After the Noachian floods in 1861, California experienced a punishing drought

Government drought, not ENSO related.

Guest post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue (using my AB History from Michigan)

The catastrophe modeling of the USGS extrapolates current damage$ based upon the scenario of the California floods of 1861-1862.  Quoting directly from the Southern California quarterly Volume 1 (1884) [Google Books is awesome]:  “During the months of December, 1861, and January, 1862, according to a record kept at San Francisco, 35 inches of rain fell, and the fall for the season footed up nearly 50 inches.”

“It began raining on December 24,1861, and continued for thirty days, with but two slight interruptions. The Star published the following local: ” A Phenomenon—On Tuesday last the sun made its appearance. The phenomenon lasted several minutes and was witnessed by a great number of persons.” For nearly three weeks there was no mail; some wag labeled the postoffice, ” To Let.”

After the deluge, what ? The drought. It began in the fall of 1862, and lasted to the winter of 1864-65. The rainfall for the season of 1862-63 did not exceed four inches, and that of 1863-64 was even less. In the fall of 1863 a few showers fell, but not enough to start the grass. No more fell until March. The cattle were dying of starvation. Herds of gaunt, skeleton-like forms, moved slowly over the plains in search of food.”

“If there is one characteristic of his State, of which the true Californian is prouder than another, it is its climate. With his tables of mean temperature and records of cloudless days and gentle sunshine, he is prepared to prove that California has the most glorious climate in the world. Should the rains descend and the floods prevail, or should the heavens become as brass, and neither the former nor the latter rains fall, these climatic extremes, he excuses on the plea of exceptional years.” (Guinn 1889)

Still quoting (actually just copying b/c the prose cannot be topped)

Here and there, singly or in small groups, poor brutes, too weak to move on, stood motionless with drooping heads slowly dying of starvation. It was a pitiful sight In the long stretch of arid plain between San Gabriel and the Santa Ana there was one oasis of luxuriant green. It was the vineyards of the Anaheim colonists kept green by irrigation. The colony lands were surrounded by a close willow-hedge, and the streets closed by gates. The starving cattle, frenzied by the Bight of something green, would gather around the inclosure and make desperate attempts to break through. A mounted guard patrolled the outside of the barricade day and night to protect the vineyards from incursion by the starving herds.

The loss of cattle was fearful. The plains were strewn with their carcasses. In marshy places and around the cienegas, where there was a vestige of green, the ground was covered with their skeletons, and the traveler for years afterward was often startled by coming suddenly on a veritable Golgotha—a place of skulls—the long horns standing out in defiant attitude, as if protecting the fieshless bones. It is said that 30,000 head of cattle died on the Stearns Ranchos alone. The great drought of 1863-64 put an end to cattle raising as the distinctive industry of Southern California.

…and more on the records of California floods…

In looking over the record of floods we find, as a rather remarkable coincidence, that for a period of fifty years, a flood has occurred every tenth year. Beginning with the season of 1811 and 1812 we find floods occurred in 1822-32—42-52 and 62. To establish a theory of decadal floods there should have been one in 1872 and in 1882, but both these were dry years—floods occurring in 1873-74 and 1883-84. Possibly the great flood of 1868 so confused Jupiter Pluvius that he lost his reckoning.

Let’s go back to 1852:

In January, 1850, the ” Argonauts of ’49 ” had their first experience of a California flood. The valley of the Sacramento was like an inland sea, and the city of Sacramento became a second Venice. But, instead of gondolas, the honest miners navigated the submerged streets in wagon-boxes, bakers’ troughs, crockery crates, and on rafts made of whisky-kegs. Whisky in hogsheads, whisky in barrels and whisky in kegs floated on the angry waters, and the gay gondolier, as he paddled through the streets, drew inspiration for his song from the bung-hole of his gondola.

A HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA FLOODS AND DROUGHT.
BY J. M. GUINN.

• [Read March 4, 1889.]

