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Recent rainfall doesn't help California drought, worst in 1,200 years

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12/5/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Researchers studying tree rings make grim announcement

Every cloud has a silver lining - except for Californians. The past week has brought stormy skies and significant rainfall - leading to mudslides and flooding in many areas. Meteorologists, however, say that this doesn't begin to put a dent in the state's crippling drought - the worst they say, in 1,200 years.

Daniel Griffin of the University of Minnesota and Kevin J. Anchukaitis of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution measured tree rings from nearly 300 blue oaks.

Daniel Griffin of the University of Minnesota and Kevin J. Anchukaitis of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution measured tree rings from nearly 300 blue oaks.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/5/2014 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: California, drought, tree rings, rainfall


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers studying tree rings have concluded that "the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years."

Daniel Griffin of the University of Minnesota and Kevin J. Anchukaitis of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution measured tree rings from nearly 300 blue oaks. After they compared and contrasted data from older trees such as giant sequoias, the scientists were able to determine estimates of rainfall for centuries.

St. Walburga, patroness saint of storms, is honored in this beautiful badge pin!

Californians hope this means that Mother Nature has turned the corner - and will be a bit more gener

Californians hope this means that Mother Nature has turned the corner - and will be a bit more generous with precipitation.


The study was published as a research letter in the journal of the American Geophysical Union.

"The researchers took core samples, which don't harm the living trees, of oaks as old as 500 years and oak logs dating back more than 700 years, the University of Minnesota's Griffin said. And they sanded down the wood with extremely fine-grain sandpaper, magnifying the rings 40 times under a microscope and measuring them to within one one-thousandth of a millimeter," as reported in the San Jose Mercury News.

Researchers then used similar data in the North American Drought Atlas to calculate temperature and rainfall conditions.

"Although there are 37 times over the past 1,200 years when there were three-year dry periods in California, no period had as little rainfall and as hot of temperatures as 2012-14, the scientists concluded," the Mercury News reported.

There's still hope. Californians hope this means that Mother Nature has turned the corner - and will be a bit more generous with precipitation.

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