More Climate Misinformation from the Seattle Times

From the Cliff Mass Weather Blog

If the nation is going to deal effectively with anthropogenic global warming, citizens must be provided with accurate information about the climate and how it is changing.

Unfortunately, the Seattle Times does not believe in communicating the facts but frequently provides deceptive, false, or exaggerated information.   

Last week, a story–These areas of WA are likely to get hotter–but people keep moving there-– is a good example of the kind of problematic “journalism “coming out of the Seattle Times. 

I will show you the deceptions in my blog below.  Perhaps it takes a magician to show you the details of the deceptive “dark arts” of another.  How information can be presented in a misleading way.

The claim of this Seattle Times story is that there is an influx of new residents into areas (Tri-Cities) that will see a lot more severe heat waves during future decades.

How foolish of them!  is the implied message.

The material in the article is not from some peer-reviewed research published in some prestigious journal.   No…it is based on a report Hazardous Heat by a climate activist NGO called the First Street Foundation of Brooklyn NY.  

The key graphic in the Seattle Times article is shown below, presenting the increase in the number of days above 90F during the next thirty years.  As noted in the caption, this graphic is based on “models from the NY-based nonprofit First Street Foundation.”

Wow.  A HUGE increase in heat around the Tri-Cities, with  OVER TWELVE more days above 90F.  The center of the influx of new residents. 

The Columbia Basin will be a virtually Hades of Heat according to this work, with most of it experiencing more than 9 more days above 90F.

How could people be so foolish to move into this region?,  implies the Seattle Times.

Image courtesy of the Seattle TimesBut there is more to notice in this figure.  Most of western Washington will only see 1-4 days above 90F, much less of a problem.

Some areas have no change (gray areas), including the north Cascades and even scattered regions in eastern Washington.  This seems very strange…why would global warming skip these regions?

How did the First Street folks get these results?  They started with global climate models driven by increasing greenhouse gases, and then did “statistical downscaling” to provide the higher resolution maps of temperature change.

What is really going on?

As I read the Seattle Times article and reviewed the First Street Hazardous Heat document, the problem with this “research” was immediately evident.  Let me show you the “dark arts” used.

I went to the Climate Explorer website and plotted the climatological mean high temperatures during summer (this was for 30 years ending 1990).   

Mama Mia! It looks a LOT like the Seattle Times plot of the change in the number of days above 90F during the next 30 years!

Temperatures are warmest in the lower elevations of the Columbia Basin.  Also warm in the Willamette Valley, with lesser warm temperatures snaking into the SW Washington.

This general pattern, locked into place by terrain and the land-water contrasts of the region, was evident in a map of the mean maximum temperatures for the last 60 days this summer (see below).

So according to the Seattle Times and First Street, there is going to be a huge increase in above 90F in just the regions that are already warm.   

So global warming is going to avoid most of western Washington but really hit hard in the regions that are already hot.  

This is simply nonsense.   Folks moving to the Tri-Cities are not being ignorant and foolish.  Let me prove this to you.

The Fallacy in the Seattle Times Story and the First Street Report

It is not an accident that the ST/First Street figure shows a big increase in 90F days where it is already hot.  IT HAS TO BE THAT WAY.  Such a figure tells you almost nothing about climate change.

But it is a good example of how picking an arbitrary threshold (in this case 90F) and determining how often you exceed it, is a totally flawed approach.  Let me show you.

Imagine if global warming increases the temperatures over the entire region by 2F (very close to the warming over the past 50 years for the globe and the region).

So places that had lots of temperatures in the 88 and 89F range, hit 90F and are counted in the Seattle Times/First Street approach.   But cooler places, WITH THE SAME AMOUNT OF WARMING, but fewer temperatures of 88/89F, would show far fewer (or NO) transitions to 90F.

So the methodology automatically suggests more of a major global warming problem in warm areas, but little in cooler areas, even with the same or even greater warming in the cool areas.

Want more proof?

Consider one year:  2020.   Here are the number of days with high temperatures of 88 or 89F at Pasco in the Tri-Cities.  THIRTEEN days.

But for Hoquiam, on the Washington Coast, ONLY One.

So warming by two degrees over the whole region will give 13 more “dangerous” events at Pasco and only one at Hoquiam.

