Spot the portion of California drought caused by 'climate change'

From “The Hill”, even California Democrats aren’t buying the climate BS Obama and Holdren are selling on drought: (h/t to WUWT reader “Green Sand”)

Voters don’t hear the words “climate change” when Democrats in competitive races in California explain what’s causing the worst drought in the state’s history.

President Obama has repeatedly blamed global warming for episodes of severe weather, including wildfires and droughts in the Golden State, but Democrats seeking to unseat Republicans in the hard-hit Central Valley region are balking at that argument.

The drought is an issue in three of the five closest House races in California, but Democrats are opting against drawing a direct link between the drought and climate change.

“The way folks talk about the drought out here is: ‘We have a problem, let’s fix the problem,’” said Amanda Renteria, a Democrat challenging Rep. David Valadao (R).

“Climate change doesn’t really belong in the question, or answer,” said Renteria, one of her party’s best hopes of gaining a House seat this fall.

California’s drought is in its third year, with no signs of ending. It’s expected to cost the state $2.2 billion this year.

Renteria’s race against Valadao in California’s 21st District is smack dab in the middle of the agriculture-heavy Central Valley, where the drought is the single biggest issue for voters.

Renteria isn’t a climate skeptic and thinks there is something “going on” with climate change.

 

But her campaign isn’t focused on pinning the drought to the effects of global warming.

It’s focused on how federal and state officials were unprepared to deal with the drought, and how Central Valley lawmakers should have pushed Congress to take steps to build water storage infrastructure to help farmers.

“The fact that we need an answer, and needed an answer for years — this has been coming, we knew it was coming — adds to questions about who our leaders are, and what is going on in Congress,” she said.

 

Other Democrats in California districts impacted by the drought are tacking a similar tack.

OK, spot the portion caused by climate change:

California_drought_timeline

The paper:

North American drought: Reconstructions, causes, and consequences, Cook et al. 2007

PDF here: NADrought

Figure 10 is the source of the above graph:

Cook_etal_2007_fig10

Fig. 10. Long-term aridity changes in the West (A) as measured by the percent area affected by drought (PDSIb−1) each year (B) (redrawn from Cook et al., 2004). The four most significant ( pb0.05) dry and wet epochs since AD 800 are indicated by arrows. The 20th century, up through 2003, is highlighted by the yellow box. The average drought area during that time, and that for the AD 900–1300 interval, are indicated by the thick blue and red lines, respectively. The difference between these two means is highly significant ( pb0.001).

 

 

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That last down dimple was probably when I lived there. That was when the Santa Margarita washed out half of I5 (when it was only 6 lanes).

frozenohio

California is dry, Ohio has been getting rain almost every other day. We must tax this atrocity!

JimS

El Nino could have saved the day for California.

Notice the range of the grey lines on that last graph (Fig. 10). That is the actual yearly rain event. Notice how wide it ranges. Expecting constant water in a place with that range is the error. Statistically, you can’t àways expect the average rain…
California is just doing what it always does. Wander around between extremes.

Peter Miller

For California’s sake, I hope we get a strong El Nino later this year, as that should bring lots of rain.
However for the propagandists of the CAGW cult, I hope this year’s stalled/failed El Nino remains that way and extends the global temperature’s ‘Pause’ even further.
Greenies really should be called goofies, as they are against almost everything sensible and for almost everything stupid – an example of the first is dam building and of the second the non-problem of supposed global warming.

Speed

Econtalk this week has an interview with Terry Anderson and includes a good discussion about the cost of water and water rights.
Terry Anderson on the Environment and Property Rights
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2014/08/terry_anderson.html

3 years dry following a year of wet is NORMAL for California. Old time California was desert or swamp, often in the same year! That is why we built the great water projects for the Central Valley. Somehow the Ecoloons got the idea that GOD had created the wonderful California Paradise that they enjoy. When my ancestors came here, Spaniards and Indians did not live in the Central Valley. Only Angloes would settle there and create the wonder of the present cornucopia. pg

I’ve lived here in the San Joaquin Valley off and on since 1978. The population leans toward the conservative side of things. Because of the political weight that LA, San Francisco, and Sacramento carries due to their population density, we have little voice in regards to governance at the state level.
I live in Fresno. The situation here in the entire region is a mess. In order to be able to have water for our homes and agriculture, we’ve all, cities, farmers, and individuals, have had to rely on pumping more and more ground water from the aquifer in order to provide the needed water. Well, now those chickens are coming home to roost. A small town about 6 miles north of here just last week declared a stage 4 water emergency because the well that provides water for the town is running dangerously low. We know the aquifer is a finite source of water, and have been begging the powers that be to build more water storage for years and years so we could decrease our reliance on them. But our warnings went unheeded.
My fear is that it’s already too late. The state is set to offer a new bond to try and deal with the water issue. The bond itself is priced at $7.5 billion, but only $2.7 of that goes to the construction of new dams and storage facilities. That’s a problem, because the last estimate of the costs to build the proper amount of storage to adequately meet the needs of the states population was $3 billion minimum, and that estimate was done a good 5 years ago. In a state that is set to spend $68 billion on high speed rail, something that is a luxury item and will only get used by a few, it just doesn’t seem like the state is taking this very seriously.
It takes a very long time for aquifers to recharge…. Sometimes, they never do. So if the drought continues for a few more years, and the aquifer does go dry, this whole 25,000 mile region will become one huge ghost town. .

