June 16, 2019

The Seattle Times Story on Massive Heat Wave Deaths in Seattle: Does it Make Sense?

On Friday, the front page of the Seattle Times had a terrifying story about Seattle heat waves that could kill hundreds--- in fact, over 700 per event.  One suggesting that only by rapidly cutting greenhouse gas emissions, might our fellow citizens be saved.

Courtesy of the Seattle Times

Their online headline deepened the angst, telling us that Seattle was "unprepared" for the "deadly heat waves" that were being stoked by global warming.

This story was based on a paper in the journal Science Advances:
Increasing mitigation ambition to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal avoids substantial heat-related mortality in U.S. cities.     

The title of this paper gives one a hint that this is an advocacy document, not an objective look at science and risk. There is supplemental information on the paper here

As I describe in detail below, there are profound issues with that paper and with the Seattle Time article that promoted it.  And as I will discuss, such poor journalism and problematic papers have the potential to undermine progress in dealing with the actual threats accompanying global warming.

There are two aspects of the paper that have substantial problems.  First, there is the estimate of how temperature will change this century under global warming.  Secondly, there is their approach for estimating the additional deaths associated with various levels of global warming.

Let's start with the second:  how they connect global warming with increased mortality.

For each city, they completed a statistical analysis of the death rates FROM ALL CAUSES versus mean daily temperature, with their best estimate of the relationship shown by blue and red lines, corresponding to mortality for cold and warm events  (see example for Seattle below).  The gray area is a measure of the uncertainty of their estimate.   The they also find a temperature of minimum mortality (MMT), which for Seattle was 18.5C (65.3F).   According to their methodology, more folks start dying when the temperature is higher, for example at 80F (26.7C).

 From Science Advances article supplementary materials (click to enlarge)

There are so many problems with their approach, it is hard to know where to start.  

First, they ignore the deaths from cold temperatures and the fact that global warming will reduce such mortality.   As documented in local media such as the Seattle Times, there are a number of homeless deaths each year due to exposure (cold weather).  But such deaths are probably eclipsed by the toll produced from roadway deaths due to fatal accidents on icy roads.   I know of dozens of such deaths from legal cases that I and other local meteorologists have worked on--and those are the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  These deaths will be reduced as the region warms.

Second, they assume the Seattle folks will stubbornly refuse to purchase air conditioners and the local government will fail to provide more cooling centers as the region warms.   That with fifty years of warning, Seattle folks will not do what residents of every warm city in the U.S. has done--get AC (or heat pumps or ...) .  This is ridiculous.
This study assumes Seattle residents will not buy these devices.

Third, they don't determine the cause of death in their statistical analysis, which is very relevant.

 When temperature start warming up around here (yes above 65F), what do people do?  They rush out for active outdoor activities, which tragically, but infrequently, lead to loss of life. Cyclists are being killed all the time.  Folks die floating down our ice-cold rivers, falling while hiking (e.g., Rattlesnake Ridge), boating accidents, to name a few. These deaths increase with better weather.     This paper should have determined the numbers of truly heat-caused deaths (e.g.,  heat stroke), but failed to do so. And then the authors linearly extrapolate the death rate to higher temperatures for which there are obviously no data (dashed line above) or robust basis for doing so.  Can one believe such an extrapolation?   Very doubtful.

But it is worse than that.  Their analysis is so problematic that for several cities they get seriously silly results.  In Atlanta and San Francisco, mortality goes DOWN at very high temperatures.  And these are very different environments:  one is steamy hot and the other generally cool during the summer.  Clearly, something is wrong.

From Science Advances article supplementary materials (click to enlarge)

And in Phoenix they found the minimum mortality when the daily average temperature was 34.5 C or
94F.    Sounds like the residents of Phoenix have entrained some lizard DNA!
 From Science Advances article supplementary materials (click to enlarge)

So we have a paper in which they ignored the reduction in cold-period mortality, assumed Seattle residents would not adapt and buy air conditioners like everyone else, did not separate our true heat-related mortality, and make simply extrapolations into temperature regimes for which there is really little clue on heat-related impacts.    The problems noted above by themselves should have been red flags to the reviewers and alerted the media that this material does not belong on front page of a major newspaper.  

