Thursday, December 06, 2012

Real Doom

It isn't often these days that Scientific American gets anything right but as the saying goes "even the blind squirrel..."


Megastorms Could Drown Massive Portions of California

The intense rainstorms sweeping in from the Pacific Ocean began to pound central California on Christmas Eve in 1861 and continued virtually unabated for 43 days. The deluges quickly transformed rivers running down from the Sierra Nevada mountains along the state’s eastern border into raging torrents that swept away entire communities and mining settlements. The rivers and rains poured into the state’s vast Central Valley, turning it into an inland sea 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. Thousands of people died, and one quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle drowned. Downtown Sacramento was submerged under 10 feet of brown water filled with debris from countless mudslides on the region’s steep slopes. California’s legislature, unable to function, moved to San Francisco until Sacramento dried out—six months later. By then, the state was bankrupt.
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Worse, even Wikipedia contributes useful historical perspective:

The city of Sacramento suffered the worst damage due to its levee, which lay in a wide and flat valley at the junction of the American and Sacramento Rivers. When the floodwaters entered from the higher ground on the East, the levee acted as a dam to keep the water in the city rather than let it flow out. Soon the water level was 10 feet higher inside than the level of the Sacramento River on the outside. Dozens of wood houses, some two stories high, were simply lifted up and carried off by the flood, as was "all the firewood, most of the fences and sheds, all the poultry, cats, rats and many of the cows and horses". A chain gang was sent to break open the levee, which, when it finally broke, allowed the waters to rush out of the city center and lowered the level of the flooding by five to six feet. Eventually the waters fell to a level on a par with the lowest part of the city.[3]
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The SciAm article even includes a graphic of what the Central Valley lake would cover today.  I was also impressed by the almost offhand observation that overdrafting the aquifers has reduced AGL by 30 feet.  

Note:  I am of two opinions wrt to Wikipedia.  Fine for most name/date events.  Not so good when it comes to why.  This entirely natural event would be a centerpiece of a CAGW claim if it had happened recently.  

28 comments:

W.C. Varones said...

I like the part about drowning Sacramento.

And who gives a shit about the Central Valley any more? Feinstein already turned it into a dust bowl.

Fill the reservoirs and cut my water bill.

Cinco-X said...

RD: I am of two opinions wrt to Wikipedia. Fine for most name/date events. Not so good when it comes to why. This entirely natural event would be a centerpiece of a CAGW claim if it had happened recently.


Here's a more useless entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period
Charts indicate that temps then were comparable to those in the 1960s, yet we know that Greenland was warm enough to raise cattle and wheat, and that sea levels were some 60-100 feet higher than now...I'd have to guess some Nutroots type has gone into that entry to try and make it useless for arguing against AGW. It's also worth noting that the Medieval Warming Period corresponds with the peak of Anasazi Civilization, and that the demise of this civilization corresponds with the subsequent Little Ice Age.

Rob Dawg said...

W.C.,

Hell yeah! Okay, now that I have that out a voice of reason. Feinstein is an evil cancer that cannot go away soon enough. Agreed. The Senator of San Francisco. Big money puppet.

Time to move the State Capital to Bakersfield. Wait, think about it.

I for one still hope the agricultural value of the CV gets appreciated before it is destroyed. Anyone who like us drive a road other than 5 or 99 knows what is happening.

Rob Dawg said...

Cinco-X,
Wiki has been called to task many times for CAGW bias. With no effect to date.

Wake me up when the export wine industry re-inhabits western England.

It just amazes me that we have Pilgrims meeting natives in November wearing moccasins, vests and little else in the winter.

I do not hold myself as any form of expert. What I can do is point out the holes in the expert opinions.

Cinco-X said...

Rob Dawg said...Wiki has been called to task many times for CAGW bias. With no effect to date.


Interesting link posted by Shill elsewhere:
http://www.climatedepot.com/a/18726/Fmr-Thatcher-advisor-Lord-Monckton-evicted-from-UN-climate-summit-after-challenging-global-warming--Escorted-from-the-hall-and-security-officers-stripped-him-of-his-UN-credentials

Title of article:
Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming -- 'Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials'

w said...

Of course the ocean has risen 400 feet since the last Glacial Maximum 14,000 years ago.

The human fantasy fixating on a static world is always interesting.

Thomas Stone said...

WE all know this won't happen again, it's a one time thing, like that carrington event or an 8.0 on the Hayward fault.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Convenient facts like the Romans tending vinyards in England always get overlooked. Doesnt fit the narrative.

Dawg - Did you see how Reid wants a vote on giving Obama the ability to raise the debt limit himself. I thought Reid was a master of parliamentarian rules. Does he not realize that is the House's role int he checks and balances scheme?

w said...

Or the 400 year mega drought in the American desert southwest that destroyed the indian civilizations. Or the many years of massive windstorms in the American southeast that created aeolian soils 700 feet deep.

Rob Dawg said...

"Does [Reid] not realize that is the House's role in the checks and balances scheme?

