Skip to content

California drought likely to worsen as El Nino observed weakening

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/23/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/23/2014 (3 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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Green

Another year without summer ahead? TWO volcanoes threaten catastrophic eruptions Watch

Image of Over 120,000 people have been evacuated on the island of Bali, away from the slopes of Mt. Agung, which is about to erupt.

Two volcanoes are about to erupt almost simultaneously, spewing massive quantities of ash and soot into the air. Scientists have warned ... continue reading


7.1 quake rattles Mexico City, scores dead Watch

Image of The powerful quake was felt as far away as Guadalajara.

A 7.1 quake has rocked Mexico City. Buildings swayed and people dove for cover, but there are now some reports of damage.At least 42 people ... continue reading


Floridians think they're prepared for Irma. They're wrong, and here's why Watch

Image of Hurricane Irma is so large, it filled the window of the International Space Station.

Hurricane Irma has destroyed two Caribbean islands, and claimed at least ten lives. Now, the storm is headed towards Florida where it will ... continue reading


Largest ever earthquake swarm detected under killer Yellowstone supervolcano as magma recharges Watch

Image of More than 2,300 quakes have rattled Yellowstone this summer.

Yellowstone is now the site of the largest earthquake swarm ever recorded with 2,357 quakes registered since June. The national park, ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants you to pray for care of creation and the poor Watch

Image of Let us be thankful and care for all creation.

Today is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and Pope Francis has asked all Christians to pray for the Earth and the poor. ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

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

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.