California To Get Relief from Drought: El Niño to the Rescue

Forecasters Predict a Rainy Winter

California is finally set to get some drought relief …

Specifically, forecasters say a strong El Niño is heading our way.

Time gives odds:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said there is now a 90% chance that El Niño will last through the winter and an 80% chance it will last into spring 2016.

As does the Los Angeles Times:

Scientists say the likelihood that a significant El Niño will happen is more than 90%, and some models suggest there is a nearly 100% chance it will be strong this fall.

El Niño increases rainfall in California.

Forecasters say this could be the strongest El Niño in 50 years.  USA Today notes:

There is growing evidence California could see an even stronger El Niño event this winter than the 1997 one that caused massive flooding across Northern California.

Indeed, it could be so large that it sets “a new all-time record

However, even a very wet winter probably won’t be enough to erase California’s drought.  Scientific American reports:

“California would probably need to experience its wettest year on record (by a fairly wide margin) to erase ongoing deficits in a single year,” Swain wrote on his blog. “While it’s not physically impossible, that would be a very tall order, indeed.”


Wired provides figures:

The state would need about 150 percent of its normal rainfall to replenish its reservoirs (the groundwater situation is a little bit trickier).

See this and this for related stories.

Note: Wired and Accuweather point out that there are other factors which could still derail a wet winter.

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  • jadan

    Did forecasters predict a drought? No? But we can believe them when they predict the end of the drought. It’s just happy talk designed to generate happy feelings of rain which will rise joyously to the heavens and create rain.

  • kimyo

    if the recent solar research (Solar activity predicted to fall 60% in 2030s, to ‘mini ice age’ levels: Sun driven by double dynamo) proves correct, history indicates that conditions in california are likely to deteriorate.

    Persistent drought in North America: a climate modeling and paleoclimate perspective

    A millennium of North American droughts and pluvials

    For year after year across vast areas of North America rainfall was low. Summers were parched and the heat excessive. Plants withered and sand dunes moved freely across a formerly green landscape. Human settlements had to be abandoned and populations migrated, forcing social change. By some measures the drought lasted more than a decade.

    No, this is not a description of the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s but of the truly severe drought of the late thirteenth century, which coincided with the end of the Anasazi civilization. It could just as easily describe the severe drought of the late sixteenth century. Or it could describe the droughts of the mid-Holocene which so taxed the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains.

    the late thirteenth century drought also coincided with the wolf minimum.

    It is now clear that most of North America has, over the last millennium and throughout the Holocene, experienced prolonged droughts and pluvials equal or more extreme, and as long as or longer than, those in the Twentieth Century. The causes of these droughts and pluvials are unknown. We have only a murky idea of what is in store in the greenhouse future, but if we can understand the late Holocene hydrological history we will be in a better position to predict and understand future changes in hydrological conditions which could have important consequences for water resources, crops and rangelands.

    Decoding California’s Drought History

    While the Medieval period is an instructive analogue for the warming we are beginning to experience, it is an imperfect one. Two major factors separate the episode the Fremont and Anasazi experienced a thousand years ago from what we are just beginning to undergo today. First, Medieval warming appears to have been fostered by a combination of increased solar irradiance and decreased volcanic activity, rather than anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

    today, we’re looking at the exact opposite: decreased solar irradiance and increased volcanic activity. throughout history, this coincides with drought and fire on the west coast.

    Since the turn of the new Millennium, drought has been the norm rather than the exception in this region and the end is not in sight: As of May 1, 2009 surveys suggest that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is two-thirds of normal. What we can learn from Medieval times is not to expect “normally” moist conditions to return any time soon, and to plan accordingly.

    to a sane person, ‘plan accordingly’ would mean ‘stop it with the almonds and alfafa already’ (80% of california’s h2o goes to agriculture). governor brown, focused on reducing residential consumption (20% of the total), is clearly not sane.

    if the recent solar research(Solar activity predicted to fall 60% in 2030s, to ‘mini ice age’ levels: Sun driven by double dynamo) proves correct, history indicates that conditions in california are likely to deteriorate.

    Persistent drought in North America: a climate modeling and paleoclimate perspective

    A millennium of North American droughts and pluvials

    For year after year across vast areas of North America rainfall was low. Summers were parched and the heat excessive. Plants withered and sand dunes moved freely across a formerly green landscape. Human settlements had to be abandoned and populations migrated, forcing social change. By some measures the drought lasted more than a decade.

    No, this is not a description of the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s but of the truly severe drought of the late thirteenth century, which coincided with the end of the Anasazi civilization. It could just as easily describe the severe drought of the late sixteenth century. Or it could describe the droughts of the mid-Holocene which so taxed the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains.

    the late thirteenth century drought also coincided with the wolf minimum.

    It is now clear that most of North America has, over the last millennium and throughout the Holocene, experienced prolonged droughts and pluvials equal or more extreme, and as long as or longer than, those in the Twentieth Century. The causes of these droughts and pluvials are unknown. We have only a murky idea of what is in store in the greenhouse future, but if we can understand the late Holocene hydrological history we will be in a better position to predict and understand future changes in hydrological conditions which could have important consequences for water resources, crops and rangelands.

    Decoding California’s Drought History

    While the Medieval period is an instructive analogue for the warming we are beginning to experience, it is an imperfect one. Two major factors separate the episode the Fremont and Anasazi experienced a thousand years ago from what we are just beginning to undergo today. First, Medieval warming appears to have been fostered by a combination of increased solar irradiance and decreased volcanic activity, rather than anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

    today, we’re looking at the exact opposite: decreased solar irradiance and increased volcanic activity. throughout history, this coincides with drought and fire on the west coast.

    Since the turn of the new Millennium, drought has been the norm rather than the exception in this region and the end is not in sight: As of May 1, 2009 surveys suggest that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is two-thirds of normal. What we can learn from Medieval times is not to expect “normally” moist conditions to return any time soon, and to plan accordingly.

    to a sane person, ‘plan accordingly’ would mean ‘stop it with the almonds and alfafa already’ (80% of california’s h2o goes to agriculture). governor brown, focused on reducing residential consumption (20% of the total), is clearly not sane.

  • It is and will remain a phenomenon, here’s what experts say:

    Announcing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) outlook for the season Wednesday, NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan said that the 2015 season has the highest probability of a below average season since about 1998. This year is anticipated to see six to 11 tropical storms, between three and six of which could become hurricanes (with between zero and two of those having the potential to become major storm events). Between 1981 and 2010, each season saw an average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major storm events.

    “These numbers are below average for hurricane season, but below average doesn’t mean no pitches get thrown our way,” Sullivan said in a press call Wednesday. “No matter how many pitches Mother Nature throws at us, if just one of those pitches gets through the strike zone we could be in trouble.”

    tur virtual hotel

    • jadan

      So we’re in a baseball game with Mother Nature…..have mercy on us, Oh Gaia! We deserve what we get!

      • You know how to say wait a minute we deserved it and that’s only the beginning. Who pollutes all day? We humans of this planet. Maybe we should think twice before at least to pollute the planet.

        photo pour mariage