Sunshine and nearly-clear skies this Thursday morning on California’s north coast — we’re supposed to be warm again today with temps in the low-70s, but along the shoreline, though, there’s a wonderful ocean breeze that takes a lot of the heat away.
Not really…just feels like it.
In the heat of the moment, southern California will supposedly scorch the next few days, temperatures in triple digits, even as far north as the Bay Area — the interior of the north is already baking. And for the cities, ‘danger days’ ahead (via Climate Central: ‘A danger day is when the combination of heat and humidity (also known as the heat index) make it feel like it’s 105°F or hotter. Warming temperatures are about to push U.S. cities into a new regime where danger days happen regularly.’
(Illustration found here).
Meanwhile, in fire-ravaged, drought-dried California, there could be a reprise coming in the form at the crescendo-building El Niño event, which could splash a shitload of rain on the state:
Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times that it had the potential to be the “Godzilla El Niño.”
He added El Niño’s signal in the ocean was “stronger” in August than it was in the summer of 1997 when the most powerful El Niño on record developed.
He described the current mass of warm water in the ocean as being “bigger” and “deeper” than it was at the same point of the 1997 event.
“Everything now is going to the right way for El Niño,” Patzert told the Times.
“If this lines up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem.”
Furthermore, Bob Henson at WunderBlog: ‘In its latest monthly outlook, issued on Thursday (see PDF), NOAA continues to project that the ongoing El Niño event, already close to record strength for August, will at least approach the highest overall strength observed at any time of year since 1950.’
And new this year, ‘the blob,’ and already warmer waters (via CurbedLA):
The Blob is another patch of unusually warm ocean water, but right along the coast, running 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Mexico.
It was first noticed in 2014 and is probably being caused by the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, a high pressure area that has for the most part refused to move out of the North Pacific for a couple years now, blocking storms from hitting the west coast and winds from cooling the ocean water.
What will happen when El Niño meets The Blob?
It could be good, it could be very good, or it could be bad. (There’s “no precedent” for the interaction, according to researchers!)
El Niño could just barrel through, breaking apart the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and The Blob in the process, or the Ridge and Blob could hold the El Niño storms at bay, allowing a wet winter in SoCal but not enough rain in NorCal, which needs it more.
Or El Niño could recruit The Blob to work for good: The Blob could send extra moisture into the air, making El Niño’s storms even more intense.
The battle begins this winter.
The heavy rains, however, must drench the north in order for California to fully escape the drought’s clutches — Godzilla, indeed…