If there is one characteristic of his State, of which the true Californian is prouder than another, it is its climate. With his tables of mean temperature and records of cloudless days and gentle sunshine, he is prepared to prove that California has the most glorious climate in the world. Should the rains descend and the floods prevail, or should the heavens become as brass, and neither the former nor the latter rains fall, these climatic extremes, he excuses on the plea of exceptional years. It is with the record that these exceptional years have made that I propose to deal in this paper. Equable conditions, whether climatic or social, have nothing of the tragic in them, and history delights in the tragic. While Central and Southern California have been about equally affected by floods and droughts, my record of their effects applies principally to Southern California.
For the first fifty years after the settlement of California the weather reports are very meagre. The padres had no Signal Service Bureau and compiled no meteorological tables of atmospheric phenomena, although the state of the weather was undoubtedly a topic of deep interest to the pastoral people of California. To the dons and the padres, with their cattle on a thousand hills, and their flocks and herds spread over the plains, an abundant rainfall meant prosperity ; a dry season death to their flocks and consequent poverty. We can imagine with what anxiety they scanned the heavens for rain signs as the waning months of the rainy season passed away, leaving but a scanty supply of moisture. The weather prophet, with his portents and omens, was without honor at such times. A flood might be a temporary evil, but like the overflow of the Nile, a year of plenty always followed; whilst the dreaded dry year was an evil unmixed with good.
The earliest record of a flood that I have been able to find is a brief mention of one that occurred in 1811. In 1815 occurred a great flood that materially changed the course of the Los Angeles River within the city limits. The river abandoned its former channel and flowed west of the suertes or planting fields of the first settler, its new channel followed very nearly the present line of Alameda Street. The old fields were washed away or covered with sand, and new fields were located in what is now the neighborhood of San Pedro Street.
This record of California floods, I confess, appears rather formidable and might even be considered damaging to the good name of our State, were it not that our floods, like everything else in our State, can not be measured by the standard of other countries. We are exceptional even in the matter of floods. While floods in other lands are wholly evil in their effects, ours, although causing temporary damage, are greatly beneficial to the country. They fill up the springs and mountain lakes and reservoirs that feed our creeks and rivers, and supply water for irrigation during the long dry season. A flood year is always followed by a fruitful year. The disastrous effects of drought disappeared with the decadence of the cattle and sheep industries. Increased facilities for irrigation, the development of water by tunneling into the hills, artesian wells, the building of reservoirs for water storage, and the more economic use of water, have done much to counteract the evil effects of the dreaded dry year.”

end quotation (Guinn 1889).

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64 thoughts on “After the Noachian floods in 1861, California experienced a punishing drought

  1. Green journalists and AGW adherent scientists should adopt the lingo of this era — it is vivid with similar religious references as USGS uses (Noah). What better way to attract conservatives to your cap-and-trade plan or carbon taxation schemes than throwing in a little of the Bible?

  2. Another key quotation: This record of California floods, I confess, appears rather formidable and might even be considered damaging to the good name of our State, were it not that our floods, like everything else in our State, can not be measured by the standard of other countries. We are exceptional even in the matter of floods. While floods in other lands are wholly evil in their effects, ours, although causing temporary damage, are greatly beneficial to the country. They fill up the springs and mountain lakes and reservoirs that feed our creeks and rivers, and supply water for irrigation during the long dry season. A flood year is always followed by a fruitful year. The disastrous effects of drought disappeared with the decadence of the cattle and sheep industries. Increased facilities for irrigation, the development of water by tunneling into the hills, artesian wells, the building of reservoirs for water storage, and the more economic use of water, have done much to counteract the evil effects of the dreaded dry year.”

    WUWT!

  3. Ryan Maue says:
    January 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The trouble with your approach, Ryan, is that it presupposes that the Greenies are familiar with the Bible.

  4. Like Ann Coulter says , when one of the short-cut phrases she used was made the false basis to call her an Anti-Semite:

    I assumed more [public] knowledge of the Bible but I forgot about the public schools.

  5. I love the historical approach, but the AGW mob think nothing of re-writing history/data etc until it agrees with their approach. Funnily enough just like religions do!

  6. Similar anecdotes from history were reported and linked to here last summer to put the Russian heatwave into historical perspective. But, not a peep of perspective in the MSM.

  7. It has long been my observation that a period of climate extreme is often followed by a period of the opposite extreme. A period of unusually warm is followed by a period of unusually cold. Unusually wet by unusually dry. That is how they come up with the “average”. There really is no such thing as an “average” year, or at least they are very rare. What we need to do is look for the median or even a mode if possible.

    What is the median rainfall for California? I can’t even find such a statistic listed anywhere. Median would be a much more useful number in my opinion than “average”.

  8. Recurring weather or is that climate? With that much rain there must have been an incredible snowpack with an equally incredible snow melt later in the year. This record hasn’t been adjusted has it? Sorry, that’s GISS./sarc

  9. I have had dealings with a number of emergency managers.

    I have also, to my chagrin, observed that their work products commonly display the traits of being both “self-serving and woefully incomplete”.

    sigh

  10. “It began raining on December 24,1861, and continued for thirty days, with but two slight interruptions. The Star published the following local: ”

    So what!

    It did the same a few years ago in Oklahoma. The cows are just fine. You leave out the inconvenient facts from your story as usual. Back then they didn’t have many railroads, no interstates to bring in hay if necessary. Ponds weren’t developed. No John Deere hay rollers. Farmers and ranchers didn’t have college degrees, you think they are dumb. This is just another manufactured scare story and best ignored.

