We were fooled once before — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicted a wetter than normal 2012 winter for Northern California last fall — but the same agency’s Climate Prediction Center is now predicting a 50 percent chance that El Niño conditions will develop in the next few months. (The original NOAA synopsis is here.)
If it does, there’s likely to be flooding in this neck of the woods but next summer’s small stream trout season might look a bit more promising.
According to International Research Institute for Climate and Society Chief Forecaster Tony Barnston we’ll know soon enough:
The development of El Niño depends greatly on what happens in the coming two months. If we do not get at least some development by the end of August, then the chances of getting development later become much lower.”
Here’s to hoping for a snowpack that more than makes up for what was lacking this year.
Us fly fishers can safely assume trout will be where we left them last season, but the clock ticked a minute closer to the Outdoor Apocalypse with the new version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Plant Hardiness Zone Map.” Welcome news for gardeners at more northerly latitudes, to be sure, but I for one am not looking forward to roses and magnolias crowding the banks of Sierra streams any time soon.
And though the USDA website notes…
Climate changes are usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over 50-100 years. Because the (new map) represents 30-year averages of what are essentially extreme weather events (the coldest temperature of the year), changes in zones are not reliable evidence of whether there has been global warming.
- via USDA Agricultural Research website
…the new hardiness map shows a decided shift north nationwide.
And while these warmth loving plants won’t give triffids any competition, by the time they show up next to my favorite trout waters, it’s likely the trout will be gone and the water rendered unfishable by an invasion of members of the Centrarchidae family.
The USDA interactive map can be seen here.