June 24, 2021

Incredible Temperatures Are Being Predicted and Confidence Is Now High That It Will Occur

Update Podcast and Blog Today (Friday) Around Noon 

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There are two possibilities:

  • The Northwest will soon experience one of the most incredible weather situations in many decades 
  •  There is a major flaw in virtually all of our weather prediction system

Quite frankly, I am somewhat in shock looking at the raw forecast model predictions or the statistically calibrated versions of their output.  The event being predicted is so extreme and so beyond expectation that my natural inclination is to dismiss it.  

But I can't.  Multiple modeling systems are essentially doing the same thing.  Large ensembles of many forecasts are showing similar solutions from most of the runs.

Let me show you the latest.

An important issue will be proximity to water and to get that right, high-resolution forecasts are important, so let me start by presenting the latest UW high-resolution simulations.  The situation is so extreme that I had the colors altered to better define high temperatures.

Saturday will be the transition day.  The temperatures at 5 PM, near the time of the maxima, will exceed 100 F in much of the Columbia Basin and in the northern Willamette Valley (e.g. Portland).  90s will invade the interior of southwest Washington and southern Puget Sound.  Warm, but typical of the hottest days of a typical year.


Sunday is something else.  Temperatures in the Willamette Valley surge ABOVE 108F, as do the lower elevations of the Columbia Valley.  Incredibly, some areas south of the Olympic Mountains get above 104.  Can you imagine the temperature gradients near the coast... from the 60s to over 100F in a matter of a few miles? In central Puget Sound, temperatures will rise the 80s near the water to the upper 90s a few miles inland.


And now Monday at 2 PM.   The model resolution is a bit less but the solution is absolutely amazing.  Temperatures exceeding 108F will be found in and near the western Cascade foothills, thanks to the warming easterly flow descending the barrier.  104F and higher away from the water around Puget Sound.  The Fraser River Valley will also be crazy warm.   


If this forecast verifies virtually every major observing location in the western WA and Oregon interior will achieve their all-time temperature record.  And several of these locations have observations that go back 70-120 years.

Later Monday, marine air will start to move in along the coast, resulting in Tuesday being a bit cooler west of the Cascade crest (see temperatures at 5 PM Tuesday below).  But it will be showtime for the Columbia Basin where the model is going for temperatures OVER 112 F.   It is not inconceivable that some locations in eastern Washington will tie or exceed the all-time temperatures record for the state (118F).


The highly skillful European Center model---absolutely different in every way (different data assimilation, different model, different developers)-- is going for the same story.  

For Sunday, 111F in Portland and 103 in Seattle. 


And for Monday at 2 PM an earth-shaking 108F in Seattle.   You can see the cooling (orange colors) moving in on Monday afternoon.


Let me say again:  the ensembles of many forecasts show that this solution is the preferred one, with a high probability of verifying.   The National Weather Service's most advanced statistical postprocessing system (the National Blend of Models) that combines many forecasts in an optimal way is now going for 101F on Sunday and 104F on Monday at SeaTac Airport:


And at Portland: 101F on Friday, 105F on Saturday, 112 on Sunday, and 108F on Monday.


Finally, a number of people have asked about the role of global warming on this event.   
Is global warming contributing to this heatwave?  The answer is certainly yes.   Would we have had a record heatwave without global warming.  The answer is yes as well.

Our region has warmed by up to 1-2F during the past fifty years and that will enhance the heatwave.  Increasing CO2 is probably the biggest contributor to the warming

But consider that the temperature anomalies (differences from normal) during this event will reach 30-35F.    The proximate cause of this event is a huge/persistent ridge of high pressure, part of a highly anomalous amplification of the upper-level wave pattern. 

There is no evidence that such a wave pattern is anything other than natural variability (I have done research on this issue and published in the peer-reviewed literature on this exact topic).

So without global warming,  a location that was 104F would have been 102F.  Still a severe heat wave, just slightly less intense.



Let me end with the golden rule of temperature extremes:  the bigger the temperature extreme the SMALLER the contribution of global warming.  Think about that.

Now PLEASE do not send me emails or leave comments accusing me of helping "deniers" or calling me all kinds of names.  I had enough of this from 350Seattle activists and Charles Mudede of the SeattleStranger. I have spent my life working on weather prediction and studying Northwest weather and am trying to communicate the best science, whether or not it fits some folks' political agendas.

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The New Edition of My Book:  The Weather of the Pacific Northwest Will be Available in August

The book includes new chapters on the meteorology of Northwest wildfires and the weather of British Columbia, and the rest of the book is greatly enhanced.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon.

77 comments:

  1. Hi Cliff. I have followed your blog for many year. I really appreciate the effort you put into this and thank you for it!

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  2. Cliff - as always, appreciate your reasoned approach.

    In the research you've done on the topic of climate change impacting the PNW, is it really as simple as "this extreme heat wave would've occurred still, just a few degrees cooler?" Given the interconnected complexity of weather systems around the globe, intuition would suggest that a few degrees here and there would add more energy to a system, which would impact another system, and so on and so forth, cascading in to more extreme systems that are more impactful than just "1-2 degrees hotter than it otherwise would've been." BUT, I acknowledge that my intuition and rudimentary understanding shouldn't be substituted for your years of research and hands-on experience. Thanks!

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    1. The problem is you are assuming that "a few degrees here and there" will result in a "more extreme" outcome. But if we don't thoroughly understand a system, then it could just as well work the opposite.. maybe adding a few degrees makes the outcome LESS extreme.

      This always assuming the greater and greater extreme is the story our information resources (the news) likes to tell, and we become used to that way of thinking. The sensationalism sells, but it's actually a disservice to the consumer.

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    2. So the answer is "we don't know for sure", correct?

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    3. You are correct.

      If you read between the lines, he argues that the atmospheric pattern which is presently occurring is just as likely to occur at any concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This conclusion would come from running atmospheric models with different CO2 concentrations and then comparing the resulting atmospheric patterns.

      Unfortunately, the present generation of climate models are not sufficiently accurate for this purpose.

      WOLFGEIST is right. We don't confidently know whether we can attribute this heat wave to climate change or not.

      Take all attribution statements with a grain of salt.

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  3. Oddly enough I read this earlier this afternoon. HAARP has not been in the news for many years and suddenly it seems to have fired up again. Sure enough the NOTAM runs from 6/21 through 6/25. And yes, the GPS coordinates are a perfect fit for the HAARP site. I'm not sure who or what I believe these days...

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/haarp-firing-faa-issues-warning-about-electromagnetic-radiation

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  4. Thanks for the update, Cliff! Always looking forward to your science-based analysis. Grabbed an extra AC unit and will be hunkering down!

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  5. Amazing event and amazing blog. Thank you Cliff!

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  6. Thank you for addressing climate change, Cliff. Much appreciated.

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  7. Thank you for the heads up. At home we have prepped the best we can for the weekend/Monday for a 110 yr old house (finding which outlets will allow a A/C that won't blow a breaker/fuse) and fans to distribute the cooled air thru the house. It's going to be rough weekend.
    Thanks for the info.

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  8. I realize the models are rather unreliable the farther out you go, but from what I'm seeing on various websites (Weather Undergound, Weather.com, Ventusky.com, etc) it's looking like the Columbia Basin isn't going to cool down much over the next week. Any idea when we'll get some relief over here?

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  10. Why does the humidity stay so high in these events, especially the 80% RH overnight? Do swamp coolers even stand a chance helping overnight with the humidity so high?

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    1. Based on the swamp cooler in our house in extremely dry Western Colorado, a RH of 35% renders a swamp cooler pretty useless. The official literature says that a swamp will give you a 10 degree cooling effect at 50% RH, but that sounds pretty optimistic based on my experience. Remember that swamps need venting (a certain number of partially open windows) in order to do their job.

