El Niño Texas-Style

May 28, 2015

MatsPetersson1Sunshine this Thursday afternoon on California’s north coast — a persistent-gloomy cloud-bank from in the morning finally evaporated some, or got scattered about, or whatever, and now a sun-bright aura enlivens my apartment to some degree every so often, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes, then darkness comes.
The light less bright.

All good, though. Even as we bask here, the future of California drought’s could be with a good El Niño supposedly already forming in the Pacific Ocean — and already influencing a persistent-dry: ‘In the last week, some parts of Texas have received 600 percent of their normal weekly rainfall. That means the amount of rain that normally falls in a month and a half fell over the course of a single week!

Unprecedented in our record keeping era.

(Illustration: Mats Petersson‘s ‘Firewatch‘ series, found here).

Most of the stories I’ve seen this past week on the rain, flooding and tornado-weather in Texas, Oklahoma and that area, seem to indicate the drought that had plagued them terribly the past five years might have quickly come to an end. Supposedly, 70 percent of Texas isn’t experiencing a drought at all.
And supposedly, too, the storms have been influenced already by that growing “super El Niño.”
From yesterday’s Live Science:

These catastrophic conditions are being caused by an El Niño pattern — a natural climate cycle that brings warmer-than-average temperatures to the Pacific Ocean — that has split the jet stream into two branches, with one river of air going off north and the other one sinking farther to the south, said John Gresiak, a senior forecaster for AccuWeather.
It is the southern stream that is causing the disturbances in Texas and Oklahoma, after passing through California and Mexico, he added. [Fishy Rain to Fire Whirlwinds: The World’s Weirdest Weather]
“Just looking at San Antonio, as of this date they’ve had double their rainfall for May, and they’ll probably get more,” Gresiak told Live Science.

And this fabled El Niño has already muscled into weather shit all over the globe.
More from NewScientist:

El Niño occurs when warm water wells up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean and spreads east.
It warms the globe and drags rain away from parts of Asia and Australia, dumping it on much of the west coast of the Americas.
The weather we’re seeing is consistent with El Niño, says Wenju Cai of the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, in Melbourne.
He says this event looks set to be an extreme one.
Jeff Knight from the UK Met Office says it’s hard to pin all the wild weather on El Niño, but that it is probably a factor.
Also in play is a weird blob of warm water which is warming the air off the US West Coast, exacerbating the problem.
And global warming isn’t helping either, Knight says.
“Global warming is a background tide that is rising, and we get all these features like El Niño on top of it,” he says.
El Niño is also probably playing a role in a devastating heat wave in India that has claimed the lives of more than 1100 people, mostly in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Cai says El Niño can stop or delay the monsoon rains in India.
“As such El Niño could be partially responsible for the heatwaves there as it makes the air dry and therefore easier to heat up,” he says.

Meanwhile, here in California we won’t feel the effects until next winter, but there’s still no assurance of rainfall still months away, and not much, either, for us up here in the wild northern parts — via Capital Public Radio in Sacramento:

“El Niño does not guarantee that we’re going to see record-breaking rainfall or a drought ending year, said Michelle Mead, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
“It just means there is some potential to see some above-average precipitation.
“And that’s really the indication that we have right now.
“El Niño is expected to continue but the exact strength and the impending impacts are unknown at this time.”
Mead said El Niño is not a good predictor of rain and snow in Northern California.
“It’s [El Niño] most prevalent across Southern California,” said Mead.
“But unfortunately, the reservoirs, and where the water supply is for California, is located in Northern California. Not only do we need the rain, but we need lower snow levels too.”

Wait and see…and first get through the fire season.

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