Thus, in the Tri-Cities, a location highly accustomed to heat and where AC is everywhere, a few-degree warming and thus more transitions across the 90F barrier are worrisome, while along the coast, where AC is rare, warming is of little note.

And to beat a dead horse, here are the annual high temperatures in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick).  No obvious upward trend.

You see why the Seattle Times story was so silly?  And deceptive.

But there is more.   The Seattle Times chose not to show another graphic found in the First Street report, a graphic that contradicts their storyline about the heat around the Tri-Cities.

First Street also analyzed the situation in a different way:   instead of using the 90F threshold, they found the top 2% warmest days historically at every location and then determined how the number of days warmer than that changed with global warming over the next 30 years.   These days are called “Local Hot Days”.

The result is shown below.   A VERY different map compared to the one shown in the Seattle Times.  According to these results, the San Juan Islands will show the most warming with Whatcom and Skagit Counties right behind.  Ironically, these are some of the mildest, most temperate parts of the State.  No special warming for the Tri-Cities and eastern WA in this graphic!

Graphic courtesy of First Street Foundation

End Note

The Seattle Times has an extensive history of inaccurate and hyperbolic reporting on climate change.  With scary, unfounded headlines and poorly researched stories, they are failing to accurately inform local readers about this important topic.

The folks that should care most about this poor journalism are those most concerned about climate change.

Society can not properly deal with this issue if the true nature of the problem is not accurately described.   How can we adapt to climate change if people don’t understand the true threat?   Hype and exaggeration not only turn people off from dealing with the issue but politize it in a way that can lead to division and inaction.

And hype/exaggeration damages the most psychologically vulnerable.

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Tom Halla
August 21, 2022 6:12 pm

But this is a case of Noble Cause Corruption. Leading the dumb plebes into the right attitude justifies any of their deceptions.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 21, 2022 9:06 pm

And it’s easier to join these miscreant gangs than to leave them at a personal cost, having grown sufficiently in character to repent of self-serving conduct so you can better serve the interests of your fellow men in a true affection for them . . . as you would have them do unto you.

August 21, 2022 6:13 pm

Replace “Misinformation” with “Lies”.

Richard M
Reply to  Matthew W
August 22, 2022 6:08 am

The future is supposedly 2053 in these model runs. So, I did a global comparison of the change in the last 31 years. Using UAH the average global temperature anomaly for the first 6 months of 1991 was -0.01 C. The first 6 months of 2022 was 0.11 C. That’s an increase of 0.12 C in the last 31 years. Doubt a similar change would lead to any increase in hot days.

Dave Fair
August 21, 2022 6:37 pm

Lies, damned lies and Leftists.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 22, 2022 7:48 am

Lies, dammed lies, and Climate Alarmists fact sheets.

John Tillman
August 21, 2022 7:07 pm

The Green Meanies go into coniption fits because they can’t cancel tenured prof Cliff, who also happens to be the top active meteorologist for at least 1/4 of the US. Or more, if you count Alaska.

Oregon Democrats did however manage to cancel George Taylor, sceptical director of OSU’s climatology program.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 21, 2022 8:50 pm

Oregon reserves for itself an extra special amount of elite hubris and Tina Kotek perfectly captures the smugness and the complete detachment from real world concerns such as crime and cost of living.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  John Tillman
August 22, 2022 1:15 am

conniption, that’s a new word for me. It’s a bad day when you don’t learn something new, and it’s only just gone 09:00

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 23, 2022 5:58 pm

Conniption: Bill Cosby Himself, 1983, worth watching.

August 21, 2022 7:13 pm

As long as the clicks keep coming, Seattle Times and all the other apostles at “Covering Climate Now” will keep the climate bullshit oozing.

Shoki Kaneda
August 21, 2022 7:14 pm

Lies, lies, lies and more lies. It’s all they have and all they do.

August 21, 2022 7:29 pm

“Folks moving to the Tri-Cities are not being ignorant and foolish.”

Yes, they are, they’re moving to the Seattle area.

Textbook definition of ignorant and foolish, right there.

Reply to  cirby
August 21, 2022 7:42 pm

The “Tri-Cities” is Kennewick, Richmond and Pasco, about 270 miles from Seattle.