    Hope these papers, reporters, journals just drive themselves into the ground. I look elsewhere for my “news” anymore and try to tell a thousand people to tell a thousand people and be sure to have them to also tell a thousand, pass it forward, these news sources can no longer be trusted, they are poison for minds.

  11. Put real pressure on The Academy of Motion Pictures in Hollywood to strip Al Gore of his Oscar prior to this year’s ceremony.
    Blog on it, then put comments and links on the many Oscar, Hollywood movie, Hollywood blogs, LA media websites.
    This can cause a real breakthrough.

    http://www.savethebritishfilmindustry.com/2011/01/al-gore-must-be-stripped-of-his-oscar-if-the-academy-is-to-retain-honour-integrity-and-credibility-because-global-warming-is-a-big-dangerous-lie/

  12. @wayne says:
    January 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Lol – that the correct interweb speak?

    ‘Hope these papers, reporters, journals just drive themselves into the ground. I look elsewhere for my “news” anymore’ – brilliant you don’t get your news from an 1884 publication. Your not a troll bot run by the ‘Team’ are you?

  13. Reading the excerps from the California history I realise it could have been written about large areas of Australia. We invariably lurch from droughts to severe floods such as has been reported at WUWT recently. A further correlation has been the lack of historical knowledge (apparently) by government agencies charged with providing adequate and timely warnings. So far our BoM has been hopelessly errant due I suspect to their obeisance to the great god AGW. Their slavish adherence to the false hypothesis has caused communities to be ill prepared for the severe rain events because their bible says such rains will not come with AGW. Hopefully when the inevitable enquiry comes these truths will be published and a more sensible way ahead instituted. Hopefully our experiences here will alert your government agencies to go back to history rather than place their faith in flawed computer programs.

  14. “We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or
    ===============================================
    I don’t think there’s anything more to climate science than just playing the numbers.
    These bozos can’t predict squat, they are just playing the odds.

    The 1862 flood just happens to fall right in the middle of their pattern of floods – every 100 to 200 years.

    They see temps go down for a few years, and they predict “if this trend continues”.
    They see temps go up for a few years, and they predict “if this trend continues”

    It’s a good bet for them. There’s no accountability in climate science at all.
    If they get it right, someone will throw a party for them.
    If they get it wrong, not one single person can hold them accountable….

    ….it’s just the weather after all, and no one expects anyone to be able to predict the weather

  15. This disaster was indeed a “perfect storm”, a “rogue” event exacerbated by a number of factors including “anthropogenic” ones like over-grazing and the effects of hydraulic mining (there was also, of course, the Civil War going on at that time). It was followed by drought, more heavy rain and resultant gullying of the barren landscape, and even a plague of locusts, no less. Interestingly, the cattle wipe-out was followed by a sheep boom (land went for a song), which came to an end with the great world-wide ENSO-related drought of the late 1870s. That brought a return of the locusts – followed shortly by more speculators and promoters!

  16. Of course, any natcherul disasters today are manmade and dodolly diffrent from stuff like that in the past. Feel guilty, and send money or the penguin gets it!

  17. So 1862+179 = 2041 When we can expect a rerun, well at least we will maybe get notice of it coming if the 5, 10 year apart floods mentioned are heeded, so 1990-91? 2000-01? and 2010-11? have they been seen yet?

  18. The CAGW narrative paints the pre-industrial past as a “climate stasis” (a nonsensical oxymoron, if ever there was one.) This is what the Hockey Stick Fraud is all about. The past climate must be rigorously benign and uneventful for today’s variability to be ominously anomalous.

    The Warmists have unconsciously channelled a Biblical meme–that there once existed a (climate) paradise. Here Rousseau’s noble savages lived on honey and milk with no need for clothes, the weather was always fine.

    But humankind was to commit the original sin — to partake from the fruit of knowledge, ie the rise of empirical scientific method during The Enlightenment and the subsequent Industrial Revolution which was the result of the application of science in the human sphere. For this humanity was cast from the Climate Garden of Eden by Gaia.

    Warmism is a kind of post-modern secular Creationism. Psychologically their ethos is that the climate was created perfect until sinful humans soiled it. Climate Change, of course, is really just climate evolution. But the climate creationists will have no truck with natural climate evolution, all change MUST be due to the unnatural sins of humankind. Nor is it surprising that pious Warmists wish to change the rules of science to protect their faith.

    Climate Creationism comes complete with Fire and Brimstone preachers. Inquistionary intolerance for any evidence which challenges the Warmist dogma. Holier-than-Thou Prophets (Gore, Hansen, et al) and prophecy (in the form of computer scenarios.) And finally there is always that looming Judgement Day hanging over our mortal souls like a great ax, The End Times and the Climate Apocalypse which is forever postponed to tomorrow.

    It’s time to demand the Federal government stop funding a religious faith!

