Skip to comments.El Niño Unlikely to Solve California Drought
Posted on 08/19/2015 7:35:49 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Some weather experts are predicting heavy rainfall this year in California, thanks to an El Niño that many hope will put an end to the historic drought.
This is the Godzilla EL Niño if it matures and comes to fruition, Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASAs Jet Propulsion Lab, told NBC News last week.
A recent statement released by Californias state climatologist Michael Anderson sings a different tune.
California cannot count on potential El Niño conditions to halt or reverse drought conditions, he wrote. Historical weather data shows us that at best, there is a 50/50 chance of having a wetter winter.
So just how likely is it that this years El Niño will put an end to the drought? Not very likely, experts told NBC Bay Area.
To start, storm prediction is tricky business. Weather forecasting models typically run about two weeks out, but winterand the impact of El Niñois still several months away.
As a result, its difficult to make an accurate prediction, said Jeanine Jones, Interstate Resources Manager at the California Department of Water Resources.
A look at data from past El Niño winters wont help much either, says Jay Lund of the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. He says that data for Northern California shows very little correlation between El Niño and heavy rainfall.
Youll see that there are some very low and very high El Niño events that have a lot of precipitation and very little precipitation, he added, referencing the graph below, which measures El Niño strength and corresponding streamflow.
Theres no evidence of a pattern there, Lund says.
In other words, El Niño could mean a lot of rain, or no rain at all in Northern California.
Southern California sees a greater correlation between the weather pattern and rainfall thanks to geographic proximity to El Niño.
The strongest correlation geographically is up at the Pacific Northwest, and down into Southern California and into the Mexico coast, said Jeanine Jones. Where we are in Northern California is in sort of a gray zone that can go either way.
That gray zone is exacerbated by a ridge of high pressure, called the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, which buffers the Bay Area from stormy weather.
If we have a strong high pressure ridge off the coast, we dont get storms, Jones said.
But even if the ridge doesnt block El Niño, and fierce rainfall does arrive this winter, it still isnt likely to end Californias drought.
For some of the reservoirs, a half decent flood will fill them up pretty well, said UC Davis Jay Lund. Some of the larger reservoirs, itll take more than that.
It could take decades or even a century to fill up some of those aquifers, Lund added.
While heavy rains would certainly help quench Californias thirst, the claim that a wet winter is a 50/50 proposition is true.
We can predict with 100% certainty that in 100 years the earth will be 200 degrees warmer unless we stop using SUVs but we can’t predict 1 season’s rainfall.
END GLOBAL WEATHER NOW!!!
I really wasn’t disagreeing with the El Nino thing. I was talking about how every time the flooding starts, the buffoons are out there shouting, “This isn’t going to help the drought! This isn’t going to help the drought.” They pull the same crap here in Arizona. If the whole state was underwater, they’d be some idiot on TV saying “This isn’t going to help the drought!”
What will help the drought? Twenty-four months without rain?
My wife keeps saying it is going to be bad, I just can’t believe anything from any meteorologist any more.. How often are they right?
California publications also said each of the last two years, that El Nino would end the drought.
Deport 10 million illegals and the problem is self-correcting.
And if they tried to funnel off rainfall into reservoirs, the EPA would claim ownership of the rainwater and tell them to cease and desist...
there are those who would destroy the dams already in place....
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