Sunday, March 2, 2014

A little drought relief, but not much

The same thing has happened w/ all my blogs - I start them out thinking i will deal w/ one thing, and then something comes up, and they evolve. This one started being about skies, clouds. Then November, December, and January passed in Nor.Cal., w/ next to no rain, and the we are hearing 'drought' in the media. So the blog evolves.

Feb 5 - We got a little something comin' our way, but not a soaker, looks like just some showers.
"The North Coast needs an additional foot of rain between now and May just to get back to drought conditions seen in 1977, and even then Lake Mendocino could still go bone dry by autumn for the first time in recorded history, water officials said Tuesday."

Got a very interesting book to read in the evening in between Netflix DVD deliveries: 'Cadillac Desert' by Mark Reisner, published in 1986 is an excellent book about the west and it's water. Or lack of it.
John Wesley Powell was one of the most well known and wise of the first explorers, and already, in his travels he could see the problems that lay ahead.

Lake Powell (above) is another huge reservoir that many consider an abomination.

SF gets it's water from Hetch Hetchy:
There are those who would want to restore HH to it's previous condition, a river valley that is not dammed. What does SF do for water then?

Then there's the history of Owens lake, drained to slake L.A.'s thirst.
Today, some of the flow of the river has been restored, and the lake now contains some water. Nevertheless, in 2013, it is the largest single source of dust pollution in the United States.
The page starts w/ the text - "exploitation" - That says it all, doesn't it?
(Many good photos here.)

A few more good links:

 Lake Mead, above

Finally, Friday 6 PM 2/7, we get a little bit of rain, not quite 'cats and dogs' but not far from it.
Will this end the drought? No way, we have a long way to go.

Pineapple Express is kicking in again. It's been sending moisture... over Oregon and Washington. Nothing gets here.
2/15 AM - Finally the P.E. drifts south. A satellite radar looks good, but is it raining in the SF bay area? Not yet...

Back east, where i spent my first 40 years, they are getting whacked recently, big time, snow, ice(frozen rain), sleet.
They just don't have many snowplows in Atlanta.
And forecasters cannot tell you everything.
"...forecasters need to understand the vertical structure of temperatures in the atmosphere — from high up in the atmosphere all the way down to surface temperatures — in order to figure out what type of precipitation will fall, and how much..."

At least we are doing much better then we did 100 years ago, when Galveston TX got hit pretty much unaware by a monster hurricane:

An interesting but needlessly visually longwinded graphic:
An El Nino year would be great:

But I ain't holdin' my breath.

We should never forget that settling the west was, and is, tenuous at best. We should have learned from the comings and goings of all previous native american cultures, who moved or disappeared when conditions made life impossible. In the internet age, I guess learning from the deep past is anathema to us all. Software that is a few years old is considered ancient history. So.. who cares about events of a few hundred or thousand years ago?

Back to 'rain', more recent.
Finally, the last few days of February, we get some good soakers with strong winds. Then of course we have other problems - power lines go down, roads get flash flooded, and areas that had recent wildfires are prone to mudslides.
To quote the pithy and hilarious 'Rose-anne-rose-anna-dana' (Gilda Radner/SNL in the 70's) "If it isn't one thing, it's anotha..."
One thing I like about these storms off the ocean is that after the main front passes, there is a period when some remaining storm energy passes thru, makes for on and off rain, and on & off sunlight, meaty clouds:


Somewhere along the way this month, there was a nice sunset:

This one isn't western, but it's too amazing not to mention:

Photo Credit: Jack Green, National Science Foundation

"A stunning sunrise at McMurdo Station in Antartica is made more dramatic by waves of nacreous, or polar stratospheric, clouds. These formations are polar clouds in the second layer of Earth's atmosphere, at altitudes between 49,000 feet to 82,000 feet (15,000 meters to 25,000 meters).

While beautiful to behold, polar stratospheric clouds are surprisingly destructive, and play a key role in the formation of ozone holes over Antartica and the Arctic, according to the Australian Antarctic Division, a branch of the Australian government's Department of the Environment. Polar stratospheric clouds provide a surface for chlorine gases in the atmosphere (from man-made chlorofluorocarbons and other pollutants) can react and form molecules that destroy ozone."

On this same page was a link to a really nice collection:

As I write on Sunday March 2, the forecast for the next week looks like this:

Look at all those potentially rainy clouds! Yabba-dabba-doo!
:-) :-) :-) :-)

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