Reply to  Scissor
August 21, 2022 8:23 pm

It is Richland NOT Richmond.

I live in the Tri-Cities and the daytime temperature is about the same as it was in the 1960’s when I moved there but has warmed some at night and in the winter.

The Tri-Cities Airport is a land of concrete and Asphalt thus the temperature there is elevated 2-3 degrees F higher every day than it really is.

When I drive north out of Pasco for just 8 miles when I go for some stargazing it normally COOLS around 7 degrees as I exited the small UHI dome of the Region it is ALWAYS cooler in Burbank which is around 8 miles to the east of Pasco and even more by the time anyone gets to the Charbonneau state park which is 18 miles to the east on the Snake river.

I use a SWAMP COOLER which works fine and easy to maintain and a lot cheaper cooling than the energy hog A/C

The Seasick Times is always full of baloney.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 21, 2022 9:10 pm

The Tri-Cities Airport is a land of concrete and Asphalt thus the temperature there is elevated 2-3 degrees F higher every day than it really is.

Just paint the rooves light according to the experts-
Climate change: Ditching dark roofs in Sydney will reduce temperatures, UNSW study finds (
We see no UHI effect in our dooming temperature record conniptions. Lefties can’t even spell irony.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 21, 2022 9:12 pm

It’s the same in Dallas. I’ll drive 25 minutes north to the suburbs and it will be 4-6 degrees cooler at night during the Summer.

Marty Cornell
Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 21, 2022 9:18 pm

So, you experience anthropogenic warming of the urban heat island effect.

Richard Page
Reply to  Marty Cornell
August 22, 2022 2:40 am

You just said exactly the same thing twice.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 21, 2022 10:07 pm

I didn’t realize a swamp cooler would work in Washington. I thought it was for more arid regions.
My condolences for what the leftists have done to your state. I’ve never been there but I hear its beautiful.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
August 22, 2022 1:03 am

The East side of the Cascades is an arid region.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
August 22, 2022 6:04 am

It works when the air is DRY as it is normally in the summer months in most of Eastern Washington especially in the Columbia Basin region.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 22, 2022 12:38 am

temperature there is elevated 2-3 degrees F higher every day than it really is.

It is a reasonable bet that the temperature is what it is measured to be. Any error comes from applying that temperature to other places.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 22, 2022 12:37 pm

Lind Hall, on the campus of Central Washington University, has a small stream running under it. It has a functioning “swamp cooler” that works fine until late in the afternoon when the indoor relative humidity spikes.
Lind was constructed in 1947 and housed the College of Education.
The stream can be seen just left of the parking: 47.001296, -120.537377
Lind Hall is 300 yards to the SE — has a blue-ish top.

Reply to  Scissor
August 22, 2022 1:02 am

And across The Cascades.

Toby Nixon
Reply to  cirby
August 21, 2022 7:52 pm

One could definitely argue that anyone moving into Washington state under the Inslee dictatorship is ignorant and foolish. The elite in Washington are driven to make it a socialist utopia, even if it means impoverishing everyone. Smart people are leaving while they can.

Reply to  Toby Nixon
August 21, 2022 8:27 pm

Actually, Eastern Washington is one of the most conservative regions in the country the problem is about 4 Counties in Western Washinton Pierce and King Country which are the two most populated areas of the state and filled with chronically unhappy leftists.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 22, 2022 12:51 pm

Whitman County on the east, next to Idaho, and home of Washington State University, votes for Democrats.
Many eastern county voters moved toward Biden. I think this was an anti-Trump thing.
Having neither the charm nor humor of Jimmy Steward and Ronald Reagan, “The Donald” lost many middle-ground folks because of his NYC (Queens) personality.

Reply to  John Hultquist
August 22, 2022 1:42 pm

Yeah, Trump is a flawed man who needs to sow a zipper over his mouth.

The WSU campus is now full of leftists which is why that country barely votes for democrats now.

August 21, 2022 7:41 pm

Anyone that believes the MSM isn’t complicit in the AGW deceit is naive.

Reply to  markl
August 21, 2022 11:37 pm

The Misleadia

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Redge
August 22, 2022 4:35 am

The dangerous misleadia.

Look at the terrible place they have brought all of us to. We wouldn’t be here without their lies and distortions of reality, which have caused people to do very harmful things to our way of life.

