August 28, 2022

The Final Heatwave of the Summer? When does the threat disappear?

 Even with cool temperatures this weekend, the specter of more warmth is on the horizon.

But is this the end of the threat of real warmth in our region?   

Let's start with the forecast.    Another ridge of high pressure will build over the West Coast on Monday and Tuesday, as illustrated by the upper level (500 hPa pressure, about 18,000 ft) map for Tuesday at 5 PM.  The red indicates higher than normal pressure, the blues and purples below normal (troughing.

The latest National Weather Service National Blend of Models temperature forecast for Seattle indicated highs in the upper 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday before an extended cool-off to more seasonal temperatures around 80F.  Importantly, lows will reliably decline into the 50s, ensuring a good night's sleep.

As apparent to all of you, the nights are getting longer, the days shorter, and the strength of the sun's rays is ebbing.   Eventually, we simply won't be able to get into the 80s and 90s anymore.   

But when?  What does climatology tell us?  

To assist in this analysis, let's look at the climatology of temperatures on both sides of the Cascades for late summer and early fall (August 1- November 15, see below).  Each plot below shows the record highs (reds) and lows (cyan) and the average high/low range (brown shade).  I also plotted this year's temperatures (blue bars) and noted the 80, 90, and 100 F levels with dashed lines.

For SeaTac Airport, temperatures have gotten above 90F many times in August and early September, but never after October 1.  Highs above 80F have occurred through mid-October.    

The bottom line, the threat of above 90F in western Washington will be over in a month, with little chance of temperatures exceeding 95F after Sept. 1.

For the Tri-Cities (Pasco shown below), getting above 100F is no big deal in August, but becomes unprecedented after the first week of September.  Reaching into the 90s has occurred many times in September, but become unprecedented in October.  October is a very month in eastern Washington.

The bottom line:  Based on the current forecasts, it appears that after mid-week, there is probably little chance of Seattle exceeding 90F for the rest of the year.  And after Friday, little chance that Richland will exceed 100F for the remainder of 2022. 

Reminder: I will be teaching ATMS Atmospheric Sciences 101 this fall.

Like last year, I am teaching atmospheric sciences 101: a general introduction to weather and climate, this fall. You can learn more about the class on the class website. I talk about everything from the basics of the atmosphere to weather prediction, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and local weather to global warming and climate.

I will be teaching the class in person at the UW, but will also make it available over zoom. Thus, folks can take it remotely.

If you are over 60, you can take the class through the ACCESS program for a very nominal charge (something like $15). Last year I had over 100 folks do so.

If you are a UW student looking to learn about weather or a non-student interested in the topic, I welcome you to join me this fall. My first class is on September 28th.

Have You Been Censored by the Seattle Times?

I have become aware of a serious problem at the Seattle Times:  they have been censoring people who have left comments with a different viewpoint on climate change than theirs, with their actions based on accusations of "climate misinformation."   If you have been censored by the Seattle Times, including removal of comments or locking of accounts, please let me know through email or as a comment on this blog (I will not reveal your identity).

This is a very serious issue and reflects a disturbing attitude at our local newspaper.


  1. So let me guess. Nothing to do with climate change here, right?

    And is this is all pseudo science?

    1. The power crunch in china does not have much do to with a minor heatwave here in the Northwest. Our areas has warmed about 2F. Lets assume that is all human caused. You still have to explain the rest. This is what I have tried to get you to think about...but you respond with snarky, unpleasant messages like the above. Please stop...

    2. What you'll find out, Anthony, is that there's a concerted effort to manage the planet through a technocracy, just like a land manager does a herd of elk. Always, people through hubris, think they are so smart that they need to control others. This has been happening at a global scale by non-state actors since the climate propaganda began in the late 90s (I was one of those pushing it at that time). But their cover is be blown because climate isn't cooperating with their agenda. The longer we go, the more noticeable the epic prediction-fails are. Truth wins against falsehood. Truth is a force. Time is an amazing thing.

      Just as all such socio-communists-autocratic pushes eventually fail hard, so this one will too. How much damage is necessary this time around? Zero is my desired outcome. Sadly, that's already an unavailable outcome. The goal is for the technocrats to manage us, and global resources, like a Star Trek utopianism at a planetary scale. Thankfully, it's doomed to fail because: (1) We're not THAT smart, (2) We don't really understand the solar system energy balance and climate very well, (3) Managing a simple farm is hard enough, let alone the entire planet, and (4) limiting CO2 industrial output at a global social-scale is, frankly, impossible without TOTAL domination of the human race (Hint: that's the goal).

      But really, in the end, we will find that it's not CO2 that drives climate, it's well, um, the sun and the oceans serve as the engine. And actually, CO2 mostly pops out of the ocean like an effervescent can of soda as it warms. Fact check as needed.

    3. "Global conspiracy"?

      Why should we waste our time worrying about something so out of control of the mass populace? As long as the human-race exists on this planet there will always be people more powerful and influential.

      Here are a couple *facts*:

      One, pollution is *bad*

      Two, automobile emissions are *bad*

      And that's only going to get worse. Tesla isn't going to make a dent in that problem. Fission-power is only one drunk-worker away from a catastrophic meltdown.

      If you want to sit around and complain about how rich-people have the level of influence you are missing out on and that you can never have then why not complain about something you *can* influence?

      Complain about how the government is forcing the masses to pollute. Complain to your congress people that the USA needs to solve the problem sooner rather than later.

      *You* can make a difference.

      Complaining about "global conspiracy" is just the sort of nonsense no one's going to pay attention to.

