Recently in Climate Category

Our interesting (and very cool) sun

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Been a lot cooler than usual.  Looks like the Modern Warm Period is ending its 100 year run. But... Something interesting is happening.

Cooler? Fewer sunspots.  Sunspots are a good proxy for solar output. The more sunspots, the hotter the sun and the warmer our Earth.  This affects the Martian Ice Caps too so it is not just this planet. Last year, we had a record year of low sunspot numbers with 281 days without sunspots (or 77% of the year). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913 (311 days).  This year, we are currently at 190 days - 71% - so it is not likely that we will beat this record (96 days left in the year so we would need to have 91 of them be sunspot-free to tie) but this is still a very low number.

What we are starting to see is an increased Planetary K-Index  This is a measurement of radio flux from the sun and is independent of sunspot activity.  The K-Index impacts the earth directly as it is a measurement of the flux that gives us the Northern (or Southern) lights. Usually, it has been 0 - 1 - sometimes 2.  Now, it has been hitting 4.  The scale is logarithmic so 3 is ten times 2, 4 is ten times 3, etc...  This is causing some beautiful aurora borealis in the arctic.  It needs to be up to 6 and above to get reliable aurora in these latitudes. From right now:


Some interesting times.  Got a load of firewood laid in last spring so it is nice and cured.  Had a small fire yesterday and it was delicious. Warmed the house up with just a few logs. Thinking that I am going to need every stick this year. Had some left over last year.  We will see...

The second tranche of rainfall

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Made its way into the mighty Stillaguamish River at Arlington.  Notice that the scale on the left has changed from yesterday:


4000 was the scale maximum yesterday, they bumped it up to 7000 for today. Cubic feet per second. A lot of water. Some nice weather moving in over the next couple of days.

We have rain

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The mighty Stilliguamish River - a flow gauge near Arlington:


It takes a day or so for the rainfall to travel to the rivers so the current (met. humor) deluge will show up in a day or so. Second tranche.

Still no lightning. Dagnabit - they promised us lightning...

The autumn rains

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Gonna get wet - from Cliff Mass (note: this was written Tuesday evening - tomorrow=today):

Heavy Rain and the Beginning of Autumn
Autumn began at 6:30 AM this morning and the atmosphere is clearly watching the calendar.

Tomorrow will bring the first of a series of wet weather systems, each associated with a potent atmospheric river, that will bring as much as TEN inches of precipitation to the northern Cascades and Olympics.

As a result, wildfire season in Washington State will be coming to an abrupt close.

Precipitation will be heaviest during two periods, one tomorrow and the other on Saturday, when atmospheric rivers--narrow currents of large water vapor values--will make landfall on our coast.

And we are then going to be hit by an atmospheric river. Not our usual Pineapple Express but a river none the less:

Even more impressive is the atmospheric river on Saturday is serious!  Fascinating how moisture is concentrated into such narrow "atmospheric rivers".  I will explain why in a future blog.


Ho. Li. Crap. Staring down the barrel of a deluge.  The house is snug, good roof and got some nice raingear. Got firewood laid in for this winter and lots of food in storage. Life is good.

Clean air this morning

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A great improvement. Had quite the downpour last night - raining buckets for about 45 minutes. Woke up able to see the mountains so visibility of well over 30 miles.

From Cliff Mass:

Finally.... Smoke Relief for the Northwest
As the models have been signaling for days, air quality over western Oregon and Washington has improved dramatically over the past 24 h, with much of the region enjoying relatively clean air.  Clean air is surging over the Cascades and should soon displace the smoky air over the NW side of WA and northern Idaho.

Good news - now, all we need is a nice Indian Summer to cap 2020 and I will be happy.

Good news from Cliff Mass

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Waking up to some good news for a change - from Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass:

The End is in Sight
We can finally see forward to the end of this terrible smoke event over western Washington and Oregon.

But first let me show you something that will impress. Below is a composite MODIS weather satellite image for yesterday, a picture that shows West Coast smoke extended over the entire continent. In New York or DC this morning, people will view a hazy sky and a weakened sun from the West Coast fires; in fact, the smoke extended well into the Atlantic.

