Feb 28, 2016

California almost out of time for El Niño drought relief

California
USA
by
Tom Yulsman
,
Discover Magazine
The five-day forecast for atmospheric pressure at mean sea level, starting on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. Image: Climate Reanalyzer
The five-day forecast for atmospheric pressure at mean sea level, starting on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. Image: Climate Reanalyzer

The window is closing on California’s opportunity to have El Niño put a significant dent in the state’s epic drought — which one study has shown to be the most severe in 1,200 years.

Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada range, a significant source of the state’s water, is definitely doing better than it did in 2014 and 2015, as the animation above shows. But with statewide snowpack standing at just 88 percent of normal for this time of year — the heart of the snow season — it really needs to do a whole lot better. (In the southern part of the Sierra, snowpack is at just 78 percent of normal.)