May 21, 2011

Explain This

Being originally from the Northwest and having a great deal of family living there I am drawn to articles about the area. With all the news spin about the great Mississippi flooding, the high water on another iconic river I know well has not been much in the news. The Columbian reports
Columbia River levels remain near flood stage 
What I found interesting in this article was that rather than being buried in the usual global warming hype the cause was clearly stated right near the top of a straight news report. (emphasis mine)
The Columbia River is experiencing its highest water runoff levels since 1997 because of high precipitation levels this year and late-melting snow, Barton said. The preserved snowpacks making their way into the Columbia River Basin are 180 percent as deep as normal
The key to this is not the "180 percent as deep as normal " snow pack though it should be, the alarmist community having now captured the narrative on excessive snow being a product of a warming atmosphere. The key which flies in the face of the narrative is the "late-melting snow".

It is one thing to claim that a warmer atmosphere will absorb more moisture which will fall as snow in colder months, it is quite another thing to try to claim that colder weather will last longer in a warming  world. This point is driven home by the next sentence of the article explaining why the mighty Columbia River is so high this year.
“The unique thing about this year’s conditions was it was wet and cold late into April and early May,” Barton said.

In a normal year, the water would have released into the river at a more gradual pace. However, this year the river was forced to accept a gulp of water.
So this year is unique as far as the Columbia is concerned, but not because of warmer weather or just increased moisture (snow) but rather because it stayed colder and wetter longer than normal. 

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