More at the site - a few more days of this and then some relief. Some relief by Saturday and an end to the smoke around the 22nd (Tuesday).

And here we go again - Hurricane Sally

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Can't get a break - from One America News Network:

Hurricane Sally Makes Landfall On Ala. Coast
Hurricane Sally made landfall on the Gulf Shores of Alabama after re-strengthening to a Category Two hurricane.

Meteorologists confirmed the storm picked up force Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and warned its effects will be felt along the gulf coast. Winds of up to 105 miles-per-hour were measured during the night.

Hurricane Laura was just two weeks ago. A bad season. Not the worst by far but still, not good.

Great news for skiers - La Niña

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From Meteorologist Scott Sistek at Seattle station KOMO:

A sight for sore (and dry) eyes: Forecasters officially declare La Niña is here!
As our long, late summer dry stretch now encroaches into the second week of September, there is some good news for those who prefer a rainy day around here: La Niña is officially here!

NOAA forecasters declared a La Niña Advisory Thursday indicating that water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean have now met the three-month threshold of being at least a half-degree cooler than normal (-0.9 degrees C in the latest report.)


La Niña winters are good news for not only rain fans, but skiers, snowboarders and water managers. Typically as we get into late fall and into the winter, we'll see a frequent pattern where the jet stream carries cooler air from Alaska and B.C. down into our region while providing plenty of moisture. That keeps snow levels down and mountain snowfall plentiful usually leading to an above-average snowpack.

Where I used to live (and still have my store) depends on sking at Mt. Baker for a lot of our business revenue. This year was a total bust as the skiing was poor and then the Wuhan Flu shut down a lot of the park visitation/camping/hiking (the other major driver). Hope things start lurching toward normalcy.


Smoke update - Cliff Mass

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Cliff has an update to the wildfire conditions and weather forecasts on his blog:

Smoke Has Caused Temperature Forecasts to Go Crazy Plus An Update
Have you taken a look at the temperature forecasts on your favorite smartphone app or online service?

Most are predicting temperatures that are crazy warm by as much as 15-20F!
Yet, the National Weather Service forecasts are reasonable. Why?

Before I explain, let's review what is going on right now.

The latest satellite image shows an area of deeper smoke has moved northward over western Washington. Smoke has also moved into eastern Washington. Only the north Cascades is in the clear.

At low levels, marine air and low cloud have pushed into portions of western Washington. With more smoke aloft, solar radiation will decline over western Washington today, providing an infernal murk that is a bit depressing.

Much more at the site. Cliff shows a screen-cap from the PM2.5 Air Quality Index - a really good resource. Here is a link to their website. You can zoom and move all around the USA. Great tool.

Things to come? From this map: PM2.5 Air Quality Index (a great resource)




Salmon-colored sunset tonight but gonna get worse tomorrow. Got the air filter running.
I feel sorry for the poor people in Portland tonight - got to be miserable.

Joy in the offing - smoke

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Got a link to this website in an email from the State Department of Emergency Management:

Smoke Alert!
There is a super-massive body of smoke moving over Southwestern Washington.  This smoke from Oregon and California is expected to impact Western Washington, the Columbia Basin, and even Spokane as it moves overhead.  Not much smoke has mixed down to the surface yet, but smoke forecasts show Unhealthy or worse levels starting tonight on the Peninsula and then through the I-5 Corridor. The Columbia River Gorge region is expected to be Unhealthy or worse tomorrow morning.  Smoke continues to be a problem in Central Washington and in the north Cascades as well because of our own fires.  Look for a more detailed forecast this afternoon.

20200910-GOES0900.jpgImage from the GOES Weather Satellite at 9AM this morning.

Cliff Mass has some more information:

Major Air Quality Threat For Puget Sound Sound and Western Washington
There is the potential for a major degradation of air quality over Puget Sound, a threat serious enough that vulnerable folks should be prepared.

Specifically, it is looking increasingly likely that some of the dense smoke produced by the fires in western Oregon will move northward and northeastward into western Washington, producing a profound degradation of air quality.

