Dry-Bright Rain

July 16, 2015

solar-flare-tessa-hunt-woodlandBright sunshine and a warm-wispy wind this Thursday afternoon on California’s north coast — the ideal summer day, most-likely about the best it gets. Supposedly about 77-degrees right now, with the interior reading 20-degrees hotter, but without that wonderful sea breeze.
The NWS also released preliminary rainfall totals from last month, but moisture around here was nearly non-existent.

Our drought is apparently worse than we realize — via CNBC and Aiguo Dai, atmospheric and environmental sciences professor at the University of Albany: ‘“California has been gradually warming over the last 30 years. It’s an important part of the equation, because a warmer temperature means water evaporates more quickly, worsening the dryness from the precipitation deficit.”

(Illustration: Tessa Hunt-Woodland‘s ‘Solar Flare,’ found here).


A CNBC analysis of annual Palmer Drought Severity Index recordings, founded by meteorologist Wayne Palmer as a way to factor in both precipitation and temperature to track soil moisture, shows the nearly four-year drought is in fact the worst in over a century.
The PDSI is used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as its main drought index.

The current drought has averaged a reading of -3.67 over the last three years, nearly twice as bad as the second-driest stretch since 1900, which occurred in 1959.
Ironically, that drought was battled by current Gov. Jerry Brown’s father, Pat Brown.
The former governor approved the California Water Project, a $1.8 billion initiative that directed water to Southern California and contributed to a boom in agriculture and population.
Now his son faces an even more serious problem.

Some experts contend that rising temperatures in and of themselves might skew PDSI numbers higher in recent years, but Dai disagrees, contending that such a large difference can’t be attributed solely to that bias.
“I would think this is the worst drought because the bias would not account for that much of the difference,” he said.
Other studies using PDSI data drawn from tree-ring observations reaching even further back in time reveal similar findings.
One such study from University of Minnesota and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researchers showed the current drought is California’s worst in at least 1,200 years.

Supposedly, maybe we’ll get some help in the coming rain season (via Science News): ‘Climate’s “little boy” is back in a big way. El Niño, a weather disruption caused by unusually warm seawater in the eastern Pacific, kicked off in March and could become a whopper, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center reported July 9. The agency predicts that El Niño conditions have a more than 90 percent chance of continuing through the Northern Hemisphere winter and around an 80 percent chance of sticking around through spring.’

Sunshine and superman…

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