California’s drought situation in pictures – what a difference one year makes

Yesterday, my local reservoir, Lake Oroville, made the front page of Drudge. The photo below shows the Highway 162 suspension bridge and the Bidwell Marina, which is almost in the center of the lake now. The last time I was there at this very spot in September, boat launch ramps were still operable. From what I hear now, they are past the asphalt and down to mud for anyone that dares to try.

oroville-drudge

Below are two photos from the NASA MODIS imaging system that show California from the Los Angeles area north to the Oregon border. One if from January 13th, 2013, and the other is from January 14th, 2014.

The lack of snowpack in the northern Sierra Nevada is quite significant and the visual difference between years is stunning. 

MODIS_california_map_2013-2014

On Thursday, I was on Shasta Lake north of Redding, CA and took this photo of the Interstate 5 bridge crossing the reservoir. While you can’t see it in this photo, there still is water under the bridge. Shasta is the largest reservoir in California, and is down from its historical average by nearly half.

Shasta_lake_01-15-14

Of course, this is hardly new, low water levels have been seen on this lake before, such as in September 2005:

What is new is that the lake level is so low in winter, there’s no appreciable inflow, it continues to drop, AND there’s little snow-pack to replenish it.The US drought monitor shows the current situation:

20140114_usdm_home[1]

Plus, California population has increased dramatically while water storage has not. That’s a testament to poor planning and the hands of environmentalists and their campaigns to stop new water storage systems. Some are saying this drought is in “uncharted territory”.

“Uncharted territory” has been a phrase spoken by many during recent water conversations. The population in California has doubled since 1977, many more permanent crops have been planted and more refuges established.

Source: http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_24939467/governors-drought-declaration-leaves-no-doubt-butte-county

And the cause of this? Certainly not “global warming” though I’m sure the activist idiots will use every trick in the book to try to create a linkage. The cause is a the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and a weak to neutral and persistent La Niña pattern that some are calling “La Nada”. Bob Tisdale has a good summary on the PDO situation and how it is also related to “the pause” in global warming. The ocean rules the climate system.

The paper Chylek et al describes the linkage of ocean cycles to climate of the southwestern USA.

In the graph below, you can see that pattern has been in place since the strong La Niña of 2010. In 1997/98 when the huge El Niño occurred, California had so much water that dams were full and fears of flooding abounded. You can also see the long stretch of drought in the mid to late 1970’s reflected in this graph.

Image from Jan Null, CCM, Golden Gate Weather Services – click for large image

Yesterday, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency, which is probably a bit too late. He held up this graph showing precipitation by water year. In California, a water year is from July 1st to June 30th.

Brown-California-precip-wateryear

Here’s the source of data for that graph, showing that Governor Brown’s graph doesn’t quite tell the entire story since the peaks are muted and only the filtered values are used. His graph also only goes back to 1970. The next closest dry year was 1898, so the idea that this is “uncharted territory” for California is an accurate statement.NCDC_CA-precip_01122013_pg

Here is the PR from the Governor’s office yesterday:

=============================================================

SAN FRANCISCO – With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”

In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign (details at saveourh2o.org).

In addition, the proclamation gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drought conditions.

State water officials say that California’s river and reservoirs are below their record lows. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

The Governor’s drought State of Emergency follows a series of actions the administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights. In December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations, California’s preparedness for water scarcity and whether conditions merit a drought declaration. Earlier this week, the Governor toured the Central Valley and spoke with growers and others impacted by California’s record dry conditions.

=============================================================

And what is on the horizon? Hopefully an El Niño, which will also get blamed on/connected to “global warming”. if the Nino 3.4 model ensemble is to be believed, then California will likely see a strong precipitation rebound in 2014/2015.

From the WUWT ENSO Reference Page:

nino34Mon[1]

UPDATE: This stament from NOAA is relevant. (h/t to Roger Pielke Sr.)

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO CA
 800 PM PDT FRI JAN 17 2014

 ...GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN DECLARES A DROUGHT STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR 
 CALIFORNIA ON JANUARY 17TH 2014...

 ...THE USDA HAS DECLARED A DROUGHT DESIGNATION FOR SAN BERNARDINO 
 COUNTY FOR 2014 FOR ELIGIBLE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS...

 ...EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS DEVELOPING OVER PORTIONS OF 
 SOUTHWESTERN CALIFORNIA...

 SYNOPSIS...

 PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN CALIFORNIA HAVE EXPERIENCED TWO BELOW 
 AVERAGE RAINFALL SEASONS RESULTING IN A REDUCTION IN RESERVOIR AND 
 GROUNDWATER LEVELS IN SOME AREAS. THE MUCH DRIER THAN USUAL  
 VEGETATION FOR MID-WINTER HAS CONTRIBUTED TO A HEIGHTENED WILDFIRE 
 CONCERN. THESE CONDITIONS WERE ELEVATED TO AN EXTREME DROUGHT 
 DEPICTION (D3) ON THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR MAPS WITHIN ORANGE COUNTY 
 IN MID JANUARY 2014. THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR CLASSIFIES DROUGHT 
 INTO FIVE CATEGORIES OF INCREASING SEVERITY: ABNORMALLY DRY 
 (D0)...MODERATE DROUGHT (D1)...SEVERE DROUGHT (D2)...EXTREME DROUGHT 
 (D3)...AND EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4). 

 PLEASE NOTE THAT NEITHER NOAA NOR THE NWS DECLARES DROUGHTS. 
 DROUGHTS IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ARE DECLARED BY THE GOVERNOR 
 THROUGH THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF 
 WATER RESOURCES AND THE STATE CLIMATOLOGIST. HOWEVER...LOCAL 
 OFFICIALS CAN DECLARE LOCAL DROUGHT OR WATER EMERGENCIES AT TIMES 
 WHEN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA HAS NOT DECLARED AN OFFICIAL DROUGHT. 
 LOCAL WATER PURVEYORS CAN ALSO IMPLEMENT VOLUNTARY OR MANDATORY 
 RESTRICTIONS ON WATER USAGE IN RESPONSE TO CURRENT OR FORECAST WATER 
 SUPPLY CONDITIONS REGARDLESS OF DROUGHT DECLARATIONS. THIS DROUGHT 
 STATEMENT PROVIDES A SUMMARY OF PERTINENT INFORMATION TO ENHANCE 
 PUBLIC AWARENESS OF DROUGHT OR ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS.  

 SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

 AT THIS TIME...IMPACTS HAVE BEEN LIMITED IN EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN 
 PORTIONS OF THE STATE DUE TO THE AVAILABILITY OF IMPORTED WATER. 
 HOWEVER...THE LACK OF PRECIPITATION HAS ALLOWED VEGETATION TO DRY TO 
 CRITICAL LEVELS IN MANY AREAS...INCREASING THE POTENTIAL FOR 
 WILDFIRES. THE WARM AND DRY WEATHER HAS ALSO REDUCED THE 
 AVAILABILITY OF RANGE LAND GRASSES FOR LIVESTOCK. WHERE LOCAL WELLS 
 ARE FED BY RAINFALL AND LOCAL RUNOFF...SOME SHALLOW WELLS MAY BE 
 GOING DRY OR HAVE ALREADY DRIED UP. IN ADDITION...THE LACK OF 
 RAINFALL AND RUNOFF THIS WINTER HAS LOWERED THE FLOW IN THE SAN 
 DIEGO RIVER...RESULTING IN STRESSES ON THE VEGETATION AND 
 WILDLIFE.     

 CLIMATE SUMMARY...

 ORANGE COUNTY HAS BEEN ONE OF THE DRIEST AREAS IN OUR REGION OVER 
 THE PAST FEW YEARS. WESTERN REGION CLIMATE CENTER RECORDS FROM THE 
 SANTA ANA FIRE STATION INDICATE 2013 WAS THE THIRD DRIEST...AND THE 
 THREE YEAR PERIOD ENDING DECEMBER 2013 WAS THE FIFTH DRIEST. RAINS 
 HAVE BEEN MORE GENEROUS FARTHER SOUTH IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY WHERE 
 LINDBERGH FIELD LOGS BOTH 2013 AND THE THREE YEAR PERIOD 2010-2013 
 AS ONLY THE 20TH DRIEST ON RECORD.

 A WELL-DEVELOPED MONSOON IN LATE SUMMER HELPED TO RAISE SEASONAL 
 RAINFALL IN THE MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS.

 PRECIPITATION SUMMARY FOR SELECTED CITIES...

