Atmosphere’s Climate

January 18, 2016

648909_9122271_lzOvercast and getting darker this Monday afternoon on California’s north coast as we wait for another big rainstorm due anytime now — and reportedly some strong winds, too, to blow the wet all over everything.
This whole week is scheduled for storm-after-storm, at least until Friday, but according to the NWS, no straight downpour: ‘There will be brief dry periods between storms that will allow for small windows to tackle outdoor projects.’
So, there you are…operative words: ‘small windows.’

Weather service meteorologist Ryan Walbrun on our forever rain season: “As we’d expect with El Niño, we’re seeing storms every other day or so. Our weather models don’t show a break in that weather pattern any time soon, so it looks like that’s going to last into the foreseeable future.”

The storm this past weekend, and supposedly the fronts moving across the area now, are part-n-parcel of an ‘atmospheric river,’ a water-vapor rich front with warm air sucking/thrusting winds together with moisture just ahead of the cold front, an odd reflection, but way-wet. And has become a staple along the West Coast the last few years — a situation inflamed and troubled by climate change.

A most-excellent explanation of those ARs by UC Berkeley professor B. Lynn Ingram, a geologist specializing in paleoclimatology — via Phys.org last Friday:

Atmospheric rivers occur when corridors of water vapor come up from the tropics, traveling across the Pacific Ocean for thousands of miles to the West Coast.
An atmospheric river storm brings really heavy rain and it’s warm because it’s coming from the tropics, so that means it falls more as rain in the mountains (as opposed to snow), so you actually get more runoff filling the Central Valley.
That’s why they cause more flooding than regular, colder storms.
Most of our major floods in California correspond to these atmospheric river storms.
But they’re really important because, on average, they provide 30 to 50 percent of our water resources in just 10 days a year.

Still, the huge-humongous culprit here is warmth — especially the intense warming of our oceans, which apparently has been happening at a frightful pace. A new study on ocean heat: Just within the past 20 years, half of the increase in ocean heat content since pre-industrial times, has occurred.
Via the Guardian this morning:

US scientists discovered that much of the extra heat in the ocean is buried deep underwater, with 35 percent of the additional warmth found at depths below 700 meters.
This means far more heat is present in the far reaches of the ocean than 20 years ago, when it contained just 20 percent of the extra heat produced from the release of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution.
The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, sheds further light on the vast quantities of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans.
Ocean water, which has a much higher heat capacity than air, has absorbed more than 90 percent of the excess heat and nearly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels.
The vast Southern Ocean sucked up 1.2bn tonnes of carbon in 2011 alone – which is roughly equivalent to the European Union’s annual carbon output.

Peter Gleckler, lead author of the paper: ‘“The findings are concerning. It’s clear evidence that the oceans are taking the brunt of the greenhouse gases and are accumulating a lot of heat. As for the ecological implications, that’s hard to say. There is a lot of life in the deep oceans and there’s lots we don’t know about the impact upon that life.”

And life’s ambiance all over, the atmosphere in the deep and shallow, the ‘impact‘ there?

Now near dark-thirty, and still no rain, just some thick-heavy-gray clouds looking serious…

(Illustration above found here).

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