June 17, 2024

Is Mid-June Getting Warmer or Colder?

 As I will demonstrate below, this past week has been unusually cool around the region.

But that leads to another question....is mid-June getting warmer or colder?   

A strange question when there is so much talk about global warming.  But as you will learn below, the truth will be stranger still 😀

Let's start is an image this morning at the Paradise Visitor Center on Mount Rainier (about 5000 ft up). They had a mixture of rain and snow showers with fog.  Yuck.   Not my choice for hiking!

Next, consider the differences in daily average local temperatures from normal for the past week (below). Green, blue, and purple colors are below normal.

No wonder I have been wearing my sweatshirts!  Most of Washington State has been cooler than normal and much of western Washington has been 3-5F below normal.    My tomato plants have been struggling for a reason.

But you didn't need me to tell you it has been cool and drippy.  

But now something interesting:  is mid-June getting cooler or warmer in our region?   

Below I have plotted the trends of temperatures for the past week (June 9-16th) at Hoquiam, on the central WA coast.   This was the FIFTH COOLEST mid-June since 1953 (roughly 70 years!)  And there is little long-term trend (brown line)

At Olympia, there was not only a colder than-normal mid-June, but mid-June is getting COOLER over time.

At Bellingham, mid-June temps this year were in the top-ten cold years, and there is no trend up or down in mid-June temperatures.

I am not showing SeaTac Airport because the site is useless for any climatological work with the addition of a third runway, greatly increased aircraft operations, and a large amount of development around the airport.

What about Wenatchee in eastern Washington, located in prime tree-fruit country? (see below)

OMG!   Not only was this a cold mid-June, but the long-term trend is for cooling.

Can this REALLY be true?   Consider Yakima, also in prime agricultural land.  There is NO trend in temperatures in mid-June.

A similar lack of mid-June temperature trend is also true in Spokane.

So how can this be?  With all the global warming talk, how could our mid-June temperatures be unchanging or cooling?

The key reason is our location near the cool Pacific Ocean.  During mid-June, we still have a vigorous onshore flow of cool ocean air that isolates much of our region from the warming of the interior.

In fact, enhanced warming of the interior can cause pressure to fall more there, which creates MORE of an onshore pressure difference (high offshore and low pressure over the interior).

We have global warming protection this time of year!

Such climate subtleties are important but unfortunately missing in most media coverage.


A Steve Pool memorial undergraduate scholarship has been established in his honor (see below)

Once funded by contributions, this new undergraduate scholarship will provide financial assistance to promising Atmospheric Sciences students, fostering the training of the next generation of meteorologists and atmospheric scientists.

If you want to contribute or learn more about Steve, check out the webpage below.   Thanks so much....cliff


  1. It would be very interesting if you could do this sort of analysis for windspeeds.

  2. "In fact, enhanced warming of the interior can cause pressure to fall more there, which creates MORE of an onshore pressure difference (high offshore and low pressure over the interior)."
    Good illustration of how "climate change" is a more useful term than "global warming".

    1. "Climate Change," was an abrupt terminology head fake, from the usual "Global Warming" that hysterical climate alarmists had used for decades. However, once they realized that the broader swath of the public wasn't buying what they were selling anymore, they fully embraced the new term. The usefulness of the new designation is that it can mean literally anything that the user designs, since the weather changes continually. We see the same kinds of illusions with all terms of previously accurate designations, such as "undocumented individuals" instead of "illegal immigrants." "Unhoused people," instead of "homeless," it never ends.

    2. In his post, Cliff cited "enhanced warming of the interior" as a possible driver of the observations he's reporting here. That's climate change, that's what he referring to. Warming temperatures affect wind patterns and ocean currents, which can paradoxically result in a few places, at a few times of year, becoming cooler.

    3. Jerry.... I think "climate change" is a terrible term and should be avoided. Climate can change for many reasons, with natural forcing being very important. Global warming, although not great, is far superior. Increasing greenhouse gases causes the earth to the warm...so at least this terminology is reasonable..cliff

    4. That makes sense. Global warming communicates the directionality. No question that most places are warming, with a few places changing in the opposite direction as a result of the warming.

    5. Jerry, yes our state has hydropower which some are working to remove! That doesn't address the energy storage issue for wind and solar. Do you have a proposal for a storage system that stores more than 24 hrs of energy demand? The NY plan is not feasible. Removing dams in Washington is not sensible. I use NY as an example because it stands out as so extreme. I live in western Washington and I think of dams is not the right direction for us to go here.

