2014 National Climate Assessment: A Few Thoughts


I received 2 emails about Global Warming (or Climate Change) this week, which appear to have been sent to lots of TV meteorologists at one time (a “form” email).  The 2nd one went something like this:

Dear Local Meteorologists;

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has affirmed the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community, that climate change is happening, that humans are the cause, and that increased global temperatures are already having a profound impact on our weather system. (Read the AMS’ Information Statement On Climate here.)  In other words, the debate about climate change is over.
Viewers trust and rely on weather reporters for accurate information about weather and climate. As global warming increasingly changes the weather and places our communities at risk, talking about Global warming is a journalistic responsibility. 

Please consider these facts while conducting future weather news forecasts


Of course what prompted those emails was the release of the 2014 National Climate Assessment on Tuesday.  I considered doing a blog post on the Pacific Northwest portion of the assessment.  I put it off for a few days since it was going to be a big pain.  But then UW Professor Cliff Mass saved the day!  He did a posting on his blog Thursday, doing all the work for me.  I strongly suggest you take a look at it here:



His main points:

1. SO FAR, there has only been very slight warming in the Pacific Northwest, with most of that occurring more than 60 years ago.

2. There have been no significant changes in our precipitation, at least statistically significant changes.

3. Snowpack has declined around 20% in the Cascades in the past 80-100 years and it’s possibly not even related to global warming.

4. Our location right up against the Eastern Pacific Ocean means that there have been very few changes in our climate here SO FAR due to the moderating effects of all that water.

5. In the future, assuming the globe does warm dramatically as models show, we can expect less mountain snowpack and heavier rains/flooding events.


Basically we haven’t seen many changes here SO FAR.  THAT would be why I rarely (or never) talk about Global Warming on the air.  What would I say?  By the way the wording “Climate Change” drives me nuts.  It’s all started by a warming globe (thus GLOBAL WARMING) and that can cause a changing climate.

Considering all the other issues humanity is facing, I think a slowly changing climate over the next 60-80 years isn’t at the top of the list.  And I hate to be negative, but it’s obvious that we won’t be slowing down our CO2 output anytime soon.   Take a look at this graph from the Seattle Times:


Anything we do here to cut our emissions will be dwarfed by massive increases in the developing world.  We’ve made our choices and now we’ll see what happens in the next 30, 50, or 100 years.

By the way, for 7 years I’ve had a web page with a few more of my opinions on the subject…it’s here:  http://www.cascadeaccess.com/~mnelsen/globalwarming.html

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen





39 Responses to 2014 National Climate Assessment: A Few Thoughts

  1. W7ENK says:

    Well, isn’t this just nifty? And inconvenient…

    You can’t deny facts.
    You can’t deny historical record.
    You can’t deny real science.


    Global Temperature Update: No global warming at all for 17 years 9 months

    212 months without global warming represents more than half the 423-month satellite data record, which began in January 1979

    Recent extreme weather cannot be blamed on global warming, because there has not been any global warming.

    According to the RSS satellite data, whose value for April 2014 is just in, the global warming trend in the 17 years 9 months since August 1996 is zero. The 212 months without global warming represents more than half the 423-month satellite data record, which began in January 1979. No one now in high school has lived through global warming.

    The long Pause may well come to an end by this winter, when an el Niño event is expected in the equatorial eastern Pacific, causing global temperature to rise quite sharply. The el Niños of 1998, 2007, and 2010 are visible in the graph. El Niños occur about every three or four years, though no one is entirely sure what triggers them. They cause a temporary spike in temperature, often followed by a sharp drop during the la Niña phase, as can be seen in 1999, 2008, and 2011-2012, where there was a “double-dip” la Niña.

    The ratio of el Niños to la Niñas tends to fall during the 30-year negative or cooling phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the latest of which began in late 2001. So, though the Pause may pause for a few months at the turn of the year, it may well resume late in 2015.

    Either way, it is ever clearer that global warming has not been happening at anything like the rate predicted by the climate models, and is not at all likely to occur even at the much-reduced rate now predicted. There could be as little as 1 Cº global warming this century, not the 3-4 Cº predicted by the IPCC.

    Key facts about global temperature:

    The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 213 months from August 1996 to April 2014. That is more than half the entire 423-month satellite record.