    4. Funny how few of us talk about overpopulation anymore. It seems to me that world overpopulation is a large part of all environmental problems, but somehow, limiting population growth (though family planning, dare I say) lost its "political correctness".

  2. Antony sure like to use a strawman argument when it suits his purposes.

  3. Professor Mass, as a UW law graduate (1985) who now lives in Reno, I love reading your blog and its easy to understand posts describing the climate and weather in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I also respect you for speaking out on very important issues of the day, and your willing to engage with those who view things differently from you in a patient and non threatening manner.
    I have followed your comments on the Seattle Times and also that recent First Street Foundation "heat belt" study.
    For a number of years, I was quite active on a California weather blog called "Weather West" run by a person named Daniel Swain. The comment section in that blog is very active and I have commented there frequently over the past 8 years on all kinds of things weather and climate related. The site has taken a highly disturbing turn in the past few years, in my opinion, and Swain has mentioned you by name several times in most unflattering terms. To say the least. At any rate, Swain published and touted his "Arkstorm 2.0" paper and I started to ask such questions as: Gee whiz, if there were 10 "megafloods" on the West coast in the past 2,000 years, why will the next one be our fault and I don't think he liked it. Then he came out and supported that First Street Foundation "study"and I had more questions. He then gave SUPPORT to that First Street Foundation "study" you eviscerate below, and rightfully so. I am a well known commenter there, and all of a sudden I was being accused of being a crypto climate denier, a "boomer" (I'm 64), and a member of a class of people called: "out of touch old geezers."
    When I pushed back a little Swain barred me from his website comment section, after 5,000 posts detailing weather history in various places, stories, eyewitness accounts of the 1982 Alpine Meadows avalanche that killed a number of people (I was working next door at Squaw that day) and the like. Those who insulted me remain and my generation (and yours) remain.
    I have never been "cancelled" before but it actually feels great. Keep up the good work, Professor, as I know you will. I will continue to read every one of your posts with interest. My father's botanical research as a Marine officer in WW2 and subsequent to that (Berkeley PhD 1956) is still being used today in climate research as base data for plant distribution, and he also wrote 50 years ago about the growing problem of forest fuel accumulation...
    And if Weather West commenter known as "Nathan" is reading this, hi there.
    I'm a Weather West refugee, as a formerly scientific blog is now a propaganda piece in my opinion, which is VERY SAD.
    Thanks for listening, Professor...keep the science real as I know you will, as you are a Huskie and that is what true Huskies do!

  4. I'm delighted to know that the Good Prof is teaching Atmospheric Sciences 101 again, and that folks can enroll and participate online. If nothing else, perhaps students will get a grip on the complexity and scale of the physical mechanics driving the fluids that envelop the planet (our atmosphere and oceans). I've been fascinated by astronomy and these mechanics all my life, in awe of both the regularity but also the churning that constantly takes place as Earth spins (about 1,000 mph), tear-arse through the Universe.

    I'm always amazed that people hand-wring about tiny fluctuations from day to day and year to year when we're careening around the Sun in an elliptical orbit at about 67,000 mph. The Sun's energy output can be wild; further, it's variable (seems to have cycles, no question). There's our tilt (about 23.5 degrees), the wobble. And the planet is farthest from the sun during our summer (2022 that was July 4). Lucky for us here in the northern hemisphere, we're closest to old Sol (perihelion) during the the winter (next will be Jan 4 2023). Throw the dance of the Moon into the equation(s) - not just ocean tides but the force of gravity on the atmosphere -- well, the complexity is awesome. 'Small wonder that predictions can be made at all, but there is a wonderful rhythm to it. Here's to honest observation, and the humility of truthful scientists. Hat tip. Teach on! (And dare I add, "fie" on those who expect anything BUT variation and variability over time, whichever way conditions lurch - clouds, currents, hot air and arctic blasts howling in and about ...fascinating!)

  5. Good I am glad Summer is finally coming to an end. I live in the northwest for the rain and clouds, not the smoke and heat.

  6. All I know was yesterday did not feel as warm as predicted. Tacoma was looking at around 84F, but by the time it was all over, I think we hit 81 instead, and it peaked early in the afternoon before dropping.

    Today, we are looking at 89 for the high, peaking around 3pm or so. I'll believe it when I see it, if I see it. Right now, it's around 60-61 and sunny with ultra clear skies at 7:46AM.

    I have always been of the mind to know that the Earth wobbles and is closer to, and away from the sun, causing rises and falls of the temperature, the sun's activity also varies and we've had major cooling (ice age), and extreme heat (the years of the Dinosaurs) etc and the Earth will continue with that, but I also see US, humans playing a role with pollution that may well be exasperating the situation, but as you say, the changes are at this point, minimal to what is considered "natural change" as you say.

    I brought this up once last year in the form of a question but I ran into a video of what turned out to be Bible thumping preppers talking about how the sun is in a cooling period and that food shortages due to it will result, and had already begun, with the shortages in Canada due to the cooler than normal weather, so you must prep now kind of thing. I had not heard of this "phenomenon" but knew that the sun ebbs and flows. The issue with prepping is, how much is too much? If you can/prep a huge bounty of food, how long can it keep before it goes bad before you can even get to it? I know a year of canned goods is often considered a safe limit for home canning, as long as the seal remains good, or at minimum, it's when it's at its best taste wise. Some prepping is always good because of yearly emergencies like surgery or a storm knocks out your power for several days etc, but prepping for the sake of prepping, not so much.


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

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