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  11. The null hypothesis would be that the conditions that made this possible were random and not caused by global warming. And I accept your advice to fail to reject. But considering the complexity of world weather patterns it seems like that would be really, really difficult null to reject.

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  12. Thanks for the excellent analysis, Cliff. If these numbers verify, this event will likely join the blizzard of 1996, the windstorm of December 2018, and the wildfires of 2003 in my catalogue of meteorological memories.

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  13. I agree with doctorwinkel - Trying to “win” by controlling facts (and by extension, speech) is actually a very dangerous game to play. THEY the ones destroying their own cause by refusing to acknowledge what I call a “stopped watch truth”: they just can’t grasp that both sides can agree on a point without it conceding the entire argument. Everyone ends up less informed and worse off when people are saying “you can’t talk about the follow topics, updated regularly”. It’s so extremely childish that I can actually employ an representative anecdote involving my own child:

    My 6 year old encountered a dilemma yesterday at the playground. Two of her friends told her that if she was going to play with this one boy (a sweet and genuine kid who is still learning how to play nicely) then she couldn’t be their friend. She came to me not sure what to do. After telling her the best option is to be the bridge and bring both sides to play together (she’s been gifted with a magnanimous soul that I’m certain I had to part in nurturing, lol), I told her a good rule of thumb to follow is to determine which side is trying to control either your movement, association or words to their benefit and issuing threats to elicit obedience - and then don’t choose that side. Lol. “Allies” who try and tell you which truth to stick to are not actually allies.

    Boy howdy, I’m not looking forward to the weekend! We live on the east side a block or two from Lake Washington, and our only windows (apartment living!) are southern and western facing. I feel like the proverbial ant being targeted by some big bully with a microscope. We have white vinyl coverings for a few of our windows that block ALL light and actually drop the temp as much as 5 degrees inside. I’m not turning my nose up at that!

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    1. I totally agree. The people who say "I believe in science" are often the ones who actually don't understand science.

      I think global warming advocates suffer from "you see what you look for."

      Except for the one-off sprinkling a "a bit of it is man-made" term, Cliff exemplified the best of what scientific thought has to offer: he digs through the data, applies meteorological theory to make predictions or back up/refute predictions made by computer models.

      And if that sounds trite, weather is complex and chaotic. Just doing that takes a lot of skill and experience.

      Warmists don't know what they don't know. They don't understand that there is complexity. They are more apt to focus on this heat wave as an example of man-made climate change, and nevermind the details.

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  14. What about humidity? The WRF seemed to show relatively high humidity for West of the Cascades. It wasn't high percentages during the day, but certainly not a dry heat, and then remaining very muggy overnight.

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  15. Portland averaged 85 days above 90 degrees per summer each decade from 1940-1970. From 1990 to 2020 Portland has averaged 143 days above 90 per decade, with a record setting 169 days in the 2010s. I'm not a math whiz but I'd love to know if a simple 2 degree average rise in temperature can explain this, or if this is the result of a shifting climate to hotter, drier summers.

    Cliff, I'm happy you acknowledge existence of man made global warming. But I do find it curious how cavalier you are about something that is an existential threat to our existence.

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    1. A44,
      GW is NOT an existential threat-- why do you say this? The IPCC's analysis is the GW will only reduce growth by a few percentage...the US National Assessment said the same thing...cliff

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    2. It is existential because nature may not be able to quickly adapt to the rate at which temps are increasing and the rate at which climate is changing. We are at the top of the food chain. We will be severely impacted.

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    3. Cliff, as you know I generally support the tell it how it is movement that you're pushing. I agree, we need to tone down the hype because the public deserves the truth and because invalidated hypotheses presented as fact will come back and bite those trying to mitigate AGW. Ever record heat, cold or precipitation event is NOT a manifestation of AGW.