    The fastest centennial warming rate was in Central England from 1663-1762, at 0.9 Cº per century – before the industrial revolution began. It cannot have been our fault.

    The global warming trend since 1900 is equivalent to 0.8 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and may not have much to do with us.

    The fastest warming trend lasting ten years or more occurred over the 40 years from 1694-1733 in Central England. It was equivalent to 4.3 Cº per century.

    Since 1950, when a human influence on global temperature first became theoretically possible, the global warming trend is equivalent to 1.2 Cº per century.

    The fastest warming rate lasting ten years or more since 1950 occurred over the 33 years from 1974 to 2006. It was equivalent to 2.0 Cº per century.

    In 1990, the IPCC’s mid-range prediction of the near-term warming trend was equivalent to 3.5 Cº per century.

    The global warming trend since 1990, when the IPCC wrote its first report, is equivalent to 1.4 Cº per century – two-fifths of what the IPCC had then predicted.

    In 2013 the IPCC’s new mid-range prediction of the near-term warming trend was for warming at a rate equivalent to 1.7 Cº per century – just half its 1990 prediction.

    Though the IPCC has cut its near-term warming prediction, it has not cut its centennial warming prediction of 3.7 Cº warming to 2100 on business as usual.

    The IPCC’s prediction of 3.7 Cº warming by 2100 is more than twice the greatest rate of warming lasting more than ten years that has been measured since 1950.

    The IPCC’s 3.7 Cº-by-2100 prediction is more than three times the observed real-world warming trend since we might in theory have begun influencing it in 1950.

    Since 1 January 2001, the dawn of the new millennium, the warming trend on the dataset of five major datasets is zero – 0.0 Cº per century. No warming for 13 years 3 months.

    Recent extreme weather cannot be blamed on global warming, because there has not been any global warming. It is as simple as that.

    Technical note:

    Our latest topical graph shows the RSS dataset for the 212 months August 1996 to April 2014 – more than half the 423-months satellite record.

    Terrestrial temperatures are measured by thermometers. Thermometers correctly sited in rural areas away from manmade heat sources show warming rates appreciably below those that are published. The satellite datasets are based on measurements made by the most accurate thermometers available – platinum resistance thermometers, which not only measure temperature at various altitudes above the Earth’s surface via microwave sounding units but also constantly calibrate themselves by measuring via spaceward mirrors the known temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which is 1% of the freezing point of water, or just 2.73 degrees above absolute zero. It was by measuring minuscule variations in the cosmic background radiation that the NASA anisotropy probe determined the age of the Universe: 13.82 billion years.

    The graph is accurate. The data are lifted monthly straight from the RSS website. A computer algorithm reads them down from the text file, takes their mean and plots them automatically using an advanced routine that automatically adjusts the aspect ratio of the data window at both axes so as to show the data at maximum scale, for clarity.

    The latest monthly data point is visually inspected to ensure that it has been correctly positioned. The light blue trend line plotted across the dark blue spline-curve that shows the actual data is determined by the method of least-squares linear regression, which calculates the y-intercept and slope of the line via two well-established and functionally identical equations that are compared with one another to ensure no discrepancy between them. The IPCC and most other agencies use linear regression to determine global temperature trends. Interestingly, Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia recommends it in one of the Climategate emails.

    Dr Stephen Farish, Professor of Epidemiological Statistics at the University of Melbourne, kindly verified the reliability of the algorithm that determines the trend on the graph and the correlation coefficient, which is very low because the data are highly variable and the trend is flat.

  2. Sifton says:

    Is that really rain on the radar out by Estacada? Or birds or some kind of flub??

  3. Jason Hougak says:

    Do what you can on your part, be a steward and take steps to limit our impact but don’t get all bent outa shape about ” Climate change.” The climate has been changing since GOD created it, there is more to fear or desire.

    • Ted Berry says:

      God didn’t create it, the big bang of some sort did.

      And this is a weather blog, not a place to express our religious beliefs!

  4. alohabb says:

    Cmon, when will the warm temps hit ON the weekend and not mid week. Mark loved the 90 degree info, but what does the earliest 90 day look like further back?

  5. W7ENK says:

    “In other words, the debate about climate change is over.”

