September 19, 2016

The Giant Seattle Ice Cube Meets a Suspicious Demise

Today, September 19th marks the demise of the giant Seattle ice cube.   Placed in Seattle's Occidental Park on Friday, September 9th by the well-known local architecture firm Olson Kundig (OK), the 80 inch, 10 ton cube of ice is gone. It took roughly ten days.

Unfortunately, it appears that some human intervention may have quickened its demise.  I will present the evidence and you be the judge.

So let's review the history of the OK ice cube through a series of pictures. And for reference, here are the temperatures of the last two weeks at Boeing Field.
September 9th:  the day it was installed. Gorgeous.

September 10th.  A little melt but still a nice cube.

September 11th:  Still looking good.

September 14th.  After a period of rapid warming and sunshine, the OK ice cube had a lot of melt, but is still standing tall.

Sept 16.  Not as wide, but still imposing.

Sept 17th:  A dramatic presence.

 Sept 18th.  A few ice blocks on the floor.  I went to see it myself that day.

 Sept 19th.   Its gone.

Folks...I am deeply suspicious that there was some serious ice hanky-panky between the 17th and the 18th.  Saturday night.

Someone got to the ice cube.  It should have lasted until Thursday or Friday. Perhaps the Seattle Times could put one of its investigative reporters on it...Danny Westneat covers this kind of thing all the time.  Who would have it in for a giant icecube?  Seattle police have some suspicions based on evidence found near the scene of the crime:

And now to see who won the contest.   In fact, two people picked this date:

Andy Stahl and Thomas and ae.  Congratulations to them, although their victories are somewhat reduced by the nighttime ice skullduggery.  And they can all get custom forecasts if they ask me.

My talk on Northwest Climate Surprises on September 28. 

During the evening of September 28, I will be giving a talk in Seattle at the Mountaineers in NE Seattle on Climate Surprises: Unexpected Impacts of Global Warming on the Pacific Northwest. 

You think global warming will simply bring warmer temperatures, drought, less snow, and more storms? 

Think again. The latest climate model simulations provide a far more nuanced prediction of what will happen here, with some of the predictions being quite surprising. This talk is sponsored by CarbonWa and the Audubon Society. To find out more or to secure tickets, please go here.

And if you already secured tickets please not that the location has been shifted to the Mountaineers location in NE Seattle (in Magnuson Park).  Parking will be easier and free.  Right near Sand Point Way (lots of buses) and the Burke Gilman trail.


  1. Paddy the Penguin was reported near the site,recently.....

  2. Hi Cliff,
    I also had guessed the 19th... check the comments.
    Do we know the exact time of the demise?

  3. My ice melting model factored in some anthropogenic forcing.

    Custom weather forecast question: How many days will I be able to ride my bicycle in Eugene without getting rained on this winter?

  4. Hi Cliff,
    Thomas here. Thrilled to be a lucky winner of the ice melting challenge.
    My requested forecast would be: Next spring I’d like to take a few folks to the top of the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle to see if we are able to spot migrating birds going by. Would you be willing to forecast a clear night for us, say around the first week in April when the weather radar is lighting up with birds?
    (I’ve always been fascinated by the radar pictures you show of weather radar picking up birds migrating at night.
    Bird Migration on Radar: What Weather Conditions Encourage Our Feathered Friends

  5. Hanky panky may be appropriate, if implying melting the ice. Quantum hanky panky, on another hand...
    As to Andy Stahl's question about rain vs bicycle, consider a different anthropogenic farcing: if you ride it entirely indoors, it (and you) are less likely to have your spirits dampened.

    A more serious weather question is what has changed since the blog entry of 17Sep? Looking outdoors before sunset (E of the Cascades), the different cloud layers could be seen moving in different directions. Looking at the PDT radar (PDT_loop.gif) by 07:50 22Sep, still appears there are multiple air layers moving in different directions.

    Looking at a 500 hPa overview by ~ 08:00 looked like much of the Western US within a large, roughly squared-off ellipse:,47.7


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