The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hope for Texas: Moderate to Large El Nino

Speaking of El Nino, the forecast is definitely for a moderate event at least this winter. Some groups are calling for a large event.



This is great news for us here in south-central Texas, and where drought conditions are currently extreme. It's been six weeks of remarkably hot and dry weather even by local standards. It amazes me that so many plants are still looking healthy. Soil moisture is so close to zero as not to make a difference.



Fortunately, El Nino (negative SOI) correlates positively with precipitation. Unfortunately, there's several months ahead before we collect on this promise.



I wonder, though, what a strong El Nino event might do for public perceptions of climate change. We might be due for some strange episodes. I have some pretty clear memories of the great Montreal ice storm in the 1998 El Nino.

We've been trained to say that "no individual event can be attributed directly to climate change", and talk about loaded dice, etc. The next really big El Nino we will put us in uncharted territory, though. I wonder if the campaign to get El Nino language into the climate debate territory isn't partly just an effort to deflect the attention to climate change that whatever weirdness we see in the next year might bring.

Even so, speaking as a Texan, (and I may live to regret this) if you've got some El Nino handy, bring it on down to my place, honey! It can't be much worse than what we've got already.

6 comments:

Kim said...

I went without power for a week (in Vermont) in the '98 El Nino. But now I live in Colorado, where El Nino is rumored to bring lots of snow. (That's local wisdom; the exact effects seem to vary.) So yes, bring it on!

Aaron said...

The best way to appreciate a rainstorm is from the back of a horse while working cattle. With the current drought, you might be able to pick up some ranch land, stock it, and make a Texas profit. Of course, that is only if you really think it is going to rain.

thingsbreak said...

Even so, speaking as a Texan, (and I may live to regret this) if you've got some El Nino handy, bring it on down to my place, honey! It can't be much worse than what we've got already.

I'm sure there are plenty of people along South America's Western coast or in Northern Oz who'd be just as happy not dealing with an El NiƱo of any significance...

Horatio Algeranon said...

"speaking as a Texan, (and I may live to regret this) if you've got some El Nino handy, bring it on down to my place, honey!

And Horatio thought you were only in it for the gold...

The nation's top party schools, according to Princeton Review's 2009 survey of 122,000 students.

1. Penn State University, State College, Pa.

2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
...
7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas


"Bring it on down to my place honey," indeed!

(Regret it yet?)

Michael Tobis said...

It's a reference to a Bob Wills song that's practically a Texas anthem (not that there's a shortage of those).

There's no telling what ol' Bob was referring to, though.

Hank Roberts said...

So, how would this play in Texas?

http://www.scientificblogging.com/science_20/tangential_science_sometimes_naked_girls_are_just_excuse