Unfortunately, the problems with this paper don't stop there, but includes their climate projections for Seattle and other cities.

Their climate projections are based on a single modeling system, run many times in what we call ensemble mode.  The resolution of their system is very coarse (a grid spacing of roughly 150-200 km) and unable to properly simulate coastal, inland water bodies, the coastal zone,  and the terrain effects so crucial for weather or climate prediction in many locations (particularly Seattle).

The figure below from their paper (showing the difference in warming between their high and low forcing simulations) gives you a feeling for the blocky low resolution nature of their modeling system and how inadequate it is near the coast.

 From Science Advances article (click to enlarge)

This paper uses collections of climate simulations based on different greenhouse gas forcing that warm the planet by 1.5C, 2C and 3C by the end of the century.  Then they applied a simple bias correction scheme based on the errors of their model during a short contemporary period.  There are all kinds of technical issues with what they did (I will not get into them here), but their results, presented in their supplementary information, shows the major flaws in their simulations.

To see the problems, consider their table S2 shown below. 

This table shows their results for a number of U.S. cities.  The first column provides the observed maximum daily temperature for a short period (1987-2000).  (As an aside, the table is mislabeled, it is the observed daily mean maximum temperatures, not instantaneous maxima.  The reviewers should have caught this).  Why they use such an abbreviated contemporary period that certainly doesn't catch the extreme observed values, I do not know.   Then they show the bias-corrected, daily maximum temperatures for the end of the century for three climate projections (global warming of 1.5, 2 and 3 C).

Their observed period daily maxima shows Seattle cooler than San Francisco, which is cooler than LA.  Not unreasonable.    But their climate simulations project an unphysical and implausible future.  Seattle (36.2C) has more extreme warm days than Los Angeles (35.1C), and is hugely more extreme than San Francisco (31.8C).  Boston extreme warm days increase by 12.6 C to 44.8C, making them more extreme than Dallas (42.1C).   Yes, Bostonians will be rushing to Dallas to escape extreme heat.

 From Science Advances article supplementary materials (click to enlarge)

I could go into more detail, but it is clear that their simulations are totally unreliable, particularly for a city like Seattle, with nearby cold water, nearby mountains, low summer humidities, and cool summer evenings.

The bottom line.

 This is an advocacy paper with substantial technical issues.   That it got published shows the weaknesses of the peer-review system and a clear example to the public and the media  that they should be careful before taking a single paper like this too serious.   The fact that a major U.S. newspaper, such as the Seattle Times, rushed to put such obviously problematic work on the front page is disturbing.  This is not educating the public, but attempting to scare them and gain clicks.  One does not have to wonder why some vulnerable individuals are suffering from "climate anxiety" when local media publishes such unfounded and unsupportable predictions of massive deaths.

For those of us concerned about the serious issues of climate change, such papers and articles are a real set back.  Seattle will warm substantially by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.  There will be impacts (average daily highs during the summer in the lower 80s rather than mid-70s in Seattle, reduced snowpack, bigger rain events), and the public and decision makers need accurate information about the impacts, not hype and exaggeration.    Articles and headlines like shown above, undermine the credibility of climate science and push the public to disengage from what is obviously bogus information.


  1. Maximum temperatures in Seattle have NOT increased over the last 125 years, but minimum temperatures have, Look it up for yourself here: https://www7.ncdc.noaa.gov/CDO/CDODivisionalSelect.jsp#

  2. Seattle Times isn't trying to drive itself out of business, but rather to stay in business. "If it bleeds it leads" hasn't changed since the 70's. Clickbait and exaggeration along locally-popular thought lines, even if bogus, generate revenue.

    Newspapers and journalism in general have always been about a blend of print advertising and subscription or per-issue sales revenue. That was bad enough. Now its clicks supporting advertising which amplifies the need to publish eye-popping articles that favor dystopian anxiety, which are excellent clickbait.

    Is it any wonder that the younger half of the population has record high levels of anxiety, while the older half of population has unusually low levels of anxiety. That alone is an interesting proposition, which I'm guessing is at least partially related to how different age groups process these dystopian exaggerations of the future.