      But we have to be balanced and also tell the public what we don't know. You have not defended your statement that this event would occur in a atmospheric system with pre-industrial green house gas levels, and that 1-2F of background warming is all that can be attributed in this case. In addition, altpenguin44 is right that the data does not support your rejection of the hypothesis that climate change could make this type of event more likely. The flip side is certainly true as well as I don't think we cannot attribute the increase in heat waves in the PNW over the last few decades to AGW yet. But unlike the Texas cold wave, the observational data and trends are not as friendly here. Tthe notion of more blocking resulting in worse heatwaves also seems more reasonable since diabatic effects are not longer fighting with dynamics like they are with cold waves.

      In addition, I'm not sure it makes sense to be so dismissive of the term existential crisis. The definition of existential is gray. Certainly, AGW is an existential crisis for coral reefs, and coral is a the base of a huge food web. This is just one of many ways in which the term existential crisis may be justified.

      All this could be construed as you having an agenda, and thus waters down the important messages above that you've insisted you are trying to convey, and makes it look instead like the message is that AGW is real but don't worry Cliff thinks it'll be fine and all the other climate scientists who are freaking out are clearly wrong. With your influence, that's dangerous in my mind.

      Happy to take this one offline if you prefer, or go ahead and post. I won't be offended if you prefer to take it offline.

      Justin

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    4. Perhaps a more appropriate response would be: GW is NOT an existential threat to us in western Washington? In my opinion GW may very well make existence in WW more agreeable for those of us that are so lucky to live here or in colder climates away from low lying coasts. Areas like eastern Europe and northern Canada may benefit greatly from an extended growing season as another example. It is those people in hotter and low lying areas along coasts who will have trouble existing no? Even now low lying cities like Charleston SC have flooded streets with high tides (from what I have read, these flooded streets are a very new occurrence as a result of sea level rise in the pat 50 years, as well as possible land subsidence). Add even a little bit more water to the ocean and they will be rebranding themselves as the Venice of the south. How about the hundreds of millions (billions?) living in south and southeast Asia who live in river deltas essentially at sea level? How about their water supply fed by huge glacier areas in the Himalaya that may very well be diminished with hotter temps as you have described locally in past blogs? Many of those folks are the ones who do not have the resources to pick up and move to a more agreeable existence somewhere else. I could go on and on listing the possible negative (as well as positive) impacts but you get the point. I too get very tired of every large raindrop being tagged to GW but I think one does not need to dig too deep into the possible to see we may be looking at an eventual, even "existential" threat to many. Maybe just not us. Could you address this Cliff?

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    5. Global Warming and Climate Change are so politicized it's causing confusion as to what's real and what's not. I like to follow the MIT Climate Portal - those folks at MIT are just all about the observations and facts and numbers. https://climate.mit.edu/

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    6. Portland is over 90 degrees 169 out of 365 days a year? Based on casual observation, that doesn't sound right.

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    7. ARP "Perhaps a more appropriate response would be: GW is NOT an existential threat to us in western Washington?"

      It's hard for me to imagine a scenario where if AGW is anywhere near as problematic as many (most?) climate scientists believe that it wouldn't have a very significant influence on plant and animal life, and therefore it's hard to believe that the food supply chain wouldn't be affected in a way that would in turn have a significant affect on the worldwide economy which in turn would have a significant affect on international politics and conflict. It's hard to imagine that this is not potentially an existential crisis for everyone on earth.

      Many people lost their homes in the PNW fires last year. We nearly had an evacuation order in Portland, OR. I've been here 40 years, i've never seen fire seasons like we've had the last 2 years back to back.

      Of course there's many factors and variables at play here and we might not be able to say that AGW is the biggest influence, but again it's very hard for me to imagine that it's not an existential crisis.

