The Shape of Springs to Come

Dominating the news, at least at the state level, are the multiple large wildfires burning across much of Texas. We’ve had a few small grass fires within the city limits, but the majority of the wildfires are located on remote ranchland or grassland, or in heavy brush and conifer forest near small towns and vacation home developments. According to the Texas Forest Service, two new large fires developed in West Texas on Saturday, and the Possum Kingdom Complex fire west of Fort Worth, which has destroyed over 150 homes, is 50% contained.

March is normally a (relatively) rainy month for South Texas, however this year we’ve had only a trace of rain over the last 90 days. It’s already quite warm, with daytime temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. Watering restrictions are in place within the city, to conserve the supply in the Edwards Aquifer. Turns out that this is typical for a La Niña event, characterized by cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific: in the Pacific Northwest, conditions will be wetter, and in the Southwest, drier and warmer conditions will be experienced. In my suburban garden, some of the lettuce has begun to bolt, and the sugar snap peas were doomed before the vines got started. But as long as I can keep the raised beds hand-watered, the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, and zucchini should kick in within a month or two, the green bean vines are flowering at the moment, and the kale and rainbow chard continue to hang in there. Is this year’s La Niña a harbinger of climate change effects for the long term? Possibly, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News; climate change models indicate that summers will start earlier and last longer, and that rainfall may be limited to isolated, sporadic storms.

Know any place in northern Europe where an adaptable developmental neurobiologist, who can teach gross anatomy, embryology, and medical neuroscience, might find a job??

This entry was posted in climate change and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Shape of Springs to Come

  1. chall says:

    hm, I drove to Austin a few days ago and was greeted by funny looking skies (foggy) and a distinct smell of fire when I opened the car door to fill the gas tank…. the people in the gas station were kindly informing me “grass fires”. ^^

    On the way back it was tornados, heavy rain and funnel clouds – all very novel/scary/exciting to a little northern Scandinavia who I am 😉 I would say that Sweden is sort of not an option for a developmental neurobiologist might find a job – that again, I might be too negative but it seems like most of the people getting a job “back home” are already there and having connections. Too many Phds, not as many jobs… bitter? well, maybe we can say realistict at this point?

    Good luck! And maybe Germany or Denmark or equivalent are more prosperous places? Is it you who are looking?! *curious*

    • KristiV says:

      I’d take my chances with the tornadoes to get some heavy rain right now. Any rain would do. It’s been very hazy with the smoke from grass fires blowing in; a friend’s mother lives in San Angelo, and of course it’s much worse up there. Last night I was listening to the local public radio station, and the announcer kept saying “It’s 84, with wind and rain.” There was no rain anywhere in the listening area – could you perhaps step outside and just look? Honestly, the weather people here have pseudoscience degrees, and livestock in the field can do a better job of predicting and describing the weather. To top it all off, we have a moronic anti-intellectual governor, who issues proclamations to “pray for rain.” ::rolls eyes::

      And yes, I’m the one who’s looking – maybe better to sell myself as a gross anatomy instructor, as those are in short supply (at least in the US). 😉

  2. Heather says:

    If you come over to this part of the world, potentially not north enough for you, there are pros and cons.

    Pros: They’d been looking for a developmental neuroscientist in April in Montpellier. I bet they don’t have so many candidates, and your inquiry might spark some interest: http://www.sfbd.fr/IMG/protege/form1/PRgenet2011_FicheDePoste.pdf . Your gardening skills would certainly not go to waste.

    Cons: There are still wildfires here. And you’d have to get really good at French.

    • KristiV says:

      Getting really good at French would definitely be a challenge, but an interesting one, I think. I have some friends, both computational biologists, who also own a company that may become quite lucrative for them. They’ve discussed starting a small research group in Europe, should their company become really lucrative, and they seem to favor southern France as a place to settle. The wife in the couple speaks French fluently, so I’d have someone with whom to practice, if I moved with them. i actually enjoy learning languages – just wish i had more reason and opportunity to do so.

  3. “in the Pacific Northwest, conditions will be wetter”

    I’d noticed that! Want some of our rain? I’ll send down the jacket I wore on my way to work this morning and you can wring it out over the fires. Should do the trick nicely.

    • KristiV says:

      Yes, please – I’ve been trying to get my friends in the Bay area to send some of theirs as well. There’s a bit of a cool front blowing through this morning, but no rain. Ugh.

  4. cromercrox says:

    It’s been very dry in North Norfolk – but then the East Coast of England normally is. A fact not universally acknowledged by those who equate ‘England’ with ‘wet’ is the strong east-west weather divide, and how dry it is in the eastern counties. DrAust will attest to the wetness of Manchester – but when I had an allotment in east London it was practically dryland irrigation, the area having the same precipitation as … Jerusalem.