The last few days have been a near perfect example of the “April Showers Bring May Flowers”. We’ve had rain and heavy overcast for most of the time. I’ve got little puddles of water in any waterproof pot that was sitting out and I’ve got a bit too much water in the catch basin of some of my potted plants.
The only problem is that it’s May, not April.
We usually get a couple of these mid April, and by May, it’s pretty dry. Sometimes it’s possible to have rain this late, but for the last couple of decades it has been “Tomatoes in the ground April 16th and sunny / hot starts in May going through to October”. First sprinkles of rain about Halloween, but not a single rained out Halloween in over 1/4 century for me. May, June, July, August, September, October typically just dry. (On the odd occasion, there is a wet week in August where we’ll get a sprinkle or two, occasionally it runs into 2 weeks. Just enough to make the peach farmers nervous about the harvest and ‘brown rot’).
Our “water year” runs from October forward. November, December, January and February are usually some mix of cold and wet. March and April turn to spring showers. The occasional Early November a bit dry and warm, but sometimes with rain and snow in the mountains. (There is an ongoing gamble about Thanksgiving Skiing… will the resorts be open for it, or not? It’s a good marker for warm / dry years vs cold / wet years. Lately we’ve had Thanksgiving skiing…) That leaves May as a bit of a warm dry transition into the hot dry summer and fall.
But as I sit looking out my office window, I’m staring at a cold cloudy sky. “First Tomatoes picked” are sometimes as early as the end of June. At this point, it’s hardly even been “decent to plant” and the nights are not staying above 50 F for fruit set anyway. July might hold some hope of a tomato… A visit to the local nurseries show a lot of tomatoes in pots waiting sale. I’ve had years where a May planting attempt was met with empty shelves as all the tomatoes had sold out into the warm April weather… Folks are just not feeling that “Spring Garden Time” weather motivation…
Is It Just Me?
So, is it “just me” thinking this? Is there some objective evidence?
Nope, not just me. Notice that the whole place is pretty much on the “way cold” side except in one small spot north east of Bakersfield and the LA Basin Urban Jungle. Frankly, I’d go check the thermometer near Bakersfield and see if it is on top of a heated building… L.A. is just wall to wall buildings and cars, so I’d expect it to be a bit warm.
How have the “MAX” temps been doing? In a “warming world” they ought to be going higher:
Those purple splotches are from 6 F to 10 F Below Normal. Even the “warmer” greens near where I am are 2 F to 4 F Below Normal.
“Hey Al Baby!! This was not the Global Warming I was promised!! Deliver on the deal! I want my Tomato Weather and I want it now!!”… After all, a promise is a promise…
How about the MIN trend in the last couple of months?
Gee, they’ve been a bit to the ‘cool side’ too… At least outside the Urbanized areas of Reno-Carson City and the LA to San Bernardino Urban Jungle…
So, about those MIN and MAX temps…longer term
I’ve had a bit of frustration for a while trying to tease out the Min and Max differential for the GHCN data set.
However, at this site:
with their “data products” here:
I think I’ve found an easier way to get insight into that whole Min / Max thing. They have conveniently provided MIN and MAX anomaly maps.
So, in a “warming world” how much hotter is our MAX temp going? Are we just “burning up” on that daily hotter than normal side?
Well. Looks mighty cold on the MAX side. Other than that one spot (where I’d expect a bogus thermometer given what’s going on all around it… looks to be about Ridgecrest to me, just North East of Bakersfield) that has some warmth. The rest of the place is in the Minus Side Of Life, and up to -5 F anomaly for that violet patch. That’s for the whole year. It’s just been “No Joy” on the heat this year.
How about the “cold side”? Those MIN readings?
Well, more “balanced” with a mix of blue/green vs yellow/red. An “eyeball average” might give a tiny advantage to the “warmed a bit” side.
There is a nice map of California here:
for anyone who would like to find any urbanization near any of those hot spots. To me it looks like The San Bernardino Valley (that has had a lot of urbanization) is showing hotter in winter, along with the Reno Sparks Nevada area down toward Carson City (the State Capital). That north central hot spot looks to be in Burney Falls to me. A nice tourist destination for the Burney Falls trail that has reopened.
As I see this map, it’s showing a fair degree of UHI from the 37,000,000 or so people here, now. (It was about 19,000,000 when I first started paying attention… about when I was in college IIRC).
OK, at BEST, the lows are not getting lower and we’ve got a couple of UHI “hot spots”. At worst, we’re in a significant turn to the cold side and are going to have problems growing plants (that NEED heat, that must reach their total ‘degree days’ to perform and are just not getting the warmth/love they need…).
To me, it’s pretty darned clear that “Warming” it aint. Best you can call it is “narrowing temperature range”.
There is another view available from the Western Regional Climate Center in this graph from their site:
Far less detail, but a clear picture of a cooler place:
Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Some Other Day
We, like much of the rest of the world, have had “excess rain”. (Australia, South America, Sri Lanka, and a host of others have been dumped on too).
So far this “water season” we’ve got most of the State above normal and the mountains just getting buried in snow. Up to 300% of “normal”.
All that water and snow represents excess heat sucked out of the ocean, dumped to the upper troposphere / lower stratosphere, and the “condensate” returned to earth for recycle. The oceans are dumping heat to space and we’re seeing the results here on land as the “cold pole” of the heat engine is where the condensate collects.
You can see it happening all over the world, as excess rainfall happens. You can see it in the flooding Mississippi basin in truly gigantic form.
Welcome to the cold transition of the PDO swap.