June 17, 2011

Videopodcast for June 17th

Here is my videopodcast for today.


Great day today (Friday) but showers and cooler weather on Saturday. Go to the eastern slopes if you want to hike on Saturday!

I have updated the coastal radar website (see the link to the right). Major progress---the transmitter and receiver are in, power is in, and the antenna assembly and base are being completed. They are clearly ahead of schedule and I suspect the radar will be ready for testing within a month. The National Weather Service is working hard and effectively to make this happen quickly.

A number of you have emailed me about the news stories on the a potential disruption of the solar cycle. I will do a detailed blog about this....but let me note a few facts. First, if you think the skill of weather prediction is uncertain, the skill of solar cycle prediction is worst, as proven by the inability to get this cycle (number 24) correct Second, the variation of solar output from the peak to trough of the solar cycle is relatively small (roughly .1%). Finally, if we keep pumping out greenhouse gases as we have, the global warming signal will completely swamp any solar decline. Bottom line: you don't have to worry about an imminent ice age or cold spell. The best we can hope for would be a decline in solar output giving us a bit more time to get our atmospheric house in order.

You come to this blog for profound insights into the weather.....so here is one...an update of my barbecue index! Scott Sistek of KOMO-TV (who has a wonderful blog) has updated the index to include this year and the results are found here. The barbecue index determines how many days exceed a reasonable temperature for outdoor cooking (59F) since March 11. Anyway, we are the fifth worst year on record. This is the kind of important information you don't hear about on KUOW anymore!


  1. Thanks for posting that so early in the day, plenty of time for me to watch before heading to Anacortes to catch the ferry to Orcas! Three days of camping--was hoping to catch your podcast before heading out. ...so much for the San Juans being in the Olympic rainshadow this weekend, but it looks perfectly acceptable weather. A little drizzle on Saturday maybe, no big deal. Thanks again!

  2. Can I ask what you think of this?


    35% spike in infant mortality in Seattle following the Japan nuclear disaster which is still going on.

    I remember you posting weather maps showing there was no danger from the reported release of radioactive material. But does your view change given the new information?

    Thanks in advance for your consideration.

  3. Hi Cliff,

    I think the video podcasts are a great improvement over the KUOW episode. As a working stiff, I rarely got to listen to the radio anyway. Plus the visual representation provided by the maps are much more informative. I'm sure it's time consuming to produce them, but I like them a lot better--and welcome the lack of controversy over the topic of conversation....

  4. Great podcast Cliff. I really like the detail. Would be great to learn more about some of the effects you mentioned like roticity (sp?) in future podcasts!

  5. Tif Otter, that's curious. The Fox story and the press release it's quoting didn't say anything about the normal variability of infant mortality from time to time. I am wondering if this is within the normal range. When numbers are low as they are for infant mortality, a small numerical increase leads to a large percentage change.

    We didn't just take Tepco's word for how much radioactive material was released. There were monitors from the Japanese government and the U.S. military near Japan, and various state and federal agencies with detectors in Washington. I don't believe a conspiracy would be possible among all those different folks.

    Japan is a very long way from here. It would be like Chernobyl causing infant mortality not just in Europe but in the U.S., except that Fukushima is no where near as bad as Chernobyl.

  6. Actually Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl, or will be. Chernobyl only involved one reactor, Fukushima has three that melted down. Chernobyl was brought under control fairly quickly, while Fukushima continues to release radioactivity and does not look to be contained until 2012. It is the worst nuclear accident in history.


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

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