  3. As soon as I read the article, I knew you would pick up on this totally misleading example of far left scare tactics. Thank you for again keeping it real and sticking to the facts! It's articles like these that make more and more folks distrust much of the media. Shame on you Seattle Times!

  4. Ah yes, the "far left" Seattle Times. yes, this article is pretty stupid, but I hope you realize, Cliff, that every time you post a blog like this you fan the flames of global warming denial. You know damn well that you have a lot of "supporters" who will completely ignore your last paragraph. It's almost like you throw that in just so you can claim the high ground.

    1. Don't tell the truth. People could get the wrong idea.

  5. Being reasonable isn't too popular these days.

  6. Whether or not burning every last bit of carbon exacerbates climate change doesn't matter. Fact is, our air is filthy because of it Lung cancer is at epidemic levels. Is that not reason enough to stop burning carbon?

  7. Well, they're right, of course, anything COULD happen! People could wake up and grow some common sense.

    It has nothing to do with the "far left" by the way. Who benefits from scaring the populace into adopting new technologies that offer trillions of $dollars in new investments? Not me!

  8. As I understand hot weather deaths the major marker is outside/inside temperature not going below 80 degrees Fahrenheit at nighttime. When that happens if a person is older and weaker their body may not be able to cope and maintain normal temperatures. I do not remember the Seattle Times article making this distinction. I suspect it will be a long time (if ever) before Seattle nighttime temperatures stay above 80 degrees.

  9. Thank you for being a voice of reason, in a sea of madness.

  10. I often disagree with Cliff about his climate change posts, but he's spot on here. One of the weirder aspects of this paper that Cliff didn't mention is that the MMT (temperature of minimum mortality) for 11 out of the 15 mentioned cities is *higher* than the median observed temperature over the similarly weirdly short 1987-2000 observation period, which would seem to imply that warming would, at least initially, cause a reduction in mortality. You can see it yourself in the supplement(Table S1).


  11. The Coming Ice Age: A true scientific detective story
    (from the September 1958 issue of Harper's Magazine)

    Will an Ice Age result from a slow warming and rising of the ocean that is now taking place?


  12. The 1995 heatwave in Chicago killed around 465 people directly from heat, and many more homes there have air conditioning. The death toll has been reported elsewhere at around 700.
    Poor people often can’t afford air conditioning. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-heat-wave-air-conditioning-met-20160722-story.html
    Many apartments don’t allow window units, or they can’t be installed because the window opens sideways and won’t hold it in (source: I’m a Puget Sound area apartment dweller that can’t install a window unit)
    Power outages caused by stresses on the grid, inadequate ambulances, and lack of response from the city contributed as well
    Heat exacerbates other chronic illnesses such as respiratory diseases and cardiac diseases https://www.popsci.com/heatwave-summer-hot-weather-deadly/

    So, yes, heat kills in many ways. Poor people often can’t afford air conditioners or can’t install them. There are other causes of deaths besides direct hyperthermia. You seem to hate the Seattle City Council, but here you credit them with adequate responses during heat waves to save lives.

    I’m going to repeat...
    poor people often can’t afford or can’t install air conditioning units!

  13. It's been going on for too long. People can see that the fear-mongering is based on lies. It is a slow accumulation of failed forecasts, contradictory statements and fear, fear, fear - over the now three decades of this - that is turning the public against it.

    That and the bullying. The fact that anyone who questions is labeled a "denier" or worse (just ask Cliff, he's had his share). The public recoils at that. More importantly: the average person understands that when anyone resorts to threats or name-calling to silence their opponent, then their argument is likely garbage. That is an instinctual quality of our evolved sense of fairness and empathy.

    If the media wants to lose more credibility than they already have, so be it. It will continue, because it is all they have.

    Thank you Cliff for consistently being a voice of reason in all of this.

  14. In addition to the above concerns, I'm still waiting for the MSM to begin discussing another factor that's been completely ignored regarding AGW. One of the many problems with the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory–now disguised under the anodyne title of “climate change,” which includes both drought and floods, among other things–is that the impact of a greenhouse gas like CO2 on the Earth’s temperature is logarithmic. That is to say, the effect is largest with the first molecules of CO2, and diminishes as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere grows.

