July 02, 2021

New Podcast: Global Warming and the Northwest Heatwave, Plus the Weekend Forecast

The severe heatwave this week has been on everyone's mind, for good reason.  It was one of the most severe weather events of the past century.  

A number of media outlets and activists have claimed that global warming, forced by greenhouse gas emissions, is the central cause of this event.

Such claims are in contradiction to the best science, modeling, and observations.  My podcast sets the record straight providing concrete evidence that natural variability was the key for this event.

And the podcast also includes the latest forecast, predicting dry conditions and temperatures in the lower 80s west of the Cascade crest, and around 100F for eastern Washington. Wildfires have started north and souther of Washingon and some smoke is moving in aloft (see satellite image this morning).

At this point the smoke should remain aloft, some surface air quality in most of Oregon and Washington remains good.

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  1. You need new intro music. Maybe rock you like a hurricane?

    Thank you for your wisdom. As a farmer, weather is a big deal.

  2. Thank you for your brave exposition of the true contribution of global warming to this particular heat wave. If science is to win over hysteria and superstition, it needs courageous and informed voices like yours.

  3. The voice of reason, in a sea of madness. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for your brave exposition of the contribution of global warming to the recent heat wave. If science is to win over hysteria and superstition, it needs courageous and informed voices like yours.

  5. Thanks Cliff! Appreciate you blog and podcast. In saying this was a black swan, are you arguing the probability of these events has not gone up? Or are "the dice loaded" as the media would say? Should we expect to break these records any time soon?

  6. We gonna see any rain before October?

  7. Still hoping for some Cliff-analysis on why atmospheric CO2 didn't follow suit with CO2 emission declines during COVID lockdowns. Thanks! https://www.desmos.com/calculator/xghboxenfy

    I know it's controversial, but thanks for keeping observational science outside of the steering power of political narrative management. Politics are important, but it's also important to keep the destructive power of brainwashed tribalism at arm's length, if possible.

  8. We certainly can't say global warming was the central factor for this event but we shouldn't downplay the danger it poses and its role as a contributing factor.

  9. Ah, if only it was so simple to separate out the anthropogenic and "natural" components and if heat-wave intensity scaled with the global warming rate as you suggest here.

    Studies of recent European heat waves (e.g., https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aba3d4) indicate that their likelihood has increased significantly due to AGW and that "the increase in the intensities is larger than the global warming by a factor 2 to 3."

    I look forward to seeing an attribution study of this event. I suspect we will find that such extremes were extremely unlikely prior to AGW, resulting in much shorter return periods in the current climate. I'm not sure how well one can truly tease out the human contribution to an individual heat wave, but suspect estimates will give numbers larger than the 1-2 degrees you suggest here.


  10. Hi Cliff, I read this-- as you may have-- from a atmospheric science professor at Penn State. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/29/opinion/heat-dome-climate-change.html

    I ask you to comment on a few things--
    1) He's arguing with a citation apparently, that the decrease in temperature difference between the poles and equator increases the likelihood of north-south waves in the jet stream. That is basically saying the "Omega" jet stream pattern was influenced by climate change- and that pattern played a role in this heat wave. I.e., it's not just a 2 degree F increase in temperature average, but factors like this that can influence day-to-day weather.
    and 2) When assessing the number of high temperature records over time, how does one control for the fact that high temperature records are always increasing? That is, every time a record is set, there's a higher record to beat.

    1. Ward, you do realize that the citation you're using comes from the same department that currently employs the discredited climate researcher, Michael Mann? His infamous "hockey stick" graph was finally laughed out of court recently, when he attempted to sue a Canadian columnist who made fun of him.

  11. Are you discounting man's impact on our planet in general, currently called global warming, or only for this specific event, saying it had no baring on the heat dome at the start of this week?

  12. Another 'unusually intense' heat dome for July 10-12?

    "It’s July, the hottest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and extreme ridges of high pressure forming in July have a good chance of setting all-time heat records. Unfortunately, the latest 10-day forecasts from the GFS and European models predict that the western U.S. will have an unusually intense ridge of high pressure capable of overthrowing more all-time U.S. heat records July 10-12.

    By one common measure, the 12Z Thursday run of the GFS model is predicting that the heat dome at the center of this upper-level high will be nearly as strong as any ever observed."


  13. My Rhodies and hostas are toast!

  14. Cliff,
    Could you provide links to research cited in the podcast?


  15. Because of the 30% albedo the earth is cooler with an atmosphere not warmer.
    If this is correct the Radiative GreenHouse Effect theory is null and void.

    The Green House Gases require a source of “extra” energy to “trap”/absorb/delay/intercept/whatevah and the Laws of Thermodynamics prohibit “extra” energy.
    If this is correct the RGHE theory is null and void.

    RGHE theory says the source of that “extra” energy is from the surface upwelling Long Wave InfraRed heat as a near ideal Stefan-Boltzmann Black Body. Because of the cooling effect of the non-radiative, kinetic energy heat transfer processes of the contiguous atmospheric molecules and as demonstrated by experiment, the gold standard of classical science, this is not possible.
    If this is correct the RGHE theory is null and void.

    No RGHE, no GHG warming and no mankind/CO2 caused climate change or global warming.

  16. While you may be right that last week's heatwave was a outlier event not directly associated with climate change, it is hard to ignore the fact that in the US high temperature records are being broken at twice the rate of low temperature records every year now. Over the past year, according to NOAA, about 38,000 high temperature records were broken compared to 18,500 record lows. It is also hard to ignore the stunning degree to which old records are being eclipsed. Prior to this week Canada's all-time high was 113F. Now it is 121.3F set in Lytton, BC, a town which burned to the ground the next day. SeaTac broke its old record of 103 set in 2009 by first by one degree and then again the next day by four more degrees. I think if you look at the big picture, not a particular weather pattern, there is evidence that the climate is warming faster than predicted and the impact is being felt globally.

  17. Does the shrinking of glaciers worldwide indicate global warming? I would say yes. How tenuous the balance is!

  18. Seems every event we have which others attribute to climate change you can find a rationale to indicate otherwise. What might indicators should we look at that would indicate climate change is occuring - rising acidity in our oceans, rising worldwide temperatures year over year, increasing wild fires, melting glaciers and ice pack, rising sea levels? Are any of these worthy of consideration?

  19. The News Media I follow have all said this heat wave was caused by a convergence of natural events, influenced by Climate Change - not caused by it. Some people are using it as an opportunity to talk about Climate Change and the need for action. Before criticizing people for speaking up about concerns of Climate Change let's wait and see what the World Weather Attribution scientists have to say about how much this event was influenced by Climare Change. @wxrisk


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

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