January 22, 2015

Sea Fog and Lowered "King Tides"

Local weather enthusiast and the maestro of Skunk Bay Weather Greg Johnson sent me some impressive imagery and video of sea fog off of Point No Point on the Kitsap Peninsula around 8 AM yesterday (January 21st).  Click on the image or link to view it.

Why such a nice display of this shallow fog?

We start with relatively warm water......here is the sea surface temperature at the Orca buoy at Hansville, only a few miles away from the Point No Point lighthouse (I got this on the wonderful Nanoos website provided by the University of Washington).  The water was around 49F.

It turns out, that the air temperatures were relatively cold that morning,dropping into the mid 30s, as shown by the observations at Greg's Johnson's Skunk Bay Weather Site, which is quite close to Point No Point:

Same story at Port Townsend

So relatively cold air was passing over water, water about 12-15F warmer.  Moisture from the warm water was able to saturate the cold air (cold air can "hold" less water vapor than warm air) producing the shallow fog.   This kind of fog is also called "steam fog".

 The other big water story are the "King Tides" that will be occurring the next few days. Here is a plot of the predicted and observed tides.  They will be particularly high Friday and Saturday.  

But here is an interesting observation--the observed tides (red) are less than predicted (blue).  Why?

The reason is that atmospheric pressure is running higher than normal and high pressure pushes the water down, reducing the water level.  So perhaps we should call them "Queen Tides" this year.  A fascinating aspect of King Tide periods is that they give you a feeling what the typical tides will be in roughly 150 years from now due to global warming---if we let it happen


  1. Cliff,

    Headlines were made today as 1,700 private jets were put into play for a conference call to discuss, among other things, global warming (climate change, or whatever term they’re using these days). However, missing from your proposed list, is calling out the hypocricy of the global-warming finger-waggers. Don’t you think that would be pretty helpful in and of itself?

    See, most carbon emissions come from the affluent. Those who fly around the country, take long auto trips, and generally have the dispoable income to use a great deal of resources. Ironically, it is this same group that preaches to everyone else about the evils of global warming. Generally speaking, those who believe in climate change are more likely to have a higher carbon footprint, because climate change believers are more likely to be affluent, highly-formally-educated, etc.

    So, instead of worrying about convincing everyone else, the arguement could be made that if it were truly a problem, the believers could make a huge difference just amongst themselves, regardless of what the doubters do. Yet, the airplanes leaving Seattle were mostly full over the holidays, filled with upper-middle-class climate-change beleivers.

    Could this be the reason that much doubt still exists? A resistance to ever more “do as we say, not as we do”? Could you blame the working-class were this the case?

    Wealthier young Americans are forgoing having kids in record numbers, because they’re “too selfish" (theire words), we’re in the grips of a narcissim epidemic, yet we’re all supposed to believe that these same people care oh so much what’s going to happen to perfect strangers after they are long buried?

    See, people are naturally intuitive, and we know that’s not true. We know that, for millions of affluent people to be up in arms about climate change, there has to be something in it for them specifically. Be it social status, the approval of one’s peers, popular group membership, or what have you, we know that most people’s concerns about global warming have absolutely nothing to do with the planet. As depressing as it is to come to terms with, people are just not that altrustic. Humans are extremely selfish creatures who do little or nothing without a strong self-interest component.

    Alas, this is confirmed by the 1,700 airplanes taking flight this week. Everyone burning fuel and rushing to one spot so they can be seen caring about the earth. And isn’t that what it’s about? I’ve never been thanked by anyone for my low carbon footprint, which is easily in the bottom 5% of all American’s, only chastized for not repeating the global warming manifesto. If the earth was the paramount concern, would the opposite be the case?

    So, forgive me if I continue to take it all with a healthy grain of salt. I never look at words, only actions, and the actions clearly say that climate change is not a serious thing. 1,700 jets said that this week alone. How many meteorolgists fly around the country for climate change events each year, when things like Skype are reasonably mature? I think one day, even you might realize that you too have been jerked around certain interests who have a great deal invested in the global warming paradigm.

    I honestly beleive that you are a stand-up guy, and a very smart guy. That’s why I read just about everything you publish, and I watch your segments. I’m a fan of your work, and I believe that you are sincere. I also believe that you are an exception.