Potentially as bad or worse than we experienced in 2017 and 2018.

Much more at the site - the forecasts for late Saturday and Sunday look very very bad. My little island is smack in the center of the worst of it. Moving the dust filter from the garage into the bedroom and adding another filter.


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Two videos - the first one is yesterday's dust storm in Eastern Washington, the seccond one is an early snowfall in Yellowstone National Park.

From Live Storms Media:

And Yellowstone - also Live Storms Media:

Unseasonably early for snow there - global cooling anyone? Quiet sun?

Woke up to a salmon-colored sunrise - smoke and ash from the wildfires.

Hurricane Laura - some images

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Two videos from Brett Adair at Live Storms Media:

Brett also has this video from Lake Charles Regional Airport - sad to see the airplanes so damaged.

Here is one from Reuters:

Hurricane Laura - update

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She is now CAT3 CAT4 - from The Weather Channel:

Hurricane Laura Strengthening and Is a Category 4; Catastrophic Strike Ahead Near Louisiana and Texas Border
At a Glance

    • Laura has rapidly intensified into a Category 4 as it approaches landfall.
    • Laura will make landfall Wednesday night into early Thursday near the border between Louisiana and Texas.
    • Catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds will affect areas near where Laura makes landfall.
    • Storm surge could penetrate as much as 30 miles inland in southwest Louisiana.
    • Laura is also an inland flood risk as far north and east as Arkansas and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.
    • Isolated tornadoes are also expected from Laura.

Not unexpected and not anything outside the norm for this time of year. Still...

Hurricane Laura

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Looks like CAT3 - Key Messages from NOAA:

Key Messages:

    1. Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline. Only a few hours remain to protect life and property and all actions should be rushed to completion.
    2. Hurricane-force winds are expected tonight in portions of the hurricane warning area from San Luis Pass, Texas, to west of Morgan City, Louisiana, with catastrophic wind damage expected where Laura's eyewall makes landfall. Hurricane-force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will spread well inland across portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday.
    3. Widespread flash flooding along small streams, urban areas, and roadways is expected to begin this afternoon into Thursday from far eastern Texas, across Louisiana and Arkansas. This will also lead to minor to isolated moderate freshwater river flooding. The heavy rainfall threat and localized flash and urban flooding potential will spread northeastward into the middle-Mississippi, lower Ohio and Tennessee Valleys Friday night and Saturday.

Keeping them in my prayers. Fortunately, the Texas government is a lot better prepared than we had in New Orleans with Katrina.

Hurricane Laura

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Turning into a major hurricane. From the National Hurricane Center's twitter feed:

Another round of flooding is going to hit China next week. From the South China Morning Post:

China on alert for Yangtze River flooding as storms close in
Heavy rain is expected across China’s southwest, northwest and northeast in the next three days, raising flood risks and pressure on dams, weather forecasters have warned.

The Ministry of Water Resources urged local authorities to be on alert, particularly along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the middle reaches of the Yellow, Hai, Songhua and Liao rivers.

The National Meteorological Centre said Sichuan province in the country’s southwest would be particularly hard hit, with up to 300mm (11.8 inches) of rain forecast for Monday.

Here is the video accompanying the article - two more good videos as well as some photos at the site:

Nice people, asshoe government. This is very unusual weather. Normally, this is their rainy season but the intensity and duration is beyond previous bounds.

From The Weather Channel:

Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen: Track the Storms
For the first time since the Great Depression, it's possible that two tropical systems could make landfall in the mainland United States at virtually the same time. There will be a lot to keep track of, so bookmark this landing page as your go-to for important information and maps on both tropical systems.

Tropical Storm Laura
Tropical Storm Laura will affect the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a tropical storm with rain and gusty winds by this weekend. This system may then head toward Florida and the Gulf of Mexico early next week, possibly as a hurricane. However, its forecast intensity and track at that time are highly uncertain.

Tropical Depression Fourteen
Tropical Depression Fourteen has formed in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to first impact parts of Central America and Mexico as a tropical storm or hurricane before emerging into the western Gulf of Mexico. This system faces an uncertain future in the western Gulf of Mexico, but it could affect parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast next week as a hurricane.

