fit, so we may only have the “book signing,” with a chance for a brief individual chat with Cliff as he signs our copy, plus a chance to meet and become acquainted with each other after he signs ours.
    Also, notice that the NOAA one says “(details later)” so a talk/lecture is likely, and when I surfed to the NOAA site http://www.wrclib.noaa.gov/ I found “Find books and reports in library catalogs & publication sites including NOAA Seattle Libraries, UW, WorldCat” and “Bldg.3, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA, 98115-6349 / seattle.library@noaa.gov / 206.526.6241.” This confirms my impression that this event is probably at the NOAA site just north of Sand Point Magnuson Park and south of Matthews Beach, where we enter by turning east off of Sand Point Way onto NE NOAA Drive about a block north of NE 77th and Sand Point Way, so the Bldg.3, 7600 Sand Point Way NE address suggests that the “Seattle Library at NOAA” is in Building 3 near the south edge of the NOAA site at the Magnuson Park border, which is between NE 74th and NE 75th. The DEX Yellow Pages entry for NOAA seems to indicate that all NOAA facilities are at this site, but doesn’t list the library or supply the 206.526.6241 phone number, although most numbers there are 206.526.62**, and the national NOAA Library page at http://www.lib.noaa.gov/ lists only this location on the West Coast.)


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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