The Dry Garden: “a strong La Niña”

Posted on | September 17, 2010 | 1 Comment

The blue purple band in the center is a building La Niña in the equatorial Pacific. Source: Jason satellite/JPL. Click on the image to be taken to JPL's El Niño/La Niña compendium of Jason images.

Autumn and early winter are traditionally considered planting season in Southern California because nature can be expected to cooperate. As days shorten and rains come, seeds germinate, newly transplanted saplings deepen their roots and established plants awaken from dormancy.

Yet not all years are created equal, and this coming planting season has all the hallmarks of a tricky one.

National Weather Service predictions for a La Niña cycle are becoming less tentative and more ominous. That means ocean temperature trends in the equatorial Pacific have shifted to the opposite of last winter —  a way that augurs drought.

How dry our rainy season might be is unknowable; this brooding La Niña might even produce a wet year, but the odds are stacked sharply against that. According to Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert, 82% of the La Niñas since 1949 have had below-average rainfall. “Some are way below average,” he said. “This is a strong La Niña. It really tilts the scale. It’s an 80% to 90% probability of a dry winter.”

How dry is dry? Click here to keep reading about predictions for an exceptionally dry rainy season in The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times.

Apologies to those who have had trouble loading Chance of Rain. The server has been down.


One Response to “The Dry Garden: “a strong La Niña””

  1. 55 gallon water barrel
    October 25th, 2010 @ 7:38 am

    Here in Texas, October is supposed to be our 2nd wettest month, but La Ninja has changed that. We did get some rain here in Dallas yesterday, but it’s been fairly dry. Doesn’t bode well for November.

    Hopefully, all those conservation guidelines will be enacted now, instead of waiting until it’s too late. Have to keep it top of mind, or people tend to forget.

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