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Another dry year for California?

As the window on the wet season in California starts to close, there are signs that the drought affecting the area is likely to continue and perhaps even to grow over the coming year.  The Western Governors’ Association released a report this week stating that snowpacks in the mountainous areas are far below normal after the warm and dry winter that just ended.  That is worrisome because in many areas the melting snowpack serves as the main source of irrigation and drinking water for the rest of the year.  The site also provides links to some videos showing how water managers are dealing with the scarcity of water.  The timeline below from the Los Angeles Times shows how the California drought has grown over time, while the Climate Prediction Center forecast for spring shows the drought increasing.

california drought timeline                 seasonal drought outlook 5-7-2015

Meanwhile, Pacific Standard magazine published an article on Benjamin Cook, whom they described as “Lord of the Tree Rings”, saying that forecasts of future droughts based on ancient tree rings are not good news for the West.  The story talks about his work with tree rings and climate and discusses the impacts he thinks we are likely to see in the future based on past droughts.

Source: Pauline Eccles, Commons Wikimedia

Source: Pauline Eccles, Commons Wikimedia