Nov 14, 2019

More drought coming? Most of California once again ‘abnormally dry,’ monitor shows

California
USA
by
Jared Gilmour
,
The Sacramento Bee
A dried-up ditch at a rice farm in Richvale, California. Credit: JAE C. HONG
A dried-up ditch at a rice farm in Richvale, California. Credit: JAE C. HONG

Climate change is linked to drought in the US Southwest by two mechanisms: rising temperatures and changing atmospheric patterns conducive to diminishing rains.


Almost all of the state has fallen into “abnormally dry” conditions, except for the furthest northern reaches of California, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map released Nov. 12.

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Drought doesn’t just mean less drinking water — it also hurts agriculture, energy production, public health and can fuel wildfires, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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One expert said three factors — delayed rainfall, strong seasonal wind and climate change — are to blame for this year’s fires, The New York Times reported in October.

“It is fair to say that everything that’s occurring today is about 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it would have been if the same Santa Ana wind event were happening 100 years ago and that’s important,” said Park Williams, a professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, according to The New York Times.