    The principle is simple: CO2 warms the atmosphere, slightly, because it absorbs radiation that is otherwise escaping from the atmosphere within a certain frequency. The more molecules of CO2 that are added to the atmosphere, the greater the chance that radiation emanating from the Earth has already encountered a CO2 molecule along the way, and the relevant frequency has already been absorbed. At some point, adding more CO2 has no impact on global temperatures. It is widely thought, I believe, that the large majority of whatever change might be brought about by increasing concentrations of CO2 has already been achieved.

    Why is this element not being discussed? Because vested interests have deemed their judgements to be above reproach.

  15. What you forget is that global warming is a central doctrine in our national ideology or religion. Heretics cannot not and will not be tolerated.

  16. RLL's comment hits the nail on the head. The highest overnight minimum temperature I've measured in NW Bellingham is 65-66F during when "The Blob" was in full force. Having grown up in the Deep South, I can recall overnight minimum temperatures of 75F+ occurring occasionally which was always decidedly unpleasant even with ubiquitous air conditioning. Overnight minimums of 80F or above seem to only occur with any regularity in the hottest parts of the Desert Southwest where either no one lives or HVAC systems are designed to handle such extreme conditions. It does seem highly unlikely that the Puget Sound area would ever experience such temperatures unless exceptionally high overnight temperatures were accompanied by some kind of anomalous downslope wind event.

  17. Anyone else remember this?


    The 1995 Chicago heat wave was a heat wave which led to 739 heat-related deaths in Chicago over a period of five days.[1] Most of the victims of the heat wave were elderly poor residents of the city, who could not afford air conditioning and did not open windows or sleep outside for fear of crime.[2] The heat wave also heavily impacted the wider Midwestern region, with additional deaths in both St. Louis, Missouri[3] and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[4]

    Yes, it was 25 years ago and yes, Seattle is not Chicago. But people make all kinds of decisions, some of which look bad in hindsight. But of course Seattlites are so much better, simply by virtue of living here, that this could never happen to anyone here. I'll leave the link between A/C and its attendant energy requirements and global warming for others to work out.

  18. Cycle 25 is predicted to be weaker than cycle 24 was. Many experts are predicting cycle 26 to be Grand Solar Minimum we may be facing snow and ice much more than 100 plus heat waves. TSI is what they base their warming with and this has huge problems as the sun is more like a unique person than a steady light bulb in the sky.

  19. Progressive Crank,
    You simply compare Seattle to Chicago. We have low humidity air..particularly when we our warm. We have very cool water (roughly 50F) right next to us and upstream. We don't have a large, low income population in big apartment towers. And we have 50 years to prepare. No equivalency in the situations...cliff

  20. @Unknown,

    I remember that Chicago heat wave, as I was in high school in St. Louis at the time. The people who died from heat-related illnesses were overwhelmingly poor, urban, and relying upon only a fan for cooling. Some people with first floor apartments were found dead in virtual furnaces with windows closed because of crime fears.

    Seattle has few people as destitute as the poor of Chicago, and has only a shadow of the violent crime rate. We will open our windows at night.

    Also, the high temperatures during that week ranged from the high 90s to over 105, with dewpoints in the high 70s to 80. Short of the Pacific Ocean becoming bathwater like the Gulf of Mexico, we have no mechanism to support such intolerable heat indices.

    I was here for that day in 2009 when it hit 103. It was indeed quite hot, but the dewpoint was downright pleasant by east coast standards. All you needed was water to survive the day.

  21. Biteme, It's a tired old meme you trot out here. It's not a 2 sided war, its about providing accurate science to the public and decision makers.

    Scare mongering is also counterproductive in the long run as pubic cynicism sets in and credibility goes to zero.

  22. The Bell Study of 95 US cities on the increase in premature death due to increases in ozone is Better gauge of the increase in mortality due to global warming.

    The Bell, Mcdermott study attributed 0.52% increase in early death due to increases of 10ppm of ground level ozone. Though the attribution was far more likely to be caused by increases in ground level temperatures ( there was a much higher correlation of heat to the premature deaths than the correlation to increases in ozone).