  19. Off topic, but lovely

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has signaled he will conduct numerous oversight investigations of the Obama Administration. Here are the Top 10 areas ripe for investigation for Issa and other congressional Republicans:

    (5) Climate science: Considering the Obama Administration used concerns over global warming to advance its cap-and-trade energy tax and, via the EPA, regulate carbon dioxide emissions, a hearing on how climate science is impacting public policy is in order.

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41213

  20. those of us growing up in qld well remember the decades of heavy rainfall and now we know it was La Nina:

    14 Jan: Australian: Siobhain Ryan: La Nina ‘here for decades’
    Stewart Franks, associate professor in environmental engineering at NSW’s University of Newcastle, said his research suggested “enhanced” La Ninas would dominate eastern Australian summer weather patterns for years to come.
    “What we noticed is El Nino and La Nina events are actually not random, they tend to cluster, and they cluster on time frames between 10 to 40 years,” he said.
    Professor Franks, an Australian national representative to the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, said the last run of strong La Ninas occurred between the mid-1940s and mid-1970s, culminating in the 1974 floods.
    They were followed by about three decades dominated by El Nino dry climate patterns…
    “We are seeing a return to the devastating impact of the enhanced La Ninas we saw in 1945 to 1975, so that indicates to my mind that it’s entirely possible that were facing 20 to 30 years of repeated, frequent or enhanced La Ninas,” he said…

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/la-nina-here-for-decades/story-e6frg6nf-1225987421955

  21. The USGS had apparently just noticed that 1) there is a LOT of flooding from heavier than ususal rains at roughly equivalent latitudes and 2) there is a La Nina out there that might be driving the moisture laden air–soooo going with the odds, they’ve decided to get on the disaster porn haywagon. If there is a major flooding event in Ca, then they look wise and competent and if not, well they did mention that it ‘could’ happen not that it would happen.

  22. “Gil Dewart says:
    January 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm
    This disaster was indeed a “perfect storm”, a “rogue” event exacerbated by a number of factors including “anthropogenic” ones like over-grazing and the effects of hydraulic mining (there was also, of course, the Civil War going on at that time). It was followed by drought, more heavy rain and resultant gullying of the barren landscape, and even a plague of locusts, no less. Interestingly, the cattle wipe-out was followed by a sheep boom (land went for a song), which came to an end with the great world-wide ENSO-related drought of the late 1870s. That brought a return of the locusts – followed shortly by more speculators and promoters!”

    I still think we all should stop carping and/or displaying California’s unseemly behavior a la climate and work on what we are up against over the long haul (in addition to the “Democratic” socialists to are running my state at present). It isn’t only those fruit-cake politicians who pull the rug out from under our magnificent agricultural development; we truly have severe wet periods and dry. Our agriculture, our cattle or sheep ranches, cannot thrive over the long haul unless we adapt to and “modify” the way the land of our state acquires and stores water. We need to do a little taming of California. I want real imagine here. C’mon guys. Your minds are so amazing. (And I will forgive you if you don’t give a hoot about California.)

  23. If the USGS were hunters you could say they had buck fever and shot the farmers cow missing the entire population of elk.

    Maybe they should stick to measuring earthquakes, earth’s magnetic fields, gravity, old grave locations, and ect, they are good at that, and not weather.

  24. wes george says:
    January 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Warmism is a kind of post-modern secular Creationism. Psychologically their ethos is that the climate was created perfect until sinful humans soiled it. Climate Change, of course, is really just climate evolution. But the climate creationists will have no truck with natural climate evolution, all change MUST be due to the unnatural sins of humankind. Nor is it surprising that pious Warmists wish to change the rules of science to protect their faith.

    Now that’s class!

  25. This story doesn’t have legs. Sure, it’s got lots of cows, but the narrative completely lacks polar bears. Cows just tell you about weather. Polar bears are climate.

  26. Nice… “Overview of the ARkStorm Scenario” (from an earlier link)

    The USGS cashes in on a religious buzzword by including it in their acronym yet you mutter one hint of religion (well, any of the non jihad variety) in a government controlled facility and rabid beasts (lawyers) leap out of the wall and start bashing you about the head and shoulders.

  27. I don’t do this often, so listen up. Posts like this are exactly the kind of thing that makes me sick.

    My first complaint: was there any point to this? We have endless quotes from what appear to be various and unknown (besides Guinn) authors, showing that there have been droughts and floods in California’s past. And what sort of critical thinking and analysis do we have drawing this together? None.

    The only bit of original thinking the author does is found here: “Please — someone at USGS type into Google or get some idea of the history of weather. Your press release comes off as a little self-serving and woefully incomplete.” I have do wonder, did Maue even read the complete press release? If he did, he couldn’t have missed the links to the actual report, which is easily available for the public to read.