Duster

As a northern Californian, I am opposed, as are most Delta farmers and ranchers, to the “tunnels,” whose sole purpose is to protect points south of the Delta from the effects of salinization during low-flow years. Part of that water would go to southern San Joaquin Valley farmers who are already working soil the grows evaporite minerals naturally. Sorry guys, you live in a desert, adapt. The remainder goes to the water-sucking monster south of the San Gabriels. Those huge pipes cross the San Andreas fault. So does the water from the Colorado and Owens Valley. Desalinization plants and high water rates are a great idea. The real cost of California’s “nice weather and low humidity” is lower rainfall. Water studies conducted during the early ’70s and late ’60s concluded that damming every stream in the Sierra would not capture enough water to supply the population of the time. The population has has grown since, the water supply has not.

Eliza

As I have maintained on this site for some time Climate sensitivity to C02 is probably 0 or may in fact be negative. It would seem that Prof Singer is coming around to this view (see American THinker article below link). That’s is why I disagree with postings here and other sites inferring “that at most sensitivity to C02 may be” so and so and so Re Monckton and many other lukewarmers as they are called LOL
http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/climate_science_does_not_support_ipcc_conclusions.html. It is quite likely or probable that C02 has no effect whatsoever on climate

Eustace Cranch

E.M.Smith says:
August 18, 2014 at 8:55 am
California is just doing what it always does. Wander around between extremes.
________________________________________________________________
Climatically, perhaps. Politically, stuck hard left.

Two points of order under the category, “Words matter”.
A drought is an act of God; a water shortage is an act of government.
Global Warming or Global Cooling is always occurring, either way and on one scale or another. Anthropogenic Global Warming is always occurring, but it is too small ever to be measured.
Don’t use drought and water shortage interchangeably. Don’t use Global Warming and Anthropogenic Global Warming interchangeably, even in headlines.

Jim South London

Shouldn’t Obama be sorting out the problems in Missouri instead.

Rud Istvan

Since 1970, California’s population increased 87% to 37.3 million. It’s water reservoir capacity increased only 26% to 42 million acre feet. Self inflicted wound, not climate change. Agriculture will pay the price so that SoCal voters don’t and can continue to elect folks like Governor MoonBeam Brown to further run the state into the ground.
Good news is that states like California and Illinois are starting to serve as object lessons for the rest of the US voters. Let’s hope the messages start getting through.

@ Rud Istvan says: August 18, 2014 at 10:05 am
Oh, but the coastal people WILL pay the price. As more and more farms leave due to lack of water, the revenue lost will have to be made up, so taxes will increase. California is one of the most wasteful states out there with money and with a solid democrat majority, no hope to rein it in.
The observation of “since 1970” is accurate. However, almost all that growth came in the 20th century. Since then, it is more a bust than a boom

Bryan A

What is needed for California and the San Joaquin Valley is an inexpensive way to Desalinate the Delta Waters then punp them to the Aquaduct. You could affect sea level rise at the same time as create an abundant supply of Fresh Water and salt plus the potential for using the Steam in the process to create electricity and extract presious metals from the water.

Tom G(ologist)

“It’s focused on how federal and state officials were unprepared to deal with the drought, and how Central Valley lawmakers should have pushed Congress to take steps to build water storage infrastructure to help farmers.”
Does she mean infrastructure such as the moribund Auburn Dam, which is stalled and unfinished since about 1980 (?). Stopped, of course, by environmentalists ( to a man, democrats) who claimed the Auburn Reservoir would trigger earthquakes because there is a fault at that location. Can someone tell me where in Central and Southern California there is NOT a fault. You might as well give up and pack it all in if that is to be the deciding factor for public infrastructure in a state which can’t provide sufficient water for its own population.
Something about ‘cake’ and ‘eating it’ comes to mind.

Don B

In 1994 the NY Times was willing to publish an article about those long ago, prolonged, natural droughts. During the last few years, not so much.
“BEGINNING about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur.”
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/19/science/severe-ancient-droughts-a-warning-to-california.html

mwhite

Perhaps there’s a vote problem…
http://redmillennial.com/2014/08/12/the-california-civil-war-greens-vs-blue-collar-workers/
“In 2012, Democrats won a two-thirds super-majority in both chambers of the California legislature for the first time since 1883. Two years later, the state’s blue-collar workers are quarreling with the state’s environmentalists. A group of 16 Assembly Democrats, led by Henry Perea of Fresno County, sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board to reconsider the state’s cap-and-trade program because of its impact on the middle-class and the poor.”
Start talking about climate change and the voters will start to realise why they are getting poorer

more soylent green!

