California Drought Report #31 – El Niño?

The SAC Bee is reporting:

El Niño? Yes. Gully-washing winter? Well, maybe — Meteorologists are seeing a connection to the big rains and floods in Texas. . .

elninometer-currentThe El Niño is getting stronger. NOAA is predicting a super El Niño, which could result in the development of an atmospheric river, often referred to newspapers and on TV as the Pineapple Express. This a general term for such narrow corridors of enhanced water vapor transport at mid-latitudes around the world.

These atmospheric rivers are often created by the Madden-Julian oscillation, an equatorial rainfall pattern which feeds its moisture into this jet stream pattern. These conditions are often present during a strong El Niño episode.

In the winter of 1861-62, an El Niño winter, an atmospheric river of moisture battered the West Coast for 45 days, flooding the Sacramento Valley. The historic details can be found HEREHistorianNS5-4

Bottom line? We could go from drought to flooding and then right back to a drought again. The question is will be be prepared for a flood, given all the attention leaders are focusing on dealing with the drought?

Update: Drought followed the flood according the  Historian:

The “Farmer’s” prediction of next year’s crops increasing was premature, for one of California’s worst droughts set in. “It began in the fall of 1862 and lasted to the winter of 1864-1865.”73 Crops failed and cattle now died of star· vation instead of drowning. The amount of rainfall in the valley for 1862 to 1864 was as follows: For the season of 1862-1863, the rainfall was 11.6 inches, and in 1863-1864, it was 7.8 inches. The seriousness of the drought is demonstrated by comparing the average seasonal rainfall of approximately twenty inches to these figures.


About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
This entry was posted in Analysis, California, Drought. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to California Drought Report #31 – El Niño?

  1. Todd Juvinall says:

    I just read that the Antarctic is gaining more ice. Is that really true?


    • Russ Steele says:

      Yes, record antarctic ice!


      • stevefrisch says:

        Ah, once again conflating sea ice with terrestrial ice. Nicely done piece of jabberwocky.


      • Todd Juvinall says:

        Yes, I see your point. Ice formed by cold temperatures on the sea is different than ice formed by cold temperatures on the land. OK. Got it.


      • stevefrisch says:

        OK Todd, let me see if I can make this easy for you. Ice formed in the ocean displaces water and forms seasonally so it has no net effect on sea level. Ice formed on land is a result of precipitation, and is stored on land as ice sheets, thus it does not contribute to sea level rise.

        Melt or form ice in the ocean nothing happens…..melt or form ice on land and sea level rises and falls.

        Is that simple enough?


      • Todd Juvinall says:

        So cold has nothing to do with the differences between ice formed at sea or the land? OK, got it. Psst, everyone else, I think he is nuts.


  2. Russ Steele says:

    Note: The Historian has an reference the rain fall in Nevada County. 32 inches fell in 48 hours.


Comments are closed.