Thickly-overcast this near-noon Monday on California’s north coast — actually felt the first drop of rain this season walking back from Safeway earlier, a quick-dash on my hand, then a light, but obvious pelting for a few minutes.
Although forecasters were calling for rain tomorrow night, usually it comes sooner. This week, a fast-moving storm system from the northwest has been predicted for late Tuesday, the meat of the storm on Wednesday.
Supposedly no heavy shit, but some decent rainfall, according to the NWS: ‘Still, confidence is high that most of the region will see measurable rainfall, with accumulations likely to fall between ¼” on the low end, to nearly 2” in the wetter places.’
And maybe first indication of one weird-ass, wet-and-chaotic winter to come — hopefully, maybe the whole Western US becomes ‘wetter places.’
Not just rain, snowfall, too, maybe especially.
(Illustration found here).
As if for emphasis, to accentuate the dry — the worse California snowpack in a long, long time.
In case you needed more proof that California is in the midst of a serious drought, a new study published September 14 in the journal Nature Climate Change confirms it: the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range is lower than it has ever been in the past 500 years.
Deeper analysis revealed that in 2015, the Tuolumne River Basin in the Sierras contained just 40 percent as much water in the form of ice and snow as it did when the region’s snowpack levels were highest in 2014.
In fact, on March 25, 2015, the volume of water in the basin was 74,000 acre-feet, or 24 billion gallons.
In the same week of 2014, the snow total was more than twice that — 179,000 acre-feet — or just about 60 billion gallons.
This is shocking, considering 2014 was already one of the two driest years in the recorded history of California.
Snow is from where we really get our water. Also this past weekend, some more climate-change-related news — via the Guardian on Sunday:
New data showing that the US had its 12th-hottest summer on record may not, at first glance, appear particularly significant or alarming.
But in announcing the news, climate scientists have pointed out that, of the 11 American summers that were recorded as warmer than 2015’s, seven have occurred in the last 15 years; the other four were all during the “Dustbowl” 1930s heatwaves that plagued the US during the Great Depression.
And, as part of the climate warming trend globally, next Thursday a federal agency is set to announce the latest worldwide figures that are likely to show that it was officially the hottest summer ever recorded on the planet, and the hottest first eight months of the year to date.
Warm outside right now.
And insult to grievous injury — Dr. Jeff Masters at WunderBlog, also from yesterday:
Record heat scorched the Caribbean again on Saturday.
According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, an all-time heat record was set on the island of Anguilla in the Lesser Antilles: 33.8°C (92.8°F), besting the record of 33.7°C set just four days previously.
The Cuban capital of La Habana (Havana) also recorded its hottest temperature on record and the hottest temperature ever measured in September in Cuba, with 38.2°C (100.8°F) at the Casablanca Observatory.
Havana’s previous all-time heat record was set just a few months ago, on April 26, 2015: 37.0°C.
According to an email I received from Cuban meteorologist Alejandro Adonis Herrera G., one of the instruments at the site recorded 38.1°C, but with maximum thermometer and technical corrections it was decided that the record is 38.2°C.
And some not-real-bad news, or maybe some ‘good’ news (heard about this last week, never got around to posting about it) — from Climate Central last Thursday:
The Southern Ocean, which acts as one of the natural world’s most effective sponges for absorbing carbon dioxide, is showing signs of an unexpected revival in its ability to do so, according to scientists.
Earlier studies had suggested that rising emissions caused by humans had brought about the saturation of the Southern Ocean in the 1980s.
Researchers estimated that the efficiency of the Southern Ocean to absorb CO2 had dropped by about 30 percent which they put down to higher wind speeds across the area which brought carbon-rich waters to the surface.
This was itself a consequence of climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer, they said, creating a feedback loop that would only get worse over time.
But the new report published in the journal Science shows that this downward trend in capacity reversed around 2002 and regained its former strength in line with rising emissions by 2012.
The scientists put the change down to a combination of dropping water surface temperatures in the Pacific sector and a change in ocean circulation keeping carbon rich waters below those at the surface.
Maybe buying some time, which is helpful.
Oddly-neat this morning, though, feeling the first actual rain of the 2015-2016 season, like history being made, plopping down on the sidewalk in front of me — or not…
Yet not unusual. Sept. 17 last year with the first rain of the season — three days early, so…