I’ve just finished reading LA Times reporter Hayley Smith’s apocalyptic telling of the coming El Niño, “El Niño is likely returning, bringing danger for California and the world. ‘We need to be prepared'”, and I’ll just say this: I hope we’re all still around this time next year.
You remember El Niño, right? Used to be the subject of small talk at the office or the backyard BBQ. “Supposed to be an El Niño.” “Good, we could use the rain.” End of discussion.
But no more. Just as storms have suddenly become “atmospheric rivers,” the El Niño phenomenon is now a threat to humanity itself.
As most readers will know, an El Niño usually brings wet winter conditions—or not.
“There have been El Niño years when we had extreme wet conditions as well as dry,” Tapan Pathak, a specialist in climate adaptation in agriculture at the University of California Cooperative Extension, is quoted as saying.
This is in contrast to La Niña seasons, which are typically drier—or not. The 2022-23 winter season that we’re all still drying out from was a La Niña year.
Hayley didn’t let that ambiguity deter her from making the most dire predictions of climatological disaster:
“For California—a state already bracing for potentially devastating floods due to epic snowmelt—a strong El Niño could bring a second consecutive winter of above-average precipitation, accompanied by landslides, floods and coastal erosion.”
Not to mention, “more pressure from pests” and rising sea levels.
Not only will El Niño mean environmental calamity, but “it will also have knock-on effects” (emphasis added) on the energy, metals, agriculture, transportation, and insurance industries and maybe even banking and interest rates. And, of course, El Niño is going to contribute to—wait for it—global warming.
But don’t worry, Hayley CY’d her J School (USC) A** by conceding that “predictions can be more of an art than a science—especially so far in advance.” Or as Yogi Berra put it, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
This isn’t science, it’s not even journalism—it’s screenwriting. It’s in the genre of disaster movies about comets colliding with earth, monster tsunamis, and epic earthquakes. More “Day After Tomorrow” than the news of today.
I am bored by science (in this, I am at least more honest than the climate alarmists). Couldn’t tell you how many planets there are in our solar system (12?), so I have not the slightest inclination to make a study of the climate science. But I know hysteria when I see it.
Now that I think of it, maybe this type of “news” is closer to something like the following:
“The waters rose…and every living thing on the earth was wiped out, from man to beast, from reptile to bird of the air; they were wiped from the earth.”
2,500 hundred years on, human understanding hasn’t progressed much beyond that.
We are at the mercy of nature. No doubt, El Niño or La Niña or La Bamba will have some “knock-on effects.” But like Noah and his family, California and the world will survive.
But beware. That Pineapple Express is a bitch.
J.S. Scifo is a North County resident who has worked in national and state politics.