We've all heard about the wildflower 'superblooms' cropping up in rural parts of Southern California this Spring. They're like, super famous.
The Southern California Association of Governments Innovation department wants to help you explore SoCal's famed wildflower superblooms in a really smart way -- minimizing environmental impact from your trip and educating you about where these flowers came from anyway.
While many have heard about and been lured out to celebrity superblooms happening in nature parks and obscure parts of rural Southern California, SCAG Innovation performed an awesome hack to predict and map where you can check out likely flower blooms in a biome near you.
How did they do it?
According to SCAG, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a report giving parameters of elevation/terrain and even-interval precipitation conditions that would likely result in wildflower superblooms across the region. SCAG mapped the conditions necessary -- "precipitation, habitat areas, publicly accessible open space, and recent windstorms together" -- to determine a map of likely, wildflower blooms by month.
SCAG didn't just rely on the data they were given, they sent out field inspectors to determine where predictions were most accurate, and adjusted for that real-world fact check. Map users (like you!) can also help by documenting the wildflowers you encounter and uploading your photos to the Where the Wildflowers Are website. (Read more about the data and hack)
Why this year's Superbloom may not be so Super
Another reason SCAG embarked on this project was to help educate the public about this year's superbloom (which is quite naughty!). This bloom is not the result of miracle rain-fall and definitely not a sign that Southern California's water conservation efforts are a thing of the past. Neigh! Instead, SCAG argues that this superbloom is the demonstrable effects of climate change on Southern California, specifically, because of "an atmospheric river, a long, narrow band of water vapor in the sky, usually 250-350 miles wide."
These rivers "glide from sea level to the mountains lifts and condenses the moisture, turning it into rain or snow," explains SCAG, "As climate change warms the atmosphere in the coming decades, atmospheric rivers are likely to intensify in precipitation – but still remain difficult to predict."
Woah, What Next?