Weather

Coastal wetlands protect property, study says

In coastal communities prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, people typically turn to engineered solutions for protection: levees, sea walls and the like. But a natural buffer in the form of wetlands may be the more cost-effective solution, according to new research from the University of California San Diego. In the most comprehensive study of its sort to date, UC San Diego economists show that…


California is living America’s dystopian future

The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too. Utopias are the good places of our imagination, while dystopias are the places where everything goes terribly wrong, where evil triumphs and nature destroys her own. Frequently utopias and dystopias are the same place, because perfection may not be possible without someone suffering. Ursula LeGuin writes about…


Fire up: Windy, getting windier through Friday

Look around and feel the wind. It’s a blowing, and along with it, raising local fire risk to what are called “extreme” levels — a first — by state fire officials. Strong Santa Ana winds are expected again in San Diego County beginning late Tuesday night, raising the threat of wildfires through Thursday evening. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be…


Learning from Native American wildfire management strategies

For several months in 2019, it seemed wildfires wouldn’t rage across the West as they had in recent years. But then came the dry autumn and California’s Santa Ana and Diablo winds, which can drive the spread of wildfires. Utilities are shutting off power across the state to reduce the risk of damaged equipment or downed trees on wires causing fires. There’s no lack of…


Climate Action Plans: A Tale of Two Cities

A funeral was held last month at the site of Iceland’s Okjökull glacier. A century ago it covered nearly six square miles, measuring 164 ft. deep. Today, it’s less than one square mile, 49 feet thick. The shrinking sheet of ice can no longer be called a glacier. A tombstone plaque was placed at the site. A Letter to the Future  This monument is to…


UCSD study links climate change to wildfires

A new study by researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and colleagues combs through the many factors that can promote wildfire, and concludes that in many, though not all, cases, warming climate is the decisive driver. The study, led by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, finds in particular that the huge summer forest fires that have raked Northern…


UCSD Report: El Nino costs state big bucks

Considering it’s been long known that El Niño conditions often bring about flooding precipitation to California, a ripe field for study would be a thorough study of the damage wreaked. And who knows catastrophic damages better than insurers? Their specialized knowledge prompted a pair of San Diego researchers to compare 40 years of insurance data against climate and water data to quantify the effect of…


Lake Hodges good to go at 2/3rds capacity

More rain in one of San Diego County’s rainiest of winter seasons is expected to drop an inch or two across the San Diego region Wednesday through Friday, but Lake Hodges Dam is holding strong. The dam has spilled and last overflowed February-to-March 2011. It also overflowed in February 2005. However, despite a small El Nino pineapple express of rains this season, while Lake Hodges…


Rain swamps San Diego, say hello to El Nino

Blame it on El Nino. After months of promises, infamous climate agitator El Niño finally formed this week, climate scientists announced Thursday.  “Weak El Niño conditions are present and are expected to continue through the spring,” the Climate Prediction Center said. El Niño is a periodic natural warming of sea water in the tropical Pacific. It is among the biggest influences on weather and climate in the United States and…


Water, water everywhere; it’s a good thing

John Van Doorn, former business editor of the North County Times, managing editor of the New York Post and a New York Times editor, among other avocations, had this thing about rain. “Wet stuff,” Van Doorn would say. “If anybody around here uses the cliche of ‘wet stuff,’ for any reason, under any circumstances, they’re fired.” With that in mind, Escondido, North County and the…