Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Los Angeles Rainfall II

Remember my rant in Los Angeles Rainfall? I do so hate sloppy language when describing quantitative data. Take a look at Another rain season below normal in the LAT August 5, 2008.

See the line drawn at 14.99 inches denoting the average rainfall in Los Angeles (weather station downtown near the Civic Center)? Notice how most years are well below the average (aka mean) but a few very wet outliers drastically skew the average.

What's normal, the mean or the median? Let's not start a religious debate and just agree that Los Angeles is a semi-arid area.

Speaking of religious debates, read San Gabriel River becomes deathbed for dozens of ducks.
"It would be nice if they took into account impacts on vulnerable nesting birds before they manipulate water levels," [Kimball Garrett, ornithology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County] said. "This illustrates the bigger problem, which is that if we have these channelized rivers intended for flood control but are also the only de facto wildlife habitat left, shouldn't we manage for both purposes?"
"Its balance of benefit weighs in favor of humans, not wildlife," Waldie [spokesman for the city of Lakewood] said. "Does it need an advocate for wildlife in the same way there are advocates for movement of its water toward bathtubs, taps and lawns from Whittier to Long Beach?"

"That's a difficult question to ask in a time of serious drought," he said.
Are jacuzzi tubs and six shower head "spa" showers and growing Kentucky bluegrass lawns higher uses of water than simple survival for wildlife?

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