The Northwest Remains Cool on Summer Heat
I don’t know if you know this, but tomorrow is International Surfing Day. There’s going to be an 8-hour webathon, sponsored by Surfrider Foundation, TransWorld SURF, and SME. I’m told this includes professional surfers, celebrities, and environmental heroes; and a bikini fashion show, surfboard previews, and live music.
Believe it or not, people surf all around the Washington coast, just while clad in wetsuits, usually. You have be serious about it because as is often the case with Northwest weather, things zig when they should zag. UW meteorologist Cliff Mass has a post that asks: “Why in the world would ocean temperatures get cooler during summer?” The answer is upwelling–water getting pushed up from chillier depths by a northerly wind pattern and the Coriolis effect.
Just as the weather warms, the coastal waters get colder. If you bounce among the buoys off the coast, you can see water temperature ranges now between 57 and 45 degrees. It’s actually colder to the south, because their warmer air temperatures have instigated upwelling already. So for International Surfing Day, the Washington coastal waters will be warmer than at the California-Oregon border.
Drylanders don’t have much to crow about on the weather front. KOMO’s Scott Sistek says it’s come to his attention that we’ve had exactly one bright, sunny day so far this June. Apparently this is taking a toll on our golfing. Nor is Sistek going to cheer you up with promises of an early summer: “long range forecasts for the rest of the month–save Thursday–are looking like continued gray and damp as the general theme.” Looks like summer will be on track to start sometime after July 4.
Over on KIRO, Morgan Palmer is already looking ahead to winter, and notes that weather models are showing the possibility of an El Niño winter. Palmer quotes the Climate Prediction Center: “About half of the models predict a transition from ENSO-neutral conditions…to El Niño during the Northern Hemisphere summer, with El Niño continuing through the remainder of the year.” There are two levels of probability there: first, that we’ll get an El Niño pattern, and secondly, that it will produce a particular kind of weather. Often it results in a less-wet, less-chilly winter. Then again, it may not.
But you know what they say about the weather around here: It’s terrible. Put a sweater on.