Coldest April on Satellite Record for the Pacific Northwest

Friend known It’s colder than usual over the Pacific Northwest in April.

But the cold isn’t just limited to the surface. Let me show you the cold story in a very new way: using vertical satellite temperature sound.

By measuring the infrared or microwave radiation emitted by the atmosphere, satellites can measure how the temperature changes vertically. Unlike how infrared ear thermometers work by sensing the radiation coming from your eardrum!

Here is the difference from the normal for April temperatures at the lowest 10 km (33,000 ft) of the atmosphere, with the normal being the average from 1991 to 2020.

Blue is cooler than usual and yellow/orange is warmer than usual. This map and related data was provided by Professor John Christy of the University of Alabama, a renowned expert in this work.

The coldest (different from normal) temperature anomalies on the entire planet are found in the Pacific Northwest, with deviations from normal exceeding 2.5 degrees Celsius! (4.5F). One shot for the Northwest is shown below.

But there is another point you need to consider: there are all kinds of temperature anomalies all over the planet, including the great temperature anomaly in Kazakhstan.

The difference from normal, both warm and cold, is….well…normal. These patterns occur naturally as bottoms (low pressure) and ledges (high pressure) move and develop.

But there’s so much more! This cold anomaly over the Northwest is the COLDEST ever observed since the beginning of satellite temperature collection (1979). This is shown in the plot below.

You will also notice something else very important… tThis is the less long-term trend for April temperatures in our area. This is consistent with the observation that our snow and ice shows little of a long-term trend in the region.

May not be any better

And now the depressed part. May also turns cool….and humid.

At Sea Tac airport, every day but one in May was below normal, with multi-day highs around TEN DEGREES below normal.

Slightly better in eastern WA, with Pasco’s temperatures hitting normal highs twice this month.

Bearing in all of this is that with lots of rain and cold temperatures the snow cover has risen above normal for the whole state (see below). End of the ski season. Delayed forest fire season. Lots of water for the summer.

Over the past 24 hours it has snowed NINETEEN INCHES at Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood. Amazing.

And now the really sad news for lovers of warmth. Central Europe’s latest community forecast for the next ten days predicts several times colder than usual temperatures in the region.

No wonder my tomato plants are not happy……

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