Since last time, when the jet stream looped far up to the north of us and the drought level was set at 2, or dry, we have had a series of systems run through here bringing clouds and rain. The jet stream has waved back and forth over our area, channeling that series of storms, and now it has dropped down south of us. The upshot of all that is that we’ve had quite a bit of rain. We might end up recording more than the historical average for September by the time we’re done, although the temperature continues to trend above average. I think it’s safe to extrapolate the drought level, which was still at 2 a couple of weeks ago, to be 1, normal, now.
It’s a relief. Our lawn appreciates it, as do our trees and other plantings. Our forests surely appreciate it, as the wildfire danger rating falls. The fire east of town, as reported in the last drought report, is contained, though still smouldering. I think we can confidently say that the threat of a serious drought has been postponed. The experts still warn, though, that the land is still dry. This recent spate of rain hasn’t done much to change that. Still, the moisture feels good.
That’s typical. No sooner had I reported on the jet stream being stalled, resulting in cooler, damper weather, than it whipped up north of us putting us in a hotter, drier air mass. As a result the wildfire hazard has spread its extreme rating through more areas in the last week, and a few days ago a fire started just to the east of where I live. In those few days it has grown to more than 1500 hectares. The crews worked hard trying to keep it out of the big timber where it could really take off, but the dry heat and some wind, along with the difficult terrain, have conspired to outrun them.
You can tell where the hills are by the rising sun.
The sound of helicopters and water bombers has been nearly continuous. It’s hard to see the fire in the daytime from here because of the smoke, but at night we can see flames across the hills on the east side of the valley.
With the drying trend I’m surprised that the drought level has stayed at 2 – dry. I was sure I would be reporting a rise to 3 – very dry. I choose to take it as good news. Droughtman has been quiet on the subject. I also take that as good news.
Climate scientists know the dangers in attributing individual weather phenomena to climate change. They have always been reluctant to say that this year’s floods or last year’s fires resulted directly from global warming. However, in the last decade, a field called extreme event attribution has been growing and maturing.
This is a case where the world is getting to watch science unfold in real-time, and that means that there’s going to be multiple groups looking at the same or different aspects of events, possibly coming to different conclusions, but those don’t necessarily contradict each other.
Now climate scientists are less reluctant to say whether or not a specific bit of weather is the result of climate change.
“One thing we can say for sure: We don’t say ‘one can’t attribute any single event to climate change’ any more.”
Read the linked Scientific American article for a sense of the subtleties and complexities involved in the science of weather and climate.
It’s wildfire season here, and this year is particularly bad. We’ve had evacuations in my town, but it’s even worse south of the border in the United States. Unfortunately, we’ve had a south wind for the last few days, so all the smoke is coming up here. The above photo shows the view from my dining room window, and that’s what I see these days while having dinner. If you look closely you can almost see the other side of the valley, which I estimate to be about a kilometer away.
This shot is the same time. It shows up the distant hills a little better. To the eye, the Sun was actually a deep ruby red, but my camera couldn’t capture it.
This is the next day. I tried a different setting on the camera and it got a little closer, but still no ruby. You can see that the visibility has improved and you can make out the hills easily.
Almost got it, but I obviously need a better camera and more talent. I was able to stare directly at the Sun with no discomfort.
Yesterday morning I gave it a try with the “Sunrise” setting. Not bad, but I assure you the sky was not that color.-) Look closely again and you will see a hint of the east side of the valley. And the smoke was thin enough overhead to show that contrail.
Looking east again this morning, with the “Sunset” setting. The sky is closer to its actual color, but the Sun is still too yellow. The visibility is improving, with the eastern hills making a better showing. Also the aircraft fighting the fires are allowed to fly again, having been grounded by low visibility.
Looking east on my morning walk. I made sure to walk slowly, to keep the inhalation of “particulates” to a minimum. It’s good to get out, though. I’ve been staying in with all the doors and windows sealed, and definitely not doing any strenuous work in the yard. I used to fight these fires, with the heat on my skin and the smoke in my lungs, but that was back when I was young and invincible.-)
Looking forward to a nice rainy day,
PS, WordPress seems to be randomly failing to display images lately. I can see no reason why one of these should be treated differently from the others. Oh well. Waiting and hoping for an update to fix it.
PPS, I think I fixed the non-displaying images. I disabled “Photon,” which uploads the images to a WordPress server and serves them from there.