                       DECEMBER 2013           SINCE JULY 1 2013

                 REPORTED   % OF NORMAL      REPORTED    % OF NORMAL

 NEWPORT BEACH    0.31        17%              0.69         20%
 TUSTIN           0.98        41%              1.91         41%

 IDYLLWILD        1.47        40%              7.77         80%
 RIVERSIDE        0.16        10%              1.15         36% 
 PALM SPRINGS     TRACE        0%              1.26         45%

 BIG BEAR LAKE    1.02        33%              5.50         70%
 REDLANDS         0.16        10%              2.54         61%
 EL MIRAGE        0.03         4%              2.14        101%

 BORREGO SPRINGS  0.00         0%              4.35        168%
 CAMPO            0.78        34%              5.57        100%
 LAKE CUYAMACA    1.71        35%             11.88         99% 
 LINDBERGH FIELD  0.46        30%              2.24         68%

 PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

 LITTLE IF ANY PRECIPITATION IS FORECAST FOR THE REMAINDER OF JANUARY 
 WITH THE LATEST AVAILABLE GLOBAL MODELS HOLDING A STRONG RIDGE OF 
 HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE WEST COAST. 

 THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY IS INDICATING A  
 BETTER THAN 70% CHANCE OF CONTINUED DRIER AND WARMER THAN AVERAGE 
 WEATHER.

 HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
 WITH NO WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE...NO 
 SIGNIFICANT INCREASES CAN BE EXPECTED IN AREA RIVERS AND RESERVOIRS. 

 THE LATEST U.S. SEASONAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK CALLS FOR DROUGHT 
 CONDITIONS TO PERSIST OR INTENSIFY THROUGH MARCH 2014.

 NEXT SCHEDULED ISSUANCE DATE...
 THE NEXT SCHEDULED DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY 
 FEBRUARY 17TH...OR SOONER IF NECESSARY...IN RESPONSE TO SIGNIFICANT 
 CHANGES IN CONDITIONS.

 &&

 RELATED WEBSITES...
 GOVERNORS EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION: WWW.GOV.CA.GOV/NEWS.PHP?ID18368.
 CALIFORNIA DATA EXCHANGE CENTER: CDEC.WATER.CA.GOV/ 
 CALIFORNIA NEVADA RIVER FORECAST CENTER: WWW.CNRFC.NOAA.GOV/ 
 DROUGHT MONITOR: DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU
 U.S. DROUGHT PORTAL: HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.GOV/DROUGHT/
 CALIFORNIA DROUGHT PAGE: WATERSUPPLYCONDITIONS.WATER.CA.GOV/ 
 CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER: WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO: WWW.WRH.NOAA.GOV/SGX/

 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
 CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER
 DROUGHT MONITOR
 NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM 
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOS ANGELES/OXNARD
 CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
 CALIFORNIA STATE CLIMATOLOGIST
 US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SOUTHERN DISTRICT

 QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS...PLEASE REFER ALL QUESTIONS TO 
 W-SGX.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV.

 &&

 JAD

END

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139 Responses to California’s drought situation in pictures – what a difference one year makes

  1. joated says:

    Maybe they should divert that high-speed rail money to something more practical like reservoirs or desalinization plants.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    I can feel for those now having to live through the drought, but…

    (sarc on) It appears the drought conditions are moving westward. Last year they were in the Midwest. Now they’re in the West. Will the Pacific be experiencing drought next year? (sarc off)

  3. Fill up those ships carrying South Carolina wood pellets to England with Somerset flood water for the return trip. Then the cycle of environmentalist insanity will be complete.

  4. GlynnMhor says:

    Solar powered desalinization makes a lot more sense than solar powered electricity.

  5. Clay Marley says:

    So ONI is a new one for me. The ONI chart does not “click for a large image”, but I think it says this is some kind of 3 month average of the Nino 3.4 model? Moving or boxcar?

  6. Gail COmbs says:

    Maybe Californian can buy some slightly used desalinization plants from Australia CHEAP?

  7. Green Sand says:

    “And what is on the horizon? Hopefully an El Niño,”

    Whilst I am sure the UK’s Met Office has similar hopes their forecast begs to differ:-

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/gpc-outlooks/el-nino-la-nina

    Which only goes to show – nobody knows! Only time will tell

  8. Don says:

    How many California municipal water systems will run dry by Labor Day? What is the plan for providing water to multiple municipalities with millions of residents and thousands of swimming pools? The chemical spill situation in Charleston, WV, last week was bad, but miniscule compared to not having any water at all.

    In 1973 while in the Army National Guard, I was dispatched with a small tanker to refill in a small town while supporting wildland fire-fighting. The local fire department would not refill us from a hydrant; their well was extremely low. Had to head off to a larger town much further away. Not the best situation. In the past 40 years, California’s population more than doubled. Just how does a state with the water infrastructure for 20 million people support 38 million, extensive agriculture and continue aggressive fire-fighting?

  9. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Drought of the century? Does this make it the biggest drought in 14 years?

  10. Rob says:

    With a cold PDO CONTINUING, any ENSO forecast is highly questionable!

  11. starzmom says:

    I am reminded of John Christy’s comment of several years ago, when he discussed decade long droughts a millennium ago, and pointed out that a repeat of such a occurrence would stress land-use and water planning in the Southwest. It may not be that severe a drought yet, but this should be a wake up call to the planners.

  12. plus they are busting up the dams and letting water rush to the sea for the coho – 925 significant dams in the American West is a big play for the environmental movement, and barely reported. Plus up in the headwaters of every major river system, little dams and weirs are being plucked out – the land goes to desert within a year.

  13. Alan Robertson says:

    Go ahead, build cities in the desert. Then, build some more. Learn from your suffering.

  14. Bill Jamison says:

    “If the Nino 3.4 model ensemble is to be believed, then California will likely see a strong precipitation rebound in 2014/2015.”

    Those models have been predicting an El Nino for a while now. They have no skill unfortunately. We need a pattern change and the high pressure ridge to break down but I don’t see that happening any time soon. There just isn’t enough amplitude right now to break it down.

  15. Gary Pearse says:

    Desalination would seem to be good investment if drought is periodic. Personal ones from $1000 to $5000 producing 1 quart to 7 gallons an hour (yachtsmen know these things).

    http://www.portablewaterfilters.org/saltwater-desalinators-reviews/katadyn-powersurvivor-40e-desalinator-review/

    I can’t see why a sun-heated still or solar “fired” one can’t easily be developed – the tech is bozo simple. A way for an individual in the wildnerness to get water in a dry season – several litres overnight, is to dig a pit put a plastic sheet over it and a stone in the middle of it to make an inverted cone and a pot at the base of the pit to catch the water. Choose a dry stream bed for best results.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Water-in-the-Desert

    Yeah, yeah, I know, a bit scoutsy, but it could save your life!

  16. Lars P. says:

    Hopefully an El Niño, which will also get blamed on/connected to “global warming”. if the Nino 3.4 model ensemble is to be believed, then California will likely see a strong precipitation rebound in 2014/2015.

    Well, watching the model ensemble the last couple of years was really difficult to find a month when they were right, just saying.

  17. HAL-9000 says:

    I read the NY Times article, and the comments there were very much ‘global warming did it.’ Carbontology is going to have, ahem, a ‘watershed’ year in advancing their narrative in the People’s Republic of California.

  18. Jimbo says:

    California need to urgently start building de-salination plants, like Australia did, to prepare for the future of permanent drought. PS as soon as Australia started building these permanent drought structures they were mothballed. I wonder why? Could it have has anything to do with the Biblical floods that followed. These fools are reacting to natural climate change and they just don’t know it. They are peeing into the wind.

    Permanent drought predicted – 2007
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2007/09/06/201842/australia-faces-the-permanent-dry-as-do-we/

    ‘Biblical floods’ occurred – 2011
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/02/queensland-biblical-floods-australia

    Where is Noah? We must save our beloved creatures. I don’t mean wild animals I mean the domesticated animals we call Warmists.

  19. Green Sand says:

    Alan Robertson says:
    January 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Go ahead, build cities in the desert. Then, build some more. Learn from your suffering

    —————-
    Maybe one day there will be a meeting of minds. Here in the UK, a group of islands stuck out in the ocean over which the predominate winds blow, we go ahead and build on flood plains.

  20. John Norris says:

    Well it’s not on his chart,so technically it is uncharted for that discussion.

