We didn’t waste any time sweeping up the last of the Christmas tree needles and putting the once beautiful and festive evergreen outdoors, ready for disposal. And it would be equally helpful if someone would please come in and take the rest of the baked goods out as well. A very good idea!
Chores done, or at least managed, and I’ve been reading a new book by Cynthia Barnett, “Rain, A Natural and Cultural History.”
The term “rain science” is new to me, but this book is interesting, especially after several years of drought. Here on the west coast we are being told to anticipate a “Godzilla-sized” El Niño–soon I won’t have to rely on just reading about rain!
And if we really do have as much rain as predicted, how will Mr. El Niño affect our daily routines? I don’t even own a pair of rain boots!
For months now I’ve been reading about a marked population increase in marlin, yellowtail, wahoo, yellow and blue fin tuna. Some reports indicate that currently Southern California waters have more sports fish than the Gulf of Mexico.
Conversely, however, Southern California’s warmer waters are forcing out other species. Anchovies and sardines have moved north, and currently the seal and sea-lion populations are severely challenged, with predictions they’ll be threatened.. The mothers are traveling further distances looking for food and the pups are starving.
Then sea snakes! Three of them, so far!
The presumption is that El Niño conditions have enticed these highly venomous black-and-yellow sea snakes to leave the coasts of Mexico and migrate to Southern California beaches. It’s been 30 years since these guys have made a local public appearance. I don’t think we want them to stay.
I love weather-related science, and I make a point of following the discussions as often as I can, which means, when the science is brought down to my level of comprehension, I pay close attention.
I’m planning to chronicle this new year as our “El Niño Event” Year, using the Huntington Botanical Gardens as my weekly “weather marker.” I’ll see what I observe and report here.
On the last day of 2015 Jay and I took Sophia and Karina to the Huntington Botanical Gardens and I quickly snapped just a few photos. It was sunny and warm, or warm-“ish.” I say “ish” because I’m always cold if the temperature dips below 70 degrees. I can’t offer any particular excuse, I just wear a coat and try to blend in.
Tourists and out-of-state visitors in town for the Rose Bowl game were walking around in shorts and t-shirts. The weather was very much like every other December 31st I’ve ever known. Dry and beautiful.
The colors are subdued in part because it’s December, but also, this newer section is planted with drought tolerant naturals, which includes several grasses. The water lilies in the pond, colorful in summer, are also now dormant. And no sign of rain, December 31, 2015.
The Chinese garden still looks quite beautiful for a late December landscape. Will a few steady months of rain produce deeper summer color?
Strategically placed outdoor heaters are protecting the Barrel Cactus and the Aloe principis. We’ve recently had lower daytime and some night time temperatures than New York City, but if they don’t freeze, the succulents and cacti stay quite colorful even in winter.
I have been closely observing the beautifully maintained Huntington gardens throughout the drought and now I’m eager to see how steady rain brings changes.
If you haven’t already completely tuned out the bombardment of “calamitous predictions” peppering the airwaves, you might find this visual mini-El Niño global pattern explanation interesting. Very recent tornadoes and flooding in the south and midwest are highly dramatic and sobering reminders that weather instability is part of a much larger system than just what we’re poised to experience in the west.
We’ve had El Niño years before and this won’t be the last. But recent technology has made the tracking more precise and the reports much more interesting. If “too much” rain later dampens my interest in chronicling a field study, please feel free to remind me that this past summer I promised I would never again complain about rain.
And to each of you, a wish for a peaceful and healthy new year. If jabbering on about the weather is our biggest concern, I predict a very good year!