‘Super’ Irregular

May 13, 2015

painting01_081022_sshOvercast and chilly this early Wednesday on California’s north coast — the NWS forecasts ‘isolated showers,’ which is short for ‘on-n-off drizzle,’ though, we’re scheduled for some decent downpour any time starting right about now.

Anyone living near a shoreline feels the influence of the wind, which is generally temperature-fueled by ocean water — a near-nonexistent El Niño event in 2014 might have been just an oceanograhic-mask, preparing the stage for a “super El Niño” this year.

(Illustration found here).

And apparently coming quickly toward us.
From yesterday’s New Scientist:

“We have this enormous heat in the subsurface that is propagating eastward and it’s just about to come to the surface,” says Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
“I looked at the current situation and I thought, ‘oh my dear.'”

The professor’s near-vapors were caused not by a weakening, dying El Niño, but in actuality, one growing in heat, maybe another double-whammy-year for the event, reminiscent of the 1997/98 blow-out — a remembrance from National GeographicIt rose out of the tropical Pacific in late 1997, bearing more energy than a million Hiroshima bombs. By the time it had run its course eight months later, the giant El Niño of 1997-98 had deranged weather patterns around the world, killed an estimated 2,100 people, and caused at least 33 billion [U.S.] dollars in property damage.’
The bombs were indeed a bitch. I lived in Pismo Beach at the time, half-a-block from the Pacific Ocean along California’s Central Coast, about 70 miles north of Santa Barbra, and about middle distance between LAX and SFO.
We had several water spouts formed in coastal waters during those months, a couple not too far off the big, way-public pier, and a lot of rain, combinded with rare, thunderous thunderstorms — so El Niño does pack an influence, yes.

A brief view of this year’s event via Australia’s The Conversation:

In fact, the warm anomaly over the eastern equatorial Pacific — the typical indicator for an El Niño — has in the past three weeks exceeded 1C.
Assuming this El Niño peaks at Christmas of 2015, this recent 1C temperature anomaly is unprecedented during the autumn of all developing El Niño years since at least the early 80s.

This year though it looks like the 2014-15 El Niño is yet to reach its peak.
Both the temperature anomaly and amount of ocean subsurface heat are still building.
The ocean heat has in fact surpassed last year’s massive value and is now rivalling that during the development of the 1997 super El Niño.

El Niño also means higher global average air temperatures.

In the negative phase of the IPO when La Niña events are more prevalent, more heat is soaked up by the ocean.
In contrast, positive phases of the IPO release heat that is stored in the ocean.
With 2014 having broken the record in global temperatures, an impending El Niño will make it more likely that 2015 will beat 2014 record.
This impending El Niño, and the associated back-to-back El Niño events, could mark the switch into a positive IPO that would see global warming accelerate.
Time will tell.

Insert new word into the old Stones’ warble, ‘time is (not) on my side.’
Warm temperatures don’t just make the weather be shitty — climate change will most-likely effect the stomach, too.
A ‘troubling‘ study on worldwide wheat production, reported Monday via environmental writer Chris Mooney at the Washington Post:

“Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20 percent of daily protein and calories,” notes the Wheat Initiative, a project launched by G20 agricultural ministers.
“With a world population of 9 billion in 2050, wheat demand is expected to increase by 60 percent.
To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1 percent to at least 1.6 percent.”
That’s why the punchline of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is pretty troubling.
A warming climate, it suggests, could drive wheat yields in the opposite direction – down — in the United States and, possibly, elsewhere.

Global warming ought to cut down on the freezing temperatures, but also amp up really hot ones.
The study found, however, that on balance, the effect is more negative than positive, with a roughly 15 percent decline in wheat yields under a 2 degrees Celsius warming scenario, rising to around 40 percent with 4 degrees (C) of warming.

Even in the face of such knowledge of impending disaster, why is climate change such a near-unsolvable problem?
Unfortunately, it carries a ludicrous double-whammy — disaster not only from our shifting, near-out-of-control climate, but also from treacherous, greedy, and apparently-way-callous asshole-humans as well.

Just on Monday, President Obama’s approval for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic not only contradicted environmental reality on many levels, but way-displayed an acute climate-change laissez–faire that’s remarkably dangerous, and crazy.
Mirror whammy on the action (via the Guardian): ‘Michael Conathan, the director of ocean policy at the Center for American Progress, said yesterday’s decision was “wrong” and “didn’t make sense.”

And nearly two weeks ago, the GOP-infested House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology gutted NASA’s Earth sciences budget by 40 percent, an example of allowing for the worsening of climate change. A remember, though, via yesterday’s NPR and Adam Frank, astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester: ‘If you are intent on convincing people there is no climate change, then the last thing you want is NASA — with all its heroism and accuracy — telling folks climate change is real. So, faced with this dilemma, climate denialist’s have come up with a clever solution: Get NASA out of climate change science.’

And even bubbling down to the obviously obstruction of reality on the state/local level — via Slate on making criminal any environmental whistleblowing.
Key point: ‘The Wyoming law transforms a good Samaritan who volunteers her time to monitor our shared environment into a criminal. Idaho and Utah, as well as other states, have also enacted laws designed to conceal information that could damage their agricultural industries—laws currently being challenged in federal court. But Wyoming is the first state to enact a law so expansive that it criminalizes taking a picture on public land.’

And the heat goes on…

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