Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/23/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The expected break in California's drought is less likely to come.

Bad news for California is about to get worse. The state, wracked with drought, is eagerly anticipating the formation of a strong El Nino event in the Pacific, which would bring significant rainfall to the region. However, the El Nino may not develop as strongly as first predicted.

A sign intended to build public support for water rights for farmers now has a new significance.

A sign intended to build public support for water rights for farmers now has a new significance.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

7/23/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: California, heatwave, drought, weather, severe, el nino

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most Californians are now facing the first, overdue residential water restrictions of the three year-drought that has already devastated the state. Food prices have skyrocketed in the state as well as prices on beef and dairy which are widely produced there and require at least a modicum of rainfall to produce.

Wells are plunging to record levels, then running dry as underwater supplies are slurped faster than nature can replace them. Mountain snow, which fills reservoirs, powers hydroelectric facilities and sustains agriculture is virtually all gone and there is too little left to get through another year.

Farmers have been paying attention and left their fields fallow, selling their water instead of crops.

These problems have serious impacts for the state's residents. Tourism, especially along the ski slopes, continues to suffer leaving many seasonal workers out of a job. Without reservoirs behind hydroelectric facilities, electricity production is falling off, threatening the very hot state with the potential of choosing to import electricity or suffer rolling blackouts.

Without water for crops, many fields lie fallow and agricultural workers are without jobs and income. Food prices have spiked.

The dry fields also create another problem, especially in the state's massive San Joaquin central valley - dust storms. The state has not experienced towering dust storms in nearly 40 years, but such storms can rip up topsoil and ruin fields, damage property and even kill. These storms are likely in the fall when temperatures in the Great Basin can drop and storms approach the Pacific Northwest, creating powerful pressure gradients that fuel winds channeled down the valley.

In fact, giver the macro-meteorological conditions, such a storm can almost be expected.

Californians have been in a state of denial about the drought for some time. Droughts of a few years duration aren't unheard of, but longer droughts are rare although they have happened historically.

A satellite image of California in July 2011.

A satellite image of California in July 2011.

The same image of California from June 24.

The same image of California from June 24.

Through the spring, Californians have been eagerly following the story of the formation of a powerful El Nino in the Pacific. The warming surface waters are bad for much of the world, fueling extreme weather, but they do benefit California which is uniquely situated to receive most of the rainfall from such events.

Now it seems the El Nino may be weak to moderate at best, despite its initial extreme temperatures. Scientists seem to think much of the heat from the event has already been discharged into the atmosphere. That heat has caused both May and June to be the hottest months on the planet in modern record.

However, July may be back down to more typical temperatures and the saving rains from the moderate El Nino that remains will not be enough to help California because there is another weather feature in the way - a powerful ridge of high pressure off the coast which has been blocking storms from the state, pushing them farther north than normal.

This blocking ridge of high pressure, which has remained in place for over two years, shows no sign of weakening or moving as it normally would. This ridge is also responsible for the dip in the weakening jet stream over the central USA, a phenomenon that is making the West hotter and the East colder.

Despite these significant climate abnormalities, Americans, more than any other nation in the world remain skeptical of climate change. According to a survey by Global Trends, just 54 percent think climate change is caused by humans, a slim majority. A few more agree that we are likely to see disaster if we do not reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses such as CO2 and methane.

The high number of skeptics has a lot to do with conservative dogma, a systematic campaign of doubt fueled by corporate interests, and yes, even a hint of Protestant theology.

In China where climate change is already being widely experienced, such as during smog events in major cities such as Beijing, 93 percent of the population agrees with that climate change is being caused by humans. It makes sense, since Chinese factories are major culprits.

But the United States stands in contrast to all other nations, separated by several percentage points from England, the next-most skeptical country.

These statistics come at a time when world meteorological data proves that the planet has just endured its hottest May and June in modern history, a full 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. According to NOAA climate monitoring researcher, Derek Arndt "We're living in the steroid era of the climate system. While one-twentieth of a degree doesn't sound like much, in temperature records it's like winning a horse race by several lengths."