I've long given up the fiction of a constitutional republic. What surprises me is giving up power. The power of the purse resides in the House. Why the House receives any Executive budget as anything but a suggestion is beyond me.

Rob Dawg said...

Convenient facts like the Romans tending vinyards in England always get overlooked. Doesnt fit the narrative.

Palm trees in the British Isles and Norwegian tree lines several thousand feet higher.

What gets me is humanity does fine in Singapore and Helsinki despite an annual average temperature difference of 12°C while we worry about 1.6°C.

Rob Dawg said...

Or the 400 year mega drought in the American desert southwest that destroyed the indian civilizations.

Was it that long? The Anasazi held on for quite a bit.

I recall in the early 80s visiting a site. The structure was a "mystery" to the PHd ranger interpreters. Took about 10 seconds and said "food bank." I pointed out the raised floor level for insect/rodent and ease of transfer. I pointed out the lack of windows as evidence of storage rather than occupation. I pointed out the location as transport efficient above other considerations. I got pooh poohed for being so flippant. Took the eggheads 30 years to figure out the obvious.

w said...

Well it was more like a bunch of 20-60 year droughts within a 400 year range.

They have also found evidence of the same during the Roman era. A 50 year drought during a very dry century.

Thats funny about the Anasazi. Coming in with no preconceived notion and seeing things for what they are.

w said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skittles the Unicorn said...

At least the drive up Hwy 99 will smell better.

TJandTheBear said...

Definitely raises mixed emotions.

The CV brings us so much good food, but the rest would best be washed away.

Lou Minatti said...

So we could see Lucifer's Hammer in real life in the Central Valley, only without the comet?

Lou Minatti said...

From the Wiki entry,

"Dependent on property taxes, the State of California went bankrupt. The governor, state legislature, and state employees were not paid for a year and a half."

Hmm.

w said...

Great find Lou! Didn't those poor saps know anything about the contracts clause!!

Lucifers Hammer was great disaster porn. Which brings up a point...the 70's were not just a decade or urban decay and economic problems they were the decade of disaster films. Will we soon go down this same path as the public becomes fixated on the negative things going on around them? Will we have a new Dirty Harry and Magnum Force? Maybe this time set in Detroit? Airport, Poseiden Adventure, Hotel?

Lou Minatti said...

I hope this link works:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2244089/Kristy-Cadman-Jones-death-Coroner-challenges-groom-new-wifes-heroin-overdose-honeymoon.html

The guy on the right. Look vaguely familiar?

Son of Brock Landers said...

@w - The zombie craze plays on people's fears of a collapse of civilization and the idea that there might be mobs of people that you'll have to kill.

Cinco-X said...

Rob Dawg said...

Or the 400 year mega drought in the American desert southwest that destroyed the indian civilizations.

Was it that long? The Anasazi held on for quite a bit.


I think that period was a long as and coincident with "the Little Ice Age"...

Rob Dawg said...

Gosh this can be a fun place. Thoughtful commentary and light banter. I apologize for the extended hiatus. I thought the subjects were better covered elsewhere and for a time they were.

w said...

I don't know Son of Brock Landers,

That may be partly true. But I kind of think the Zombie fascination is more an outgrowth of video game culture. Zombie games became pretty popular about 10 years ago. Those kids are now a valuable movie going demographic.

Though I admit I tried to watch AMC's Walking Dead for the whole "Postman" quality to it, but it was just too much gore. I just couldn't watch humans beat other humans to death. What would Natural Law say about that!

w said...

@Cinco-X,

I think you have the right idea, but without doing any fact checking let me stick my foot in my mouth and suggest that I believe the drought periods in the desert SW correspond with the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period.

Just a thought...the Little Ice Age would have come just after the Medieval Warm Period and perhaps just before or during the Spanish exploration. Thus giving us a warped historical perspective of a desert SW at peak rainfall.

Rob Dawg said...

Thus giving us a warped historical perspective of a desert SW at peak rainfall.

Exactly correct. the same error occurred when dividing up the Colorado River water. They mistook average volume by at least a third due to an unusually wet survey period.

Cinco-X said...

Blogger w said...
Just a thought...the Little Ice Age would have come just after the Medieval Warm Period and perhaps just before or during the Spanish exploration. Thus giving us a warped historical perspective of a desert SW at peak rainfall.


http://spittalstreet.com/?p=2557
The advanced people who built these dwelling were less durable than their cleverly architected buildings. By 1200 Chaco Canyon was abandoned and by 1300 Mesa Verde was also left empty.

The end of Anasazi civilization corresponded with the end of the Medieval Warming...

Cinco-X said...

The freak melt of the Greenland ice sheet last summer may have been forced by smoke from Arctic wildfires, new research suggests.

Satellite observations, due to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Friday, for the first time tracks smoke and soot particles from tundra wildfires over to Greenland.

Scientists have long known that soot blackens snow and ice, reducing its powers of reflectivity and making it more likely to melt under the sun.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/greenland-thaw-from-arctic-wildfires-2012-12#ixzz2EPJ7VW54