  21. Jeff L says:

    I am hoping we do develop an el nino later in 2014 – all western watersheds could use it. I am not real optimistic though – with the PDO isn the cold phase, it does seem hard to develop a substantial el nino.

    In Colorado, the mtns are doing OK – about normal YTD for snowpack – mostly from orographic snows in the NW flow, but east of the mtns is very dry. Denver is at 50% of normal snow with no precip for at least another week & maybe even beyond that. Both the Euro & GFS have been inconsistent with storms & generally dry, looking further into the future. East of the mtns, our winter moisture is also pretty strongly correlated with the ENSO cycle (el nino – wetter; la nada or la nina = drier).

  22. wazsah says:

    This month the SOI index has moved positive – towards La Nina – both 30day and 90 day averages are trending more positive.
    http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/seasonalclimateoutlook/southernoscillationindex/30daysoivalues/
    So just now any talk of El Nino is a touch creative.

  23. Peter Miller says:

    Over in Western Europe, on the same latitudes as California, it has been one of the wettest winters ever.

    This is obviously the fault of global warming/climate change/whatever.

    However, don’t bet on any new dams being built, the ecoloons will make sure of that.

  24. Doug Allen says:

    I agree the CFSv2 model ensemble forecast has been very unskillful. What’s the easiest way to finf the earlier ensemble forecasts and why would the present MET Office forecast be contrary to the NOAA forecast?

  25. Jeff Sim says:

    In Australia we have many mothballed desalination plants we can sell to California and maybe recoup some of the billions we spent by our leaders who foolishly listened to the Greens whose mantra was “It will never rain again in Australia.” Result, most dams nearly full and some overflowing.
    Hang in there, the rains will return.

  26. JJ says:

    Drought in the western US is a consequence of cool water – La Nina conditions.

    ‘Global warming’ models predict that La Nina conditions should dramatically decrease, replaced by more frequent and more intense warm water – El Nino conditions.

    More drought in California is evidence against ‘global warming’.

  27. Green Sand says:

    Doug Allen says:
    January 18, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    ……why would the present MET Office forecast be contrary to the NOAA forecast?

    ——————
    Because they are both trying to plait sawdust

  28. ShrNfr says:

    Jeff Sim says:
    In Australia we have many mothballed desalination plants we can sell to California and maybe recoup some of the billions we spent by our leaders who foolishly listened to the Greens whose mantra was “It will never rain again in Australia.”

    Sounds to me as you got your self thoroughly harropified, my good man.

  29. Gail Combs says:

    starzmom says:
    January 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I am reminded of John Christy’s comment of several years ago, when he discussed decade long droughts a millennium ago…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes the collapse of the Anasazi culture probably due to too many people and the droughts from 1080 to 1095 and the great drought” from 1276 to 1299. Some have added to that not enough meat, severe anemia and possible cannibalism.

    http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/anasazi-america-part-2/
    http://www.canyonsworldwide.com/chacocanyon/p25.htm

    We should also not forget the Dust Bowl of the 1930s
    http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_02.html

    http://www.weru.ksu.edu/new_weru/multimedia/dustbowl/dustbowlpics.html

    These are not the only times of “dust”/ drought.
    Sun/dust correlations and volcanic interference 2002
    http://www.nsm.buffalo.edu/Phy/Labs/Ram/2002GL014858.pdf‎

    ABSTRACT
    We examine the relationship between the GISP2 dust profile, a proxy for the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric dust load, and the Wolf sunspot number, a proxy for solar activity. The two records are positively correlated, but the phase of the relationship is disturbed by the effects of explosive volcanism. Similar correlation failures have already been noted for many other climatic indicators. Our work suggests that a large fraction of the correlation failures may be attributed to explosive volcanic activity.

    The behavior of the sun/dust moving correlation can be explained by two competing processes: electroscavenging of ice-forming nuclei [Tinsley et al., 2000, 2001] and ion-induced nucleation of ultrafine aerosol particles [Dickinson, 1975; Yu and Turco, 2000, 2001] (see Figure 3). Both mechanisms are enhanced by increases in the CRF, as for example during solar minima, but they have opposite effects on the atmospheric dust load. Electro-scavenging of ice-forming nuclei increases contact ice nucleation and the production of precipitation by the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeison process, and appears to be the explanation for the results of Kniveton and Todd [2001], who found a strong relationship between CRF and precipitation over the southern oceans at mid to high latitudes. Increased precipitation results in higher soil moisture and therefore lower dust [Pye, 1989]. In this case, the sun/dust correlation is expected to be positive. In contrast, ion-induced nucleation produces sulfate particles that are typically only a few nm in diameter. If these particles grow to a diameter of about 60 nm or more, they add to the ambient concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). As a result, the available cloud water is distributed among more droplets of smaller average size, which increases cloud lifetime. Positive correlations between cloud cover and the CRF [Svensmark and Friis-Christiensen, 1997; Marsh and Svensmark, 2000; Palle Bago and Butler, 2000] suggest that the ion-induced nuclei do indeed grow to the size required for small droplet development. This reduces the amount of precipitation produced by the cloud. Lower rainfall decreases soil moisture, resulting in more dust. The sun/dust correlation is therefore expected to be negative during times when ion-induced nucleation is enhanced. Electroscavenging is likely to be the dominant mechanism, especially at high latitudes (Tinsley, personal commumication), which is consistent with our observation that the sun/dust correlation tends to be positive.….

  30. M Simon says:

    My area of Northern Illinois (Rockford) has been getting a lot of snow lately. It shows yellow on the map. That may no longer be true. I’ll have to look it up.
    I just looked it up: http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-illinois-drought-conditions-map.php
    Conditions are normal as of 13 Dec 2013

  31. Greg says:

    Well I suppose the best thing to do would be to take half of what you have left and start injecting it into the ground for hydraulic fracking.

  32. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    We’re in the worst drought since 1898, at least, but it has to do with the Pacific Ocean, not the demon Global Warming. Read the whole thing. There are some impressive pictures there, too.

  33. Gail Combs says:

    Peter Miller says: @ January 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    … However, don’t bet on any new dams being built, the ecoloons will make sure of that.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    A couple of years of drought and maybe they will wake up… But I doubt it.

  34. eo says:

    Jeff Sim,

    May be you could bundle the offer of the unused desalination plants and Tim Flannery with a big discount.

  35. AndyG55 says:

    Down under, the “hottest evva” years have been AFTER the carbon tax was bought in.

    California is by far the most gung-ho state in the US about implementing climate junk, and is by far the most affected by this drought.

    Could it be that someone is trying t tell them something ? :-)

  36. Mike D. says:

    Jerry Brown was elected Governor of Callifornia for the first time in 1976, and there was a drought in the state. He’s elected again and there’s another drought. Coincidence?

  37. Michael says:

    The new catch phrase for this drought is: ‘If it’s yellow it’s mellow, if it JERRY brown flush it down’
    So you folks in Oregon and to the east of California flush more we really need the water!

    I look forward to the water Nazis, last year the water Nazis knocked on my door. Saying your water usage has gone up… WHY! Then I showed them my vegetable garden… OH… that explains a lot.

    I’m going to drill a well, at least I can water my veggies this coming year.

  38. Green Sand says:

    Overheard on OZ TV:-

    Hot? Jeez, chickens are laying omelets!

  39. Speed says:

    From Cliff Mass’ discussion of the California water situation …

    The only saving grace for California is that that snow pack over Colorado and environs is above normal and thus the Colorado River, a significant water source for CA should be in decent shape. And the huge capacity of the California’s reservoirs might allow them to squeak by this year.

    But this lack of precipitation is bringing major records and is getting very serious. This pattern of dry conditions over the the entire western U.S/southern BC. is different from the pattern suggested by many climate models for the end of the century: very dry over southern and central CA, but wetter over the Northwest and British Columbia.

  40. Streetcred says:

    January 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Gail Combs says:
    “Maybe Californian can buy some slightly used desalinization plants from Australia CHEAP?”
    ——–

    They’d better hurry as the hulks here are rapidly rusting away.

  41. D Coffin says:

    The drought in California driven primarily by politics. Mother nature only exacerbates it. If you’re in California, particularly the urban areas, look around and you will see that there has been no effort to control housing production.

    There’s been a huge growth since 1990 of high and medium density multi-unit housing, single family homes and multi-unit housing being built in what was once foothills, and agricultural land. California’s Department of Finance has been encouraging growth with population projections that cite a doubling of the population by 2040 from 30 million to 60 million.
    California Department of Housing in turn takes these figures and develops a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) that it passes down to each and every city in that state. RHNA essentially tells how much new housing each city must find for a given period.

