Climate Change Makes Drought Recovery Tougher in Western U.S.

Californians rejoiced this week when big drops of water started falling from the sky for the first time in any measurable way since the spring, an annual soaking that heralds the start of the rainy season following some of the hottest and driest months on record.

But as the rain was beginning to fall on Tuesday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom did a curious thing: He issued a statewide drought emergency and gave regulators permission to enact mandatory statewide water restrictions if they choose.

La Nina Arrives, Threatening More Droughts, Storms and Supply Disruptions

A weather-roiling La Nina appears to have emerged across the equatorial Pacific, setting the stage for worsening droughts in California and South America, frigid winters in parts of the U.S. and Japan and greater risks for the world’s already strained energy and food supplies.

The phenomenon—which begins when the atmosphere reacts to a cooler patch of water over the Pacific Ocean—will likely last through at least February, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. There is a 57% chance it be a moderate event, like the one that started last year, the center said. While scientists may need months to confirm whether La Nina has definitely returned, all the signs are indicating it’s here.

California Drought Hurting World’s Top Almond Producer

As temperatures recently reached triple digits, farmer Joe Del Bosque inspected the almonds in his parched orchard in California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley, where a deepening drought threatens one of the state’s most profitable crops.

Del Bosque doesn’t have enough water to properly irrigate his almond orchards, so he’s practicing “deficit irrigation” – providing less water than the trees need. He left a third of his farmland unplanted to save water for the nuts. And he may pull out 100 of his 600 acres of almond trees after the late summer harvest – years earlier than planned.

California Farmers Being Told Drought Could Cut Off Their Water

Thousands of Central California farmers were warned Tuesday that they could face water cutoffs this summer as the state deals with a drought that already has curtailed federal and state irrigation supplies.

The State Water Resources Control Board notified about 6,600 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed who have rights to use water from the Central Valley estuary of “impending water unavailability” that may continue until winter rains come.

Severe Water Crisis on Oregon-California Border to Impact Agriculture

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year.

In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. The agency announced last month that hundreds of irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be completely shut off instead.

California Drought Emergency Expanded to Large Swath Of State

California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week expanded a drought emergency to a large swath of the nation’s most populous state while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending as one of the warmest, driest springs on record threatens another severe wildfire season across the American West.

The Democratic governor said he is acting amid “acute water supply shortages” in northern and central parts of California as he called again for voluntary conservation. Yet the state is in relatively better shape than it was when the last five-year drought ended in 2017, he said, as good habits have led to a 16% reduction in water usage.

La Niña Is Fading But California, Gulf Coast Still Face Risks

La Niña, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific that shifts weather patterns the world over, is fading away. But California may still be prone to dryness, and the U.S. Gulf Coast faces the risk of another busy hurricane season.

Water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean will likely return to normal in the next few months, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said in a recent report.

More Intense Heat Waves in California’s Future, According to New Assessment

In the wake of hurricanes Florence and Michael and myriad other devastating storms and wildfires stacking up during the last decade, an updated assessment of California’s changing climate offers the projection of more of the same.

The assessment said Californians can expect more heat and more extreme weather, which would lead to more wildfires, floods, drought and public health issues. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment was produced as part of a volunteer initiative by climate experts. The assessment updates the third one issued in 2012.

Western wildfires spread apace with drought, rising temperatures

It seems like news of disastrous wildfires never ends. Last winter, we watched as wildfires raged in Santa Barbara County, California. Once contained, the fires then led to catastrophic mudslides that killed 20 people around Montecito, California.

The recent Western wildfires that have been burning in Colorado and California are attributed to multiple factors, including a heat wave and climate change.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Drought