  23. The data is interesting, even if the conclusions are honked up. The cold weather peak in death rate may correlate to the time of year , mid winter, when the flu season is at its peak. The more vulnerable part of the population, aged and very young and those suffering from other severe conditions are more likely to be hospitalized and die during this time of year. This is a sizable proportion of the population, so a small increase in death rate adds up quickly, more so than for the unfortunate deaths from exposure of the very small fraction of the population that goes un housed during the winter. The 80 degree warm peak in death rate should coincide with the short summer season, July and August, when we regularly reach those temperatures and when the daylight hours are still long. Not hot enough for heat stroke, but just right for all those higher risk outdoor activities that Cliff mentions. More biking, driving, walking, hiking, boating, etc. by a large proportion of the population, so even a small uptick in death brings the numbers above the baseline. But part of the premise of the article is valid, the first time this local generation experiences a really severe hot spell, like in France some years back, there is likely to be an uptick in the death rate of the very old and infirm since human nature and organizational inertia, along with simple supply issues, means that it is unlikely that the response to this first event will be quick enough, especially in understaffed and poorly run retirement home and senior care facilities.

  24. I understand the flaws in the paper cited. But it is also flawed to suggest (for example) that we shouldn't count the deaths of people who exercise in hot weather, or that we should view increased heat-related deaths in the context of decreased cold-related deaths. As far as the science goes, there is no reason to suggest that overall global warming will eliminate serious cold spells. And yes, of course we can reduce heat-related deaths by staying indoors in air conditioned spaces, but then we should be talking about both the financial and lifestyle costs of an increasing need to make such adjustments (and the health risks that come with spending more time indoor in an air conditioned environment rather than in fresh air).

  25. Something to think about, since the drought declaration has been discussed here:

    The National Drought Mitigation Center, in its latest national map, shows "Severe Drought" conditions across the Olympic Peninsula and along Washington's southwest coast. The Cascades are classified as a region of "Moderate Drought."

  26. Hey, could take care of that homeless sidewalk squatter problem.

  27. Thank you, Cliff. Not surprised to hear about your assessment of the Seattle Times article. I simply don't read that paper, or the NY Times, or many of the others. They all suffer from a lack of investigative reporting which many used to have. All they do now is figure out what will motivate their readers to click. And the tragedy is that readers go along with it.

    As far as the comments following your blog, many of them I just don't quite understand and the idea of the Seattle Times being far left was comical. I wish I had more time to think and write about all this.

  28. The Seattle Times is largely a joke nowadays. I have felt that way on a range of topics from sports (biased coverage of Chris Hansen's efforts to get the Sonics back) to other forms of fear mongering (hopping onto the "Seattle is Dying" nonsense from Sinclair). None of those consistently fit into left or right topics. It's sensationalism to support a dying media model.

    My concern on the blog is broader. The last paragraph of the blog notwithstanding, what is the purpose? What is the intent? People come to this blog for a discussion of climate and weather. Dr. Mass, you're one comment on the comments is calling someone out for inaccurate comparisons to Chicago. I agree, but why do they get the attention? There are several other comments pushing the "Global warming is a myth" bunk. Indeed, they take your blog as proof that their skepticism is well-founded. That of course helps to undercut taking action to reduce fossil fuel emissions. Going further, it would be refreshing to see more blogs girded by your scientific conclusions that global warming is happening and the impacts that should concern us in our neck of the woods.

    I sympathize that the headline is an issue and that education about such hyperbole is good. But that would seem to warrant less attention than even the low end of climate impacts we are looking at. I do not have an active tally, but these sorts of blogs seem more common than those on global warming actually happening and related climate impacts. I've read a whole lot of what it is not, but less on what it is and why it should then concern us.

    To put it another way, you're on the right side (which is to say on the side of science), but you're putting far more energy into criticizing those fighting for that side (hold your sword higher, your shield's angle is all wrong, widen the planting of your feet) while leaving your own powerful sword on the ground.

    Does that make your latest blog wrong?
    Will you keep on writing what you want because it's your blog after all.
    Of course.
    Does that make you as helpful as you otherwise could be with your education and authority on this important issue?