    A couple of examples in the 2007 plan are Los Angeles and San Francisco. Los Angeles allocation was to build 112,876 units between the planning period of 2006 and 2014. San Francisco Bay Area allocation was 214,500. Many large cities in fact that have little developable land are forced to build vertically.

    Water resources is NOT part of the calculus when California’s RHNA allocations are developed.

  42. Streetcred says:

    January 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Mike D. says:
    “Jerry Brown was elected Governor of Callifornia for the first time in 1976, and there was a drought in the state. He’s elected again and there’s another drought. Coincidence?”
    ———-

    GAIA is punishing them for electing him … they’ve already long run out of virgins to sacrifice.

  43. markstoval says:

    There was news of a major breakthrough in desalination on WUWT about a year ago. I also blogged about it. Still something to think about. Read it here …

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/17/energy-resources-money-and-technology/

  44. jones says:

    Would I be right in saying there has been a water pipeline from Canada to California for many years now?

    My point is that water shortage in California isn’t a new phenomenon.

  45. D Coffin says:

    Because California’s housing and water policies are not intrinsically linked, the state is not able to bank water. Despite Gov. Brown’s recent declaration of a drought, Los Angeles declared a drought in 2008 and has been under an emergency order ever since.

  46. crosspatch says:

    That NOAA CFSv2 ensemble graph has been predicting strong El Nino for about the past year. It is about as accurate as reading sheep guts. It has had no forecasting skill for quite some time. It has also been my experience in researching these things that extreme drought is often broken by extreme flood and vice versa. The 1898 drought came after the severe flooding of the winter of 1861-1862 which saw 45 straight days of rain in the central valley and flooded Sacramento. The floods of 1907 and 1909 were really bad. In 1909 the Feather River basin had nearly 60 inches of rain in less than a month. BUT — it could be worse. California has seen periods of longer than a century of drought. There have been periods during the Holocene where Lake Tahoe was below its outlet for over 800 years. In the past 1000 years there have been two periods of a century or more of drought, one of them lasting over 200 years.

    Bottom line: We could be in store for ANYTHING here. We could have extreme flooding in 10 years time or we could still be in severe drought like nothing we have ever seen since settlement. In the middle 13th century, Fallen Leaf Lake just south of Lake Tahoe was dry in places where there is now 150 feet of water. That isn’t all that long ago in geological time and if it has been that recent and if there has been more than one such event in the past 1000 years, then it is probably a common occurrence.

    I will say this, though. I would rather see us spend money on water projects than a stupid train that nobody wants. This is going to take some of the wind out of the sails of people who want to empty Hetch Hetchy, too.

  47. I was going to suggest that CA build more dams, but according to this map they have hundreds of them. Maybe during the rainy and melt seasons they could store more water for these drought events:
    http://www.kqed.org/news/science/climatewatch/waterandpower/map.jsp

  48. D Coffin says:

    >>Would I be right in saying there has been a water pipeline from Canada to California for many years now?

    Not quite. Northern California has historically been self sufficient and in fact exports a lot of its water to Southern California. Northern California is beginning to feel the squeeze these days because there is no link between growth and water supply.

    Southern California has no ‘real’ local resources and has to import all of it’s water from Northern California (via State Water Project) and Colorado River Aqueduct. What groundwater they have is just storage that has to be recharged using imported water. The City of Los Angeles also imports water from the Eastern Sierras through its city owned Los Angeles aqueduct.

  49. crosspatch says:

    Oregon has refused to send water to California for years. There has been on and off talk of that in the past but Oregon always refuses to consider doing it.

  50. crosspatch says:

    ‘I was going to suggest that CA build more dams,”

    Lately there has been talk of tearing more dams DOWN, that’s what happens when you go a long time between droughts or floods. If it has been longer than 30 years since the last severe event, nobody under 30 has ever experienced it but gets to vote. Latest fad is calling for the emptying of Hetch Hetchy reservoir. That would be the stupidest move ever if that actually got done.

  51. D Coffin says:

    It’s like the old joke when a lady was told she didn’t have sufficient funds for a purchase.. “What do you mean I don’t have sufficient funds? I still have checks!” California can have all the dams and underground water storage they want, but the state is consuming at a far greater rate than what mother nature can historically produce.

  52. D Coffin says:

    >>Oregon has refused to send water to California for years.
    Hope they don’t budge. The folks in the Eastern Sierras learned the hard way.

  53. Alan Robertson says:

    Not only California, but many areas of the US Southwest are experiencing persistent and brutal
    drought conditions. Southwest Oklahoma and neighboring areas of Texas are in dire straits. Wichita Falls, TX has implemented Stage 4 water rationing with fines of up to $2000. Small towns, such as Grandfield, OK which receive much of their water supply from reservoirs owned by other nearby municipalities have seen their sources cut off.

  54. Roger Dueck says:

    Your water is up here, In Alberta! See the June flood rain event :
    http://www.environment.alberta.ca/forecasting/data/precipmaps/event_Jun19_22.PDF
    and Winter cum to date:
    http://www.environment.alberta.ca/forecasting/data/precipmaps/jan2014/wintacc.pdf
    BTW there is a desalination plant going in at Carlsbad as a co-gen to the gas-fired power plant right on the coast. Seems a good use of natural gas.

  55. RoHa says:

    Older Australians have learned, by experience, that sometimes it rains a lot. Sometimes it rains a little. Sometimes (quite often in most of this country) it doesn’t rain at all. And then it rains again.

  56. jorgekafkazar says:

    Gail COmbs says: “Maybe Californian can buy some slightly used desalinization plants from Australia CHEAP?”

    We’ve got our own, Gail. Santa Barbara, Spanish-tiled bastion of oh-so-green eco-lunatards, spent $34,000,000 in 1992 on a 3,125 acre-ft capacity installation. It was moth-balled after 4 months of operation, the wisdom of spending $1,400 an acre-foot appearing, belatedly, dubious in comparison with conventional sources at $500 per acre-toot. “Currently, [2009] the [local authorities] spend $100,000 a year to maintain much of the plant’s carcass in operating [i.e., operable] condition.”

    Perhaps they will now spend the requisite $20,000,000 to put the plant back into operation, many of the bits and pieces having been cannibalized for use elsewhere in the meantime. This will take some time to complete, but may be finished just in time for the next monsoonal downpours in winter of 2015.

  57. I believe California already has a few desalination plants. In fact, there is considerable engineering expertise in California as US firms have designed and built desalination plants all over the world. There is a one billion dollar, 50 million gallon per day plant currently under construction (25% complete) in San Diego: http://carlsbaddesal.com/Websites/carlsbaddesal/images/Engineering_News_Record_-_Carlsbad,_Unsalted_10.25.13.PDF

    And others are being planned – Huntington Beach, CA; Pendelton, OR

  58. jorgekafkazar says:

    Mike D. says: “Jerry Brown was elected Governor of Callifornia for the first time in 1976, and there was a drought in the state. He’s elected again and there’s another drought. Coincidence?”

    Streetcred says: “GAIA is punishing them for electing him … they’ve already long run out of virgins to sacrifice.”

    Jerry “Fruitfly” Brown continues to guber by just drinking herbal tea concocted from a few tana leaves from time to time.

  59. List of existing and proposed desal plants in California: http://www.desalresponsegroup.org/socal.html

  60. crosspatch says:

    “I believe California already has a few desalination plants.”

    Santa Cruz Country refused to allow a permit for one at the Moss Landing power plant because it “would encourage development”. These are people that believe that buying your children larger clothes just encourages them to grown. The development happened anyway and now they are getting severe salt intrusion from ground water pumping near the cost. They are just idiots. There is no other rational explanation.

  61. FerdinandAkin says:

    Greg says:
    January 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Well I suppose the best thing to do would be to take half of what you have left and start injecting it into the ground for hydraulic fracking.

    Or they could take their precious water and inject it into the aquifer as a ‘Water Bank’.
    Unless of course – the teacup appears to have a leak in it…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/25/las-posas-basin-aquifer-failure_n_3813800.html

  62. Tim Groves says:

    Maybe the time is right to try towing a few icebergs down from the Arctic or up from the Antarctic.

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-08/10/iceberg-towing

    I hear there is plenty of “land ice” making life tough for the penguins and tourists down in Commonwealth Bay.