    However, because he has no focus here, it’s hard to guess what he’s looking for. If his purpose was to point out that CA climate was variable in the past, he should first realize that his area of expertise (weather), is not the same as climate. And second, of course the USGS knew that, since they based their scenario on the events of 1862, with data from major floods in the early 1900’s.

    The references to many past floods say nothing about the USGS report, since the magnitude of the ARkStorm is significantly greater than any of those anecdotal reports (excluding, of course, 1862). And to all those ranting about AGW, read the report. THE AUTHORS NEVER BLAME THE ARKSTORM ON CLIMATE CHANGE! But hey, what else would this site be for if not taking down climate science?

    In short, this article is essentially useless and displays nothing other than the author’s ability to look up old weather observations. The comments here show just how far some people are willing to go to “prove” that climate science is a massive conspiracy. Good day.

    [ryanm: i agree with you bill, and was overly harsh and wrongly attributed the media’s zeal to link this to climate change (which they did), when it is not the USGS’s focus. However, this isn’t “one storm”, or an ARKstorm. No weather system lasts for this long, and since my expertise is weather regimes including extratropical and tropical cyclones, I do not find USGS’s lack of explanation for the floods encouraging.]

  28. To the AGW priesthood all natural disasters are an opportunity to preach about the wickedness of man, and carbon-free path to redemption.

  29. But look like it this way. If CA gets more floods, they won’t have to change their initials. They will still blame things on AGW – A Great Wetness.

  30. pat says: January 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm
    “those of us growing up in qld well remember the decades of heavy rainfall and now we know it was La Nina:”

    I grew up in North Queensland. In my memory, the heaviest flood rains came from tropical cyclones, whose timing, paths and origins seem on later reflection more random than this La Nina analysis suggests.

    Note that 1940-1970 appears on global temperature graphs as a period of temperature decrease. People seem to be confused about whether La Ninas are energy conservative or whether they reflect changes in fundamental externals like insolation.

  31. Bill Murray says:
    January 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Hello Mr Grumpy,

    As you are not impressed with Ryan’s post, try Ken Clark at AccuWeather. You should know AccuWeather, the home of Joe Bastardi, who has said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/257040/bastardi-s-wager-matthew-shaffer?page=1

    So, back to Ken Clark:

    “California’s So Called Super Storm:

    This is a rare editorial on my part. Let me say at the beginning. These are my views and my views only and do not necessarily represent any one else’s views or AccuWeather.com.

    I have had a number people ask me in the last week or so about the so called prediction that has been circulating that a group of 100 scientist issued in a report on the possibility of a massive superstorm that could devastate California. In a Yahoo.com article they said,

    “California faces the risk of a massive “superstorm” that could flood a quarter of the state’s homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage.”

    In addition the article said.

    “The scientists built a model that showed a storm could last for more than 40 days and dump 10 feet of water on the state. The storm would be goaded on by an “atmospheric river” that would move water “at the same rate as 50 Mississippis discharging water into the Gulf of Mexico,” according to the AP. Winds could reach 125 miles per hour, and landslides could compound the damage, the report notes.”

    I felt a lot of emotions about this report by these scientist and the range from anger to disgust to laughable. I am not sure which one is the biggest emotion.

    To be fair, they did say this was a hypothetical situation but not improbable. But so is everything and anything that I could ever dream of happening with regards to weather. I could speculate there will be a hurricane with over 300 mph winds, a tornado will level all of Midtown Manhattan, and the next Ice Age will bring glaciers to half the United States in the next 200 years. It’s hypothetical to be sure but not improbable. And, just like these people did I could develop a model that showed all of this happening. One can develop a model to show what ever anyone wanted to show if you put in the right equations.

    I guess the coup de grâce for me was the last line in the article.

    “Federal and state emergency management officials convened a conference about emergency preparations for possible superstorms last week.”

    Did they REALLY waste tax payers money to convene a conference on how to get ready for a purely hypothetical doomsday scenario? REALLY?

    In the end, perhaps my biggest emotion on all this is how irresponsible this report was, at least in my eyes. The average person hearing about this report will not remember, if they are even told, that this is hypothetical. It is just another doomsday prediction for hype. Scientists leave these kind of doomsday predictions to Hollywood and certainly don’t waste the tax payers money on how to prepare for such an event. California can’t fund their schools, but they are wasting money on this.

    Okay, off my soapbox I step. ”

    http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/clark/story/44509/update-on-northwest-floodingirresponsible-california-super-storm-warning.asp

  32. I think the only reason so many scaremongers get away with crap is because many people were born after 1988 (Hansen’s testimony to congress). They have only ever know AGW. Most can’t be bothered to search about weather events of the past so they keep referring to words like “crazy weather”.

