Saturday, July 29, 2006


[image source]

It's been raining for a couple of hours this morning, which in the desert means lightning and thunder. This is the fourth day in a row that we've had night time rains, and the last three have started after midnight and lasted into the morning. We had a couple of mornings that reminded me of Seattle -- gray skies, drizzle. Very unusual.

As much as I am sleep-deprived from being awakened by heavy rain and thunder, I am immensely grateful for the rain. The monsoon has been weird this year, starting with a week-long cycle of rain and then disappearing for nearly three weeks. But now it's back and dropping lots of needed rain.

At least one of the local weather reporters blames the strange monsoon on shifting temperature patterns in the oceans that have changed the flow of weather over the North American continent. He points to the heat in California and the record temperatures throughout the country as proof that things have gone awry.

I don't know.

Average temperatures for this part of the desert are predicted to increase by three to five degrees over the next 25-75 years (based on best available research models). Others (Dept. of Defense) think this is part of a natural cycle that will get worse in the next 10-20 years before producing an average drop of around 4 degrees in northern hemisphere temperatures.

Either way, things are pretty screwed up. So, for today, I am grateful for the rain we have been getting. I hope that it continues to rain regularly for the rest of this monsoon cycle.

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1 comment:

Mike said...

Hi Bill. My fiance and I were talking about this just the other day (weather changes, global warming, etc.). We were discussing first how many government officials, and some of their scientists, were expressing disbelief in global warming. And then reports came out of the administration's changing of the wording of the big environmental report put out a year or so back.

And so the last few big studies of global warming have finally brought just about everyone onboard. But we were talking about how we've asked many poeple around us and nearly everyone gives anecdotal evidence for how different weather patterns are now from what they were 20, or even 10, years ago (at least in Chicago), mostly based on strange temperatures in various seasons occurring much more frequently.

Now, I'm an engineer, so I understand fully, and expect, statistical aberrations in normal weather patterns—some years we're going to have a spike or big dip in temp on a number of days; that just happens. I also understand that anecdotal evidence isn't exactly proof positive. :) But here's my thought. There is an awful lot of anecdotal evidence by people (even accounting for faulty memory, exaggeration, etc.) based on my own "experiments." Also, I'm no climatologist, but "this is part of a natural cycle that will get worse in the next 10-20 years before producing an average drop of around 4 degrees" seems to be quite a temperature swing in average northern hemisphere temps over that MICROSECOND of geological time. There's lots of evidence about earth's cycles, and of course we're ALWAYS operating within an earth cycle, but I don't think they usually occur over such a small time span.

Nice post, Bill!