Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's a Beautiful Day; Climate Change Has Arrived!

Figure 1.
Winter temperatures in coastal Southern California have been
far above any other year in living memory prior to 2014.
As the cool coastal fog and Mediterranean climate fade into distant memories it's very disturbing to hear the most ubiquitous phrase uttered by unaware people whenever the sun makes an appearance "What a Beautiful Day"! Such beautiful days are usually accompanied by dirty air, unnatural heat, high humidity, spare the air days, and cars-full of people spewing CO2 in a frantic effort to seek some relief from the heat (at their Peninsula homes) by traveling to the coast!  In the past heat waves inland usually generated wonderful fog banks on the coast that served as a deterrent to large crowds seeking sun by traveling to the coast. This has all changed Climate Change has arrived and the population at Half Moon Bay and surrounding areas are getting a first hand experience of how Climate Change is adversely affecting their very way and quality of life. Increased traffic is just the beginning, consider the warming ocean, with many warm water species, birds, fish and turtles appearing in cooler northern latitudes, many species are seeing a diminished food supply as sardines and anchovies to name a couple are getting re-distributed and species that depend on this food supply are dying in droves, California Seal Lions and Common Murres come to mind! Sea levels are rising and the surf is pounding the coast causing much damage and emergency repairs, Surfers Beach, Miramar, and Pacifica are being particularly hard hit. Reduced fog on the coast will adversely effect the remaining redwood trees as their moisture comes from the fog.

Figure 2
If you take the pulse of local people thru conversations and web sites such as Nextdoor the prevalent concern is increased traffic on the coast.  People speculate, oh it's the tunnel or we need roundabouts, more traffic lights, more lanes, more roads, but Climate Change, you must be kidding? As a long term coastal resident, there is no question Climate Change is adversely affecting our traffic and has been for several years. In the past warm clear weather brings people in droves driving highway 92 from the hot peninsula to the coast to seek relief from the heat and enjoy beautiful days in cool comfort. This is especially true in the summer on weekend days. We have been in a drought now for 4 years and even after finally getting average rain this year the drought persist and and the temperatures climb. In the past coastal residents got breaks from the gridlock traffic thanks to large beautiful fog banks that would envelop the coast for days on end in summer and winter. In winter time rains would dampen the the desires of visitors to clog our streets. That's gone, our wonderful cool Mediterranean climate has changed, and the once cool coast is heating up in disturbing fashion!  The chart below (figure 1) by NOAA shows the average coastal temperatures from January-March for coastal Southern California from 1900 to present day.   Winter temperatures in coastal Southern California have been far above any other year in living memory prior to 2014. Figure 2 shows the mean temperatures for February thru March 2016 and the deviation from the 1981-2010 normal distribution. Consider this it took a strong El Niño to produce just average rain, the next El Niño may be 18 years away, a long time to wait for drought relief!

Meanwhile climate deniers sit at their computers, google scientific nonsense and spin it to fit their uninformed beliefs. I have a suggestion for such folks, get acquainted with your very own habitat, peek outside, take a walk, look at the trees and clouds, they have a message for you, our planet is stressed, mankind is exploiting and raping it's very own support system, the planet will survive, mankind, it's doubtful!    

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