March 23, 2015 at 8:31 am #8371
Let’s see what the deniers have to say about this:
‘Dismal’ snowpack may be new normal in Northwest
Wonder what the weather will be like in Western Washington 50 years from now?
Climatologists say we’re experiencing a sneak preview now.
Winter 2014-15 — regarded by many as almost freakishly warm and snowless — will be the new normal, if climate change continues as expected.
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/03/22/3702213/dismal-snowpack-may-be-new-normal.html#storylink=cpyMarch 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm #8404paulwalkerParticipant
OK, we are making some wild predictions here first and foremost. I have lived long enough to note sparse snow years in the Cascades in the past 40 years.
However, if this is a trend that will continue, (unlikely), then the following will occur:
1. Lower elevation snow resorts will go out of business.
2. Rainfall will still be abundant, and will provide enough precipitation to provide for the Puget Sound region.
3. Temps will warm, but not enough to deflect rainfall.
4. Perhaps a semi-tropical climate might actually be an advantage to the region. Yes, adjustments will need to be made, but it isn’t the end of the world.
5. Water is the issue. Due to the NW location, water will always be plentiful. How the region deals with it is important. Planning should be based on this outcome.March 23, 2015 at 7:53 pm #8405
I wouldn’t bet your retirement that water will always be plentiful here. It may take only a few little things to keep that jet stream further north most of the time, permanently.
Here’s a few local things I’ve noticed. I live upstream of the Willamette falls. The river level in Feb reached summertime lows. Likewise, the creek that flows through my property dried up in February. Never happened in 20 years here. The water level in a pond dropped a bit as well, I’m thinking this might be the first year it dries out completely in the summer (usually there’s 2 ft left in it by the time Fall rolls around). If this is the impact I’m having, it can’t be good for many other areas around here more sensitive to lack of consistent constant rain.March 23, 2015 at 8:06 pm #8407VitalogyParticipant
One year does not make a trend. This year’s weather has more to do with El Nino than climate change.
And, I’ll bet my retirement that water will always be plentiful here. We get a lot of rain and have lots of options to tap.March 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm #8421
This isn’t any ordinary low water year at work here. There are bigger things in play and chances are that the things causing the current California central valley catastrophe is going to eventually impact things that many of you take for granted in the NW.
A number of key conditions in the global weather pattern exist that keeps the NW mild and wet. If any one of them change just a bit, all bets are off.
I’m not sounding an alarm, but I’m saying the historical pattern can’t be trusted anymore.March 23, 2015 at 11:29 pm #8424Chris_TaylorParticipant
When my wife started doing our edible landscaping on our urban property some 25 years ago, Portland’s climate zone was 7. It is now closer to climate zone 9, which would be Santa Barbara’s climate zone.
This means some of our vegetation will change and tomorrow’s farmers will have be growing new kinds of foods that will grow in this kind of climate.
I’m not totally sold on the our water supply being tapped out in the near future, but water insecurities could be in our future if a big natural or man made disaster hits us in the next 20-30 years.March 23, 2015 at 11:59 pm #8425shipwreckParticipant
I think the bigger threat is more demand for water, here and elsewhere. If we don’t curb population growth it will be a disaster.March 24, 2015 at 7:11 am #8427
California has had its eyes on Pacific NW water since before I was a little kid, and as the drought continues, those eyes will turn north once again.March 24, 2015 at 8:54 am #8428
It’s not really a lack of water, but rather a lack of clean drinking water.
I think we’re going to see some ocean water desalination facilities start to be built in the next ten years or so.
Also, restrictions on wasteful uses of water – automatic sprinklers and pools are equally wasteful – are likely to be considered as well. (Google says that there are over 43,000 pools in the LA area alone).March 24, 2015 at 10:34 am #8429
There are already some desalination facilities in development. San Diego’s is one of the biggest and most expensive ever.
As you can see from this article, even with the technological advances, this is still REALLY expensive, and they still aren’t sure it’s going to work.March 24, 2015 at 10:56 am #8430
Less expensive that a pipeline from Astoria to LA? I heard that Saudi Arabia gets much (most?) of its water from desalination plants. I assume the technology has gotten better and cheaper.March 24, 2015 at 10:56 am #8431
Plus, I would use desalination for non-potable purposes: swimming pool water, irrigation, sewage treatment, etc. Not having to bring it up to drinking water standards should make it much more affordable.March 24, 2015 at 11:25 am #8432
Trust me, even all of that won’t keep California from wanting all of that “wasted” water flowing into the Pacific. Just wait.April 1, 2015 at 11:09 pm #9061
I said over a week ago in this thread:
“There are bigger things in play and chances are that the things causing the current California central valley catastrophe is going to eventually impact things that many of you take for granted in the NW. . . .
I’m not sounding an alarm, but I’m saying the historical pattern can’t be trusted anymore.”
Now: Maybe I should sound that alarm: Gov. Jerry Brown calls for a 25% cut in water use across the board.April 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm #9073paulwalkerParticipant
Meanwhile, a more average pattern has settled over the PNW, starting earlier this week. The outlook is more of the same for the next ten days.
Yeah, probably too little too late for many, but proof that patterns change all the time. One year does not make a trend. I think I would need to see 5 years in a row, something unfortunately our neighbors in California HAVE seen.
I am concerned about food prices, however, as much of our food comes from California. That being said, plans for WA and OR to deport water should be studied and carefully designed to make certain we have enough for ourselves, atleast until the technology makes this obsolete. Sharing natural resources is fine, but not at the expense of the local population.
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