    For any AGWers here is a short history lesson. You will find many eye opening events from the past and realise that this current scare is just part of a cycle of scares:

    Ice free Arctic ocean during the last ~10,000

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016

    100 years of warming and cooling fears

    http://old.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2006/fireandice/fireandice.asp

    Climate history from 1300 to the present

    http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHistory.htm

  33. Weather – not the same as climate. Except when it is. Be afraid. And send money or your great-grandchildren will hate your ass. That is all.

  34. Yes, the precipitation in California can, and regularly does, swing wildly about the mean:

    Runoff is even worse. It can dump bodacious amounts of snow in the high country for months, then send the snow level up to 10,000 feet thereby avalanching the entire seasons runoff in 2 weeks. Eventually, given the latest practices of playing chicken with runoff (storage hoarding), the earth-fill dams will be overrun and swept aside. AGW will be touted as the cause, of course.
    Residents of California will doubtless remember the blown gate on Folsom dam in the 80’s. The pinheads running the thing discovered they could open the flood gates wider than the design called for. The result was a near disaster.
    Who wants to 2nd guess the California runoff?

  35. Shevva says:
    January 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm
    @wayne says:
    January 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Lol – that the correct interweb speak?

    ‘Hope these papers, reporters, journals just drive themselves into the ground. I look elsewhere for my “news” anymore’ – brilliant you don’t get your news from an 1884 publication. Your not a troll bot run by the ‘Team’ are you?

    —-

    No, but you must not have read the story at http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110117/us_yblog_thelookout/scientists-warn-california-could-be-struck-by-winter-superstorm of 40 days of rain and dump 10 feet of water in Yahoo’s story for which this post was really about, not the 1884 parallel occurance. If you didn’t have the insight, that is the reporters, journals, agencies, whoever that I spoke of. Jeesh!

    ( Ryan— thanks for the history, long rains, floods and droughs do happen, all of time backward in history so also all of the time in the future, that’s not climate change, that is historic climate. Now a major flood in the same location every month for years, ok, that you could probably classify as climate change! )

  36. rbateman says:
    January 18, 2011 at 4:52 am
    Yes, the precipitation in California can, and regularly does, swing wildly about the mean:

    ~
    Add, “FREAKY” to the list, Rob.

    “””Overview of the ARkStorm Scenario”””

    By Keith Porter, Anne Wein, Charles Alpers, Allan Baez, Patrick Barnard, James Carter, Alessandra Corsi, James Costner, Dale Cox, Tapash Das, Michael Dettinger, James Done, Charles Eadie, Marcia Eymann, Justin Ferris, Prasad Gunturi, Mimi Hughes, Robert Jarrett, Laurie Johnson, Hanh Dam Le-Griffin, David Mitchell, Suzette Morman, Paul Neiman, Anna Olsen, Suzanne Perry, Geoffrey Plumlee, Martin Ralph, David Reynolds, Adam Rose, Kathleen Schaefer, Julie Serakos, William Siembieda, Jonathon Stock, David Strong, Ian Sue Wing, Alex Tang, Pete Thomas, Ken Topping, and Chris Wills; Lucile Jones, Chief Scientist, Dale Cox, Project Manager
    Abstract
    ..pg 3
    ARkStorm Meteorology
    ..These storms, and indeed most severe precipitation in California, were probably the result of a phenomenon termed atmospheric rivers, jets of warm moist air that originate over the mid-latitude north Pacific Ocean and transport that moisture to California where much of the moisture turns to rain and snow that falls on the state (fig. 2; http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2529.htm )

    This map of the Pacific region shows an Atmospheric River originating over the central Pacific on February 16, 2004, indicated by high (green) vertically-integrated water-vapor contents, in grams per square centimeter of water vapor, in the atmosphere extending from around Hawaii to the central California coast near the town of Cazadero (CZD).”””

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1312/of2010-1312_text.pdf

    “””NOAA RESEARCHERS STUDY RIVERS OF THE SKY
    Nov 2, 2005 � Although it probably never occurs to the average person gazing up into a clear blue sky on a tranquil day, the atmosphere can be riven by enormous channels, hundreds of miles wide that are very similar to the rivers that course through the landscape. Even less likely are they to imagine that these so-called “atmospheric rivers” play a critical role in the global water cycle and are a key source of the moisture that falls as rain and snow in the Western states, ultimately providing fresh water through snowmelt in the dry season and during droughts to a huge swath of this semi-arid region. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of atmospheric river that caused flooding in the USA taken Feb. 16, 2004. Please credit “NOAA.”)
    However, atmospheric rivers, like their terrestrial counterparts, also can cause flooding rains in coastal and inland mountains that can have devastating effects on people and landscapes, causing untold costs in property damage and even taking lives.
    One such river produced more than 40 inches of rainfall in the mountains of southern California in only four days in early January 2005. That, in turn, caused a massive mudslide in La Conchita, Calif., that took 10 lives and produced widespread flooding..
    ..Using a combination of computer simulations and atmospheric observations, NOAA ETL scientists have confirmed that more than 90 percent of the water vapor that is transported towards the poles in the heavily populated mid-latitudes are channeled into these rivers, narrow regions of very moist and fast moving air, roughly 240-480 kilometers (150-300 miles) wide, within the lowest 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) of the atmosphere..
    ..They also are looking into the relationship between West Coast atmospheric rivers and massive thunderstorm complexes over the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. .”””
    (please do look at the convergence zones participation, after extensional ..me)
    “””Many atmospheric rivers form in the mid-latitudes when cold fronts concentrate moisture into narrow ribbons as it is transported toward the poles. Occasionally, atmospheric rivers tap moisture directly from the tropics.

