June 20, 2011

Summer Weather and Audio Podcast

A lot of people are asking about the summer. My college-student son Nathan told me that I should try an audio podcast on the topic....so here it is:

Tell me if you like it (he arranged the music!).

Bottom line: Cooler than normal for the next week or so but then we may well enjoy a normal summer from that point on.

One of the major reasons our weather has been cool during the late winter and spring has been the existence of a moderate La Nina. Well, the La Nina has been weakening rapidly and now is basically gone (see sea surface temperature anomalies--differences from normal--in the tropical Pacific shown below). So not only is La Nina basically gone but the correlation of La Nina and El Nino with summer weather around here is very weak.

Looking at the forcast models for the next week it is clear that there is no heat wave in store for us, and we will remain in a generally cooler than normal and cloudy pattern. It is getting to me too. My tomatoes are still alive at this point, but I worry.

The National Weather Service 8-14 day forecasts show a similar forecast--see below. Blue is below normal temperatures (higher than normal probability of cool temps).

Green signifies above normal probability of precipitation:

But you deserve some good news today.

Here is the NWS three-month temperature forecast for temperature---EC means equal changes--which means NORMAL.

And for precipitation, there are even going drier than normal over Oregon and normal over WA.

So just hold on through the July 4th weekend....we may have some real summer yet.

And for those of you interested in my KUOW saga, I am now in serious negotiations with some radio stations and soon I will have an announcement. But I do plan a series of blogs on KUOW and what is going on at that station. There are real issues over there.


  1. Cliff, good to know that it's looking like we're actually going to see the sun on a semi-regular basis!

    On a side note, loved the podcast, but I think the audio is a bit on the low side (at least for me). The intro music was just a touch on the low side, but your voice was very very quiet. Not a big deal since I just turned up the volume, but relative to my music player your voice was a whisper.

  2. Two or three years ago we were in a similar pattern--cool in the NW with a heat wave in the Southern Plains.Then the upper level ridge that was over the central US retrograded back to the Rockies,and we finally got some summer-like weather here.It would be nice if that were to happen again.But unfortunately,according to the middle range charts,it looks like it`s going to stay cooler than normal at least through the first week of July.
    I`m a bit concerned that this weather pattern may persist through much of the summer.It`s starting to remind me a lot like the summer of 1980.That year there was a tremendous heat wave and drought in the Southern Plains, especially Texas,Oklahoma and Arkansas,that persisted until late August.It was a fairly cool summer here;the main highlight (or low light,to many) was a scarcity of hot weather--no 90 degree days, and relatively few days with readingss in the 80`s.If the upper level maps and forecasts don`t show any change come the middle of next month,we may be in for a repeat of that summer.

  3. Hello Cliff,

    For those of us who aren't as well-versed in long-term forecasts, it would be really interesting to hear some details on what they're based off of. What are some of the key factors that are looked at when making a forecast for a few months out?

  4. Cliff - I thought the audio podcast was excellent. Had to adjust the volume up a bit (after the music intro), but not a big deal.
    On the subject of the currently fading La Nina - I have noticed that with a substantial La Nina event (such as we have just experienced) there is often a shift from neutral to a recurrent less intensive La Nina weather pattern the following year. Just curious if think 2011-12 will hold to this pattern?
    Thanks for the great information you provide all of us.

  5. Man, I was getting ready to boogie a bit my living room. Haha, kudos to your son! A nice touch.

    Thanks for the outlook Cliff. Took the family up to Port Townsend for Father's Day and it was 53F with heavy drizzle. It seemed a like a December day. I can wait until we just bust out of this rut we're in. The blog has been so great of late, but it's always so good. Thanks again!

  6. Hi Cliff, I liked your audio podcast better than the one with the ones you've done with the graphics. Somehow the map and the cursor and all that was distracting to me. It is easier for me to grasp with just your words. Maybe that is part of what made your segments on KUOW so great. I have to admit I'm one of those guys who still prefer to listen to baseball games on the radio though.

  7. The CPC discussion for next month did briefly state the desert SW monsoon moisture is nearly 800 miles further south than average for this time of year. Thats odd, might play a role in all of the western U.S. summer.

    And that much below average area in Oregon, thats comical.

  8. It would be nice to be able to download the audio podcast to an mp3 player (have a link to the mp3 file). I tried to follow the musings of a geologist and her nuclear dad on the Fukushima post tsunami disaster, but stopped when they were all video. I don't like being tied to my computer.

    I hope Nathan is doing well. Ah, the days of little kid baseball. Of course after those kids won their league that year, my son Peter said my favorite words to me: "Mom, I don't think I want to do baseball anymore."

    I swear this is the third spring in a row of low temperatures and rain. It has certainly shown in the lack of apricots. Even though I have a Puget Gold apricot, it can't make fruit unless there are bees... and the bees don't like cold and wet weather.

    Though my roses and apples are doing quite well. One of the reasons is that I spent the winter making sure they were well pruned so that there was plenty of air circulation. Plus I have given them plenty of compost and moderate amounts of fertilizer to keep them healthy.

    Now there is the problem of slugs and snails. Launching the offending mollusks into a street is very satisfactory.

  9. Dr. Mass,

    Great podcast. Good music. Does your son go to the U W?

    I also want to know how the Weather Service does their long term forecasts.


  10. I second the volume problem. It's very quiet on my machine and I have the volume all the way up. I also prefer the audio version of your podcast.

  11. I enjoy the audio podcast and the a/v ones, too, for different reasons. I hope you continue 'em both. The just audio one describes the trends in a big picture way, and you tell it well. The video is fun for looking at some of the fine detail of what's going on. Thanks for both.


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