Thick marine layer holding hard this Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast — an unusual, heavy fog to last all day so far, and was even pretty moist earlier.
Along with the fog, that surrealistic, forest-fire smoke influence to the skies, giving off a ‘twilight zone‘ tempo, or maybe what my barber told me this morning, a creation of a ‘post-apocalyptic‘ setting. I countered that maybe it’s ‘pre-apocalyptic.’
Unfortunately, either way works.
(Illustration: NASA satellite image of California’s drought, late January-early February 2014, found here).
Actually, the sky looks jaundiced, a sickly, floating yellow hue covering everything. And it does resemble a Sci-Fi landscape with its pinkish-prickly weird in the way-faded light.
No matter, this spot where I live is considered nifty ground. And the second-best place to live in the whole-wide US of A. In summary of all of its parts, the natural amenities index, which is produced by the US Dept. of Agriculture, lists the best livable places in the country, and we at ‘near’ the top.
Yesterday, via the Washington Post:
The index combines “six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer.”
Those qualities, according to the USDA, include mild, sunny winters, temperate summers, low humidity, topographic variation, and access to a body of water.
In fact, every single one of the ten highest-ranked counties is located in California.
After Ventura, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, Mendocino and Del Norte counties round out the top 5.
Addendum from the Lost Coast Outpost: ‘Whatever. We rule. For the record, our region’s mild winters and temperate summers mean that neighboring Mendocino and Del Norte counties also cracked the Top Five (four and five, respectively). Yay, neighbors! You are very pretty, too!‘
Meanwhile, beyond the pretty and back to reality — yesterday, Joe Romm at Climate Progress reviewed the latest El Niño predications, and determined we’re about to feel the shit hit the fan.
Whatever you call it, the short-term burst of regional warming in the tropical Pacific (from the monster El Niño) combined with the strong underlying long-term global warming trend means that 2015 will easily be the hottest year on record — blowing past the record just set in 2014.
And if the global temperature pattern repeats that of the last super El Niño (1997-1998), then 2016 could well top 2015 record.
Climatologist Kevin Trenberth has explained that “a global temperature increase occurs in the latter stages of an El Niño event, as heat comes out of the ocean and warms the atmosphere.”
Over 90 percent of global heating goes into the oceans — and ocean warming has sped up recently.
Trenberth has been expecting a jumpof up to half a degree Fahrenheit, which could occur “relatively abruptly.”
He told ClimateProgress back in April that it’s significant the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) “seems to have gone strongly positive” because that is “perhaps the best single indicator to me that a jump is imminent.”
But the NASA chart highlights the fact there has been no actual slowdown in warming.
Indeed the March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change” makes clear the only “pause” there has been was in the long-expected speed-up of global warming.
The rate of surface warming should have started to accelerate in the past decade, rather than stay fairly constant.
The authors warned that, by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system into a regime of rapid multi-decadal rates of warming — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s.
They project that within the next few years, “there is an increased likelihood of accelerated global warming associated with release of heat from the sub-surface ocean and a reversal of the phase of decadal variability in the Pacific Ocean.”
That accelerated warming appears to starting now.
Enjoy the pretty, even if it appears a bit jaundiced right now…