"}
Outdoors

Forecasting the Future

Weather watch with Cliff Mass

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sometimes, being a meteorologist means you have to give people news they’d prefer not to get.

Cliff Mass, the University of Washington “atmospheric scientist” and radio personality whose popular blog aims to give readers the skinny on the vagaries of the weather, knows full well that, when it comes to temperatures and what falls from the sky, you can’t please everybody.

A few days ago, in fact, Mass took to his blog to address the question he always gets asked when summer gives way to fall and snow-hounds start fantasizing about the upcoming season on the slopes.

In response to the many, many people who have apparently questioned him recently as to whether or not they should buy a season pass this upcoming ski season, Mass was cautious in his reply.

“Nothing is worse than encouraging folks to buy a pass and having the winter end up being a wet, warm washout,” he wrote. “So to help me avoid answering this uncomfortable question in person, let’s analyze the situation here.

“According to the experts in the NOAA/NWS Climate Prediction Center, we expect this year to be a neutral or La Nada one (roughly 60 percent chance), with a La Nina being a roughly 25 percent possibility. So based on the El Nino/Nina correlation, we would expect a normal snow year.”

While he allows it’s not a “slam-dunk year” for buying a ski pass, Mass also points out that snow lovers shouldn’t give up all hope for flurry-fueled fun (and, he adds, they shouldn’t pay attention to what the Old Farmer’s Almanac says).

When Mass makes his way to Bellingham Oct. 15 to talk about “The Future of Weather Forecasting” at Bellingham High School, he’ll likely make reference to those who’d rather not hear what he has to tell them. After all, extreme weather events and changes in climate patterns—a couple of the topics he’ll be focusing on—can force people to deal with the fact that sometimes it’s going to feel a little like summer in winter, and vice versa.

To those who are skeptical of Mass’ prognostications, it should be pointed out that he spent time during his undergrad years studying with world-renowned scientist Carl Sagan, and acutely understands the meteorological principles he spends so much time putting into action.

Like Sagan, Mass believes it’s important for scientists to talk directly to the public, and continues to do so via whatever outlet is available to him—whether it’s on his blog, in the book he wrote focusing on The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, on the KPLU radio station, or at public presentations.

At his Bellingham High School talk, for example, Mass will also be delving into changes in forecasting over the coming decades, including new products that will soon be available for smart phones and other media.

The funds Mass raises from the talk will go to the Community Boating Center—the area nonprofit that touts “affordable and accessible boating for all in Bellingham.”

While the connection between a meteorologist and a boating center might not be immediately obvious, I, for one, would never head into open waters without first taking a look at what the weather conditions were going to be like. If I was smart, I’d see what Mass had to say about it, and then plan my outing accordingly. You should, too.

ICU
More Outdoors...
Recreation Roundup
An all-season outdoor expo

As I write these words from my perch on the sixth floor of the Herald Building, it’s early February and our corner of the world is blanketed in approximately six inches of still-accumulating snow. 

Despite the winter weather, Bellinghamsters are still out and about in full force. So far…

more »
Nordic Night
Putting the kick in cross-country

“It’s the perfect way to fly,” my old trail crew buddy Tryg said as he jammed his ski poles into the snow and pushed off into the night.

He was right. Even moving uphill on a pair of heirloom Madshus 210s he glided over the groomers so quickly and with such little apparent effort…

more »
Couples Therapy
The ins and outs of love

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to commemorate Valentine’s Day by gazing at your paramour across a candle-lit table, we’ve compiled a few alternate ways to spend time with your sweeties of choice in the coming days. They all involve going outside for an extended period of time, so…

more »
Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Whatcom Humane Society Wine Social

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

And I Remember

7:00pm|Village Books

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

International Guitar Night

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

James Hunter Six

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Borealis Wind Quintet

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

MBT Rovers Trove
Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Snow Play Day and Survival Skills

8:00am|Mt. Baker Ski Area

Children's Literature Conference

9:00am|Performing Arts Center

What's New in Organic Gardening

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Plant Society Ramble

9:30am|Maple Creek Loop

UFO Primer

10:00am|Syre Hall

FiberFest 2017

10:00am|La Conner Middle/High School

Intro to Ancestry

10:00am|Ferndale Library

Winter Trail Run Series

10:00am|BBMX Park

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Smelt Run

10:00am|La Conner Middle School

Kids Can Cook

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Washington Beer Open House

12:00pm|Whatcom and Skagit counties

An all-season outdoor expo

1:00pm

Tax Help

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Weird Washington

1:00pm|Lynden Library

Raising Pigs

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Peace Corps Revisited

3:00pm|Lynden Library

Geology Underfoot

3:00pm|Deming Library

Starry Night Chamber Orchestra

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Whatcom Writes

4:00pm|Village Books

Wishes for Our Stars Gala

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Varsity Vocals

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Comedy Fundraiser

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Boating Center Fundraiser

7:00pm|Elks Club

Light in the Night Gala

7:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Wetzel's World

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Technical College
Sunday
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Refugee Talk

2:00pm|Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

Northwest Cancer Summit

2:00pm|Bellingham Golf and Country Club

Sting and Piano Chamber Concert

3:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

The Tao of Raven

4:00pm|Village Books

Making time with Oscar

4:30pm

The Irish Rovers

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

IGN Cascadia Northwood Steak and Crab Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Bellingham Technical College Village Books