  63. Leigh says:

    A first phrase I coined a long time ago in the midst of one of our common droughts seems to fit here.
    The others you seem to pick up over the years as one argued with our “watermelons” in Australia. You might refer to them as inviromentalists in your neck of the woods.
    Two half full dams have more water than one half full dam.
    Or common sense tells you you don’t build dams after the flood.
    Or simply ask the right questions of the fools that stop the building of new catchments and watch them squirm.
    My favorite is the extending of the sewerage system in Victoria during the drought that gripped the eastern seaboard for years.
    If the population is growing and you the politician is telling us to conserve our water resources because we haven’t got any because of the drought.
    Then why are we extending the sewerage system?
    Their answers are usually along the lines of “urban sprawl”
    Where is all the extra water coming from to flush down all the extra toilets?
    And that is we everyone one must do their bit to preserve this precious resource.
    Could it be that as long as we’re not up to our ankles in it you might think we won’t notice your stupidity?
    Here’s a piece of advice.
    When the drought breaks and it will.
    As it did in Australia.
    Experience tells us it would be best if you have a boat handy.
    Just on a “lighter” note.
    All join hands please.
    Straightenen the line please.
    On the count of three…..
    One
    Two
    Three
    Back flip
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/454657/Ice-age-on-the-way-as-scientists-fear-the-Sun-is-falling-asleep

  64. Richard T says:

    Nothing new. Lived in the Bay Area in the mid 70’s during the midst of a strong drought period (and the global cooling scare). East Bay MUD had us on a 120 gpd ration. Shasta was down to something like 20 percent of full capacity. Just googled the ’77 level versus today — ’77 was 100 ft lower than the present level. The expert’s prognostication for recovery was 10 yrs of normal winter precipitation. In fact the reservoir was spilling in ’78 due to a wet ’77/’78 winter.

  65. MattN says:

    We stole all their rain here in the east. Seriously, SW Virginia had more rain by July 15 last year than all of 2012.

  66. jai mitchell says:

    Precipitation Shifts over Western
    North America as a Result of
    Declining Arctic Sea Ice Cover:
    The Coupled System Response

    Earth Interactions • Volume 9 (2005) • Paper No. 26 • Page 1
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/EI171.1

    as Arctic sea ice
    cover is reduced, precipitation patterns over western North America will shift
    toward dryer conditions in southwestern North America and wetter conditions
    in northwestern North America. Here, three complementary lines of research
    validate and explore the robustness of this possible climate change impact

  67. jai mitchell says:

    San Francisco rainfall record, with accurate records kept since 1848
    http://www2.ucar.edu/sites/default/files/news/2013/rainfall_chart_orig.jpg

  68. Bush bunny says:

    Jimbo the salinity production near Sydney was closed for two reasons, the 65 wind turbines used were driving the people mad with their humming like a jet plane, and we got more rain and the dams were overflowing. Erected by the previous labor government who were climate change supporters etc.

  69. Steve Oregon says:

    joated saysJanuary 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm
    “Maybe they should divert that high-speed rail money to something more practical like reservoirs or desalinization plants.”

    How about a pipeline distribution network connecting water plentiful regions to water shortage locations.
    There wouldn’t be any worry about spillage. It’s only water.
    The Great Lakes and even the lower Columbia River could be tapped for agriculture and people.

  70. bushbunny says:

    How come several years ago, California had problems with a freak cold weather. Arnold said something about it. I believe you received snow and frosts?

  71. Interesting, 1898 was a very wet year in Qld Australia but it was towards the end of a wet period leading in a very dry period the “Federation Drought” which started in 1900 and went through to 1912 in the area where i live but longer in other areas.

  72. Lew Skannen says:

    Fifteen years ago I was in LA and went to Redondo Beach. At some stage I needed to visit the toilet and was surprised to find that there were no male and female sections, just dozens of cubicles for everyone to use.
    After use of course everyone was obliged to flush away gallons of water.
    I have to wonder why do they not have urinals for men? If you are just taking a quick leak there is no need to flush away a gallon of water.
    Any idea why this is the case?

  73. Warren in Minnesota says:

    The drought certainly brings on a taxing situation.

  74. MattS says:

    Drought? In California? If it wasn’t for federal government intervention sending water to California from as far as two states away, charging just 1/10 of the cost most of California would be desert. California has never had enough local water to support anywhere near its current level of population / agriculture.

  75. John F. Hultquist says:

    The Köppen climate classification was originally mapped using boundaries of vegetation. Plants take (integrate) a long-term view of climate. I first heard of chaparral with respect to the climate of California. There is drought in California. Coincidence?

    Meanwhile, in the Great State of Washington we are experiencing a freezing fog or rime. Locally it is called a silver frost. Things will be very picturesque when the fog lifts and the sun comes out. Look for images on the web.
    Here, this winter’s weather matches that of Dec 89 – Jan 90 quite well.

  76. Streetcred says:

    jai mitchell … repeat after me, “La Nina” … now say it on your own. Good, keep repeating it until you get it.

  77. Max™ says:

    I’m reminded of a Tool song here, Aenema to be exact.

  78. lee says:

    jai mitchell says:
    January 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    as Arctic sea ice cover is reduced, precipitation patterns over western North America will shift
    toward dryer conditions in southwestern North America and wetter conditions in northwestern North America.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    So increasing Arctic sea ice should have the opposite effect?

  79. TomB says:

    My first trip to California was as a teenager in the 70’s. I’ll always remember a bumper sticker I saw in Berkeley at the time – “Number 1 or Number 2, don’t flush until the drought is through.” Restaurants did not offer water with the meal unless asked. This is not the first drought California has experienced.

  80. george e. smith says:

    Well I think maybe our Anthony is committing cherry picking, with his dramatic pictures of lakes Oroville and Shasta in “water rich” Northern California. How do Camanche and Folsom look Anthony ?

    A more fair and balanced view of California’s water situation, might be obtained by looking at lakes like Lake Hughes, Lake Castaic, and Pyramid Lake or the new Eastside Reservoir in Riverside County; all of them in the traditionally desert Southern California region. They would be more hard hit by drought, compared to the ones Anthony picked, as the Sierra snow pack never gets down that far.

    Pyramid lake has a problem, as you would have a hard time adding a thimble full of water to that reservoir, and those others; all similarly hit by the drought conditions.

    I don’t think Governor Jerry Brown, spends a lot of time in Anthony’s neighborhood, or around the Sacramento, San Joachin Delta system, where they have those pumps, that pump the Sierra snow melt waters to go south, to water all the golf courses in So-Cal.

  81. Garfy says:

    http://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/la-centrale-aerothermique-d-edgar-132765

    Professor Edgard Nazare conceived this tower to produce cheap energy for desalinazation in Tunisia

  82. RAH says:

    Too many people for the arid land it is. Plain and simple. You can store water. You can steal water from other states. But in the end it seems to me the only way to really prevent their being serious water shortages in central and southern CA when the snows and rains don’t come would be massive desalination facilities and the infrastructure to transport that water inland.

  83. Stuff It, jai mitchell (6:17 pm)
    Arctic ice in 2013 is in the middle of the pack for the past decade
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent_L.png
    2013 had more ice at all dates than did 2012.
    Go on, without looking at the legend, pick out 2013 from that tangle.

    Take your rot to Skeptical Science where they’ll believe anything.

  84. crosspatch says:

    Well I think maybe our Anthony is committing cherry picking, with his dramatic pictures of lakes Oroville and Shasta in “water rich” Northern California. How do Camanche and Folsom look Anthony ?

    I’ll answer that for him. Folsom is currently at 17% capacity and at 34% of average for this date. Can’t find current levels for Camanche.

  85. crosspatch says:

    Found Camanche, 53% of capacity, 91% of seasonal for the date.

  86. jdgalt says:

    I see no reason except politics why we don’t build a national (or even international) pipeline system, to allow places with a shortage of water to buy from places with a surplus just like the electrical grid. Of course, in practice this would mean the whole system of farm subsidies would need to be dismantled — to which I say, it’s about f___ing time!!!

  87. crosspatch says:

    I see no reason except politics why we don’t build a national (or even international) pipeline system, to allow places with a shortage of water to buy from places with a surplus just like the electrical grid.