  29. Fear mongering? We should all be scared about Global Warming! 99.9% of us benefit from the advances in science every day and so 99.9% of us need to accept was 99% of scientists tell us regarding our climate, IT IS WARMING AND WE MUST ACT NOW! As far as I'm concerned, if you deny that our climate is changing in potentially devastating ways you are playing politics and you should be called names! We need YOU on board with this! We are a collective humanity that must work together to solve and fix this, scientists say that there is still time, and if you aren't helping then you are hurting us all. Agree with me here: certain businesses and politicians have short-term reasons for denying the facts of climate change, its definitely bad for business, but we need to put humans and our beautiful planet before the constant growth of our economies. Money doesn't mean anything without happiness, quality of life, clean air and a healthy home!

  30. I call shenanigans on the claim of not being able to install window units in some apartments. I have casement windows in my place, and use safety brackets that hang on the outside to bolster the standard window units. All it involved is a little ingenuity, and you can use a standard metal rebar to hold the unit in place if you don't want to pay for the safety brackets.

    1. Google "Can landlords prevent installation of window AC units" and you will quickly find legally correct information confirming that permission to install such units may be(and often has been) denied. Further, in most states the legal requirement to maintai rental units in "habitable" condition does not require installation of AC.

  31. Sulla and Heyduke, This is an issue that is too important for us vs. them thinking. There will be a broad range of opinions on the science in any open society. That's good and not a cause to call people names.

    Cliff's blog is an excellent expression of honesty and giving the pubic accurate information. People who "worry" about sending the "wrong message" are the real problem here. The right message is the truth in virtually all circumstances. Treating the public like adults is also an important value. Treating them like little children to be frightening into doing the "right" thing is a totalitarian instinct that you should purge from your repertoire of "feelings."

  32. Nice Cliff. I would add the biggest error of all: failing to account the danger of global cooling going forward, which always has been and always will be the only real danger, and with the sun having dropped into what many solar scientists see as the beginning of a grand solar minimum this danger could well be imminent.

  33. With AOC saying climate change will cause mankind's elimination starting 12 years from now, the rhetoric concentrates on global warming and the flooding of living areas.

    Professor Valentina Zharkova gave a presentation of her Climate and the Solar Magnetic Field hypothesis at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in October, 2018. The information she unveiled should shake/wake up people.

    Reportedly Zharkova was one of the few that correctly predicted solar cycle 24 would be weaker than cycle 23 — only 2 out of 150 models predicted this. Her models have run at a 93% accuracy and her findings suggest a Super Grand Solar Minimum is in the cards beginning in 2020 and running for 350-400 years.

    The last time we had a little ice age only two magnetic fields of the sun went out of phase. This time, all four magnetic fields are going out of phase.

    One hopes she is wrong because 7 billion people having enough food with a greatly reduced growing season is not something one would want to consider.



  34. Nice Cliff. I would just add one more giant mistake: the failure to account the likelihood that what we actually have ahead of us is global cooling, not global warming, in which case efforts to move human impact in a less-warming/ more-cooling direction will make things worse, in addition to being hugely expensive.

    The only actual climate danger always has been and always will be global cooling, and with the sun having dropped into what is looking like the beginning of a grand minimum of solar-magnetic activity that cooling danger could well be imminent. If it turns out that late 20th century warming was caused, not by human increments to CO2, but by the 80 year grand maximum of solar activity that began in about 1920, then CO2 would have to have a correspondingly smaller warming effect, in which case it presents no danger going forward (the small amount of warming it causes being unambiguously benign, as warmer times have always been better for mankind).

    CO2 in that case will also not do much to save us from cooling, but it does have a large plant fertilization effect which would help to offset the shortened growing seasons that cooling will bring. More generally, cooling really is dangerous, regularly plunging the planet into 100,000 yr long glacial periods. That is a real threat to modernity, and to overcome it we need as much technological progress as we can get as fast as we can get it. Economic growth is the answer, not the problem, as the eco-religious left believes.

  35. Just think about all the failed apocalyptic scenarios we’ve heard about over the past 45 years. Global Cooling, Mass Extinction, Overpopulation, Famine due to lack of sufficient food supply, Resource Depletion as in Peak Oil, Ozone Hole and of course the latest eco scare, Global Warming which had to be revised to climate Change because the warming wasn’t happening as fast as Jim Hansen predicted in 1998.