    “When you tap the tropics, you’re tapping into what I would consider a vast supply of moisture,” said Paul J. Neiman, a NOAA ETL researcher who is studying the atmospheric river phenomenon. In these situations, the likelihood of devastating rainfall and flooding—such as what occurred in La Conchita—increase significantly.”””

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2529.htm

  37. For a dose of reality about the Brisbane and Ipswich floods in Queensland and to inform those who claim the latest is “unprecedented”, I suggest all the AGW believers go to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website and type in Known Floods in the Brisbane & Bremer River Basin.
    http://www.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml will take you to the site if not the page.
    If believers still claim the current flood is due to the effects of AGW caused by CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, perhaps they could offer an explanation for the disatrous floods of 1841 and 1893 and the many other major floods recorded in the 19th and 20th centuries. My bet is on natural cyclical climate variability!

  38. If the link in my previous post doesn’t work, just Google Known Floods in the Brisbane and Bremer River Basin.

  39. I’m not sure what the point of the article is. Is it saying that if the famous “Ark Storm” happens it could be followed by a dust bowl, as indicated by previous climate patterns?

    The problem is that this is exactly the methodology the UK Met Office uses to make its seasonal predictions. Past patterns tend not to be good predictors of future patterns, as they have found to their cost.

  40. 1878 A.D.
    [snip . . . just post links not papers please as there are copyright issues and other nasties that WUWT don’t need to spend time and money dealing with]

    Impact (www.breadandbutterscience.com) 2010

  41. In my comment above I mentioned speculators and promoters. That would include, of course, the present breed of emissions trading schemers.

  42. Perspective, perspective.
    Outstanding prose, they were so much better educated in those days – a sad reflection on standards today.
    An article in the Daily Telegraph regarding oil exploration in the rapidly melting Arctic says everything about education and historical perspective.
    Good post, as usual Ryan.

  43. Jonathan Stuart-Brown says:
    Put real pressure on The Academy of Motion Pictures in Hollywood to strip Al Gore of his Oscar prior to this year’s ceremony.

    You’re more likely to get an accurate prediction from a CAGW model.

    Feet2theFire says:
    So, basically California is in a state of significant standard deviation.

    Speaking as a former (native) Californian, I can assuredly state that there is nothing standard about California’s deviation.

    More seriously:

    Mr. Murray states, as I so often hear “Weather is not climate”. What, then, IS climate, if not weather over time?

  44. Well you need to take a close look at that photo of the “Congress Created Dust Bowl”. Look back fromt he road (hiway-5) about a quarter of a mile, and you see it is all green, and lots of stuff growing; and it is all the way from at least hiway 152 down to hiway 58. But right along hiway-5, not much is growing, and the eareas where those signs are seem to be ploughed anyway, even though the farmers don’t have any water to grow anything there; and that applies to both sides of the road; and so far as is known, it has never rained on the West side of Hiway-5; but the gree orchards now go right up into the foothills there.

    Why would you waste money, and fuel, and farm workers ploughing an area you don’t have water to grow on; unless your aim was to create a dustbowl, and have the winds blow your topsoil over onto the neighboring lands.

    But its a good excuse for farmers to pull out the crops that were no longer chic with the yuppie public; and replant at taxpayer expense with some varietal that is more in vogue. Lots of orchards pulled out of there in 2010. O course most of that land along the five is the big out of state conglomerates; who will take all the water they can get for a song. But I still do favor agriculture over growing Goof courses in the Southern California deserts; where Mother Gaia, wanted only Cactus and tumble weeds to grow. Well they want to condemn all those So-Cal deserts so the Silcon Valley Socialists can get the land for their taxpayer funded solar farms. A recent San Jose Mercury News Business article about a big Sunpower Systems- So-Cal Edison contract; said that Sunpower would provide steerable solar arrays, that follow the sun; which helps to save land area.

    I’m reasonably sure that nobody in the know at Sunpower said anything like that; but the reporter scrambles something she heard. Fully steerable certainly saves solar cell area; but if anything, it increases the required land area; because you have to space those steerable arrays so they never shadow each other.

