El Niño a ‘Mini Global Warming’

February 10, 2016

CC_El_NinoFaded-yellow sunshine this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, another mild day is expected, though, some patchy drizzle could happen in particular spots in the morning.
Maybe rain late Thursday, with about a 50/50-chance Friday, but nothing forecast deep-wet until the end of next week. Beaches tomorrow will once again become ‘potentially hazardous‘ (the NWS), but other than that, seemingly all quiet along our part of the western front.

Down south, however, heat’s an unusual factor — one lady waxed witty in a LA Times story yesterday: ‘El Niño, she joked, is an “urban myth.”

(Illustration: El Niño last August, via NOAA, found here).

Although we set a record 80-degrees on Monday, temperatures around here has quickly dovetailed to normal — one characteristic of the North Coast is a day in February can appear as a day in July — but in the California southland this week, 90-degree days continue with more to come. Supposedly, yesterday the LA Unified School District recorded more than 100 service calls for air-conditioning-related shit.

Just south of us, and still considered ‘northern’ California, the Bay Area has also been sweltered a bit — from SFGate this morning:

“It’s half of February that’s on track to be dry. This is not what you want to see if you’re trying to have a wetter-than-average winter and spring and reinvigorate the hydrology,” said Mike Anderson, state climatologist with California’s Department of Water Resources.
“This is much different than what we’ve seen in past El Niño events.”
Anderson and other climate experts caution that it’s too soon to call this year’s El Niño a bust.
Even California’s wettest winters have had prolonged dry periods, and the nearly two months that remain in the rainy season could still deliver.

The big problem right now is the result of a high pressure pattern off the coast, pushing Pacific storms northward, well-away from drought-infested California.
However, there’s rain/snow hope:

Daniel Swain, a climate researcher at Stanford University, said the success of the wet season doesn’t hinge on February.
“It’s not to say the dry spell is great news from a drought perspective, but the fact that’s it’s dry for a week or two amid a wet winter is neither surprising or concerning,” Swain said.
The high-pressure system that’s preventing rain, Swain said, is not likely to stick around.
Swain, who has studied the pattern as much as anyone over the past four years and famously coined it the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, said the atmospheric mass, while widespread, probably won’t out-compete El Niño.
“Historically, these strong El Niños have had strong finishes,” he said.
“That’s often what ends up happening in the end.”

Yet that reasoning could be the ‘old normal.’
Last year being the hottest on record worldwide, surpassing the old record set in 2014, and this year, too, will reportedly set another record — that might have some influence.
So, too, the effect of “the blob”, seen in the illustration above as that small, red appendage just off California’s coastline.
A multi-level factoring job on this particular El Niño.

A good read on the cross-influence of fabled El Niño in our warming-quickly world can be found this morning at PRI:

“In some sense, what we’re seeing around the world right now is an advanced view of the sort of things that we’ll see more of in the future — all of the weather systems being somewhat more vigorous than they have been in the past, the risk of both droughts in some regions and flooding in other regions,” says climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
El Niño is essentially a “mini global warming” event, Trenberth explains.
It arises from a build-up of heat in the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The warm ocean waters and higher sea levels begin in the western tropical Pacific and then spread to the central and eastern Pacific.
The warm tropical ocean releases additional water vapor into the atmosphere through evaporation.

The effects of an El Niño can be overwhelming: The summer of 2015 saw a record number of hurricanes and typhoons in the Philippines, Japan, China, Taiwan and Vietnam — the largest number of Category Four and Five storms on record by a substantial amount, according to Trenberth.
Changing weather patterns also brought a major drought to Indonesia, with a tremendous number of wildfires, while here in the US, major flooding occurred along the Mississippi River, especially in the state of Missouri.
In fact, Trenberth says, during November and December the state of Missouri had three times its normal rainfall.
The previous record had been about twice the normal amount of rainfall.
All of this means that countries around the world and some states in the US need to take lessons from this relatively short-term surge in temperatures and begin planning to cope with the more persistent, long-term changes likely to arise from climate change, Trenberth says.

In the face of the world going to shit in a wire basket, there’s still no real hope — and even hoping might be a problem. A new psychology study suggests that some forms of “positive thinking” have limited value in the fight against depression — and could even be a hindrance.
Via PsyPost on Saturday: ‘The research, published in the journal Psychological Science, found people who fantasized about an idealized future tended to have fewer depressive symptoms in the present, but faced more depressive symptoms in the future.’

Worrisome weirdness…

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