Apr 10, 2016

Drought threatens California despite El Nino

California
USA
by
Phys.org
Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

Last winter, El Nino-driven storms dumped much-needed snow and rain over California, boosting reservoir levels and fueling hopes the parched state's four-year drought might end.

But despite the brief respite, experts say the record drought is here to stay.

The El Nino weather phenomenon—caused when a rise in the Pacific Ocean's temperature triggers intense precipitation—has provided only "a band-aid on a gaping wound," says Julien Emile-Geay, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Southern California.

In fact, restoring the state's water supplies to their pre-drought levels would require several years of intense rain and snowfall