Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ridiculously Resilient Ridge

It's been warm here in Southern California this week. 90 degree temperatures in April are not "normal", but it appears we all will need to start getting used to it from what I'm reading on the Weather Underground blog.

When we were living in Phoenix, I used to have a morning ritual where I went around the house opening up windows and the 9 foot tall front door (leaving the zombie-proof security screen door closed) to get cool morning air into the house before the Sonoran Desert furnace kicked in to raise temperatures into the triple digits around 9 or 10am.  With the recent Southern California heat wave, I've renewed this ritual in our Orange County home.  Weather Underground has a station that is less than a mile from my house, and is about 75 feet lower in elevation than me, so its temperature / humidity / wind / rain data is very local and relevant (KCALAGUN22).  The site's graphic temperature-over-time displays are pretty cool as well.

But what really caught my attention this morning was a story on the lower right margin with a hot link: California Drought/Polar Vortex Jet Stream Pattern Linked to Global Warming
Dr Jeff Masters (a PhD, all that book learnin'...  what does he know anyways) pointed out a very detailed paper by S.-Y. Simon Wang of Utah State University, published in Geophysical Research Letters entitled "Probable causes of the abnormal ridge accompanying the 2013-14 California drought: ENSO precursor and anthropogenic warming footprint" (link here).  I am sure Fox News devotees will decry and deny this as "junk science" or liberal elitist 'the sky is falling' chicken-littleism.  But actually...   the sky is not falling.  The "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" of high pressure is keeping any rain from falling, for long periods of time - significantly long periods of time from the geological record.

But what do I know?  I'm just a dumb old engineer that no one listens to anymore anyways.  Happy Thursday to everyone.

Dr Master's has an Excellent list of relevant links for further reading at the end of his article.  (applying that whole peer reviewed, verifiably tested accuracy, thorough & rigorous scientific method again...  instead of just believing what Rupert Murdoch tells him to believe)  If you want to completely depress yourself, and have hours of spare time to read them, browse through the long list.

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