    Water is heavy and the US is not flat. It takes a lot of energy to move water. Last I saw about 30% of US energy is currently spent pumping water out of the ground, distributing it, collecting it, treating it, and disposing of it. Two things would be better:

    1. A lot of small nuclear desal plants using new modular reactors.
    2. A hydrogen tight pipeline system (hard to do). Excess wind and nuclear power could be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen could be dumped to atmosphere and the hydrogen injected into the pipeline system. Hydrogen is pumped to where energy and/or water are needed. Fuel cells generate power, water is byproduct. This is lossy but it is excess power that would be dumped up the cooling tower in the case of a nuclear plant or in the case of wind, disconnected from the grid at times of excess generation.

  88. There is no water problem, just a people problem. Build the infrastructure with whatever means you choose, desalination, wind turbines, solar, gas, pipelines, power lines, roads … But be sure to charge for the true cost of construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of supply and delivery plus an operating margin and profit. Charge the true cost of water for irrigation as well. When the true cost is applied, people will conserve water on their own, modify their life style and choices, or move elsewhere. Drip systems replace spray irrigation once the cost of water increases to market value. Many behaviours change when water is limited or expensive. For example, you don’t see too many lawns in Palm Springs (although the Palms are drip irrigated [pun intended]).

  89. Pamela Gray says:

    ENSO neutral is a mistaken label in my opinion. I have said it before (and may have coined the label) that La Nada/El Nado may be where all the action is and should be studied as much if not more than El Niño/La Nina is.

  90. gymnosperm says:

    1917 is actually the driest year still in a monthly basis. We passed into uncharted territory on a daily basis a couple days ago. Data from San Francisco which has a continuous record since 1850.‎

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2014/01/09/a-very-dry-sea…-in-california/

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2014/01/17/some-things-we…fornia-drought/

  91. Paul Pierett says:

    I sent all my research to all the state governors in January 2009 warning them of drought through 2035. To my dismay only WV and Florida responded.

    I did learn the EPA is pretty much created a man made portion of.the Crisis under pres.dictator Berry. A lot of left wingers are responsible for the mess.

  92. Box of Rocks says:

    GlynnMhor says:
    January 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm
    Solar powered desalinization makes a lot more sense than solar powered electricity.

    ***************************************************************************************************************************I I will raise you a Harrop and say that we use whirly gigs.

    Ops Barrie beat me to the punch…

  93. Box of Rocks says:

    Wayne Delbeke says:
    January 18, 2014 at 9:02 pm
    There is no water problem, just a people problem. Build the infrastructure with whatever means you choose, desalination, wind turbines, solar, gas, pipelines, power lines, roads … But be sure to charge for the true cost of construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of supply and delivery plus an operating margin and profit. Charge the true cost of water for irrigation as well. When the true cost is applied, people will conserve water on their own, modify their life style and choices, or move elsewhere. Drip systems replace spray irrigation once the cost of water increases to market value. Many behaviours change when water is limited or expensive. For example, you don’t see too many lawns in Palm Springs (although the Palms are drip irrigated [pun intended]

    ***************************************************************************************************************************

    I have a better solution to your people problem – just get rid of the people no problem.

    Man is not the problem with water or CO2 or AGW.

    Government and it attending poverty that you propose is the problem.

  94. goldminor says:

    Bill Jamison says:
    January 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    “If the Nino 3.4 model ensemble is to be believed, then California will likely see a strong precipitation rebound in 2014/2015.”
    ———————————————-
    Perhaps more like 2015/16, with the possibility of a flood year in 2016/17, or the year after.

  95. crosspatch says:

    Problem is those models have shown no predictive skill lately. They have called for El Nino for over a year now. I think maybe those models were built during a positive PDO when whatever they are looking would indicate an El Nino but now that we are in a negative PDO phase, those indications might manifest as neutral to weak El Nino. Have those models existed through an entire cycle? We are in a phase where strong El Ninos are less likely to happen.

  96. goldminor says:

    jai mitchell says:
    January 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    San Francisco rainfall record, with accurate records kept since 1848
    ————————————————————————————–
    Thanks for the chart. I never realized that so many of the Pacific Northwest flood years arrive when SF rainfall is below 20″. I wonder what drives that?

  97. goldminor says:

    george e. smith says:
    January 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm
    ————————————
    That 8×10 glossy photo showing last year alongside this present year seems to negate your thought. This drought is still in place and by this summer, unless spring rains come strong, they are going to run into problems with those big pumps that send water south, mainly for farming. There is a mandate to keep the Delta waters from from being diluted by too much sea water intrusion. This is related to the fisheries and is a big deal.

  98. goldminor says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    January 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    ENSO neutral is a mistaken label in my opinion. I have said it before (and may have coined the label) that La Nada/El Nado may be where all the action is and should be studied as much if not more than El Niño/La Nina is.
    ————————————-
    Not only that, but when you measure the Pacific close to the SF/Bay Area you also need to account for the La Nado/El Nada effect. It too has been known to be a spot where the action is, and it can run hot and cold at the same time. Amazing really!!!

  99. redc1c4 says:

    i’d drill a well, just for back up, but, since i live in The Valley, like totally, the City of Lost Angels owns the water rights to my property, so i’d be breaking the law.

    it’s Chinatown Jake….

    (sucks to be us %-)

  100. Speed says:

    Steve Oregon wrote, “How about a pipeline distribution network connecting water plentiful regions to water shortage locations.
    There wouldn’t be any worry about spillage. It’s only water.
    The Great Lakes and even the lower Columbia River could be tapped for agriculture and people.”

    GREAT LAKES—ST. LAWRENCE RIVER BASIN WATER RESOURCES
    COMPACT
    Section 4.8. Prohibition of New or Increased Diversions.
    All New or Increased Diversions are prohibited, except as provided for in this Article.

    http://www.greatlakes.org/Document.Doc?id=144

    Under the riparian principle, all landowners whose property adjoins a body of water have the right to make reasonable use of it as it flows through or over their property. If there is not enough water to satisfy all users, allotments are generally fixed in proportion to frontage on the water source. These rights cannot be sold or transferred other than with the adjoining land and only in reasonable quantities associated with that land. The water cannot be transferred out of the watershed without due consideration as to the rights of the downstream riparian landowners.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riparian_water_rights

  101. Gail Combs says:

    MattN says:
    January 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    We stole all their rain here in the east. Seriously, SW Virginia had more rain by July 15 last year than all of 2012.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes, wasn’t it lovely? (I am in central North Carolina)

    But the east coast gets it’s droughts too. This is from Ohio University Research Communications about a West Virgina stalagmite. The connection is:

    less solar radiation ===> the Atlantic Ocean cooled ===> icebergs increased ===> precipitation fell===> century-long droughts aka Bond Events.

    New climate record shows century-long droughts in eastern
    North America

    Weak sun created cool oceans, lowered rainfall seven times in 7,000 years

    ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 19, 2008) – A stalagmite in a West Virginia cave has yielded the most detailed geological record to date on climate cycles in eastern North America over the past 7,000 years. The new study confirms that during periods when Earth received less solar radiation, the Atlantic Ocean cooled, icebergs increased and precipitation fell, creating a series of century-long droughts…..

    The scientists found evidence of at least seven major drought periods during the Holocene era, according to an article published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “This really nails down the idea of solar influence on continental drought,” said Springer, an assistant professor of geological sciences.

    Geologist Gerald Bond suggested that every 1,500 years, weak solar activity caused by fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic fields cools the North Atlantic Ocean and creates more icebergs and ice rafting, or the movement of sediment to ocean floors. Other scientists have sought more evidence of these so-called “Bond events” and have studied their possible impact on droughts and precipitation. But studies to date have been hampered by incomplete, less detailed records, Springer said. The stalagmites from the Buckeye Creek Cave provide an excellent record of climate cycles, he said, because West Virginia is affected by the jet streams and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Other studies have gleaned climate cycle data from lakes, but fish and other critters tend to churn the sediment, muddying the geological record there, said study co-author Harold Rowe….

  102. Gail Combs says:

    Lew Skannen says: @ January 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    … Any idea why this is the case?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Feminism activists.

  103. Gail Combs says:

    gymnosperm says: @ January 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm
    Both your links return pag not found. (It may be just me and my dinosaur computer)

  104. Bill Illis says:

    No rain in the weather model forecasts until the very end of January, when some moderate precip shows up in the northern California.

    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/gfs-ens/2014011906/gfs-ens_apcpn24_namer.html

  105. H.R. says:

    Gail Combs says:
    January 19, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Lew Skannen says: @ January 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    … Any idea why this is the case?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Feminism activists.

    ======================================================
    Nahhhh… transgender accommodation, Gail. Nobody knows who is what anymore.

