Fiery Maps and Climate Change

Idly casting my still sleep-filled eye over WUWT this Sunday morning (27 June) I was struck and attracted by a most impressive sight – maps of the Northwest USA bedecked in bright hues. These I learned were “Update 3 Northwest USA Heatwave Prediction” published the previous day (26 June) and had been copied from a weather website published by Cliff Mass (who runs a University of Washington high resolution weather prediction system).

What was most striking about the map was the use of vibrant colours, mostly clashing shades reds and yellows for different areas of high temperature predictions. With areas of different colour shaped by the mountains dissected by deep river valleys, the map resembles a blazing fire with bright flames raking the sides of the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Ranges. In other maps the core of the mountains is depicted in brown colours making them resemble burnt-out coals in the centre of the fire.

I immediately thought just how appropriate was the colour scheme predicting a forthcoming heat wave with predicted temperatures expected in places to exceed 110oF.

The only green (=cool) pigments visible were far out in the frigid Pacific. Puget Sound was a solid yellow (= bath water temperatures) hue. I once crossed Puget Sound from Seattle to Victoria in BC by hovercraft.  I have never been so scared in my life. Puget Sound was mind-numbingly cold and seemingly full of inquisitive killer whales. It is also notorious for its escaped and waterlogged logs floating just beneath the surface. I imagined the outcome of my hovercraft hitting a 200 footer at speed, and those intelligent killer whales following behind seemed to have motive. But I digress.

I do appreciate a good colour rendition in a map. I was introduced to the art of using high-confidence colours to sell a prospect to the company exploration manager when I worked for an oil company. But I was warned not to overdo it. Managers might well become suspicious if high confidence colours were overused. So was this temperature prediction map overdoing it? Well possibly, but it attracted me and the map’s validity would soon be judged since it was predicting events only a few days hence – so Cliff Mass and his team must be rather confident.

Soon after I had come to appreciate the map’s fizzing colour scheme, my mind suddenly lurched to whether those suffering from colour blindness could appreciate the maps. Then on to the topic of colour blindness and whether climate alarmists suffered from it – unable to recognise the advancing greenness of semi-deserts. But then friend Wikki came to my aid and I discovered that for those with the commonest form it is red apples that appear green, rather than the reverse. Do they perhaps suffer from a much rarer type – trianopia where green coated landscapes appear as cloaked in a purplish red?  Something must affect their view of the world.

Cliff Mass threatens a sequel relating the heatwave, after it has past, to climate change. Wonder if Anthony will pick that up?

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June 27, 2021 at 10:03AM

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