Volcano-Caused Cool May?

June 9, 2010

A viewer emailed yesterday, wondering if the volcanic eruption in Iceland is what caused our cool and wet May.  Probably not.  Now I just point at a green wall for my career, but  I do have a degree in meteorology.  That doesn’t make me a volcano/climate expert.  Cliff Mass up at the UW had a great write-up about the possible effects of that eruption back in April.  You can read all about it, but it sounds as if it won’t (or didn’t) have any effect on our weather.

It’s a normal human tendency to only care or focus on areas right around us.  If it was a chilly May it must have been everywhere else too!  Not true…take a look at the chart from NCDC.  It was cool in the West, but very warm in the East.  Basically May was perfectly normal temp-wise when averaged across our nation.  I saw an email today from a local radio celebrity actually implying the lack of 80 degree weather so far this spring is an indicator of global cooling!  I absolutely hate it when people use data like that (also called cherry-picking data).  Um…how about the extreme heat last summer???  You can’t take either one of those incidents and use it to prove a point.  But some people love to argue…I’ve even worked with a few.  And some have found a great way to make money doing so, while dragging you down into the argument.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen