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Lauren Johnson
02-02-2014, 04:55 AM
By all means, scroll down and look at the rainfall projections (IPCC) for Western North America up to 2100 C.E. Just stare at it. In other words, the Southwest & California have just barely started to experience the drought.

from : Dr. Jeff Masters (http://www.wunderground.com/about/jmasters.asp), January 31, 2014:


California's first significant snow storm of 2014 hit the Sierras on Wednesday and Thursday, dumping up to 2 feet of snow, with a melted water equivalent of up to two inches. However, this modest snowstorm was not enough to keep the Sierra snowpack from recording its lowest snow amounts in more than 50 years of record keeping during Thursday's Sierra Snow Survey (http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snowsurvey_sno/COURSES). The survey found a snow pack that was only 12% of normal for this time of year. Until Thursday, the lowest statewide snowpack measurement at this time of year was 21% of average, in 1991 and 1963, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-brown-water-20140131,0,3070851.story#ixzz2rzTWGgMf). Since snowpack in the Sierras forms a crucial source of water for California, the dismal snow survey results are a huge concern.

http://icons.wxug.com/hurricane/2014/snow-survey.jpg
Figure 1. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey Program for the Department of Water Resources, walks leaves a snow covered meadow after the second snow survey of the year near Echo Summit, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Despite the overnight snow storm the survey showed the snow depth at 12.4 inches with a water content of only 1.4 inches for this location at this time of the year. Gehrke said that while the recent snow fall will help, it is not enough to impact the water supply.(AP Photo)

The forecast: little drought relief in sight
One of the most persistent and intense ridges of high pressure ever recorded in North America has been anchored over the West Coast since December 2012. While the ridge has occasionally broken down and allowed low pressure systems to leak though, these storms have mostly brought spotty and meager precipitation to California, resulting in California's driest year on record during 2013. January 2014 could well be its driest January on record. The ridge inevitably builds back after each storm, clamping down on any moisture reaching the state. Since rain-bearing low pressure systems tend to travel along the axis of the jet stream, these storms are being carried along the axis of the ridge, well to the north of California and into Southeast Alaska, leaving California exceptionally dry. The latest runs of the GFS and European models show that the ridge is now building back, and it appears likely that California will see no significant precipitation until at least February 7. A weak upper level low will move along the coast on Sunday and spread some light rain along the immediate coast, but this precipitation will generally be less than 0.25"--too little to have any significant impact on the drought. The ridge will not be as intense when it builds back, though, which gives me some hope that a low pressure system will be able to break the ridge by mid-February and bring the most significant rains of the winter rainy season to California.

http://icons.wxug.com/hurricane/2014/oroville-lake-jan20.jpg
Figure 2. One of the key water supply reservoirs for Central California, Lake Oroville, (http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/resapp/resDetailOrig.action?resid=ORO) as seen on January 20, 2014. Image credit: California Department of Water Resources (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151945367687449.1073741878.95205192448&type=1).

Worst California drought in 500 years?
UC Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram, author of "The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow", said in an interview (http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/01/21/states-water-woes/), “this could potentially be the driest water year in 500 years.” Her research on tree rings shows that California has not experienced such an extreme drought since 1580. "If you go back thousands of years, you see that droughts can go on for years if not decades, and there were some dry periods that lasted over a century, like during the Medieval period and the middle Holocene. The 20th century was unusually mild here, in the sense that the droughts weren’t as severe as in the past. It was a wetter century, and a lot of our development has been based on that." It's no wonder, then, that the overall agricultural impact of the drought could reach $1 billion this year, according to the Fresno-based Westlands Water District (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/www.westlandswater.org/wwd/pr/wwd-supports-to-fix-water-crisis.pdf?title=Westlands%20Supports%20Congressio nal%20and%20State%20Efforts%20to%20Fix%20Immediate %20Water%20Crisis).

