Super Historic

California just received some much needed rainfall. What made it remarkable, however, was that it fell in July, a summer month, while our winter months were almost dry.

Says Washington Post

“Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five places that had the most rain ever recorded on any day in July, Sirard said.

“July is typically the driest month of the year in Southern California. Because of that, Saturday’s 0.36 inch of rain in downtown Los Angeles exceeded the 0.24 inch recorded July 14, 1886, which had been the wettest July day in nearly 130 years, Sirard said.

“It looks like we’re probably going to get more rain downtown this evening,” Sirard said. “It looks like there’s a good chance the monthly record is going to go up. Really, this is super historic.”

In eastern states summer rainfall is common. But not here. California gets the bulk of its rain in the fall and winter months.

What’s interesting to me is that as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises, the climate is set mimic that of the Miocene. During that epoch rainfall in the summer was common in California. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, likely from the active volcanism of the time, being the driver. The result was a warmer, greener, more tropical world.

This began to change in the middle Miocene when other changes gradually developed, cooling the planet.

People here will welcome rain however it comes. And for awhile it may have beneficial effects on plant growth. But, except for the short-term, this is nothing to celebrate. Were we to suddenly stop injecting CO2 into the atmosphere today it would be interesting to see how a return to the middle Miocene-like climate would play out. But we aren’t stopping at 400 ppm. As atmospheric carbon continues to rise so will global warming with all of its negative effects.

Note: after writing this post I’ve decided to remove some unnecessarily complicating detail.

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5 thoughts on “Super Historic

  1. One thing to note, the oceans have warmed significantly in recent years because they’ve been taking up excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Just look at the north pacific ‘blob’ as one sign. That explains the ‘pause’ in land surface warming. When an El Nino, and the one that’s shaping up these last few months promises to be a Super El Nino, releases that heat back into the atmosphere, the earth will warm appreciably. Add that to the already warmer atmosphere and suddenly all those rosy forecasts California weather casters will be dishing out when the rain starts to fall looks not so wonderful for the rest of us.

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    • I don’t know that CO2 in the oceans heats them, but certainly CO2 in the atmosphere heats it up and the oceans absorb that heat. CO2 in the oceans does acidify them though, a serious problem.

      Yes, I think it will be an interesting winter!

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  2. Right, that’s what I meant to say of course. The heat in the atmosphere is being transferred into the ocean. But yes, some carbon in the atmosphere is acidifying the ocean.

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