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    8. What is "existential" WOLF? Humans as a species have lived, and do now live in far harsher and unstable environments than even the worst predicted outcomes of AGW for western Washington. It is called adaptation, and as a species we are far better at it than any other species that has ever existed on earth. Those folks who lost their homes to wildfires knowingly built or bought in areas of the urban forest interface where fires are the historical norm. They should not be living there full stop, and therefore suffer the consequences. Conflicts and economic upheaval are a constant in history. In fact the relative peace and prosperity we enjoy in our little corner of the world is without a doubt an historical anomaly. It is impossible for me to imagine a scenario where I live (Seattle) that would make life (existence) much worse than occasionally unpleasant. We are surrounded by all the resources needed for existence in abundance, the biggest being lots of water. Bumping up the average temp by a few degrees will not make our lives here (relatively) a whole lot different. What humans can't do is grow webbed feet and gills, or live without water. That is what much of the developed world faces without the resources to adapt. That was my point. Trying to convince rich kids in Seattle that their existence is threatened by global warming is hyperbola and counter productive. If pointing out the truth doesn't work: that the impacts to others in other parts of the world from AGW is dire and that changes to lifestyles of those of us who are not as affected and can afford it will need to be made to curb the trends, then nothing will.

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    9. When you don't actually do any research, and you cherry pick bits and pieces that only confirm your biases, of COURSE you will find it hard to imagine anything but the disaster movie scenario that you seek.

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    10. Valkhorn: "It is existential because nature may not be able to quickly adapt to the rate at which temps are increasing and the rate at which climate is changing."

      This is Alarmspeak. At WHAT rate is climate changing, and HOW is that rate any different than any other time in Earth's history? What is the maximum rate that nature itself can achieve on its own with no help from humankind? Can you answer any of these?

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    11. A44, those Portland numbers are interesting because they correlate very closely with the global temperatures since 1880. It went up until 1940, then went down, and then went up again, surpassing the 1940 mark. By sharing this data, however, are you trying to imply evidence of man-made global warming? Can't these record temperatures in Portland be purely the result of natural climate change?

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  16. Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Cliff! You ARE appreciated!

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  17. Is it really so simple that "without global warming, a location that was 104F would have been 102F."? I'm no expert but everything I have heard and read suggests that climate change will result in more extreme weather events...hurricanes, floods, etc. Does that not apply to heat waves?

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    1. Hello, I'm not Cliff but he's busy and I'd like to provide a layman's answer as a substitute. I have talked to many people who believe this and I think I can disprove it via "reductio ad absurdum" below.

      1. Hypothesis: every one degree of average temperature rise causes high temperature peaks to rise well OVER one degree, say 3 degrees, though I often hear more.

      2. Thus, lowering the average temperature by one degree reduces temperature peaks by 3 degrees as well (imagine going up that degree one year, and then back down the next).

      3. Lowering the average temperature further will quickly reduce the temperature peaks so drastically that there will be almost zero variability in temperature from day to day, which is intuitively impossible: even with a 50-degree global average, you will still have cold and warm air masses.

      I left out finer points like regressing to the mean rather than simple addition/subtraction to save time, but they would lead to the same contradiction.

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    2. That's hardly a proof... You are assuming a linear relationship that holds across all temperatures. Global climate is complex. It's very well possible that the difference in peaks varies differently across the temperature spectrum. Further, it's very well possible that there are "threshold" temperatures above or below which the peaks react very differently.

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  18. Cliff, thanks for these posts love reading about the context for these events. This is a sidenote in your post but the comment about 1-2F warming in the past 50 years (I believe you're referring to the annual average mean temperature) and that explaining about 2F of the daily high temperature this weekend. Is that a simplification, or does that imply that the expected and/or observed warming has no seasonal or diurnal variation? Like, we expect +2F for all time periods rather than we expect +1F in March but +3F in August, or +1F daily low and +3F daily high? I imagine our night time temperatures will be more stubborn due to the marine influence.

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  19. Cliff - I'm curious. This heatwave is timed to hit at the same time as some extreme low tides (-3.4 on Saturday) that will also be right at the peak heat time period (early afternoon in Puget Sound). That's a lot of exposed areas that will heat up quite a lot in these conditions. 1) how does/do any of the forecast models incorporate tidal conditions? 2) As a marine scientist, I'll point out that the confluence of low tides and extreme heat could be quite hard on intertidal communities like eelgrass, shellfish, etc and could cause mortalities and habitat loss. Heat stress and desiccation over a couple consecutive days could cause die-back, and since the tidal conditions are fairly extreme there will be a lot of exposed habitat potentially affected, particularly in the larger Puget Sound bays like Samish and Padilla.

