Warm in Seattle, but not because of global warming

seattleA beautiful sunset and highs near 60 degrees Monday in Seattle have some dreaming of summer and others screaming ‘global warming.’

Cliff Mass, professor or Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, explained that the warm, dry weather is actually due to a big area of high pressure, or ridge, over the West Coast. A trough, or low pressure, is sitting over the East Coast, which is buried in snow.

Mass said it’s been going on all winter where we’ve had either extreme dryness or periods of wet, warm conditions.

“The annual precipitation over the last winter has actually been close to normal,” said Mass.

Much to the relief of local ski resorts dealing with an abysmal snowpack, Mass predicts these conditions will last another month and then we’ll have a normal winter next year.

“We have an idea of what’s causing this. It has to do with the tropical sea surface temperatures that are kind of unusual and that causes a disturbance to propagate into the mid latitudes that produces this ridging in the west and troughing in the east. Based on previous experience, this kind of pattern will tend to fade out over about a year.”

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