    If it truly is real, however, and it truly is a big problem … well, dare I say that you guys in the top 10% can go a long ways to solving it yourself, without anyone else’s help. Apparently, solving the crisis isn’t as fun as posturing, though. Or, at least, not as rewarding. It sure seems like they spend more time berating the latter, than solving said “crisis”. The hypocricy surrounding climate change is so extreme, that I think it’s disingenuous to fault anyone for not taking it serious.

    If lies were fire, then hypocricy would be smoke.

  2. It seems that the name 'King tides' is referring to high tide and not the tidal range. June 14 and 15 last year appear to be the days of the largest tide range last year. On the 14th the tides were 12.2 and -3.3 for a range of 15.5, and on the 15th 12.4 and -3.0 for a range of 15.4.
    On December the 25th the high was 13.0 and low -2.0 for a range of 15.0. Yesterday (the 22nd) the high was 13.0 with a low of -2.2. The high will get a couple tenths higher today and tomorrow but the tide range will be less.
    So the interesting observation is that high tides are higher during the winter peak tides and the low tides are lower during the summer peak tides, while the tide range is slightly less in the winter.
    What is the explanation?

  3. Wow, I feel dumber for reading that comment Cheryl. Climate change as an agenda backed by the rich? Get real.

    Granted, long distance flights are certainly not helping CO2 emissions, but that is essentially a drop in the bucket at this stage in the game. Also, those affluent enough to participate in this conference are a lot more likely to implement long-lasting change or contribute to philanthropic endeavors related to mitigating the effects of a changing climate.

    If you need to be recognized and lauded for doing your part, then it sounds like you have some more learning to do.

  4. Cheryl,
    You probably have a point. There is a huge amount of hypocrisy out there. Climate scientists seems to travel more than anyone, both for meetings and pleasure. This has always bothered me. So the folks who understand the threat the most have the largest carbon footprint. Kind of ironic...cliff

  5. Cliff, Cheryl,

    Yes, ironic indeed: I consider myself an environmentalist, all for wilderness preservation, solar energy, limiting population, controlling pesticides, and so on. But I admit that I like to travel. Maybe someday it will be possible to do so without using fossil fuels but, in my defense, the only thing I can say is that I have not added to the world's population (yet, anyway).

  6. And there is a "third rail" issue that few environmentalists want to touch. One of our biggest industries (Boeing) produces a product that results in a huge carbon footprint. Does it make sense to use a hybrid car when our state is producing a product that results in the burning of extraordinary amounts of fossil fuels? It is noteworthy that this is NEVER discussed...cliff

  7. Cliff,
    That last comment of yours is a bit off base. I am retired now and do not have access to airplane fuel consumption data but I did find this on the web that provides data for three airlines operating the 737-800:
    If you play with the numbers a little you will find that a average trip for these airlines is 1243 nm (1429 statue miles), the average block fuel is 2500 gallons, and the average number of seats is 158. The result is a fuel milage of 0.572 mpg for the airplane. Airplanes fly pretty full of passengers these days but if we just assume an 85% capacity the fuel consumption is about 77 mpg per passenger. Not so bad.
    If you'd like more, and better quality, data please contact Boeing, I'm sure they would help. Or even better, contact some of your associates in the Aerospace Engineering department.

  8. I heard it's supposed to be 61 deg on Monday! What's up with that?!!

  9. Epman,
    It is not the mph that counts but how much fuel is burned over the trip that counts. Miles per gallon is decent but there are a lot of MILES covered when fly. Therefore the carbon footprint is HUGE. Going to Europe and back results in the carbon footprint per passenger of and ENTIRE YEAR of commuting by car.

  10. Cliff,
    Air transportation has become a norm in the world's culture, just like automobiles. It would be interesting to speculate on what the world's economy would be without it.
    I wouldn't say that Boeing is the 'target' regarding contribution to global warming from airplanes. Boeing is filling a demand that exists. Maybe you should talk to Rick Steves about his influence on creating a demand for air travel.
    BTW, I do love your blog.

  11. epman,
    You said it. In some ways Rick Steves has done more to promote global warming than any individual alive! And there is a lot of travel for meetings that really is unnecessary if we use new technologies better for virtual meetings. ..cliff


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

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