Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Seattle's where the real summer is

The Pacific Northwest is finally starting to cool off a little bit, after Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. each snapped all time temperature records earlier this week.

Last night brought relief for those sleeping in homes without air conditioning, as outside temperatures fell into the mid sixties. Highs in the mid eighties are expected over the next few days, with lows dipping into the fifties.

Mostly sunny/partly weather comprises the forecast.

The record heat has the nation talking. An Associated Press wire story about the record-breaker ran in newspapers and on television station websites coast to coast. Brian Williams mentioned it on his NBC Nightly News broadcast on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, New York is experiencing one of the coolest summers on record, and scientists there are trying to send the message that local weather conditions do not prove or disprove the existence of the climate crisis:
William D. Solecki, a geography professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York and co-chairman of a mayoral panel on climate change, warned that this summer’s unusually mild temperatures should not buoy global warming skeptics.

“Ask them to visit Seattle,” he said, where a record temperature of 103 was recorded on Wednesday.
So what's causing New York and Seattle to trade microclimates? Here's KOMO 4 weather blogger Scott Sistek with an answer:
[T]he weather pattern over North America has two big features -- a big, big ridge of high pressure anchored along the western third (stretching from Baja to almost the Arctic Circle) and a big, big area of low pressure anchored over Hudson Bay.

Not only has that ridge baked the West Coast, but on the other end of the scale, that low has made life miserable for the rest of the nation east of Denver. There, summer has gone into hiding, with relentless rain and thunderstorms. New York City is on pace for one of their coldest July's ever.

With such exaggerated patterns, it's hard for them to budge because they are so strong they get stubborn. Incoming weather systems, typically weaker around here in summer anyway, are no match to move a ridge of this size, and then in turn, this ridge doesn't move to push the eastern low out of the way. It's like having a disabled semi jackknifed on the 520 bridge -- there's just not much room to move.
To conclude, the weather won't be changing much anytime soon, although now that we've moved more to a comfortable plateau of about eighty five degrees Fahrenheit for our high, it'll seem like a real Pacific Northwest summer again.


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