Tree in Genesee Park uprooted by Saturdays windstorm.
This tree in Genesee Park was uprooted by Saturday's windstorm. Charles Mudede

Though the local and popular meteorologist Cliff Mass acknowledges that the windstorm which this weekend killed two people, shutdown power for almost a half million people, and uprooted trees everywhere, was "the most powerful summer storm EVER to hit our region"—and that, according to his own research, there has "never been a summer storm even close to this one for western Washington"—he believes it has nothing to do with global warming. Why?

I know some folks will say this is due to global warming, represents the "new normal", or was due to the BLOB (the warm water off our coast). At this point, there is no reason to expect that any of these hypotheses are true. Climate simulations do not produce stronger midlatitude cyclones like Saturday's. Natural variability can produce extremes and this is probably a good example.

Freaky things do happen occasionally with the weather, and so, from a scientific perspective, what happened on Saturday is best to be considered just that: a freak of nature.

His logic is actually perfect: We do know freaky things happen sometimes (that is in the record), but we have no hard evidence for the effects of global warming, so it's better to assume the former than the latter. Apparently, this is the logic Mass resorts to when he can not connect an unusual climatic event with one in the record: "[For] May-July temps over Washington State... 2015 is the warmest, although 1958 was close." This is not to say Mass is a climate change skeptic; he just thinks it's not arrived yet, that it's still in the future, that the strangeness we're witnessing is unrelated, and that current meteorological phenomena can best be explained by conventional theories.

Cliff Mass also wants us to see the windstorm as a great correction to an usually dry summer.

But in the end it was perhaps fitting and expected. The warmest and most unusual summer in Northwest history is capped by the most severe summer windstorm in recent record. Large amounts of precipitation have quenched a dry landscape. Air quality has been restored

Here, I think, he is drawing inspiration from economists who think that a stock market crash is nothing more than a correction for excessive optimism and the resulting overvaluation of assets. This school of thinkers, called liquidationists, tend to believe/preach that it's best not to interfere with a crash, that the government should let it run its course to the bottom. Otherwise, those those who were foolish will not pay for their folly and those who were wise be rewarded for their prudence. The only problem with this way of thinking/moralizing is that with greater regulation of banks and investment houses, crashes can be avoided or their impact on the wider economy minimized. Mass needs to be a little more careful about his presentation and wording; at this rate, he risks being to climate science what libertarians are to commodity markets.

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