El Nino sceptic repents as rain continues to fall

Bill Patzert and "The Los Angeles Times" are likethis, as the gossip columnists say, and deservedly so: the newspaper is by far the biggest in the West, and Patzert is the most interesting forecaster in our region, perhaps the country. 

For one, he admits when he gets it wrong. How many other forecasters confess? 

He said that after studying satellite images, he thought this El Niño year would be similar to the one from the record dry spell in 2006-07.

But this time, Patzert concedes, it was his forecast that was all wet.

"I was wrong. I repent," he said. "This thing had longer legs than I thought it would."

But he's also the king of the meteorological/historical/climactic quote; for instance, from a recent interview with the funny Patt Morrison at the paper, here he is talking about the history of California…

California is an amazing weather story and water story — you can't separate the water from the weather. There's nothing natural in California anymore. We changed the Sacramento River during the Gold Rush. We changed the [San Francisco] Bay Delta and Imperial County [with] aqueducts. There's enough water in Southern California for 3 [million] or 4 million people, and now it's pushing 20 million.

L.A. is almost 5 degrees warmer than it was a century ago, essentially because we've done an extreme makeover. Urban heat islands. [Irrigation] makes it warmer. A lawn or a golf course captures heat. We used to have a couple of days a year above 95 degrees. Now we have two-week heat waves. So anybody who thinks that Californians haven't had a profound impact on the climate . . .

Who else could say as much in as few words? Well, perhaps a graph from a study of his: 


Yes, I'm a fan. So shoot me. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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