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    1. That's a very interesting point. As breezes subside in the peak of the ridge, intertidal beaches could contribute significantly to local moisture - large, exposed areas of evaporation. Dew points will rise, offsetting some of the benefit of the cool waters. Terrible if it harms the local flora and fauna

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    2. I'm no biologist, but I will say that I have a general optimism about nature turning out fit organisms because it throws these challenges at ecosystems.

      Sudden and widespread failure in an ecosystem that leads to death is the way nature has been operating for a billion years here on Earth.

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    3. @Questioning - There's no doubt that ecosystems are well adapted to large scale responses, and what may be tragic for some is opportunities for others. However, living in a world where agencies try to regulate for continuous improvement on metrics associated with the nearshore, a large scale die-off could paralyze agency approval processes for anything near the shoreline.

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  20. Cliff,
    What is the role of Isentropic draw-down in causing this weather event?

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  21. Thank you for continually prioritizing science, logic, and skepticism.

    Bit worried about brownouts in Seattle--we got these in NYC on some of the hottest days due to the unusual electrical use--homeowners and corporations trying to keep their buildings cool. Wondering if the city has done anything to plan for or mitigate events like this? Given our poor prep for unusual snow conditions, I can't help but wonder if we're equally poorly prepped for unusual heat events.

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    1. There are too few people with central AC at home for this to be a problem here.

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  22. Today's drought monitor release is showing increasing dryness across the entire PNW, including most of Western Washington. Despite recent rains, probing is also showing dry fuels across the region.

    Will Cliff stop scolding local press and agencies for expressing concern about fire season?

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  23. "The idea that nature was in a delicate balance before modern man came along is religious, not scientific" unknown

    Rock on, Cliff! Rock On!

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  24. Cliff - can you please comment on what consequences this will have for our snowpack? Any worries about the rapid runoff worsening our local water situation? Or will it just fill up our reservoirs?

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  25. Wait, so all we have to do is add 1-2F to our daily temperatures to account for climate change? What happened to feedbacks and other nonlinear interactions?

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  26. I will call you a name: professor of atmospheric science

    Sounds lofty imo

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  27. Interesting discussion of the models and their alignment on this historic event. I always enjoy the discussions of how these models are applied in these fringe/anomaly cases, where they are less tested.

    As others have said, there are some issues with your discussion of climate change and thos event that need to be noted, politely, from a scientific lense (these comments arent political). The statement that the temperature would be 2 degrees cooler (104 to 102) is a lretty gross oversimplification of how averages work. It is simply not possible to know what the temperature would be without the influences of anthropogenic climate change. People like clear answers, and tossing the global average into the mix to find a number gets you that clear answer, but that is not how these numbers work. It is possible that it would jave been 104 even without climate change, or that it would have been 90 thos weekend. The differential is not a flat nimber to be tagged onto our temps. When we are historically cold, we cannot say "it would have been two degrees colder had there not been climate change".

    Secondly, there was no discussion of the increase in frequency of anomalies like this, due to climate change. It is impossible to state whether this anomaly would have occurred or not had there been no climate change, but we can state, based on the best science, that more of these are occurring.

    That whole section should have been "Is climate change having an impact? Most likely yes. Cam we say that this even is caused by climate change? No. We do know that the frequency of these anomalies is increasing due to climate change, and that the maximal temperatures associated with them have increased. Knowing exactly how much worse this event is because of it is not possible.

    I commented purely because the discussion included in the article may lead people to simplify this complex issue, and people need to understand the complexity of applying pur current understanding of climate change to aingle weather events.

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    1. Thanks you. This is what my spidey sense was telling me, but you have put it words very nicely.