  3. Hey, but let's make heating homes more expensive. Not good news, my heater is still running and it's nearly July!

  4. This has always bothered me- probably because I come from somewhere where, although it freezes up tight in winter, it is very comfortably warm by now. We are the ones who could actually use some late spring global warming- not Florida or India or Chicago or Texas. In a good year it's OK, but in a cool year I'm thoroughly tired of chilliness by now. My outdoor swimming program is, well, delayed...

  5. Not sure why you are just focused on mid June temperatures. If you take the entire month of June, the temperature record from the Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research Center shows that in the first 24 years of this century, the average June temperature has been above normal in 17 of the 24 years and every June since 2013 has averaged above normal, although this June will likely end up below normal.

    1. In other words, Cliff, you are tired of it like the rest of us? Well, let's hope today (6/19) is the beginning of our salvation. I had a very nice sunny climb of Mount Pilchuck, perfect temperature though snow above 4200 feet. Plenty of under-prepared hikers out, too: good thing it stayed sunny.

  6. I've lived north of Ellensburg (east slope of the Cascades) since 1989 and before that, over in Idaho – east of Pullman/Moscow – since 1974. I have not noticed any "climate change" in those 50 years. Looking at the trees and other plants, they do not suggest any changes. If the Cascade Crest drops by 2,000 feet, the plants and I might notice.

    1. People on the west side have noticed. Over the past few years I have had to add windows and A/C to our upper floor to keep it cool in the summer. More importantly, the numbers don't lie. Statewide, summer nighttime (low) temps have increased by nearly 3 degrees F since 1895, per the WA state climatologist. Daytime (high) temps have increased by just over 1 degree F.

    2. Jerry.... the question is how much of the minimum temperature increase is due to urbanization and change of instrumentation. Undoubtedly some of it. The high temperature change is a far better measure of global warming since it taps the deeper atmosphere..cliff

    3. Jerry Cangelosi, I'm sitting here in a room in the Middle of Nowhere, Southeastern Washington State, wearing a sweater because a cold breeze is coming in through an open window. That's OK because these cool breezes give me a sense of connection with nature.

      The earth has been warming for the last 300 years, ever since the end of the Little Ice Age. Recent warming over the last fifty years has been a bit faster, with some of the additional warming probably due to increasing CO2 emissions.

      My personal estimate, based on past patterns of global warming, is that the earth will reach approximately +2C above preindustrial by the year 2100. Maybe a bit more. IMHO, warming will continue for another century or so and might reach a downturning inflection point roughly in the year 2200.

      China, India, and 3rd World developing nations will not give up their dependence on fossil fuels. Not a chance. But there is another way to cool the earth, one that is all but certain to work: climate geo-engineering using solar radiation modification (SRM).

      SRM can be done for as little as ten billion dollars annually, maybe a hundred billion annually at the very outside -- quickly reducing global mean temperature by as much as 2C in a timeframe as short as five years.

      OK, here's the deal:

      Make me CEO of Let's Keep Our Cool LLC, a government-funded enterprise which will manage an SRM program of injecting fifteen million tons annually of solar-reflecting particles into the stratosphere.

      Salary plus incentives would total fifty million dollars annually. I can promise I would earn every penny of it.

      My compensation package would include a remote fortress location in Argentina plus an armed security force in case thousands of victims of a series of worldwide SRM-induced crop failures decide to seek revenge for what was done to them.

    4. Minimum temperatures at Wenatchee have also shown a steady and significant warming trend in recent years, especially summertime readings, but in all seasons. The readings taken at the Tree Fruit Research Center were from standard mercury and alcohol thermometers up to 1996, then replaced with digital thermometers. I have continued to take temperature readings at my home, one mile from the TFRC, using the mercury and alcohol thermometers and have not noticed a significant difference in the readings; if anything, my temperatures are a bit warmer than TFRC. The minimum temperatures have been showing a steady rise since about 1980 and continuing at about the same warming rate to the current time, so this does not seem to be due to a change in instrumentation. The TFRC is in the outskirts of Wenatchee in a semi-orchard environment that has not changed much through the years so do not believe urbanization is a factor.

    5. Betah - "China, India, and 3rd World developing nations will not give up their dependence on fossil fuels. Not a chance."
      Interesting comment. Currently, China runs on ~25% renewable electricity (mostly hydro), vs. ~17% in the USA. They don't do this because they are worried about the polar bears. They do it because they are not dumb.

