Daily Archives: August 26, 2009

Puget Sound Missing Out on Global Warming?

PART 1: The Puget Sound Has Been Missing Out on Global Warming?

I know, I know, I know. This is a HIGHLY controversial post 😉

Before Professor Cliff Mass tears into my flesh because of the above blog title, hear me out because what I’m about to share with you is very interesting. You can take the information I share and do whatever you want with it, but here’s my interpretation. Below is just half of the whole story, so stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2.

Mr. Steve VanWyk, Olympic College Physics Instructor, e-mailed me a few weeks ago about a perplexing temperature trend in the Puget Sound. Here’s a snip-it of his letter to me:

 “Recently I asked the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the U of Washingon about temperature trends in the Puget Sound area. They said there had been no warming over the last 25 years at Sea-Tac, Olympia or Bellingham. They also mentioned that 2008 had the coldest annual temperature in the Puget Sound within the past 20 years.”

When I read this, a part of me wasn’t too surprised, especially about the last statement: 2008 was a very cold year. But the other part of me was in question, especially since the 90s were largely “blowtorch winters” (as weather junkies call it) or warm winters with very little snow. I’d like to see their data…

A couple days later, Mr. VanWyk e-mailed me again and said that Bob Abel, Meteorology professor at OC, made a Kitsap Temperature Graph Plot which ran from 1950 to 2007 in the Kitsap Sun on August 10th, 2008. Mr. VanWyk made a similar graph from January 1960 to July 31st, 2009 highlighting the yearly average temperature at Bremerton National Airport. Here are his results (click on photo to enlarge):


Mr. VanWyk ran this by both Bob Abel and the Weather Department at the UW and they found thatwhile there has definitley been warming in Kitsap (specifically) over the past 50 or so years, the recent plunge in annual temperatures from 2005-2008 has forced the 50 year mean to neutral, if not slightly cooler. Why are we cooling all of a sudden? And so rapidly? The answers will be in tomorrow’s post, I’m afraid. But I’ll give you a hint: PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Believe me, the name may sound boring, but the study of the PDO is fascinating!

For now, just mentally chew on the information above. Please remember, this in no way debunks global warming, because as we all know, land and ocean temperatures are measured on a global scale, not regional. But still…interesting stuff! I’d like to thank Mr. VanWyk for putting so much time into getting this information to us.

Whew! A lot of brain candy, huh? I’ll make the 7 day brief: very warm tomorrow with highs in the mid 80s, but cooler with clouds and showers Friday and Saturday before a seasonable pattern takes hold for the rest of next week.

I need to go take a nap… 😉

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Contact me at forecastingkitsap@live.com