August 13, 2021

My New Podcast: Bellingham Heat Surge, Smoke Today, the IPCC Climate Report and Big Weather Changes Next Week

 My new podcast is out, and I discuss the current smoke situation, the UW IPCC climate report, and major changes in Northwest weather for the next week.

Smoke covers the region this morning

You can listen to my podcast below or select your preferred streaming service (see bottom of blog)



In my podcast, I examine the bottom line of the new UN climate report, noting it is FAR more optimistic than many of the apocalyptic headlines you read in the media or in the pronouncements of certain politicians.

I also talk about the current smoke situation, which is peaking today over western Washington and should decline tomorrow as marine air starts to move in at low levels.  The situation at 10 AM shows very poor surface air quality over eastern WA,  moderate air quality over western WA, with better conditions along the coast (see image, purple is the worst air quality, green is the best)


Finally, I talk about the startling localized extreme heat that hit Bellingham, with downslope flow into the Fraser River Valley leading to 100F and more from Bellingham and to the northeast.   This temperature was the all-time record high at Bellingham.....an impressive record.  The map below shows the high temperatures yesterday around Bellingham (click on image to expand).


As described in my podcast, far cooler temperatures will follow next week.  Finally, for my Patreon supporters, I will be doing a special zoom session tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 AM, where I will talk a bit about the IPCC report and answer your questions.


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20 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your review of the IPCC report. When I was working on my Physics degree in 2009, I remember reading their reports and analyzing their graphs for an assignment. I greatly appreciate your thorough review and how it applies to us (especially differentiating between meteorological droughts and agricultural droughts!)

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  2. Why do you always downplay what the media has to say on climate change? You make suggestive comments that humans do not need to do anything to adjust our lifestyles to combat climate change by stating that there is no evidence for this or that in how the planet is warming.

    You make diminutive statements to the earth warming by roughly 2 degrees, but 2 degrees is is quite a bit in relative change. It's frustrating to see someone that clearly knows quite a bit about meteorology have this sentiment in your podcasts.

    FYI - by you producing podcasts, you are a part of the "media".

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    1. OKTree... I am not always downplaying the media. And I NEVER say we do not have to do anything. The problem is that the media is greatly miscommunicating what we know and working AGAINST effective efforts for climate mitigation and adaptation. Like not fixing the forests, like not pushing nuclear. Lifestyle changes have NO HOPE of fixing this problem. 2 degrees is two degrees..you can decide whether you think that is a lot...cliff

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    2. To this end there is so much individual pressure to 'do your part' for a problem you in actuality had very, very little to contribute. This applies to recycling and a whole host of other systemic issues that are greatly affected by large corporations and the externalization of costs by businesses and the allowance by governments for this to happen.

      Doesn't mean individuals can't do their part, that lifestyle changes aren't good, helpful, etc. but you could take millions of people recycling yogurt containers or opting against a family trip one summer vs a single industrial source shutting down or converting 20 large container shippers to electric.. there's much much bigger things to move the needle is all and focus should be there than individuals feeling a burden of having to save the planet.

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    3. I honestly don't understand what people are referring to when they say "the media" is doing this, or the media is doing that. It's not like the media is a single headed monster. If I was an English teacher or philosophy professor I could express my thought better, but alas I am a mere scientist. If I hear one more conversation where someone asks, "oh, is such and such really happening or is it just a media thing?" I just might puke. The media is millions of journalists working for thousands of outlets. Blaming the media is like blaming technology, or blaming scientists. It's a handwave that really says nothing at all. Name the publication! Name the journalist! Thank you.

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    4. Dee - with rare exceptions, the MSM has been esposing an entirely homegenous viewpoint on almost everything with near unamity. Politics, science and cultural issues are presented with a unifying viewpount and resultant conclusions. Per example, just last week NPR said that they're going to allow their reporters to engage openly in political activism, which surprises no one with any semblance of sanity, since they've been doing that for decades at this point.

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  3. Cliff, the content of your web site and podcast are both excellent. However, I have one problem with your podcast: the volume level of your voice varies too much. This could be easily fixed by putting your voice track through a compressor to even out the level. This could be done in post production, using inexpensive digital compressor plug-ins.

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  4. So... is that 2 black swans within one month? Hmmmm...

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    1. Colin... no. There are no two black swans. The event we are in is not exceptional for most. A few localized records is not a big deal..that is always happening. In June, DOZENS of long-term stations had all time records. That is a black swan. ..cliff

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  5. The IPCC report is fear mongering at it's finest. This is not surprising at all. Maybe one day real science will be more important than political pageantry.

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    1. Please tell us what you think “real science” is, Qwerty, and also why you thin you are an authority on that.