    The Chicken Littles have had their turn and it hasn’t panned out. The public is wise. It’s not about environmental catastrophe, it’s about inventing crises as a means to scare the populace into submission for more collectivist authoritarian governance.

  36. Go gettem Cliff! Good to see your are still fighting windmills.

  37. @Rebecca It's my understanding that global warming is supposed to make winters warmer more than summers, so that *would* presumably reduce the severity and number of deadly cold spells.

    1. There is a growing body of research exploring the connection between rapid warming in the arctic with extreme winter weather in certain areas to the south.

  38. The Times headline and story is certainly flawed and purposely sensation, fair enough, but Cliff, can't you provide some examples of good science on climate change as a counter point in your post. Lacking that, it leaves one to conclude that you are one of the climate change deniers one of whose tactics is to seed doubt about the science of climate change. You're not doing that, are you?

  39. Cliff, what do you think of resources like: https://www.climatecentral.org. Can this organization help journalists who lack science backgrounds understand the issues they are reporting on?

  40. There's a dearth of long-term weather stations around Chicago, but there is no doubt the 1934 and 1936 Chicago heat waves were hotter than 1995.

    At Chicago Midway Airport, since 1928, consecutive days with high temps above 90 degrees F (date, high, low):

    1995-07-12, 98, 76
    1995-07-13, 106, 81
    1995-07-14, 102, 84
    1995-07-15, 99, 77
    1995-07-16, 94, 76

    1934-07-18, 99, 65
    1934-07-19, 99, 72
    1934-07-20, 103, 73
    1934-07-21, 108, 72
    1934-07-22, 104, 76
    1934-07-23, 109, 70
    1934-07-24, 107, 76
    1934-07-25, 105, 74

    1936-07-06, 92, 68
    1936-07-07, 102, 70
    1936-07-08, 106, 73
    1936-07-09, 100, 71
    1936-07-10, 106, 77
    1936-07-11, 107, 76
    1936-07-12, 100, 76
    1936-07-13, 102, 73
    1936-07-14, 104, 69

    1936 is even more extreme when you look at Merengo, north of the city.
    1936-07-06, 97, 61
    1936-07-07, 105, 66
    1936-07-08, 105, 74
    1936-07-09, 102, 74
    1936-07-10, 106, 75
    1936-07-11, 108, 75
    1936-07-12, 105, 72
    1936-07-13, 106, 74
    1936-07-14, 109, 72
    1936-07-15, 97, 70
    1936-07-16, 95, 64
    1936-07-17, 99, 65
    1936-07-18, 91, 67

    There is absolutely no evidence the 1995 heat wave resulted from increasing atmospheric CO2. Increase in average nighttime temps since 1970s could be attributed to CO2, but an increased expanse of concrete and steel could also play a part.

  41. My only disagreement with Cliff's report is the part where the Seattle Times is a major newspaper.

  42. Thank you. All we ever wanted was the truth. Not propaganda, as the Times seem determined to promote.

  43. @Bob, love your phrase "climate change deniers." Why not cut to the chase and call them "heretics," so they can be burned at the stake?

  44. @Nutso smart

    Chicago, in the 30’s, likely had much lower than usual humidity as a result of the severe drought conditions at the time. Humidity tends to moderate temperature - lower highs, higher lows (not a coincidence that locations with the highest t-max tend to be deserts.) Explains the record highs set in the Midwest during that decade.

    Interesting that Marengo was hotter than Chicago. Rural heat island?



    If it makes you feel better, I’ve never called anyone a climate change denier. Lacks any sense of humor. “Conspiritard” is a clever upgrade.

  45. @Snape, I can tell from your comment that you have never lived in the Midwest. But being a classic Seattle "progressive," actually knowing anything -- especially from experience, which your kind distrusts with a passion -- never keeps you from lecturing to others who will forget more than you'll ever know.

  46. “But being a classic Seattle "progressive," actually knowing anything -- especially from experience, which your kind distrusts with a passion...”

    Not true, I place a high value first hand experience. So tell me, what was the dew point at Chicago Midway, July 23, 1934, when the mercury hit 109 F.? I’d like to compare it to what measured during the peak of the 1995 heatwave. Did you witness both events?


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

Thunderstorms Return to the Northwest

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