All based on lies promoted by the Misleadia.

You can’t believe a thing the Misleadia says. They have a political agenda.

August 21, 2022 8:40 pm

If the Seattle Times’ lips are moving, they are lying.

Reply to  Bob
August 22, 2022 3:12 pm

They lie by omission, too. In today’s edition there is an article describing a shooting yesterday in south Snohomish County. (Just north of Seattle.) The article states the Snohomish County Sheriff described the suspect as a male, 5′ 8″, short hair, etc. That is only partially correct; the Sheriff’s Twitter feed yesterday clearly identified the suspect with his ethnicity as the lead description item.

August 21, 2022 8:58 pm

Frank Blethen, the fourth-generation publisher of The Seattle Times, ponders the challenges facing this family business. As such, he ponders the long history of this business and family and asks whether family ownership and management are in the interests of both the company and family. McClatchy’s writedown of its 49.9% Seattle Times Co. stake by 88 percent, from $102.2 million to $12.1 million in 2008 did not help.

And so, enter John P. Kotter, change management expert. According to John P. Kotter – Change Management efforts are the major initiatives an organization undertakes to either boost productivity, increase product quality, improve the organizational culture, or reverse the present downward spiral that the company is going through.

Eight Steps of Kotter’s Change Management Execution are –

  • 1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
  • 2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
  • 3. Create a Vision
  • 4. Communicate the Vision
  • 5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision
  • 6. Plan for and Create Short Term Wins
  • 7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce More Change
  • 8. Institutionalize New Approaches

And there you have it. Failing newspapers are no longer in the business of reporting the actual news.

Reply to  Doonman
August 23, 2022 6:08 pm

The plan, regardless of politics, money, race, gender, education or other status always falls apart at:

  • 5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision
Marty Cornell
August 21, 2022 9:15 pm

Good takedown of the Seattle Times. But the question remains begged as to how we are to effectively deal with AGW…. Since industrial greenhouse gas emissions are a bit player contributing to modest, beneficial warming, I presume Dr. Mass’ concern would be the UHI and other land-use changes that do impact regional climate

Reply to  Marty Cornell
August 22, 2022 2:59 am

Their policies will soon have people dying from energy poverty. Problem solved for them 😉

Reply to  Marty Cornell
August 23, 2022 6:09 pm


August 22, 2022 12:35 am

It probably isn’t what is intended but what the article says is that there will be very few more days above 90F in every area but the darkest blue of the first graphic. For instance, referring to the medium blue area, the predication, over the next 30 years, is to have, on average, one additional day above 90F, relative to the historical average, every 2.5 years. For darkest blue area it is very uncertain in that it could have the same number as the medium blue area or more than 10,000 days above 90F during the next 30 years, there being more than 10,00 days in 30 years. Sloppy writing.

Climate believer
August 22, 2022 12:46 am

Thankfully hardly anyone will read this rubbish.

Seattle Times circulation is down another 10% year on year (like all US newspapers), now with a readership of around 85,000.

Washington state has nearly 8 million people in it, nobody cares about futuristic fantasy weather.

John R T
Reply to  Climate believer
August 22, 2022 5:20 am

Which is it:
40 years ago, 85,000 bought it for crosswords, comics and classifieds.

Reply to  Climate believer
August 23, 2022 6:41 pm

I get the Seattle Times mediocre but readable email summary. I used to get NYT’s, until they ended the service. NYT had been my tenuous cultural connection – I don’t know who’s rich, who’s famous, or who’s winning elections outside my state except the president. I do not know how COVID spread is going or how much of Ukraine belongs to Vlad.Then I see a suggestive headline about how Germany might react to high inflation and poor energy policy and I wonder.
Like a lot of Americans born after 1970, I would work to un-elect any politician who puts my son (and daughter?) in a draft lottery. When BBVA puts a “Stop Ukraine Invasion” banner next to the score, I ask, what would they (they who?) propose to do about it? I think history books call people like me isolationists and/or appeasers. I think some day Vlad will be 6 feet under, hopefully a few decades before me. What else should anyone want?
So that’s enough wondering. Let me drive my internal combustion Japanese Camry and chuckle when I see other Japanese passenger cars with US military bumper stickers – or white haired men driving Porsches. The cars were made by people like me.
Americans circa 1940 probably did not care much about foreign countries their own family did not come from. 80 year later, we mostly come from right here in America. Send Robert Lewindowski to stop the Russians/Germans/Environmentalists. I’ll worry when I see him rolling around grabbing an ankle like a tyrannasaurus bit him.

