Steady rain with fog this way-too-early Thursday here on California’s north coast as we wade through a series of weather systems guaranteed to water-down the region, but not stop the dry.
Fog with rain seems unusual, but we get it all the time — unusual a way of life behind the Redwood Curtain.
The state is expected to get some two inches of rain in places, along with heavy snowfall in the mountains. Sacramento, for example, usually gets about 20 inches of annual rainfall, but up til now has received about five. Apparently no amount of rain will cover the loss: To put all this in perspective, the National Weather Service recently estimated there is only a 1-in-1,000 chance California will end winter with merely average precipitation.
(Illustration found here).
A paleoclimatologist at UC Berkeley claims the state hasn’t been this dry since 1580 — 434 years.
And the big, bad culprit for this dry shit is the world we currently inhabit, one that is getting hot.
Via VOA and James Bradbury, a climate scientist with the World Resources Institute:
“Time will tell the extent to which rising temperatures and global climate change contributed to this specific event and the severity of it,” Bradbury says.
“I think there is a good likelihood that the temperatures that we’re seeing and the heat wave that we’re seeing is all consistent with a warmer world, that that’s exacerbating these drought conditions.”
And this morning, another nail in that climate-change coffin from probably the world’s oldest science group — the UK’s The Royal Society , which is also scientific advisor to the British government, another plea to get our shit together:
Human activities — especially the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution — have increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations by about 40 percent, with more than half the increase occurring since 1970.
Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F).
This has been accompanied by warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects.
Much of this warming has occurred in the last four decades.
Detailed analyses have shown that the warming during this period is mainly a result of the increased concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Continued emissions of these gases will cause further climate change, including substantial increases in global average surface temperature and important changes in regional climate.
Dude, it ain’t just involved in hot/heat.
Ice on the Great Lakes — this winter’s polar vortex has popped a pox on springtime:
For the last few decades, the amount of winter ice covering the lakes has been trending downward, with Lake Superior often half-clear of ice. This year, the northernmost of the Great Lakes is almost 100 percent ice-covered.
A long period of ice cover could devastate the populations of young fish in Lake Michigan, leading to a cascading drop in lake wildlife populations, said Solomon David, a fish ecologist at the Shedd Aquarium.
Minnows and other small fish that mate a year after they hatch could drop in numbers after a long cold spell, which would make catching dinner more difficult for walleye and perch, David said.
At the same time, the eggs of whitefish, which incubate over the winter in the shallows of the lake and hatch in the spring, could have trouble surviving if the lakes warm late in the year.
“One little change in the food web can have an effect on the entire food web,” with populations of some fish taking a few years to recover, David said.
And on a way-personal note about this climate change chaos — a coffee shortage — from Slate:
An epic drought—Brazil’s worst in decades—is threatening exports from the world’s largest coffee exporter and driving up wholesale prices worldwide.
We’ve officially entered the realm of bloggers’ worst-case scenario.
Now, let’s not get too hasty.
The world is not going to run out of coffee next week.
Analysts still estimate an increasingly tight global coffee surplus of less than 1 percent of total production through the remainder of the year.
But the Brazilian drought is causing a significant pressure on global supplies, and when coupled with burgeoning demand from increasingly affluent consumers in Asia (and Brazil itself), that means prices are surging and that surplus could quickly become a shortage if the drought continues to intensify.
Arabica coffee futures are up more than 50 percent in just the last two months in response.
Back in 2011, Starbucks’ head of sustainability Jim Hanna called increasingly extreme weather linked to climate change a “potentially significant risk to our supply chain.”
But Brazil’s government — much like ours here in the United States — seems to have its head stuck in the sand on what to do about it.
Brazilian agro-climatologist Hilton Silveira Pinto: “The regions where we plant coffee today, especially the ones on lower elevations, will be getting hotter,” he says. “And many of the coffee plantations in these areas will probably have to be abandoned.”
This climate-change shit is now getting serious — a $10 cup of coffee?