California's drought woes are part of an on-going 14-year Western U.S. drought that began in 2000, and peaked between 2000 - 2004. A 2012 study titled, Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America, (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2128&context=usdaarsfacpub&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar% 3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DReduction%2Bin%2Bcarbon%2Buptake%2 Bduring%2Bturn%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bcentury%2Bdrought%2Bin %2Bwestern%2BNorth%2BAmerica%26btnG%3D%26as_sdt%3D 1%252C23%26as_sdtp%3D#search=%22Reduction%20carbon %20uptake%20during%20turn%20century%20drought%20we stern%20North%20America%22) found that the 2000 - 2004 drought was the most severe Western North America event of its kind since the last mega drought over 800 years ago, during the years 1146 - 1151. The paper analyzed the latest generation of climate models used for the 2013 IPCC report, which project that the weather conditions that spawned the 2000 - 2004 drought will be the new normal in the Western U.S. by 2030, and will be considered extremely wet by the year 2100. If these dire predictions of a coming "megadrought" are anywhere close to correct, it will be extremely challenging for the Southwest U.S. to support a growing population in the coming decades.

Megadroughts in the Western U.S. can develop from natural causes, as well, and the current pattern of cooler than average ocean temperatures in the Eastern Pacific and warmer than average ocean temperatures in the Atlantic increase the odds of drought conditions like the ones we have seen during the current megadrought. Edward Cook, director of the Tree Ring Laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., said (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/is-the-wests-dry-spell-really-a-megadrought-16824) at a presentation last month at the American Geophysical Union meeting that tree ring data show that the area of the West that was affected by severe drought in the Medieval period was much higher and much longer than the current drought. It is “indeed pretty scary,” Cook said. “One lasted 29 years. One lasted 28 years. They span the entire continental United States." Two megadroughts in the Sierra Nevada of California lasted between 100 and 200 years. Bobby Magill at Climate Center has more on Dr. Cook's presentation in a post, Is the West’s Dry Spell Really a Megadrought? (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/is-the-wests-dry-spell-really-a-megadrought-16824)

http://icons.wxug.com/hurricane/2013/drought-western-us-1900-2100.png

Figure 3. Normalized precipitation over Western North America (five-year mean) from 22 climate models used to formulate the 2013 IPCC report, as summarized by Schwalm et al., 2012, Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2128&context=usdaarsfacpub&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar% 3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DReduction%2Bin%2Bcarbon%2Buptake%2 Bduring%2Bturn%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bcentury%2Bdrought%2Bin %2Bwestern%2BNorth%2BAmerica%26btnG%3D%26as_sdt%3D 1%252C23%26as_sdtp%3D#search=%22Reduction%20carbon %20uptake%20during%20turn%20century%20drought%20we stern%20North%20America%22). The horizontal line marks the precipitation level of the 2000 - 2004 drought, the worst of the past 800 years. Droughts of this intensity are predicted to be the new normal by 2030, and will be considered an outlier of extreme wetness by 2100. The paper states: "This impending drydown of western North America is consistent with present trends in snowpack decline as well as expected in-creases in aridity and extreme climate events,including drought, and is driven by anthropogenically forced increases in temperature with coincident increases in evapotranspiration and decreases in soil moisture. Although regional precipitation patterns are difficult to forecast, climate models tend to underestimate the extent and severity of drought relative to available observations. As such, actual reductions in precipitation may be greater than shown. Forecasted precipitation patterns are consistent with a probable twenty-first century megadrought." Image credit: Schwalm et al., 2012, Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America, (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2128&context=usdaarsfacpub&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar% 3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DReduction%2Bin%2Bcarbon%2Buptake%2 Bduring%2Bturn%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bcentury%2Bdrought%2Bin %2Bwestern%2BNorth%2BAmerica%26btnG%3D%26as_sdt%3D 1%252C23%26as_sdtp%3D#search=%22Reduction%20carbon %20uptake%20during%20turn%20century%20drought%20we stern%20North%20America%22) Nature Geoscience 5, 551-555, Published online 29 JULY 2012, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1529, www.nature.com/naturegeoscience (http://www.nature.com/naturegeoscience).

Related posts
Unprecedented Cut in Colorado River Flow Ordered, Due to Drought (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2495), my August 2013 post.

Lessons from 2012: Droughts, not Hurricanes, are the Greater Danger (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2296), my November 2012 post.