  106. Tom in Florida says:

    This if from 1973. Of course that was before 1979 so it doesn’t count. Enjoy.

  107. Hoser says:

    The use of the MODIS images at the top is not an accurate comparison. The Jan 13, 2013 picture looks typical for a image taken 2 days after a large storm. Looking at the same region 4 or 5 days after the storm would show the snow covered area is greatly reduced as lower elevation snow melts. Nevertheless, the core snow covered area over the Sierra Nevada is likely much smaller this year versus last year. No doubt some MODIS images could be found that are more representative of the true picture, however they will not be a dramatic. But they would contain the true science value. It boils down to a question of terrain above what elevation is covered by snow. In an image like that above it might be hard to tell visually. The reason is MODIS images have about 500m resolution and the elevation in the Sierra Nevada can change quite a bit in a few pixels. http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/data_products/

  108. beng says:

    Seems like shades of 76-77 winter, tho not as cold. Endless, mostly dry clippers here in the east in addition to the west-coast drought. Hope not, as 77 was bone-dry long into the year over most of the US.

  109. M Simon says:

    crosspatch says:
    January 18, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    ‘I was going to suggest that CA build more dams,”

    Dam California.

  110. hunter says:

    But hey, they have billions to spend on a train no one will ride. So why worry about a drought in a desert state?

  111. MattS says:

    jdgalt says:
    January 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I see no reason except politics why we don’t build a national (or even international) pipeline system, to allow places with a shortage of water to buy from places with a surplus just like the electrical grid. Of course, in practice this would mean the whole system of farm subsidies would need to be dismantled — to which I say, it’s about f___ing time!!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The federal government already diverts water to California from as far as two states away.

    Farmers in CA pay about $10 an acre-foot (the amount of water it would take to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot) for that water and cry poverty any time someone suggest raising the price of that water.

    The cost to the federal government of delivering that water to CA is around $100 an acre-foot.

    Far from dismantling the system of farm subsides, your plan would simply become the biggest farm subsidy ever imagined.

    Treaties with Canada would also cause a problem for such schemes. The largest source of fresh water in NA is the Great Lakes. However, that watershed is shared between the US and Canada. An agreement between the US and Canada covering use of Great Lakes water prohibits diverting Great Lakes water out of the Great Lakes drainage basin. The city of Milwaukee WI, which uses lake Michigan water, can’t even supply all of its outlying suburbs because parts of those suburbs cross into the Mississippi drainage basin.

  112. Coach Springer says:

    With that little snow pack, that lake picture might have the boats laying on their side at the bottom soon? Pipeline, desalinization, emigration, water storage/management. Whatever. Just let California pay for it. Maybe they could tap those offshore reserves of oil and gas to fund the desalinization and management projects and remove myopic eco-activism as the overriding priority. No-flush is to California’s water problems as inflating our tires properly is to energy independence.

    PS, What do you pipe when Great Lake levels are down like they are now (http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/dbd/) and there would be restrictions on quenching the western half of the US? Sometimes we get so caught up in resource management that we think its abnormal to be at the mercy of nature – that droughts and floods aren’t supposed to happen unless we are doing something wrong. Natural extension of misperception: climate change is bad because … man.

  113. highflight56433 says:

    I have been traveling the winters of the Rockies and west for more many decades, I have seen dry years and wet years. Nothing new here. The bottom line is the politicians love growth to increase tax revenue, but as usual no infrastructure growth until it is has become critical. Then the call for more taxes. You get what you elect.

  114. Yancey Ward says:

    The really worrisome thing is the snowpack deficit. It isn’t like precipitation will pick up after May, at least not normally. If the snows don’t come this winter, the region may be waiting for water until next November.

  115. Desert Dweller says:

    Hmmmm….Western drought? Summer of 2012, we had eight major rainstorms here in Phoenix, including one in August where my wife and daughter we stranded at a Walgreens for FOUR HOURS due to grey-out conditions. In the 22 years I’ve been here, we’ve never had more than two. Our ANNUAL rainfall is 8.2 inches, but that one in August was about four inches in itself. This past summer we had four.

  116. MattS says:

    Coach Springer,

    “What do you pipe when Great Lake levels are down like they are now (http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/dbd/) and there would be restrictions on quenching the western half of the US?”

    1. You can’t use Great lakes water outside the Great Lakes drainage basin due to a treaty between the US and Canada.

    2. Your link gives no real reason to be concerned about Great Lakes water levels. The worst of the lakes at your link is Michigan/Huron which is down by less than half a meter, around a foot and a half. The total surface area of the Great Lakes is 94,250 square miles. If all of the lakes were down as much as Michigan, the total loss of water would be around 26.8 cubic miles. The total volume of the Great Lakes is around 5,439 cubic miles so the Great lakes are down by less than half a percent from the long term average and current levels are well within long term variability.

  117. john robertson says:

    @george e smith 7:32, while Anthony is good he can’t be everywhere.
    The pictures are great, I was in Oroville in 2009 and was intrigued by “where’s the water”.
    I suspect the governor is declaring any state of emergency he can dream up, California is broke and if US national politics play out, they have only 3 years to soak the federal taxpayers for all they can steal.
    Its not a bailout, oh no its an emergency caused by global warming.
    Stunning how politically useful CAGW is for covering up bureaucratic theft, lack of basic planning and the expedient dismissal of known trends.

  118. JJ at 12:47 am
    “what about this graph?

    What about it? What are you trying to say it shows?
    1. that the Calif drought is caused by the 2013-14 15% Ice Extent being totally within the 2 std deviation envelope of the 1981-2010 average?
    2. that the Calif drought is caused by the 2013-14 15% extent being greater than the 2012-13 ice extent up to mid december 2013?
    3. that the Calif drought is caused by the 2013-14 15% extent being 1 to 6 days behind 2012-13 for the past four weeks?

    What about it?
    4. that my statement: “2013 had more ice at all dates than did 2012.” isn’t technically true in the last half of December? It is true according to the IARC-JAXA

  119. @john robertson at 9:58 am
    I suspect the governor is declaring any state of emergency he can dream up,
    “State of emergencies” are a portent to abuse of power. That said, the current state of the reservoirs PLUS the state of the snow pack, means that California cannot proceed “business as usual.” The cost of water needs to rise (as any scarce resource shoud) and the cost of regulation should drop (as any resource in surplus should) but will not.

    Stunning how politically useful CAGW is for covering up bureaucratic theft, lack of basic planning and the expedient dismissal of known trends.
    So true!
    The WUWT discussion in the post the Flooding In the Sumerset Levels… exemplifies this point.

  120. JJ says:

    Other JJ –

    We are asked by Anthony and the site moderators to post under a single, unique handle. I have been posting on this site under the handle JJ for several years. Please choose a different handle for yourself.

    This is the third time I have asked.

    JJ

  121. Jay says:

    California the outhouse state?

    It would be nice if the government was doing its job of providing the basics..

    Why not use sea water in a natural gas power stations.. This way you can capture the fresh water byproduct and provide clean energy at the same time..

  122. asybot says:

    @ MattS , I believe there is a similar treaty re: BC Canada “The Columbia River Treaty 1951, I think that most if not all the water stays within the Colombia River basin, for both irrigation and Hydro power and spring flood control all along all the rivers in the basin. We have had an average year in BC btw, although snow fall below 2000′ here in the Southern Interior has been very low. I know I got a 4 wd for the first time ever, have used it once!!!!. Last year I had to chain up the car every time coming home (bad driveway in a rural area) from late Nov. to end off Feb. so maybe everybody in California should throw away all their umbrellas, raincoats and rubber boots!

  123. asybot says:

    @MattS I have to add we left a snow shovel down at the gate (bottom) of drive as well, VooDoo if you ask me!

  124. RS says:

    Now is the time for REAL greens to prove their ideology triumphs rationality by sending contributions to the Sierra Club and NRDC to continue opposition to desalinization plants (held up for decades), opposition to increased reservoir volume (essentially impossible now), increased diversion of the Sacramento River to minnows instead of people, destruction of dams and reservoirs (including the Hetch Hetchy, the largest freshwater source in NCal).

    Californians, in their slavish devotion to green at any cost, have created this crisis.
    Own it greens.