    And Mother Gaia; does not want anybody ptting more than about 100 Watts per square foot on her land; and that is for the land normal to the sun-earth vector. You only get the solar energy that will fall on the surface; but you can use fewer cells, if you direct them at the sun.

  45. Veronica says:
    January 18, 2011 at 7:59 am
    I’m not sure what the point of the article is. Is it saying that if the famous “Ark Storm” happens it could be followed by a dust bowl, as indicated by previous climate patterns?

    It already has. The Indians hold the legends of great floods and droughts, much worse than anything we have witnessed.
    They just happen, they happen in general and in random watersheds, and they impact weather downstream (to the East).
    The tree ring data holds a hint of a massive water event in the middle of the 11th Century in parts of California.
    When you compare the greatest tree-ring water events to tree-ring droughts, the water events are always one step above the drought events.
    AGW did not exist in those times, and seems not to play any part in recent California Climate Binges.

  46. “Did they REALLY waste tax payers money to convene a conference on how to get ready for a purely hypothetical doomsday scenario? REALLY?”

    This event is about as hypothetical as a major earthquake in LA, and as a local resident, you can bet I’m glad the state is spending money on preparedness for that. You can’t call the scenario hypothetical when it is a recreation of events that occurred 150 years ago. And since these “AR” events occur on so massive a scale about every 200 years (per the report), they have about the same frequency and are as real a danger to CA as earthquakes. And the amount of development without flood insurance in California’s floodplains is astounding. For example, much of the heavily developed interior flatlands of Orange County are on the flood plain of the Santa Ana River.

    The two arguments that 1.this is a hypothetical scenario and therefore a waste of money, and 2. CA floods have occurred in the past are mutually exclusive. Either floods have happened and the report rightfully raises awareness of the potential impacts to homeowners, etc., or floods have never happened, in which case you must have not read anything said either in the report or in Ryan’s post. So unlike your scenarios, this one is based on events that have 1. occurred in recorded history, and 2. happen at regular, comparatively short intervals.

    Ken Clark describes the report as a “prediction,” which is only true in the most general sense. As I said before, these events occur about every 200 years, so it is very likely that another such storm will impact the state. The scientists describe themselves as building a “scenario” based on the 1862 events. The word “prediction” is thrown in largely by the media, whom I will not defend. The only reason for any sort of urgency in the press release is that this scenario, as likely as the “big one” and potentially much more costly, has been largely forgotten by the public. It seems that Ken, who was apparently such an “expert,” needs to read up on California’s historical meteorology.

  47. Ryan Maue says: January 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    What better way to attract conservatives to your cap-and-trade plan or carbon taxation schemes than throwing in a little of the Bible?

    You suffer from the same problem as many libtards who make the incorrect assumption that every conservative is a bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian. You could not be more wrong.

  48. Bjorn Lomborg has a point whether we agree with his general agreement with global warming theory. Basically, the billions or trillions used to reduce the global temperature by one degree would be better spent on other things. Here, we have a disaster that is likely to happen at some future date (whether its next year or in the next hundred or so years) and we are spending billions on what might not be a problem and nothing on what is likely to become a problem.

  49. “”””” woodNfish says:
    January 19, 2011 at 9:44 am
    Ryan Maue says: January 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    What better way to attract conservatives to your cap-and-trade plan or carbon taxation schemes than throwing in a little of the Bible?

    You suffer from the same problem as many libtards who make the incorrect assumption that every conservative is a bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian. You could not be more wrong. “””””

    How true Woody; and many who are not of that stripe, are also not so ignorant of that most published of all books, as to be unable to cite a few words of wisdom from it.

    I’m off on a peninsula all by myself; since I consider religion to be the single greatest scourge to ever inflict the human race; but I can point to a time whan I could recite almost half of the entire New Testament from memory. One would have to be truly ignorant, to not be aware of the great influence the world’s religions have had on its peoples, and their standards of what is considered to be ethical or moral behavior. Among the worst, are those who are perfect a-holes all week long; knowing they can go in and confess their sins, on Sunday, and then start all over again next week.

  50. “”””” Bill Murray says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm
    “Did they REALLY waste tax payers money to convene a conference on how to get ready for a purely hypothetical doomsday scenario? REALLY?” “””””

    At least 3.5 million people now live in the area that was totally devastated, and bereft of ALL life in 79 AD by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Today’s scientists say that “Plinian” (the younger) eruptions of that scale only occur about every 2000 years. I don’t know if that means in the same place; or just somewhere on earth.

    If it is the same place; then my home town of Auckland is in deep doodoo, because that city is built on and around at least 60 volcanoes; the most recent of which (Rangitoto) I believe last erupted only about 600 years ago (don’t quote me on that). Well a good many of those volcanoes have been dug up and broken into little pieces to spread around on the roads; so maybe just digging them out is the solution.

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