Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation flips, and California cools 

You've heard of El Nino and La Nina, but probably not the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. NASA has announced that it has flipped to a cooling phase -- the last change was from cooling to warming in 1977 -- and Anthony Watts predicts hard times ahead for California agriculture:

California agriculture has ridden a wave of success on that PDO warm phase since 1977, experiencing unprecedented growth. Now that PDO is shifting to a cooler phase, areas that supported crops during the warm phase may no longer be able to do so.

One can imagine at least two indirect consequences of California cooling.

First, the demand for cheap labor from Mexico will diminish along with the yields from California farms. Production will move south, and that will probably improve the chances of Mexican farmers, who will then have climate and labor on their side. At the margin, concerns about illegal immigration will probably diminish, and calls for protection against imports of cheap Mexican produce will probably increase.

Second, it will become a lot less chic for West coasters to worry about anthropogenic global warming. Just as Americans are less concerned about AGW than Europeans because thus far its impact on us has been benign, chilling Californians may quickly forget why we need an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Or, alternatively, somebody might notice that higher CO2 levels provide protection against the PDO's thirty-year cool snap. Either way, the politics of AGW may already be changing with the temperature of the eastern Pacific.


By Blogger randian, at Wed Apr 30, 07:16:00 AM:


By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Apr 30, 08:11:00 AM:


With your last two blog comments you seem to have achieved the ultimate in bloggy economy. Reductionism extraordinaire, I'd say.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 30, 09:35:00 AM:

The Pope of the Environmental Church, al-Gore, already has that covered. He doesn't talk about global warming, he talks about climate change. That way, capitalism is responsible for any cooling that happens as well.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 30, 11:11:00 AM:

All that global warming poppycock and still those in hollyweird still whine about us who drive SUVs while riding to their dull boring award shows in their gas guzzling 4 mpg limos I HAVE PLENTY TO SQUAWK ABOUT SQUAWK SQUAWK  

By Blogger randian, at Wed Apr 30, 05:11:00 PM:

Blogger doesn't allow you to subscribe to the comments without making a comment yourself. As far as I can tell there is no workaround for this bug, so I leave a minimal comment instead. I could leave it and then delete it, which would leave a "this comment deleted by the author" comment. Simpler all around to just leave a punctuation mark.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Apr 30, 05:59:00 PM:


Excellent! I'm just relieved that I was not missing out on the hidden meaning of a single period.  

By Blogger joated, at Wed Apr 30, 10:08:00 PM:

"Now that PDO is shifting to a cooler phase, areas that supported crops during the warm phase may no longer be able to do so."

Noooo, the land will still support crops, just different ones. The crops they will be able to grow will be cool weather crops. (Think peas instead of beans. Cabbage instead of aritchokes.) It's completely false to say they won't be able to grow anything, as the quote implies.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Apr 30, 10:35:00 PM:

Good point, joated, but beans and artichokes are surely more fun than peas and cabbage!  

By Blogger joated, at Thu May 01, 08:16:00 AM:

Depends. I like sauerkraut and stuffed cabbage. And peas go with just about anything: split pea soup (for those cold days), mixed with veggies for a pot pie, or just on the plate.

As for artichokes...bleech! Domesticated thistle.  

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