Temperature records for every continent but Antarctica was set, although the United States had only it's 33 hottest June according to official reports. The world's oceans were also very hot, especially in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Whatever is going on, be it climate change, or a serious, long-term weather anomaly, California residents are in more trouble than they realize. The Union's most populous state already struggles to find water for its thirsty population and their food crops. As those supplies diminish, a genuine crisis, particularly for agriculture, may develop.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Green

We're not saying it's aliens... Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle SOLVED? Watch

Image of The Bermuda Triangle has been the object of human fascination for centuries.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may have finally been solved. Scientists studying satellite images of the area noticed something bizarre and have made a discovery that could solve the mystery. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Bermuda Triangle has been a ... continue reading

California had a big earthquake today, so why didn't anyone feel it? Watch

Image of A still from San Andreas suggests a much more powerful quake and tsunami than is physically possible in California. Still, the Bay Area could experience a 7.9, which is an extremely powerful event.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We just had an earthquake here in California that sent millions of residents dashing for cover. So why isn't the news telling us how large it was? It's because the earthquake wasn't real. Instead, California just held its annual "Shake Out" statewide earthquake drill. ... continue reading

Gravity map of Earth reveals scary fact about Greenland and sea level rise Watch

Image of The melting ice in Greenland is impacting sea level rise far away in the Southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

New models of Earth's gravity reveal that the melting of Greenland's ice sheet is more significant than previously estimated. The ice sheet is melting faster and impacting sea level rise harder than previously estimated. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A gravity ... continue reading

'This will kill you' Two million flee advance of killer Hurricane Matthew Watch

Image of Hurricane Matthew is a killer storm. Two million U.S. residents have been ordered to evacuate.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"This storm will kill you," Florida Gov. Rick Scott is warning people to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew. The storm is now leaving the Bahamas and will strike Florida this evening. It is expected to follow a path up the Florida coast. Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas ... continue reading

The one secret thing Californians are terrified of, but will never tell you about Watch

Image of Californians have a fear of high overpasses.

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

The elevated risk of the "Big One" in California has subsided, but that doesn't mean Californians should relax. The danger of a major quake in California remains real and experts agree, it is only a matter of time. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - For a seven-day ... continue reading

Matthew becomes Category 5 monster, turns towards US Watch

Image of Hurricane Matthew has become a category 5 storm.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hurricane Matthew has become a monster category 5 storm, swirling in the Caribbean, headed for the eastern tip of Cuba. Haiti has been hit, but the full extent of damage is unknown. Some communities in South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Matthew forms in the Caribbean and will track over Bahamas. Will Florida be hit? Watch

Image of Tropical Storm Matthew is already creating waves and problems for people across the Caribbean, but no serious damage yet.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Tropical storm Matthew has formed in the Caribbean and appears likely to brush the east coast of Florida. The storm is on track to strike most of the islands in the Caribbean. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Tropical storm Matthew has formed and is taking aim at ... continue reading

Is Friday's Black Moon a sign of the Apocalypse? Watch

Image of The Bible says signs of the end times will be seen in the moon.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An event that some say will usher in the apocalypse is about to take place on Friday. A Black Moon will rise on September 30 over North America, and some think it signals the second coming of Jesus Christ. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A rare Black Moon will ... continue reading

Global Warming: philosopher suggests we stop having babies Watch

Image of Students in China sit for an exam.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Global warming is real and getting worse. There is no more credible scientific debate on this issue. However, there is plenty of debate over how we should approach the problem. One professor has offered a provocative solution, stop having children. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Every town is now a Flint: TWO out of THREE Americans are drinking CONTAMINATED water Watch

Image of Two out of three Americans are consuming this cancer-causing chemical in their water.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Every town is Flint. That's the fear following a report on America's water quality. Many cities and towns have such poor, neglected water infrastructure that millions of Americans are already drinking poisonous water. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Millions of ... continue reading

All Green News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:32--5:8
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:10-17
10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2016 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was ... Read More