Sunday, March 30, 2014

We got some relief, but not much.

I have been watching this winter's weather unfold w/ no small amount of amusement.
I grew up back east, in Maine & New Hampshire. I remember winters well, there were only three colors, the white of snow, the green of pine trees, and the cold blue sky. Out west, where I am, the California coast, it's a bit more varied - we hope for rain, and variously green hillsides, partly cloudy skies. Which this year has not been the case. My color pallette has been confused by brown hills.
But at the beginning of March that hi pressure system that had been parked over the eastern Pacific drifted south, and the jet stream drifted south too...
and the 'storm door' opened:

....bringing... RAIN!

It also brought some nice clouds. I can't classify all these, or name them, there are many layers, some made a bit soft by a lowest layer of 'off the ocean mist'(light fog).


After they passed, it's been a cirrus sky.
These are definitely cirrus uncinus, a subform of cirrus clouds.


For more scientific stuff? go here:

It is interesting to note that cirrus clouds are also seen on other planets:
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune... if it is indeed a planet.

Above, probably Cirrus fibratus

Meanwhile, drought is the topic du jour. Just because we had some rain doesn't mean we are out of the woods, oh no, not by a long shot.

"Within the span of a single afternoon, it’s possible to witness the past, present, and future of water issues in the West. We accomplished this by driving past the Hoover Dam, through Las Vegas, and on into California via Death Valley."


Harpers Magazine:
Only viewable in full if you are a subscriber, but i strongly urge you become one.
It'll be the best 35$ you ever spent, i read the paper mag. from cover to cover.

Here's an excerpt:

"It was a river of drought, low enough that we could walk alongside the rafts, our feet sinking into the silky bottom. We had put in near Moab, Utah, at the mouth of Meander Canyon, where the Colorado River turns sluggish after racing out of the Rocky Mountains. There would be no worry about rapids for the next forty miles, not until Cataract Canyon, a stretch of white water that has a penchant for flipping boats and killing boatmen. Occasionally our rafts caught on sandbars and spun like lily pads, and we had to rally around them in the water and push. Where the flow deepened to the waist, a big-toothed writer named Bill deBuys, of New Mexico, who was once a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his book River of Traps, got out and swam. All but one of our party — the trip leader, John Weisheit, a slope-shouldered, slow-talking Moab river runner who had given up alcohol — popped open cold beers and jumped into the water, escaping the August heat as our boats drifted....."

For Imperial Valley farmers, abundant water amid drought.

While some areas of California face supply cutbacks because of the drought, the Imperial Valley has all the water it can use, thanks to senior rights on the Colorado River established decades ago.,0,7579263.story#ixzz2wGTQt7mb,0,7579263.story#axzz2wGTI6IQx

On the other hand.......
Most Central Valley growers to get no water from Central Valley Project,0,3521779.story

If L.A.'s the gauge, there doesn't seem to be a drought
By Tom Stienstra
Updated 9:52 pm, Sunday, March 2, 2014


Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises

Because they got there first, irrigation districts most Californians have never heard of have dibs on vast amounts of water upstream from the delta— even in times of drought.
Thanks to seniority, powerful Central Valley irrigation districts that most Californians have never heard of are at the head of the line for vast amounts of water, even at the expense of the environment and the rest of the state,0,4858708.story#axzz2wndwayXb

It's good to see that this talk about drought has brought the topic of water use in the west into the headlines, and fostered some discussion and attention.

"19th century policies underlie today's crises"
You reap what you sow.

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