How Two Reservoirs Have Become Billboards For What Climate Change Is Doing To The American West (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/12/2439931/reservoir-billboards-southwest/), August 12, 2013 climateprogress.org post by Tom Kenworthy.

Scientists Predicted A Decade Ago Arctic Ice Loss Would Worsen Western Droughts. Is That Happening Already? (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/30/2236751/scientists-predicted-a-decade-ago-arctic-ice-loss-would-worsen-western-droughts-is-that-happening-already/), June 2013 post by Joe Romm at climateprogress.org.

Twenty Cities At Risk of Water Shortages (http://www.wunderground.com/news/water-shortages-top-20-cities-risk-water-supply-drought-20130806), August 14, 2013 wunderground news post by Nick Wiltgen

‪If There's Global Warming...Why Is It So Cold?‬
It's been top-ten coldest January on record in the Upper Midwest, and much colder than average over much of the Eastern U.S. However, the that isn't the case over other portions of the globe, including the Western U.S. and Alaska. Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt analyzes the situation in his latest post, How Cold has this January been in the U.S.? (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=238) He concludes, "this January’s average temperature nationally has probably been close to normal since the western half of the nation has been almost as much above average as the eastern half was below average. The only region that will most likely have experienced a TOP 10 coldest January will be the Upper Midwest." In the U.S., only four stations set (http://www.wunderground.com/climate/extremes.asp) all-time low minimum temperature records in January, compared to 34 that set all-time high maximum temperature records. I've been monitoring global temperatures this month, and it appears likely that January will rank between the 5th and 15th warmest January since record keeping began in 1880. Of particular note were the amazingly warm January temperatures in the Balkans. According to weather record researcher Maximiliano Herrera (http://www.mherrera.org/temp.htm), "over 90% of all stations in the Balkans from Slovenia to Croatia to Bosnia to Serbia To Montenegro to Kosovo etc., have DESTROYED their previous record of warmest January ever (many locations have 100 - 200 years of data.) In many cases the monthly temperatures were 7 - 9°C (13 - 16°F) above average, and the new records were 3 - 4°C above the previous record. This is for THOUSANDS of stations, almost all of them. In Slovenia, for example, Mount Kredarica is the only station in the whole country not to have set its warmest January on record."

Magda Hassan
02-02-2014, 06:50 AM
I heard some thing on the radio in the last couple of days that there is no more government supplied water in California? ::blink:: How does that work?

Lauren Johnson
02-02-2014, 07:04 AM
I heard some thing on the radio in the last couple of days that there is no more government supplied water in California? ::blink:: How does that work?

All the water to the cities comes out of the Sierras and Mtns up going into Shasta Lake? Remember the picture of the lake drying up?
Shasta. I can only presume that water is regulated in some way by some govt. agency, and that agency is saying no mas. How does it work? Not well.

Peter Lemkin
02-02-2014, 07:16 AM
Southern CA is an unsustainable population - it mostly being a desert which is stealing water from the mountains in Northern CA....but that was going to come to an end even without the climate change..and now it has come with a vengeance. Let them fill their swimming pools with bottled water from Tahiti! Look at these photos here! http://www.wunderground.com/news/stunning-photos-californias-lakes-depleted-extreme-drought-20140123?pageno=1


Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing WorstBy ADAM NAGOURNEY (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/adam_nagourney/index.html) and IAN LOVETTFEB. 1, 2014






http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/02/02/us/02drought-slide-K5KP/02drought-slide-K5KP-jumbo.jpgVIEW SLIDE SHOW|10 PhotosA Deepening Drought in the West


A Deepening Drought in the WestMax Whittaker for The New York Times





















LOS ANGELES — The punishing drought that has swept California is now threatening the state’s drinking water supply.
With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities providing water to 40,000 people are in danger of running out within 60 to 120 days. State officials said that the number was likely to rise in the months ahead after the State Water Project, the main municipal water distribution system, announced on Friday that it did not have enough water to supplement the dwindling supplies of local agencies that provide water to an additional 25 million people. It is first time the project has turned off its spigot in its 54-year history.
RELATED COVERAGE

http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/02/01/us/01Drought/01Drought-thumbStandard.jpg