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    2. Yeah, so I have followed Cliff Mass' blogs for years now. He is the guy I go to get great explanations of the weather of PNW. I believe he is sincere in that man-made warming is real. But sometimes I wonder if he's just throwing in the obligatory "some of it is man-made" just to keep the warmists happy.

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  28. Cliff great job on this record breaking forecast analysis and handling of the global warming explanation.

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  29. Fantastic content Cliff. Thank you. I've been watching the model runs with disbelief but we seem to be collapsing on the same result.

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  30. Fascinating satellite loop this morning. High clouds sweeping over in a big arching path from the northeast. Quite unusual. Cliff are we starting to see signs of the "set up" here?

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  31. Thank you for always being frank and direct. Let's observe!! This clearly IS an anomaly (well outside the range of normal). There's so much to see and learn from reality.

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  32. We are planning on starting our drive up to Washington from Sacramento today to visit my folks. I just checked the weather to see what to pack and was like holy .... that is hot even for Sacramento! I grew up in Western Washington and I think I remember it got to 101 in our location once and they were saying that was a record high at the time. When the forecast temps would be considered a heat wave in Sacramento in the middle of the summer you know it's hot. I hope my parents air conditioning is working. Sorry if it is my fault for bringing Sacramento's weather up to you guys.

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  33. Thanks for the great information on the weather models. It helps to see the raw data explained by you as opposed to the local weather people who seem more concerned about not being right than going into detail. Can't say it's what I wanted to hear but I feel better about the accuracy.

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  34. Communicating to the public and communicating to your peers are two entirely different things. If you work on a software user interface you focus on the outcome of the communication not the technical accuracy. Straight news reporting should stick to accuracy, but if emphasizing global warming generates friendly clicks they will. Activists like Mudede I give more leeway to as they are labeled. The best we non-meteorologists can do is curate our sources well and that's why we're here. I'll trust others on weather when I trust them to write a Linux IO scheduler.

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  35. "Let me end with the golden rule of temperature extremes: the bigger the temperature extreme the SMALLER the contribution of global warming"

    Cliff can you say more about this statement? I don't understand how it can be true if we also accept that global warming has made high-temperature events more likely, which is inherently true if the average temperature has increased by 1-2 degrees. If we add 1-2" of water to a cup, it's more likely the cup will overflow, right?

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  36. Hi Cliff thank you for the work you do. You mentioned earlier this week that the origin of the heatwave was due to "a huge, high amplitude ridge of high pressure aloft (see the forecast for 11 AM Sunday. It would represent the strongest ridge in history for our region. It appears to be forced by a tropical disturbance in the western Pacific that moves northward until it interacts with the jet stream, resulting in a series of downstream waves. Sort of like deflecting a long rope and having all kinds of waves propagating away." Could you go into more detail on how a high ridge aloft results in a heat wave? I am not knowledgable on in this area but I would like to explain the chain of reactions from the high ridge to high heat to others. Any references would helpful as well.

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  37. I suppose from a solar gain standpoint, this heatwave makes more sense. June 26-28th the sun is a month higher in the sky than July 29th, the current western WA heat record.

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  38. Hi Cliff--Fingers crossed that the models are over-estimating the coming heat! I was also curious if you've read Gavin's somewhat critical (shocker!/sarc) thread on Twitter and have any response: https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/1408416536109404165

    Thanks for what you do, and stay cool!

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    1. Should follow that Twitter thread by scrolling a bit down and read my exchange with another Pacific NW climatologist Dr. Dunkerton. There's much still to be discussed about climate science that is likely very fundamental but overlooked all these years

      https://twitter.com/WHUT/status/1408879026916233219

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  39. My personal 'best' is 112°, once near Ukiah in the '60s and the obvious one at Death Valley. (The first is memorable because my parents decided we should have a motel with an actual swimming pool!) I also survived the 107° in Portland with just fans and cold water. I feel no need to threaten any of these records, but of course my feelings are not relevant. Hope minimum lives are lost to this, and being 750' above the Columbia/Cowlitz confluence helps!