Both are forecast to hit the Gulf Coast around the same time - talk about double whammy...

Smoke on the water

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What I was seeing yesterday was smoke from a wildfire. Cliff Mass points to this website: WA State Dept. of Ecology: Wildfire Information

Cooler today - slight overcast / cloudy and have some marine air moving in. Nice break from the heat.

And the mask slips

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Dr. Holthaus is a meteorologist and global warming promoter. From his Twitter account:

I saved a screen-cap as this will probably get taken down pretty soon. Must not weaken the narrative.

Getting hot and dry over there - Cliff Mass has the details:

Extreme Heat and Super Heat Low in Eastern Washington
Tomorrow should be a record-breaking day in eastern Washington with temperatures surging above 105F in a number of locations, accompanied skin-cracking low humidities and even moderate winds.

The forecast surface temperatures for tomorrow are simply stunning, with the Columbia Basin being ground zero for the warmth (the white areas are above 104F!),

More at the site - very dry too.

Still flooding in China

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60 days of higher than usual rain. Here are some videos from Hubei Province - no word as to which city.

Hubei Province is downstream from the Three Gorges Dam - its capitol city is Wuhan

Stormchaser's dream

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Quite the line of t-storms in the midwest today - from the Lightning Map


Wish I was there - I love a good thunderstorm. One bad aspect to living on the coast...

If you visit the map and scroll down, Mexico is getting hit quite spectacularly as well - whatever this is, it is a really big one. Aliens?

More news from Three Gorges Dam

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The water levels are only now just peaking - from Canada's Global News/Associated Press:

At least 14 killed by flooding in China as water peaks at Three Gorges Dam
At least 14 people have died in the latest round of seasonal rains and flooding in southern China, as soldiers and workers built makeshift barriers with sandbags and rocks Saturday to keep the Yangtze River and its tributaries at bay.

Three floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam that spans the Yangtze were opened as the water level behind the massive dam rose more than 15 meters above flood level, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

And some trouble downstream:

Downriver, firefighters and others finished filling in a 188-meter (620-foot) break in a dike on Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, Xinhua said.

The dike gave way nine days ago, flooding 15 villages and agricultural fields in Jiangxi province, the news agency said. More than 14,000 people were evacuated.

Floodwaters are forecast to peak today (Saturday) but more rain is forecast for this coming Tuesday. China is in a world of hurt for feeding its people as well as any agricultural export revenue.

Another Mike Olbinski video out.

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My two favorite storm chasers are Pecos Hank and Mike Olbinski. Two very different styles but both are incredible.

Mike's newest one is out - watch full screen with the sound turned up - simply delightful:

Chinese flooding

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Three Gorges Dam - four headlines

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All from the English Language Taiwan News:

Re: the last item.

 After being mute on the matter for over a month, the Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xi Jinping (習近平) was cited by state-run media as describing the flooding across central and southern China as "grim."

Face is important to the Chinese culture and for anyone to admit problems is very very big.

Flooding in China - a four-fer

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From the Taiwan News:

Some sobering photos and video at the first link - water is a very powerful medium for change.

The Taiwanese government does censor the news to any appreciable degree. Unlike their neighbors.

Landslides in China

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Two videos from YouTube:

Flooding in China - more news

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A three-fer:

The last one is pretty bad - 22,107 people having to evacuate in one village alone. A 100-year storm.

Quiet sun? Cooler weather and more precipitation.

Not just me - area weather

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Cliff Mass notes the much cooler weather as well:

A Cold Start for the Summer Season
OK....we need a new name.



Whatever the name, the last week has been mainly cloudy and well below normal in our area.

According the maximum temperature anomaly map (difference from normal ) for Washington for the first seven days of July, the high temperatures in most of western Washington have been 6-12F below normal. Even eastern WA has been generally cool.

Got a static high-pressure zone off the coast keeping things chill. Much more at Cliff's site.

Two more Three Gorges Dam videos

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From NTD News:

100-year storm. Chinese quality construction.

