It's now the worst drought in a millennium. SO FAR.
California drought goes from bad to worse as state grapples with heat wave
Experts say fix requires global effort going into an era of climate change in which ‘the temperature is essentially always conducive to drought’
A concrete block that was used to moor a boat sits in dry cracked earth that used to be the bottom of Lake McClure in La Grange, California.
Spring is starting to feel a lot like summer in California, as a record-setting heat wave punishes the parched state now in its fourth year of what is said to be theworst drought in a millennium.
Experts say the scorching spring days are part of a long-term warming pattern – driven largely by human activity – that is increasing the chances that future droughts will be as bad as this one. At fault is a warm and dry weather combination, which exacerbates the already dire drought conditions by drying soil, melting snow and driving up water usage.
“It’s like a one-two punch,” said Jeanine Jones, deputy drought manager for the state Department of Water Resources (DWR). “Not having enough water to fill our reservoirs and having the hot weather evaporate the little that we do have.”
According to the most recent US drought report, moderately below-average precipitation, coupled with extremely above-average temperatures, has maintained or worsened drought conditions in California. The consequences have been devastating, from shriveling reservoirs to vanishing groundwater, dying crops, thinning herds and raging wildfires.
California relies on a series of massive storms during the winter months to drop snow on the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. During the spring and summer months the snowpack, acting like a natural reservoir, melts as water demand rises.
But the recent extremely warm weather has caused precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. The effect is dramatically less snowpack melt from the state’s mountain ranges, which can provide as much as a third of California’s water supply.
Read more here: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...ange?CMP=fb_us