    I take significant issue with such a definitive statement. To me, it’s exactly the same as stating that the debate about which God is the correct God, or even the existence of God, etc… has been settled, which is absolutely untrue. That’s a debate that had been ongoing for millennia, and will continue ad infinitum, or at least until the day the last human dies, and is certainly a debate that has seen more people killed in its name than this silly Global Warming theory. To state something so unequivocally is both ignorant and arrogant.

    There is myriad evidence to support both sides of the argument equally, and it continues to be proven that a lot of the science and physics used to support the warming side doesn’t hold up in the long term. In fact, real science, physics, chemistry and mathematics actually support the contrary, as proven time and time again by real climatologists like Chuck Wiese and those in his camp. Problem is it’s inconvenient to the agenda, so it therefore falls on deaf ears. That does not, however, render it invalid.

    Current observations and recent history cannot be ignored. Facts cannot be ignored. Proof that the planet is stabilizing and/or compensating for previous temperature changes cannot be ignored, and all the rhetoric STILL cannot be proven with any level of certainty as stemming from anthropomorphic sources. Don’t get me wrong, it’s bad practice to $#!+ in your own bed, and of course we should be making efforts to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions, but I still believe the planet is going to continue doing what it’s doing naturally, influenced by a plethora of sources — some of which may not even be factored in to the “full” equation — and to tell me that I’m wrong with such a rigid statement is, well, wrong.

    “In other words, the debate about climate change is over.”

    Nice try Steve, but that is incorrect. You would have been much better suited to add the words: “It is now the official position of Oregon AMS that…” in place of “In other words,” Making such an definitively ignorant and arrogant statement only makes you, and therefore Oregon AMS look foolish.

  6. Garron near Washington Square says:

    FACT: As of now, humans’ impact on the climate CAN NOT stop the coming of the next ice age! Whether you read it from the Bible, or Meteorology Weekly, weather is cyclical in nature. We are but a rock skipping off a wave in the vast oceans. Yes we may have a near term impact and delay the inevitable, but like I said, as of right now, we will head into another ice age, ‘weather’ we like it or not…



  7. Garron near Washington Square says:

    Clearly global warming IS occurring! By this time next month it’ll be 200 degrees!

  8. gidrons says:

    Who sent the second email? You need people to tell you what you what to report? “… talking about Global warming is a journalistic responsibility”

  9. schmit44 says:

    5/11/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:77 at Celilo, East of( 225 ft)
    Low: 51 at Celilo, East of(225 ft) & DUNES1(173 ft) & WYETH(102 ft)

    High:38 at ANEROID LAKE #2(7300 ft)
    Low: 14 at Horse Ridge (US (4160 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 45 degrees
    Horse Ridge (US (59/14 ) (4160 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.14″ at Meacham(3724ft)

  10. WEATHERDAN says:

    In the 1960,s and even into the 1970,s Salem averaged 1 night each Summer when the overnight low never dropped below 60 degrees. Of the 92 nights between June 1st and August 31st about 50 nights had lows of between 38 and 49 degrees. Now we average 11 nights above 60 and 80 nights at or above 50 degrees. Of the other 12 nights it is rare to drop below 45, and that usually happens in early June. In 2013 we had 29 nights with minimums at or above 60 degrees. I will leave it to others to say why it is happening. Only that it is definitely warming up here in Salem. I have weather records from the Salem area going back to 1888 and there has been a definite warmup since then.

    • Eugene Dave says:

      The heat island effect is much more pronounced these days than it was in the 1970’s. Same for Eugene as well.

    • Ted Berry says:

      e.d. at the Salem airport? I don’t think there is much of heat island there. Good try!

  11. Ted Berry says:

    Read Cliff’s review of the 2014 National Climate Assessment. Scientific studies are all well and good and an integral part of keeping a modern society one step ahead of the wrath of “Mother Nature”, whether it be the climate, weather, disease (i.e. the new mysterious deadly virus hitting the pork industry) and over population. But data can be hard to interpret. As a elder farmer who has worked outside most every day for over 40 years in the same location, I think intuition from all my experiences tells me that we are feeling the effect of climate change. I sense that the squalls that develop as the fronts pass through have increased in force, rainfall intensity has increased, and summer temperatures have risen. I think the human mind and senses has a great capacity to store and process information that is relevant to one’s own live and livelihood.

