The beauty of Dolores — and a wet El Niño?

The El Niño excitement begins early, as the LA Times explains in blunt newspaper prose: A washed-out bridge on Interstate 10 that cut off a vital shipping route with Arizona, mudslides in Moreno Valley and snarled Southern California freeway traffic from heavy weekend rain is only a preview of problems that could come with aContinue reading “The beauty of Dolores — and a wet El Niño?”

“big droughts end in big floods”: NOAA expert

From NOAA scientist Jake Crouch in his "reflections on a really big drought" today in The Southern Plains drought lasted more than four years before coming to an end very quickly in the spring of 2015. There is an old adage that big droughts end in big floods, and that was the case inContinue reading ““big droughts end in big floods”: NOAA expert”

Enviro lawsuit challenges Ojai water system — for good?

A week or so ago I had the opportunity to write a story about a monster lawsuit filed against the City of Ventura, which allegedly is taking so much water from the Ventura River that it's threatening the endangered steelhead trout. The story for the Ojai Valley News began this way: Last September, an environmentalContinue reading “Enviro lawsuit challenges Ojai water system — for good?”

USA: #1 in tax whining (Edward Kleinbard)

Perhaps the wittiest of panelists at yesterday's Ojai Chautauqua on income inequality was Edward Kleinbard, a USC professor of business and law, and author of the new book We Are Better Than This.  At one point he put up this chart, in defense of his statement that the USA was "#1 in tax whining." AtContinue reading “USA: #1 in tax whining (Edward Kleinbard)”

Income Inequality in Ojai: June 7th conversation

Don't often succumb to video in this space, but will make an exception for this announcement promoting what I think will be a fascinating discussion tomorrow in Ojai on the subject of income inequality [youtube Thanks for listening — event info below the fold.

Baseball manager and Twain on global warming

It's kind of random, but that's the uncanny nature of pop culture — when one looks for developments and change about an issue, you never know what you will catch.  From the LA Times, the manager of the LA Dodgers, Don Mattingly, wonders if drier air, due to the drought in California, could be affectingContinue reading “Baseball manager and Twain on global warming”

Not again! Meteorologists abuzz about El Nino in drought

Last year at this time a huge wave of heat was detected propagating as the scientists say through surface waters from east to west across the Pacific. Ultimately a series of such "Kelvin waves"  went on to warm much of the tropical Pacific, and waters along the West Coast, resulting in huge changes in sealife.Continue reading “Not again! Meteorologists abuzz about El Nino in drought”

PDO turns positive: what does this mean for West Coast?

It's crazy how warm the Pacific is these days. Yet another story from the hard-working Chris Mooney at the Washington Post points to "the blob" of warmth in the Pacific off California. Here's a map of sea surface temperature anomalies that gives an idea of that blob: It's been extraordinarily warm in the Pacific, and inContinue reading “PDO turns positive: what does this mean for West Coast?”

Good news for the world; bad news for California?

Today in the LA Times, Jay Famiglietti, a scientist who oversees the data gathered by the pair of gravity-measuring satellites known as GRACE, and who as a result has as good an understanding as anyone of California's groundwater supplies, revealed that California has but one year left of water: As difficult as it may beContinue reading “Good news for the world; bad news for California?”

A weekend on the PCT with pinyons and snow: 2015

Having just fallen in love, so to speak, with the pinyon pine, I'm distressed to learn that the species may fall prey to "forest mortality" in the Southwest (as discussed a few weeks back here).

What can be done — if anything? Are these forests doomed, or — ?

With my young nephew Eli Huscher went back to the Walker Pass area of the PCT this past week to explore this question. I'm not a scientist and have no answers as of yet, but I think it's an important question. 

I'll begin with a picture of the tree that inspired this new-found devotion. (The pinyon's not the most spectacular of trees — but in the harsh desert landscape of the Mojave, it's a hero.)


Okay, the rest of the pics I'll put below the fold — please enjoy!