Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Temperature Gradient

In my earlier post today I noted the temperature gradient this morning between Bellingham and Abotsford British Columbia. Sam Crawford noted that most of the difference in temperature this morning was between Bellingham and Smith Road only a few miles north of town. Bellingham and Abotsford as of 9:25 pm this evening are now only 2 degrees apart now. But Bellingham and Mount Vernon 20 miles to the south of Bellingham are 17 degrees apart!

Abotsford 9F
Bellingham 11F
Mount Vernon 28F
Seattle 34F

This huge difference is the result of our mountains. Just north of the Washington State border is a big river - the Fraser. The Fraser extends deep into the interior of British Columbia to the northeast. When conditions are right cold continental air builds up in the interior and spills down the Fraser. Hence, Whatcom County has a winter mirco climate that brings us a taste of what it is like to live with real winter.

A final note. This has really been a tough time for the weather folks. Weather models were and to a degree still are having a difficult time with the unusual circumstance of a huge subtropical front and a modified Arctic air mass both heading towards Washington State at the same time.

1 comment:

Niki Thane said...

Thanks for the insight, Dan, about the current trouble with weather prediction in Whatcom County. I took 3 undergrad assistants to the field for the first time on Saturday, and we were completely unprepared for the heavy sleet we encountered in Squalicum Valley! Thankfully, I've found a Wunderground app, which has weather stations in Sudden Valley, and on top of Alabama Hill.