Snow Job

February 19, 2016

464_PineOvercast with occasional bursts of bright sunshine this Friday morning on California’s north coast. We had a goodly downpour for a couple of hours starting just at first light, more than an inch it appears, according to the NWS thingy.
And then just quickly throttled way back — still heavy-cloudy, but with some gorgeous sun every-once-in-awhile.

Dusting of snow this morning reportedly in Kneeland, down southeast of where I’m located — half-an-inch and supposedly still falling at about 2,600 feet.

(Illustration: ‘Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay,’ by F.H. Varley, found here).

Despite the slowdown in storms this month, accumulation of snow between last mid-November and this mid-January, was apparently a way-nice haul, one of the better snowfalls in literal years.
From the LA Times this morning:

Across Northern California, skiers and water officials are heartened by the recovering snowpack, which last year had amounted to 5 percent of its normal water content — the lowest in 500 years, based on studies of tree rings.
“Five percent,” David Rizzardo, chief of snow surveys and water supply forecasting for the Department of Water Resources, recalled with awe.
“There’s only five other numbers that could be lower than that. It knocked the record out of the books.”
The record low had prompted statewide drought emergency measures and forced ski resorts to shut down early.
Now, with the state’s snowpack averaging 94 percent of normal for this time of year, officials are cautiously optimistic this winter could offer a measure of drought relief.
In January alone, Sacramento had 17 days of rain.
Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, has seen more than 26 feet of snow this winter — 40 percent more than the total for all last season, from November to May.
Going into March, there’s a good chance most of California will see above-average precipitation, climate experts said.

Water officials are also banking on more snow in the coming months.
Rizzardo, the snow survey chief, scrutinizes the numbers each day like the statistics for a fantasy football team.
To come close to digging California out of the drought, he estimated, the full Sierra range needs 150 pecent of its average by April — an ambitious benchmark even with all the precipitation so far this winter.
As of Thursday, the northern Sierra measured 97 percent of average for this time of year; the central Sierra 96 percent of average; and the southern portion 87 percent.
“We’re over here cheering. It’s like your team’s gunning for the playoffs and they’re doing good,” Rizzardo said.
“But we’ve got to pick up the pace a little bit if we want to get to that 150 percent.”

And though it’s important to have snow banked for the summer, Rizzardo said any precipitation this year — whether it’s rain or early melting snow — will help fill the state’s drought-parched reservoirs.
New Melones in the central Sierra foothills, for example, is still at 18 percent of capacity.
“The key right now is reservoir storage,” he said.
“So however the water makes its way in there, we’re quite happy to catch it.”

Climate change’s biggest contribution comes from the word, ‘exacerbate,’ which just means to amplify, or worsen, an already existing problem. Or create something new with tools at hand, like an unnatural amount of CO2 in the air/environment.
As the world’s climate starts to really shift, some places will suffer more than others, at first, of course.

New research published in the journal Nature on Wednesday identified how areas of the globe handle the heat.
Via HuffPost this morning:

The prairie regions of central Asia and North America, rainforests in Central America and South America, and eastern Australia all have one thing in common: They are among the most sensitive land ecosystems on Earth when it comes to climate change.

The Washington Post reported that Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, an ecologist at George Mason University in Virginia who was not involved in the study, called the new study “an important advance.”
“But it is by definition an underestimate of sensitivity because biological interactions (like bark beetles in coniferous forests and bleaching events in corals) show major ecosystem impacts can occur on top of and as part of vegetation or ecosystem impacts,” Lovejoy told the newspaper.
“All the more reason to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.”

All the more reason…’

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