Foggy and chilly on this early-evening Monday on California’s north cast — a much different situation here than in some parts of the state.
Wildfires are screaming up and down California — two big blazes are scorching the Southland — celebrities, movies stars lost bigly in Malibu — and meanwhile up north in Butte County and surroundings, the already infamous Camp Fire has killed 31 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.
Despite the T-Rump blubbering about ‘poor’ forest management, the reality is horrific.
(Illustration found here).
The big problem, of course, is climate change and the resulting upheavals it brings. One is being dry, or in a weird sense, ‘negative rain.’
Victoria Albert at The Daily Beast this afternoon has a lengthy piece on this phenomenon:
“Negative rain” isn’t a technical meteorological term when it comes to droughts.
But it is just a clever way to a describe a region getting less precipitation than expected.
“Every year we have a certain amount of rain that we expect as a result of historical patterns,” Andy Wood, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told The Daily Beast. “Negative precipitation [comes] when you have a departure from that.”
That’s exactly what happened in California this year, said Dan Mcevoy, a climate researcher at the Desert Research Institute.
“Normally, the water year starts on October 1,” Mcevoy told The Daily Beast.
Usually, he explained, a few big storms will provide enough moisture to dampen possible fuels and effectively end the fire season.
But this year, he said, “we definitely haven’t seen that yet.”
As a result, there’s been serious ecological consequences, said Mike Hobbins, a research hydrologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
When there’s not enough rain, the air gets “thirsty,” he said, because it can’t pull enough moisture from the ground.
That thirst, Hobbins said, causes a vicious cycle of dehydration.
“Any rain that does fall next just evaporate[s] again,” he sad.
“Instead of soaking in, and wetting those fuels down, and lowering the fire risk.”
And along with that shit, there’s something called the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI), which measures “evaporative demand,” or, “how much [water] the atmosphere is trying to suck out of the ground” — yipe:
Not all of these environmental changes are attributable to climate change, Mcevoy noted.
The relationship between climate change and some of the variables that determine evaporative demand — like rainfall or humidity — remain murky, and the Camp fire’s destructive power has largely been attributed to the dry, northeasterly winds raging at up to 50 mph.
But by raising global temperatures, he said, climate change is absolutely making things worse.
The Sierra Nevada — the region of California that’s battling the Camp fire — had its second-hottest summer on record in 2018.
The midterms were just in time — maybe Democrats can get some fire up their ass to bring the climate change debate back to the forefront. There’s hope, and then there’s still the T-Rump and his clan.