April 09, 2012


It is increasingly apparent that this spring will not be a repeat of the damp, cold abomination of Spring 2011.  Today Seattle hit 68F and yesterday 70F....well above the normal high of 57F.   In 2011, the first day to hit 70F was MAY 20th.   In contrast to last month, April has brought us below-normal precipitation (only .31 inches so far, .63 inches below normal), and that should continue for at least the next week.

To further warm your heart, the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 day forecasts suggest above normal temperatures for the western U.S. (see graphic) and the European Centre's

forecasts for the upcoming  weekend is for ANOTHER RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE and more warmth (the ensemble mean and high resolution forecast for the upper level flow is shown below).
Although tomorrow should also be warmer than normal and relatively dry away from the coast, our temperatures will decline to near normal during the middle and end of the week, with a probability of some light rain on Wednesday onwards.   Here is the forecast for precipitation during the next 72 h.   The NW lowlands only get light stuff, while most of the precipitation is heading into northern California.  Note the near absence of precipitation east of the WA Cascades.  Good place for a hike.

The eastern two-thirds of the U.S. has been extraordinarily warm, so warm that is overcame a cool West Coat to produce the warmest March on record for the lower 48 states (since 1895)But do not conclude this was due to global warming.   The upper level wave patterns of the atmosphere were highly disturbed the last month, with some places much colder than normal (e.g, Alaska, West Coast) and others (eastern U.S.) much warmer.  Here are the temperature anomalies for the last 30 days.   You will notice how the temperatures anomalies vary from much warmer than normal over the central U.S. (reds)  to colder than normal temperatures over Alaska and NE Asia (blues and purples)

At this point, there is no reason to expect this pattern is due to man-caused global warming.

And folks, it is surely too early to put you tomato plants outside!


  1. In other words (in the last paragraph or so): cherry-picking your data to fit your narrative is bad science.

    Here's hoping for a warm April... my little tomato and pepper seedlings really need it!

  2. heres a cool wind map http://hint.fm/wind/?coolulerf sershou

  3. I hope you are right, Cliff. I already transplanted my tomatoes outside. I had to because I started them too early and they were getting way too big for the windowsill, not to mention the 4 inch pots.

  4. I know it's a long shot for me to get a response, but as a Seattleite hoping to run well in the Boston Marathon on Monday, do you have any input on the possible warm front/cold front interplay that appears to be coninciding with race day? The European model seems to suggest the warm front will last through Monday, while other models have a cold front moving in a bit earlier.

    Thanks a lot for all your amazing blogging! Never knew weather could be such a fascinating topic.

  5. Thanks again for reminding us to look beyond a small sample of data in one locale for a huge thing like Global Warming. It cannot be repeated enough. No one gets anywhere drawing conclusions that aren't supported by the data.

  6. Cliff, Will you please explain why that low pressure has been sitting off the West Coast for days instead of moving East to West like usual?



  7. "At this point, there is no reason to expect this pattern is due to man-caused global warming."

    This is simply false.


    You might not find the argument convincing, but that's not the same as saying there is "no" reason.

  8. i'm hoping for clear weather for the May 5th Perigee-Syzygy (supermoon).

  9. Unknown...I read the paper these speculations are based on and found it completely speculative and unconvincing....cliff

  10. I am itching to put out the tomato plants. It's 70 here in Tri-Cities at 7pm. Spring fever in full swing.

  11. WRT "At this point, there is no reason to expect this pattern is due to man-caused global warming."

    What is the point at which you admit that climate change is "man-caused"

    Do we wait for the ocean to rise, maybe three feet?

    Or, maybe, ocean acidification has killed off 50% of species?

    Maybe just track global temperature rise?

    Cliff - I love your posts and observations... but you're missing the boat on man's influence of our climate

    Thanks for your ongoing work

  12. Bill,
    I don't think you understand what I said in this blog. I am saying that we can point the finger of global warming on the central U.S. heat spell last month. That statement has nothing to do with ocean acidification and the profound warming that will occur by the end of the century. Those worried about global warming must be careful about misidentifying and overhyping weather events....it undermines the credibility of those of us worried about GW.

  13. I've put tomato plants out this early before... but you really have to protect them with some sort of cloche (plastic tunnel/tent) against the nighttime lows and often blustery cool days. But it's also too easy to cook them inside that tent when the sun comes out... and their survival can still be dicey if we get more nights down into the low 30s. Even if the plants don't die, They can get set way back by cold damage.

  14. GW: I have read on other blogs that the central US heat spell was the warm heart in a cold world. Weren't global temps as a whole colder than normal during that heat wave?


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