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How do we get relief from this weather pattern and the drought? How will the exceptional drought caused by the Blob and the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge come to an end? I posed this question at the end of my previous article The Blob versus El Niño. Our best hope is a strong El Niño.
Creative minds are proposing to build a big water mover that could stir up the warm Blob water enough to disperse it. Something like an over-sized egg beater or so. That’s not going to happen.
How about enlisting conspiracy theorists to contribute some productive ideas for a change?
Conspiracy theorists claim that the US government has created a giant machine to influence and change the weather. Tell me, why has Governor Brown not asked the federal government to use their fancy HAARP machine to dissolve the Blob? That would be a good and beneficial use of the secret weapon.
Oh, I see. The government can not do that without disclosing the existence of the top-secret ‘weather machine’.
But what about another favorite of conspiracy theorists: Chemtrails?
Conspiracy theorists also claim that the government is sending hundreds of high-flying planes every day to spray concoctions of unknown chemicals into the high atmosphere to, you guessed it, influence and change the weather. Would it not make sense to send a few Chemtrail planes to spray some sort of sunblock into the sky over the Blob to cool the ocean surface temperature a bit?
Evil Chemtrails in the UK (en.Wikipedia)
No, doesn’t work either. It is a covert operation and the government claims Chemtrails do not exist. Well, that leaves us with practically nothing. Or does it?
Enter a well-known price fighter: El Niño.
El Niño is a series of climatic changes in the equatorial region of the Pacific. These events result in warm surface water moving north along the west coast of the Americas. El Niño occurs irregularly. It brings nutrient-poor, warm ocean water to northern latitudes. Many of us will remember the last strong El Niño. It occurred in 1997/98 and brought very heavy rainfall and storms to California. Anyone who lived through it will not forget it ever. Since then we have had only weak incidents of El Niño. Nevertheless even a weak El Niño brings rain and maybe snow to the western coastal states.
Yet only a strong El Niño can save us from the drought or at least bring significant relief.
But there is a problem. The Blob consists of unusually warm ocean water. Warm ocean water creates El Niño conditions. Doesn’t adding warm ocean water from the equatorial Pacific to already warm Blob water strengthen the Blob and increase its negative effects on our climate?
Yes and no. It certainly would reinforce the Blob if the ocean remained as unusually calm as it has been in the last few years. The Blob remained as strong and stationary as it is because of the lack of strong cooling winds over the ocean surface. Strong winds blowing over the ocean create wave action. And heavy wave action cools the unusually warm water of the Blob. Thus, without storms El Niño would indeed only add warm water to warm water. El Niño would reinforce the Blob instead of weakening it.
Fortunately, El Niño not only brings warm ocean water but also strong winds and stormy weather. We are hoping that this year’s El Niño will bring strong winds to churn up the warm ocean water enough for some good cooling.
The ultimate question is: Will we indeed have a strong El Niño in 2015 and 2016?
Meteorologists have wavered between yes and no for many months. Their data did not allow reliable conclusions and predictions until March or April of this year. This has changed dramatically as the following image of the impending encounter between the Blob and El Niño shows.
Developing El Niño versus the Blob encounter as of mid- August 2015(Gannet)
NOOA scientist are now convinced that we will see very strong El Niño conditions later this year and into next. In fact, they now predict a monster El Niño to arrive sometimes around November. A Godzilla El Niño so to speak. Possibly stronger than the El Niño of 1997/98.
The following image compares the water temperatures around the equator in 1997 with the present temperatures. At first glance it does not look like a monster El Niño in the making. The El Niño band of 1997 is much darker than the current one. But let’s keep in mind that the present El Niño conditions are still developing. The ocean water has another four months to heat up.
Sea surface temperature anomalies comparison 1997 and July 2015 (NOOA)
Temperature charts will look different in November. Nonetheless the most striking difference between the two conditions is the vast swath of warm water along the west cost of the United States all the way up to Alaska and to the west. It was missing in 1997; no red blotches indicating unusually warm water.
The Blob makes all the difference. The July 2015 image of the Blob also shows Blob waters starting to mix with warm equatorial surface water from El Niño. Looks to me like we are in for a fight of epic proportions. Monster Blob versus Godzilla El Niño.
That would be good news for drought stricken California. Unfortunately, there is a fair chance that the Blob will manage to ￼keep rain away from the northern parts of the West Coast. The Blob maintains RRR, the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, that reaches from the West Coast to the east. For details see my article The Blob versus El Niño.
We need heavy and prolonged rain and snow in Northern California. An excellent snow pack on the mountains will bring relief from the drought or get rid it. Snowfall in the northern parts of the state, not torrential rains in southern California, is the solution. Most of the rain in southern California runs right into the ocean without replenishing water reservoirs. Our ‘rivers’ are forced into concrete flood channels taking the rainwater to the ocean as fast as possible.
Here in Southern California we get mudslides, erosion, washed out roads and bridges from El Niño. But we need an end to the drought. Our farmers needs to get back to growing rice in the desert, alfalfa for Arab racehorses and almonds for Chinese palates. Boar hunters in the nether regions of California need mud wallows and acorn mast to keep the remaining wild pigs happy.
Let us hope that Godzilla El Niño will prevail against the evil Monster Blob.