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  40. It does look like weather extremes make the news and garner popular attention to the problem of global warming, but it's the more subtle slightly higher than past average temperatures that are the big factors leading to things like melting glaciers and drier forests. The long term trendlines get less attention.

    Your statement, at the end of the post, about the golden rule of temperature extremes is thought provoking.

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    1. "thought provoking" as a compliment or like in "- how do you likely my new haircut - it's ...intersting"? For the latter - see Gavin Schmidt's https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/1408416539741765633
      showing that the golden rule is more of the pyrite rule type ...
      - Gavin's "Likelihood of exceeding, say, 105°F under the previous climate (P) and the new situation (N)? The fractional attribution to climate change is then (N-P)/N"
      MAKES SENSE.

      Delete
    2. I think Gavin is overthinking things.

      Delete
    3. "(N-P)/N" is ... "overthinking" to you?

      Delete
  41. Cliff, it seems that there might be a bit of contradiction in one of your points you have stated. If indeed a tropical weather system impinged upon the geometry of the flow in the upper atmosphere, it follows that the increasingly well-documented strengthening of tropical storm systems, and possibly, more of them would increase the odds, perhaps significantly, of more frequent repeats of this unfolding event. Climate trajectory modifications must play a role in some fashion.

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  42. Or...could it possibly be that this event...if it verifies...could be at least partially attributed to that 500-year event that a puny historical record of only 100 years or so could not possibly capture? Not a popular explanation, but possible nevertheless. Sure, add 2 degrees for GW, but is it not possible that 102 could not have occurred before the period of record? Any thoughtful person would (should) admit that they cannot know.

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  43. This is why we appreciate Cliff Mass: he's an honest scientist--something there isn't enough of these days. The truth is what you should always want; your 'agenda' doesn't matter a whit. Cliff just gives the facts, and that will always hold us in good stead, no matter which 'side' we're coming from. Thank you, Cliff!

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  44. When I hear "Climate change is real!" it's like "UFOs are real!" Like, have I ever said I could identify all flying objects/

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  45. In the last few years we've seen enough extreme weather events in enough different places that I don't really buy the "linear" argument - that today's weather is just normal weather plus a few degrees. I know the models supposedly disproved that the jet stream will change shape because of AGW, but we all know the models aren't perfect. Humans are radically altering the planet and there could be bad effects the models aren't predicting. I hope I'm wrong.

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  46. Such impressive science, such sophisticated modeling deserves admiration, and I have been one of Cliff's admirers for years. I just wonder if professorial egos are preventing us from seeing the forest fire for the trees. Hundred year events every few months. Glaciers disappearing. Little or no connection to mankind's activities? "Common sense" doesn't rule over science, but my experience as a scientist is that when my common sense tells me that the science is way, way off, invariably the fault lies with the scientists, and usually via bias and issues of ego. It matters not that the musicians playing on the deck of the Titanic were amongst the finest in the world.

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    1. I fully agree Tim. I'm all for science but there are times when immediate action is required and waiting for a peer-reviewed paper about every contingency is shooting yourself in the foot. I used to be in the "AGW is overhyped" camp but the last 10 years have completely changed my view. All the bad things they predicted would happen are happening. Coral bleaching, melting ice caps, wildfires, etc. We've now had choking wildfire smoke in Seattle for 3 of the last 4 years. We seem to be in a situation where everything is literally on fire and some people still don't think there is a problem.

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  47. Tim...this is not about music on the deck. This is all about peer-reviewed science and how some folks are politicizing science for pushing an unsupported agenda. The issue is NOT whether the climate is warming...it is...but about attribution. This is not a yes-no issue, it is a matter of degree. As a scientist I hope you can appreciate this and how we have to stick to the facts, not "common sense."

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean by pushing an unsupported agenda. The science supports what is supports. You either ignore it or publish it.

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

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