  12. schmit44 says:

    5/10/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:68 at BOARD( 290 ft) & Chinook(399 ft) & AC7WN Hermiston(497 ft) & DW0462 Umatilla(390 ft)
    Low: 51 at CW4888 Pendleton(1066 ft) & LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft) & Newport(30 ft)

    High:27 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 20 at MT. HOWARD (7910 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 26 degrees
    WA7V Pendleton (63/37 ) (1411 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.14″ at WANDERER’S PEAK(4350ft)

  13. SBA says:

    Here are two of the unbiased lead authors of the PNW National Climate Assessment. Not so much scientists.

    Patty Glick Senior Global Warming Specialist – National Wildlife Federation
    Since 1998, Patty has been instrumental in helping NWF build a targeted grassroots global warming campaign, which has grown from a small program with just a handful of staff into one of NWF’s top conservation priorities.
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Master of Science, Economics 1987 – 1990

    Professor Susan Capalbo, who heads OSU’s Department of Applied Economics
    Dr. Capalbo has been involved in the economics of climate change, carbon sequestration and integrated policy analysis and tradeoff assessment for the past 20 years. Dr. Capalbo received her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California-Davis in 1982. “If we really want to continue using fossil fuels for power, we have got to do something about the CO2 emissions”

  14. SBA says:

    Reduced NW water supply? This is the source local news uses – 33 years of data. Current 58 inches of SWE (snow water equivalent) is 97% of the 33 year average.
    This chart conveniently includes the 1997 and 1999 record snowfall for the Cascades, but excludes the 1977 drought year. Just starting point math.


    This NOAA chart (last update 5/1/14) has snow pack data back to 1973 for Timberline. Timberline is now at 103% of average with just 8 more years of data.

    Where there is older data, back to 1926 for say Mt. Baker and Paradise, and it also includes the drought years of 1934 and 1941, 2014 snow depth for Mt Baker and Paradise are at 110% and 111% respectively of an 88 year average.

    Mt Stevens with data back to 1939 is at 113% of a 75 year average data set.


    Open to climate concerns, but to say the debate is over is selective data mining.

  15. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    The enviromental destruction we have done and continue to do on the local and regional basis has had a much more profound effect than any climate change during the same time. Across this country we have plowed under the great praries. We have dammed most rivers and have diverted or drained the others. We have logged off the great forests and mined the mountains. We have done our best to pollute any and all bodies of water and the skies overhead. Climate change doesn’t compare….

    • Mike (Orchards 255') says:

      The numero uno problem is simple…….population growth…

    • Jesse-Stevenson says:

      Agreed completely, Mike. Our western standard of living is not sustainable when applied to a growing world population. If everyone consumed the resources that the average American does on an annual basis it would take several earths to sustain this. Scary to think about.

      I DO think science and an increasingly informed and globalized population will save us in the end though. I try to be an optimist. 🙂 Global population is already progged to stabilize somewhat over the next fifty years as birthrates see an overall decrease in developed countries and education becomes more available in developing ones.

    • chiefWright (Marquam) says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything on the horizon in science or knowledge suggesting a sustainable means for that stabilized population in 50 years to have anything even close to a “western standard of living” in terms of energy, water, or material per person.
      Science and knowledge are tools. Willingness to change– especially if perceived as sacrifice– seems a lot harder.
      We may have a less-impacted future climate in the Pacific Northwest, but what kind of future society will be available to us?

  16. Jason Hougak says:

    We can fear all we want… GOD is in control!
    By the way, I’m headed to Timberline to enjoy a foot of fresh May snow 🙂

    • Ted Berry says:

      That’s pure and simple “dogma”, and a great cop-out.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Yes and no to that Jason because there is a verse that calls to be stewards and take care of the earth. So far, we aren’t doing such a great job.

  17. schmit44 says:

    5/9/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:67 at DW0069 Ferndale( 840 ft) & ECHO(758 ft)
    Low: 54 at JUNIPR(359 ft)

    High:30 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft) & Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft)
    Low: 23 at Mount Hood Meado (6601 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 24 degrees
    CW8689 Burns (60/36 ) (4219 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.35″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    2.20″ at LITTLE MEADOWS(4000ft)
    2.10″ at SOUTH FORK BULL(2630ft)

  18. Karl Bonner says:

    “Considering all the other issues humanity is facing” – Dare I inquire about what you think the worst ones are, or would that be too much for here?

  19. schmit44 says:

    Mark’s new 7-day is insanely hot

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