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Pierce weathers the winter heat wave


The abnormally warm weather this winter at Pierce College has called for shorts and tank tops, and speculation as to the causes of the heat have centered around climate change and global warming.

There is no consensus within the meteorological community regarding the unusual heat pattern in California, but Jason Finley, Pierce’s meteorology faculty adviser, has one explanation.

“A ridge of high pressure stuck over western America has been the reason behind the heat wave,” Finley said.

He referred to the pattern as a “ridiculously resilient ridge.”

California is no stranger to this kind of weather during the winter; this pattern is very similar to that of last year.

“This weather is common for the area” said Finley, who also runs the state of the art Pierce College weather station.

He said that overall, minimal changes were required in preparation for this heat.

“The weeds that usually grow around the Pierce weather station were not there this winter,” Finley said.

The areas impacted by the heat wave differed among Pierce advisors and students. Greg Mruk, adjunct instructor in the agriculture program, commented on how Pierce’s agriculture program has been affected by this weather.

“There has been enough rain that [the heat] hasn’t affected the crops” Mruk said, adding that the rain in December was just enough to keep the crops under control.

“[The heat] hasn’t impacted the crops the same way as in summer,” Mruk said.

The Pierce agriculture department has been using minimal irrigation, and the only impact seen by Mruk so far has been during the last 10 days, when he noticed that some crops were drying out. The heat does not seem to be drastically changing the production of crops on campus.

The weather has left the budget for maintenance of the Pierce farm unaffected. Adrian Youhanna, the chairperson of the geographical sciences department, was unaware of any budget cuts due to this weather change.

Students have noticed the slight changes in the weather.

“Usually winter feels cooler and brings more rain,” Pierce student Richard Zepeda said.

The impacts of the winter heat wave were not drastic at Pierce, but the Pierce community can continue to leave their jackets at home.