August 22, 2022 6:41 am

From the site The Climate Explorer:

Modeled data for the contiguous United States are based on statistical downscaling of temperature and precipitation projections from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) using Localized Constructed Analogs (LOCA).

What a bunch of f______ h____ sh__.

How do you convince gullible people that you can predict the future? It’s an age old technique mastered by palm readers and tarot card readers. It’s about words, its about terminology. Get past the wary conscious mind to the unsuspecting unconscious mind.

But who are the modern palm readers? These are the unfortunate victims of the University Disease. The more time you spend in the university the more likely your chances of getting infected. It’s a problem of ego, and its a problem of loosing touch with the real world, and ultimately a problem of believing your own h____ sh__.

The hubris acquired from learning a little bit of mathematics is, in my opinion, illustrated perfectly by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s invention of the science of Psychohistory. Using the laws of psychohistory (statistics of human behavior and I suppose emergent evolution) one can predict the future course of human history. Of course, it’s science fiction. It’s science fiction that you can predict the future, or is it palm reading?

The problem is not psychohistory, the problem is the world view of the man, Isaac Asimov. The problem is a world view acquired at the university that there is a high priesthood of thinkers, of experts, that know better than the rest of society. Given the prevalence today of college education, I’m sure that none of us are completely innocent of this university disease.

Reply to  apsteffe
August 23, 2022 6:49 pm

PLUS 1 for an Asimov Hari Seldon reference. I picked up Asimov’s “best of” a few years ago. The stories hold up so poorly. Old white men deciding the fate of the universe while drinking scotch and smoking cigarettes, holding the ultimate intergalactic space power, Nuclear Energy! At least he miniaturized it.

August 22, 2022 8:29 am

Volume-based reporting fits well with volume-based climate publishing or unpublished volume in this case, all symptoms in the new agenda era.

Brad Johns
August 22, 2022 8:33 am

Ninety degrees is hardly intolerable. A few more days over 90, so what? I live in Arizona, and a 90 degree day is pleasant 🙂

No Name Guy
August 22, 2022 8:59 am

The Seattle Times – not even worthy to wrap fish with.

John VC
August 22, 2022 9:16 am

Forecasting the weather 30 years out is just nonsense. Even the 10 day forecast changes daily, with that weather expected, say 5 days from now and the weather when that 5th day is now being totally different. That being said, the rain forecasted to start this past Friday has finally arrived–a very exciting event for this part of Texas.

Reply to  John VC
August 23, 2022 6:51 pm

Learn statistics. The principles are testable. And can be misapplied.

August 22, 2022 1:10 pm
Tombstone Gabby
August 22, 2022 5:01 pm

Might well make one wonder how accurately they report actual “news”.

Mike Maguire
August 22, 2022 5:16 pm

Way to hold them accountable Cliff!

Same thing with regards to the flooding rain events this Summer, now including the flooding that just occurred in Dallas.

4th time this Summer for a 1 in 1,000 year rain event

“We’re supposed to believe that the extreme rain events from 2022 and 2018 were from climate change but similar events in 1932 and 1922 were from natural variability of the weather.”

“Since Dallas has had 4 events similar to this in the last 100 years, including the record in 1932, that means this was a 1 in 25 year event and at that rate, in 1,000 years, we would expect events similar to this to happen 40 times!
So the media is exaggerating the extreme time scale associated with this event by a factor of 40!”

Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 23, 2022 6:56 pm

Here ia a valid use for statistics. IF odds of flood are 1 per 25 years, then what is the probability of getting 4 such 4 floods in one summer. I wish this computer had Minitab, which renders the problem trivial.

August 22, 2022 8:36 pm

“And hype/exaggeration damages the most psychologically vulnerable.”

And hype/exaggeration comes from the most psychologically damaged.

August 23, 2022 7:53 am

You can choose not to read the Seattle Times and be uninformed, or you can read the Seattle Times and be misinformed. Your choice.

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