Washington Climate Trends

Mark Albright was State Climatologist for Washington from 1987 though 2003. Recently he sent me the following:

Not only is our mountain snowpack not declining here in Washington State:
but we should also feel fortunate that our climate has been cooling over the past 20 years.  We already have seen data from western Washington showing that trend, summarized here:

———-  Olympia     SeaTac
1989-1998    50.7        53.0
1999-2008    50.1        52.2
Difference   -0.6        -0.8

But Hanford in eastern Washington has perhaps the highest quality climate record available from the state of Washington in a rural undeveloped region with a homogeneous record spanning 66 years (1945-2010).  Their temperature has cooled about -1.5 deg F over the past 20 years to a level below the 66-yr period of record mean:

Mean Temperature (deg F):

1988-1994: 54.8 -> peak of warming circa 1991
2006-2010: 53.3 -> cooling of -1.5 deg F since 1991
1945-2010: 53.5 -> full 66-yr period of record

Time Series Graphs 1986 – 2010
Annual 12 months:
Winter 5 months:
Summer 5 months:
Even 6 months:
Odd 6 months:

7 of the 12 warmest months occurred from 1988 – 1994 as seen in this table of monthly mean temperatures at Hanford WA:

This 20 year cooling period corresponds to a transition from the peak of a warm PDO phase to a cooler PDO phase from 1991 to 2010:


About George Taylor

Climatologist, husband, father (3), grandfather (2)
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