Flooding and crop damage in China

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The affected area is one of their major agricultural areas - this is going to hit them hard:

Saw this online yesterday and found a tweet with it embedded so here's the link.

Trouble in China? Three Gorges Dam

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Nothing concrete as yet but... This tweet from Jan Jekielek:

Some more tweets with video: Today #1Today #2Today #3 

Some background information from FOX News (July 10th, 2019):

Integrity of China’s Three Gorges Dam questioned despite officials dismissing it as safe
China’s Three Gorges Dam, the world’s biggest and most controversial hydropower structure, was rumored to have been cracking and splitting as people posted satellite images of the structure last week. Chinese officials stated the structure was sound, denying online rumors that the construction was at risk of collapse.

Safety experts of the government-run China Three Gorges Corporation said on its official website that the dam had warped a few millimeters due to temperature and water level changes, but the changes were well within their normal range of safety indicators, Reuters reported.

They are having severe rain storms and nearby cities are flooding.

She still around?

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From Yahoo/BBC:

Greta Thunberg: Climate change 'as urgent' as coronavirus
Greta Thunberg says the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency.

That means the world acting "with necessary force", the Swedish climate activist says in an exclusive interview with BBC News.

She is a tool. A meat puppet and I am surprised that her handlers have not thrown her under the bus and moved on to someone new.

Coronavirus was a big fat nothingburger. Ditto with climate change. We are entering a cooling period.

Something brewing...

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Quite the updraft going on with the big cloud:


Cliff Mass has some info about what to expect - possible lightning

Nothing yet on the lightning map

Decisions decisions...

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Looks like some rare conditions in central Washington today - from the National Weather Service - Storm Prediction Center for this morning:


Scattered severe thunderstorms, offering destructive winds and hail, are expected today over parts of the interior Pacific Northwest, east of the Cascades.

A high-amplitude upper-air pattern will influence the CONUS this period, with a deep mean trough persisting over the northeastern Pacific, and another major trough extending from a cyclone over Baffin Island southward to the central/southern Appalachians. In between, a sharp ridge will move slowly eastward from the Rockies across the adjoining High Plains. A formerly cutoff cyclone -- its center now apparent in moisture-channel imagery west of the central CA coastline -- will accelerate north-northeastward while devolving into a strong shortwave trough. By 00Z, the vorticity max representing the core region of the cyclone should reach northernmost CA. By 12Z, the negatively tilted shortwave trough should reach southern WA, eastern OR and western ID.

Highway 20 is open across the Cascades - Stevens Pass opened about a month ago so it would be a 400 mile drive this afternoon and evening. Seriously considering heading over there with cameras.  I do love a good thunderstorm and this forecast sounds like an epic one. Time to get the camera batteries charging and some memory cards cleaned off - make my decision around 1PM today or so.

Gorgeous sunrise this morning if that is any indication - red skies in morning and all that...

Might even be worth a road trip to Eastern Washington to see - I love a good thunderstorm. From Cliff Mass:

Severe Thunderstorm Potential for Washington State
Portions of Washington State, particularly from the Cascade crest eastward, may see some very strong thunderstorms starting tomorrow morning and extending into the evening. Storms that may bring heavy rain, hail, lots of lightning, very strong winds and even the chance of a tornado-packing supercell thunderstorm.

And western Washington may get some heavy rain and perhaps some thunder.

The NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has an unusual severe storm outlook for Saturday, with the greatest threat in central Washington and Oregon. You don't see that very often!

Should be one for the record books - all the elements are there in abundence.

Hurricane season has started - Tropical Storm Arthur:


That was fun while it lasted

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We had a record for days without sunspots and then, along came AR2760. From Spaceweather:

OLD-CYCLE SUNSPOT: Just south of the sun's equator, a sunspot is growing: AR2760. Its magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of old Solar Cycle 24. This is probably one of the last old-cycle sunspots we will see as the sun continues tipping toward Solar Cycle 25.

Our sun is still very very quiet and it has been taking a long time for Solar Cycle 25 to start. My concern with all this? Global Cooling.

September 2020

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