    6. Jerry...China has also radically increased their use of coal and their next emission of CO2 is WAY UP.. They don't care about global warming....cliff

    7. Cliff - I was wrong about China's 25% figure for percent of electricity from renewables. It's now 30%. China's renewable sector is growing much faster than its coal sector. You're might be right - they don't care about global warming. They care about having cheap, reliable power, and that's why they're developing renewables. The "clean vs. cheap" trade-off is out-of-date. There are no physical or economic barriers to renewables, only political and cultural ones.

    8. Jerry.....you do not have this right. China is massively increased the amount of coal... the cheap way to get power and thus there carbon footprint has gone up immensely. The largest source of their renewable energy is from hydro...BIG DAMS. Is what what you are suggesting? Dam up more rivers?..cliff

    9. Jerry Cangelosi, No physical barriers to renewables? How about the three laws of thermodynamics? Energy density? There is no battery technology that is efficient enough to store the "renewable" energy for later use to make it a worthwhile investment. Or are you living in the magic land of, for example, the New York net zero project and their unicorns and fairy dust of DEFRS, dispatchable emissions-free resources?

    10. Then WHY are e selling coal to China? Shouldn't we stop? I see coal trains every time I go to Everett.

    11. I've been asked three rhetorical questions. I appreciate being able to respond.

      "...BIG DAMS? Is that what you're suggesting? Dam up more rivers?..cliff"
      All energy comes at costs, but we now know that fossil fuels have the greatest costs of all. It's easy to trivialize global warming here in Washington, not so easy for people who live the regions of the world where most of humanity lives. Here in PNW, we already have ample hydro power, which provides all of the storage capacity we need for when the wind doesn't blow (in partial response to Caroline's point about energy storage). We should instead expand wind, solar, other renewal sources, and nuclear energy. These steps could easily enable a full transition from fossil fuels, at least locally.

      "are you living in the magic land of, for example, the New York net zero project and their unicorns and fairy dust?"
      Caroline, I live in Washington State, where we run on >75% renewable energy for decades, and have some the cheapest power in the country. I don't think that laws of thermodynamics prevent this.

      "WHY are we selling coal to China?"
      Great question. Money talks.

    12. Jerry...you are not being realistic. Wind and solar can't do it for most regions....too intermittent and unreliably. Our dams will not be enough very soon and some folks want to take them down. Many on the envirionmental left are dead set against nuclear power...which could be a part of the solution. Fusion will probably solve the problem eventually...cliff

    13. Cliff, I understand that there are people on the political left who oppose hydro and nukes. They are among the "cultural and political" barriers that I alluded to. Not all of them come from the political right (although plenty do). My point is that there are no physical or economic barriers.

      Here in WA, a diversified grid consisting of hydro, wind, solar, and nukes can easily fuel the state 24/7, 365 days/year. There is nothing unrealistic about that, we are already 90% of the way there when the nuclear energy is included.

      I understand that other places don't have our hydro resources, but that is not a deal-breaker. Denmark runs on >72% renewables electricity, nearly all of it from wind and biomass. Hydro provides less than 5% of it. This is beyond realistic, it is reality. They may never get to zero percent fossil fuels, but they're sure doing better than our 60%. There is no reason we can't do the same.

    14. Jerry... a lot of issues with your analysis. Denmark only gets about 3% of itself power from solar. They are on the water and in an ideal situation for wind. More important, much of their power is from biomass..burning wood, etc... and they have a substantial air pollution problem as a result. WA state is in good shape because of massive hydro...but as we use up all our hydro power there is less to export to neighboring states...which will have major problems. But even we will have problems without nukes looking down the road. Bottom line: your vision is not realistic at this points..cliff

  7. When people charts statistics - highs and lows - I wonder if "length of time" of either are factored-in. Many times (actually, the majority of days) when I record a day's high-temp I know that that high only lasted a half hour, an hour, maybe two hours, with the majority of the daytime temp significantly lower. I record and track lows as well as highs (year round) and my honest impression is that the proportion of cool hours to warm hours has actually been trending toward "more cooler hours" for some time.

    As for how chilly this year's been overall, I just took a minute to sort this year's daily lows - and I'm not saying it's particularly significant, but (yikes) only THREE nights' lows have been 50 F or above here as-of 7am [morning of] June 20 (172 days, 2024 was a leap year). For the sake of comparison, I took a minute and sorted YTD lows (Jan1-Jun20) for a few recent years (171 days each, "not leap years"): 2023 FIFTEEN, 2022 ELEVEN, 2021 SEVEN. Probably statistically insignificant, but hey-ho -- no question, this has been one cold year so far, and the "warmest days" have had pretty brief highs. "Just saying"


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

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