  125. e.c. cowan says:

    I remember the drought of 1976 to 1983, The people in Santa Barbara were painting their lawns green. In LA County, we couldn’t water the lawns either. We were encouraged not to flush the toilets after each use [if it's yellow, it's mellow. If it's brown, flush it down - was the disgusting mantra.] People were supposed to take what I think they called “Navy showers” – wet down, turn the water off and soap up – then rinse in the coldest water you could stand.
    Thank goodness Queen Elizabeth II showed up in ’83 and brought her English weather with her. It rained buckets! She was being driven around in US Navy buses, to get through flooded roadways. [We wonder if the Queen sat in the front behind the driver - or in the back, away from the peasants]
    Anyway, it was BAD. It may seem worse because of added population and water demand, but it probably isn’t really any more severe now. The farmers in the Central Valley may feel the drought more acutely because now days, they have less water and/or more expensive water, because some tree-hugging, idiot judge has ruled that a lot of water has to be set aside to keep some 2″ fish from going thirsty. We all pay more at the grocery store to satisfy the morons of the Sierra Club.

  126. Eric Anderson says:

    Anthony:

    “Plus, California population has increased dramatically while water storage has not. That’s a testament to poor planning and the hands of environmentalists and their campaigns to stop new water storage systems. ”

    Exactly. This is precisely the problem and the biggest challenge facing California’s water supply. The precipitation will continue to be up and down from year to year (even if this year is particularly dry). The real issue is the huge increase in population over the last century, coupled with the failure to plan adequate water storage to accommodate it.

    Indeed, a couple of years ago when there was an excess of water, water was being let out of the reservoirs when they weren’t even full, due to concerns about safety and lack of upkeep to meet earthquake standards. California needs to upgrade existing facilities and build new dams and storage facilities (or do a massive desalination project) if it hopes to avoid water problems in the future. Conservation is of course also important, but probably won’t be sufficient on its own.

  127. E.M.Smith says:

    About 5% of California water goes to cities and people. It’s not a population problem. Most of if (by far) goes to farming and out to sea. It is just silly PR gimmickry to have homeowners “conserve” since it is really all about farm use.

    Oh, and the ’70s were also sever drought and also quite cold. It snowed in the Central Valley then and I learned to ski at Squaw Valley with hay covering the bald patches on Mountain Run (about 7000 feet…) This drought, to me, a native Californian, says that we are in a cold phase; probably a very cold one, that will last a decade or two.

  128. Psalmon says:

    Gov. Brown opposed both the Auburn Dam on the upper American River and New Melones south of that on the Stanislaus when he was Governor in the 1970s. He also tried to build the Peripheral Canal to pump Sacramento River water to So. California (voted down by ballot initiative). So it’s fitting he now owns the crisis. Unfortunately nobody is pointing out he has been proven completely incompetent in water resource matters.

    People say the Auburn dam could not be built due to seismology. The Carter admin stopped the construction after a 5.8 mag earthquake occurred in Oroville in 1975. Brown then fought with Senator Cranston to starve funding in the US Senate. The Oroville quake was caused by the reservoir, an effect that is not unknown. The Auburn dam was redesigned to handle such seismic activity after the quake. Today, the facts about Oroville seismology are even better understood. Since 1975, Oroville has experienced only 3 quakes above 4 magnitude, 1992, 1997 and 2007 none above 4.5. The average Oroville quake is 3.2 since 1975. The quakes occur when the lake is drained in the Summer and Fall, not the peak fill or filling. They occur after large seasonal fluctuations, large fills followed by large drains. The Auburn Dam could have been built safely and effectively but for the objections of Brown, Carter and the environmentalists.

    New Melones has about 1M acre feet out of 2.5 potential right now. If anyone remembers, this was the reservoir where Mark Dubois of Friends of the River (FOR) chained himself to a rock in an attempt to stop the lake’s filling. Brown would not allow it to be filled until 1982 when a flood rocketed down from the Sierras and filled it for him, saving many lives and properties in the process.

    New Melones also has 300 MW of generating capacity, clean, renewable power. The people of Modesto and Stockton now have drinking water because of it, no thanks to the FOR or Brown.

    Auburn was to have 700 MW of clean renewable power capacity. The people of Placer County are in a water crisis because Folsom is almost empty. The City of Sacramento avoids the deep crisis for now only because the Sacramento River is not being pumped to Southern California.

    The people of California deserve to know who caused this drought to become a crisis (the guy holding the chart). Let’s hope that Brown, the Friends of the River and President Carter get the credit they deserve.

  129. goldminor says:

    eo says:
    January 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Jeff Sim,

    May be you could bundle the offer of the unused desalination plants and Tim Flannery with a big discount.
    ———–
    Only if you guys take Al Gore, or no deal.

  130. Eric Eikenberry says:

    The Colorado River, where it comes past Blythe, CA is low. Very, very low. Shockingly so when we drove over it last a few days ago.

  131. Michael says:

    I live in S.E. North Carolina I have plenty of water, I have a well, my water table is about 1.5 inches from the surface,come take what you need.

  132. Rhys Jaggar says:

    One does have to ask the question, as an outsider, as to whether severe water shortage is the norm rather than the exception in parts of California??

  133. crosspatch says:

    So it looks like the ENSO graph updated at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/climatic-phenomena-pages/enso/

    and it appears to have (again) gone exactly the opposite direction that the model ensembles were pointing. So that second graph labeled: “NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies Forecast” is pretty much useless and has been for most of the past year.

  134. It is worth, at the end, cite Jay Lund (is the Ray B. Krone Professor of Environmental Engineering at UC Davis and director of the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences)
    (http://californiawaterblog.com/2013/01/13/climate-change-and-california-water-past-present-and-future/) :

    “California is prone to massive climate change. In medieval times, parts of California experienced extreme droughts lasting more than 100 years (Stine 1994).”

    “The physical, economic and ecological instability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta probably poses more risk to California’s water supply than climate warming (Lund et al. 2010).”

    “Talk of climate change and water in California is fraught with handwringing and delusions. Much discussion borders on alarmist …”

  135. 1sky1 says:

    To parallel Bob Tisdale’s sarcastic comment about drought conditions moving westward , it should be noted that so is the Super Bowl championship. It must be the “stadium wave” effect!

  136. george e. smith says:

    “”””””……goldminor says:

    January 19, 2014 at 1:51 am

    george e. smith says:
    January 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm
    ————————————
    That 8×10 glossy photo showing last year alongside this present year seems to negate your thought. This drought is still in place and by this summer, unless spring rains come strong, they are going to run into problems with those big pumps that send water south, mainly for farming. There is a mandate to keep the Delta waters from from being diluted by too much sea water intrusion. This is related to the fisheries and is a big deal…….””””””

    Well dammit; now everybody is reading my thoughts; cut it out ! Or get it right !

    I never said Anthony’s pictures aren’t real; and I never actually saw a glossy 8×10 anyway.

    Many thanx to Crosspatch, for giggling the Folsom and Camanche nummers. See one’s good and one sucks !

    That was what my thought ACTUALLY WAS; Nothing to do with washing SF Bay, and the Pacific Ocean; which I happen to support, for its very real environmental necessity.

    But desert golf courses aren’t environmentally necessary.

    As E.M. Smith pointed out; the farmers get it dirt cheap. Not against farmers; but as a frequent commuter to S-Cal on highway 5, I can testify, that some of those farmers seem to be able to water very well.

    Now the typically don’t water along highway 5, at least close to the road, so they can put up those big signs about a Congressional created dust bowl.

    No the dustbowl is just where the farmers want it, so you can see it as you drive highway 5.

    But a quarter mile from the road, where nobody ever looks, there is plenty of green agriculture going on where the farmers want it to make money.

    And speaking of highway 5, every time it rains in the middle of the Sahara desert, it also rains on the west side of highway 5. Funny thing since I discovered that; I have noticed that there are lots of brand new citrus, and stone fruit, and walnuts or pistachios growing on the west side; used to be absolutely nothing growing there, but pronghorn antelopes, and grass. It’s all done with the magic of irrigation, and of course good soil that can grow grass with no water.

    But if you can kick up a racket about the lack of cheap water, and people react, why not.

    By the way; the farmers I know, in the Fresno-Visalia central valley area, are very good at water conservation, and intelligent crop rotation, to work with the available water; both snow melt, when available, and pumped well water (ancient snow melt) when it isn’t.

  137. goldminor says:

    george e. smith says:
    January 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm
    ————————————
    The population increase of the state has brought California to a point where any negative deviation from the norm in average rainfall is noticed.

    Also, I had just made another comment on a post with the message that a continued drought should probably be expected, and that at this point in time, there is a possibility for no decent rains until next winter. I say that, because I remember what happened between 1975/77.

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