Spring was coldest on record, UW researcher says

Cold spring. The spring of 2011 was the coldest in state history, by one measure. (seattlepi.com file)

All that collective griping about the weather just got validated by some cold facts: The spring of 2011 was the chilliest on record for the state.

blog.seattlepi.com | Aug 1, 2011

James Johnstone, a research associate with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in the UW College of the Environment, said the average high temperature from April through June was 60.4 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the previous average of 61.6 degrees in 1955.

The average high temperature for the period since 1900 is 65.6 degrees.

“The people who have been complaining about the weather have had a right to complain,” said Nick Bond, a UW research meteorologist and the state climatologist. “I rather like it, but that’s my own character flaw.”


July the Second Coldest on Record

While the state shivered through the coldest spring on record, Seattle didn’t have it quite so bad. It was just the second-coldest spring on record, with an average high temperature of 60.4 degrees. Only 1920, with a daily average high of 59.6 degrees, was colder.

And it gets worse for the Emerald City: The past two springs were the cloudiest since measurements started 50 years ago.

“We were still getting wintertime cloud cover into late June, which is the most remarkable aspect to me,” Johnstone said.

According to Johnstone, the period from April through June averaged 18.6 hours per day of at least 50 percent cloud cover. Last year was worse, with 19.1 hours per day.

Is it something Seattleites should get used to?

“I think it’s just a run of two bad springs in a row,” Johnstone said. “I wouldn’t expect it to happen again and again and again.”

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