Parched, California Cuts Off Tap to AgenciesJAN. 31, 2014 (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/us/amid-drought-california-agency-will-withhold-water-deliveries.html)

State officials said they were moving to put emergency plans in place. In the worst case, they said drinking water would have to be brought by truck into parched communities and additional wells would have to be drilled to draw on groundwater. The deteriorating situation would likely mean imposing mandatory water conservation measures on homeowners and businesses, who have already been asked to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent.
http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/02/02/us/02-DROUGHT-4/02-DROUGHT-4-master180.jpgLaunch media viewer

A once-submerged car at a California reservoir. Jim Wilson/The New York Times“Every day this drought goes on we are going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing” said Gov. Jerry Brown, who was governor during the last major drought here, in 1976-77 (http://www.water.ca.gov/watertransfers/docs/9_drought-1976-77.pdf).
This latest development has underscored the urgency of a drought that has already produced parched fields, starving livestock, and pockets of smog.
“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” said B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.
Already the drought, technically in its third year, is forcing big shifts in behavior. Farmers in Nevada said they had given up on even planting, while ranchers in Northern California and New Mexico said they were being forced to sell off cattle as fields that should be four feet high with grass are a blanket of brown and stunted stalks.
Fishing and camping in much of California has been outlawed, to protect endangered salmon and guard against fires. Many people said they had already begun to cut back drastically on taking showers, washing their car and watering their lawns.
Rain and snow showers brought relief in parts of the state at the week’s end — people emerging from a movie theater in West Hollywood on Thursday evening broke into applause upon seeing rain splattering on the sidewalk — but they were nowhere near enough to make up for record-long dry stretches, officials said.
“I have experienced a really long career in this area, and my worry meter has never been this high,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies (http://www.acwa.com/), a statewide coalition. “We are talking historical drought conditions, no supplies of water in many parts of the state. My industry’s job is to try to make sure that these kind of things never happen. And they are happening.”
Officials are girding for the kind of geographical, cultural and economic battles that have long plagued a part of the country that is defined by a lack of water: between farmers and environmentalists, urban and rural users, and the northern and southern regions of this state.
“We do have a politics of finger-pointing and blame whenever there is a problem,” said Mr. Brown. “And we have a problem, so there is going to be a tendency to blame people.” President Obama called him last week to check on the drought situation and express his concern.
Tom Vilsack, secretary of the federal Agriculture Department, said in an interview that his agency’s ability to help farmers absorb the shock, with subsidies to buy food for cattle, had been undercut by the long deadlock in Congress over extending the farm bill, which finally seemed to be resolved last week (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/us/politics/house-approves-farm-bill-ending-2-year-impasse.html).
Mr. Vilsack called the drought in California a “deep concern,” and a warning sign of trouble ahead for much of the West.