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  6. Great Job Cliff! I'm doing my part, I just got a battery powered lawn mower so I don't have to drive 6 miles to town to buy gas that is shipped over 7,000 miles from Saudi, I'm jonesing for a leaf, even though the lawn mower and the leaf are primarily plastic I think recharging using cheap non impactive Hydro power will have a small meager, measly impact on Saving the Fricking World. Thanks for your great job from Ellensburg.!

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    1. Those choices wont have any impact whatsoever. But, they will give your friends and neighbors the appearance that you are "trying to do your part". The old saying is "appearance is everything".

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  7. 3 degrees C of warming could be pretty bad. If 1 degree of warming causes massive wildfires that bring months of bad air quality to California, hurricanes like Katrina and IRMA and many glaciers to lose half their volume I shudder to think about another 2 degrees will do. I know the saying you can't blame a single fire/storm on global warming but when these fires/storms are occuring much more frequently everywhere I think you can blame that on global warming. There has been a huge amount of smoke this summer in Brittish Columbia we have gotten really luck with the wind mostly blowing the smoke east of us but I see really smoky summers in the future where we are not so lucky with the wind.

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  8. Sorry for the ever-burning question: la nina this winter? 70% chance according to NOAA!

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  9. Great podcast; these are always worthwhile. Regarding the Bellingham 100 degree high on Thursday, I'm wondering if that number was reported at "BLI" (Bellingham International Airport). I had a mid-day appointment in B'ham and I was curious about the heat-wave I was driving into, so I followed temps using my Wunderground app (on my phone). I never saw anything higher than mid to high 90's. Airports ...all that pavement does make a difference - something that's been noted re the Sea-Tac (SEA) figures. Just an observation, just curiosity as-to the "where" of the record-breaking moment.

    I super-appreciate your sharing information about the IPCC report. Fascinating! I'm glad the report seems objective. In comparison, just this morning the local TV news stations (KIRO, for example) headlined a "hottest ever...climate change" story about highest ever "world" temperature(s) in July. The verbiage was quite sensational.

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  10. I would like to direct listeners of Dr. Mass’s podcast on the UN’s IPCC report to “It’s Grim” by Robinson Meyer published online in the Atlantic on August 9. Mr. Meyer also read the report and his take is bit different in tone from what I heard in the podcast. The Atlantic, by the way is an award winning magazine known for journalistic excellence that covers science as well as politics and culture.

    While I heard Dr. Mass pooh-pooh a 2-degree F rise in global temperature since the Industrial Revolution, Meyer notes that the IPCC reports that this rise is ‘unprecedented’ and ‘rapid’. “What’s more, the recent spate of horrific heat waves, fire-fueling droughts, and food inducing storms…are not only typical of global warming but directly caused by it,” writes Meyer. Further, he notes that the IPCC “declared that humanity is ‘unequivocally’ responsible for climate change.’"

    Meyer noted that the report said that yes climate disaster can be avoided if we limit warming to 1.5 degrees but according to Gregory Flato, vice chair of the group that wrote the report, “ ‘it would require deep, rapid cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.’ “
    Meyer also provides some historical context for this sixth climate report. The findings must be agreed to by 195 countries. Consequently, the findings tend to be more conservative than some scientist would have.

    Nevertheless, the IPCC “declared that humanity is ‘unequivocally’ responsible for climate change, that extreme events (heat waves, droughts, wildfires) are happening because of climate change, oceans will rise 18 inches by 2100 and that “just under two feet is more likely” and is irreversible. The predicted rise of the ocean, “Scares the crap out of me,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist who was one of the report’s co-authors. A little different tone from Dr. Mass’s.

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  11. I am puzzled by you stating that in IPCC AR6 they "don't suggest any tipping points." They discuss tipping points a fair bit (see for example page 4-96 table 4-10), such as changes in the AMOC and changes in permafrost carbon. The latter has a "high confidence" of being "irreversible for centuries." I guess you can argue the semantics of whether these changes constitute large changes in climate systems.

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    1. If you go through it in detail, there is no suggestion of reaching a certain temperature and then going into a non-reversible major change in the atmosphere/ocean during this century at medium or high confidence. That is what I mean.

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  12. Cliff: Thank you for your detailed review of the IPCC report. I did find one of your comments surprising, the one about evidence lacking for more severe droughts in the future. Also, you did not mention sea level rise, and any potential for mass dislocations causing political and social impacts. I don't know if the report addressed that. But the main comment I have is about fire. As a grad student I was doing research about fire regimes along the US - Mexico border, which included field sampling in chaparral stands following wildfire events (and in Mexico, deliberately set fires by ranchers). There is no doubt that fire suppression is a reason for the size and intensity of fires here in the last several years, but the effects of fire suppression on fire regimes were already evident 40 years ago. So - why have fire size and intensity increased so much recently? Could it be that warmer, drier forests and related effects like the expansion of bark beetle infestations are also a cause? Would appreciate your thoughts, thank you -

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