“That’s why it’s important for us to take climate change seriously,” he said. “If we don’t do the research, if we don’t have the financial assistance, if we don’t have the conservation resources, there’s very little we can do to help these farmers.”
The crisis is unfolding in ways expected and unexpected. Near Sacramento, the low level of streams has brought out prospectors, sifting for flecks of gold in slow-running waters. To the west, the heavy water demand of growers of medical marijuana — six gallons per plant per day during a 150-day period (http://co.humboldt.ca.us/board/agenda/questys/mg218885/as218921/ai224352/do224464/bosagendaitem.pdf) — is drawing down streams where salmon and other endangered fish species spawn.
“Every pickup truck has a water tank in the back,” said Scott Bauer, a coho salmon recovery coordinator with theCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/). “There is a potential to lose whole runs of fish.”
Without rain to scrub the air, pollution in the Los Angeles basin, which has declined over the past decade, has returned to dangerous levels, as evident from the brown-tinged air. Homeowners have been instructed to stop burning wood in their fireplaces.
In the San Joaquin Valley, federal limits for particulate matter were breached for most of December and January. Schools used flags to signal when children should play indoors.
“One of the concerns is that as concentrations get higher, it affects not only the people who are most susceptible, but healthy people as well,” said Karen Magliano, assistant chief of the air quality planning division of the state’s Air Resources Board (http://www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm).
The impact has been particularly severe on farmers and ranchers. “I have friends with the ground torn out, all ready to go,” said Darrell Pursel, who farms just south of Yerington, Nev. “But what are you going to plant? At this moment, it looks like we’re not going to have any water. Unless we get a lot of rain, I know I won’t be planting anything.”
The University of California Cooperative Extension (http://ucanr.edu/) held adrought survival session (http://ucanr.edu/?blogpost=12686&blogasset=60503) last week in Browns Valley, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, drawing hundreds of ranchers in person and online. “We have people coming from six or seven hours away,” said Jeffrey James, who ran the session.
Dan Macon, 46, a rancher in Auburn, Calif., said the situation was “as bad as I have ever experienced. Most of our range lands are essentially out of feed.”
With each parched sunrise, a sense of alarm is rising amid signs that this is a drought that comes along only every few centuries. Sacramento had gone 52 days without water, and Albuquerque had gone 42 days without rain or snow as of Saturday.
The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which supplies much of California with water during the dry season, was at just 12 percent of normal last week, reflecting the lack of rain or snow in December and January.
“When we don’t have rainfall in our biggest two months, you really are starting off bad,” said Dar Mims, a meteorologist with the Air Resources Board.
Even as officials move into action, people who have lived through droughts before — albeit none as severe as this — said they were doing triage in their gardens (water the oak tree, not the lawn) and taking classic “stop-start-stop-start” shower.
Jacob Battersby, a producer in Oakland, said he began cutting back even before the voluntary restrictions were announced.
“My wife and I both enjoy gardening,” he wrote in an email. “ ‘Sorry, plants. You will be getting none to drink this winter.’ ”

David Guyatt
02-02-2014, 09:08 AM
And over here in the west country, there is almost constant flooding.

And I imagine it is this that has led to an outspoken speech by the Prince of Wales, who used language like "there barrage f sheer intimidation" from "powerful interest groups" who were "turning accepted science on its head" etc"



‘It is baffling that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything – until, that is, it comes to climate science. All of a sudden, and with a barrage of sheer intimidation, we are told by powerful groups of deniers that the scientists are wrong and we must abandon all our faith in so much overwhelming scientific evidence.



Whatever anyone thinks of him, he at least is hitting out at the right targets.

Magda Hassan
02-03-2014, 08:20 AM
And over here in the west country, there is almost constant flooding.

And I imagine it is this that has led to an outspoken speech by the Prince of Wales, who used language like "there barrage f sheer intimidation" from "powerful interest groups" who were "turning accepted science on its head" etc"



‘It is baffling that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything – until, that is, it comes to climate science. All of a sudden, and with a barrage of sheer intimidation, we are told by powerful groups of deniers that the scientists are wrong and we must abandon all our faith in so much overwhelming scientific evidence.



Whatever anyone thinks of him, he at least is hitting out at the right targets.
Yes. Don't like the monarchy at all and he is a liar and cad when it comes to women but I do admire his use of his position when it comes to environmental matters. Though do wonder what his actual carbon foot print is....and what he has his money invested in. Does he really put his money where his mouth is? Don't really know enough on that matter. Nevertheless, those wanting business as usual are in business from the status quo and doing quite nicely and see it as an economic threat. Personally, regardless of the 'truth' of the science on ACC there are a thousand reasons to move to a zero emmissions culture for everyone. I can only see it as a win win for the planet and life in general. Definitely past it use by date.

I saw the remarkable damage from the sea swells in Spain today and wonder if that will head UK way over the Bay of Bisquay and Celtic Sea?

David Guyatt
02-03-2014, 10:31 AM
Well, there's this (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2532595/Swathes-Britain-remain-flooded-waterlogged-storms-Governments-Cobra-emergency-committee-meets.html).

The west country continues to get badly hit.

Magda Hassan
02-03-2014, 10:49 PM
Well, there's this (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2532595/Swathes-Britain-remain-flooded-waterlogged-storms-Governments-Cobra-emergency-committee-meets.html).

The west country continues to get badly hit.
Oh, my that is quite some thing.::depressed::