Jim South London says:
August 18, 2014 at 10:00 am
Shouldn’t Obama be sorting out the problems in Missouri instead.

What makes you think he wants those problems sorted out?
But somebody on his staff things Obama needs to look like he’s doing something, so he’s back from his “people’s vacation” on Martha’s Vineyard.

Note how clearly the global “Medieval Climate Anomaly” (to use its Newspeak name) & the Little Ice Age show up. If you go farther back in time, the dry/wet record in CA also shows the Dark Ages Cold Period and Roman Warm Period:
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00193528
Helps to have so many really old trees from which to obtain rings.

Tom
DesertYote

Figure 10 covers a huge area with at least three climatically distinct regions. The distinction is related to rainfall patterns. I have booked marked somewhere a graph of drought conditions that focuses on the south west, i.e. the Sonoran zone. I’ll try to scare it up when I get home. I would love to see similar for other regions as well. I have tried to find such but have not had much luck.
BTW, that 1321 wet is interesting. It coincides with a major decline in the Hohokam culture, especially in the Salt River Valley.

Dodgy Geezer

@ Eliza
…It is quite likely or probable that C02 has no effect whatsoever on climate…
I suspect that if you had an atmosphere which you kept completely static (a thought experiment, because that’s just not possible) then adding CO2 would produce a minor temperature increase.
However, I also suspect that the atmosphere has all sorts of dynamic checks and feedbacks, capable of handling much larger temperature swings that any caused by CO2, and so the net effect of adding CO2 is zero…

Dodgy Geezer

@ Jeff Glassman
…Two points of order under the category, “Words matter”.
A drought is an act of God; a water shortage is an act of government.
……………Don’t use drought and water shortage interchangeably. Don’t use Global Warming and Anthropogenic Global Warming interchangeably, even in headlines…

A third point. Don’t EVER use the words ‘water shortage’. There is NO shortage of water on this planet. There is a similar amount now compared to when the planet was formed. We can NEVER use it up – it just passes through us.
What people really mean when they say ‘water shortage’ is ‘shortage of collection, storage, processing and distribution facilities for the local area’. Usually caused by too many people moving into an area and investment not following the trend. But the key point is that we are not short of water, we are short of infrastructure. Which is, as you indicate, a human failing….

IMO, even in a static atmosphere, the effect of increasing the concentration of the two main GHGs, water vapor and carbon dioxide, from about 303 to 304 molecules per 10,000 molecules of dry air would not be measurable, if it existed at all. Even from 303 to 306 molecules, ie a doubling of CO2 from three to six molecules, IMO might not be detectable, but at most would be one degree C. Most of the temperature and biological effects of CO2 occur with its first and second molecules, since the climatic effect is logarithmic.
I use 300 parts per 10,000 for water vapor as a global average, ranging from 400 or more in the moist tropics to just a few (perhaps comparable to the supposedly well-mixed CO2) in the dry polar latitudes. If there be any effect, it would be in the highest latitudes, were average temperature might rise from, say, -31 degrees C to -30.

Mike from Carson Valley a particularly cold place that could benefit from some warming

Californians could use some serious climate change in the halls of the state capital.

Mike Maguire

There is a correlation between -PDO’s, La Nina’s, global cooling and droughts in the West.
The correlation with +PDO’s is more(stronger) El Nino’s, global warming and stormy/wet weather in the West.
I’m not saying that we are having global cooling, just that global warming and El Nino’s lessen chances(and severity) of droughts in California.
To state otherwise is ignorance or bias or intentional for non scientific agenda’s.
We have had a -PDO during this current California drought. This drought is apprently worse than the last severe drought in California in 1976/77. The increase in population/farming and water needs, with no substantive measures to increase supply for those needs(just the opposite) have made it much worse.
In 1976/77 we were at the end of the previous ~30 years with a -PDO. Having enough rain during most of the +PDO decades that followed just caused complacency.
By no coincidence, the Midwest and East, down stream from the huge upper level ridge out west, saw a brutally cold Winter in 1976/77, along with numerous visits from the “Polar Vortex”…..just like last Winter.

ferd berple

the effect of increasing the concentration of the two main GHGs, water vapor and carbon dioxide, from about 303 to 304 molecules per 10,000 molecules of dry air would not be measurable.
=========
due to partial pressure law, increasing CO2 by 1 molecule will tend to reduce H2O by 2.4 molecules, all else remaining equal. Otherwise the increased CO2 would increase the mass of the atmosphere, increasing the surface pressure, making it harder to evaporate water, until such time as the same weight of water failed to evaporate, bringing the weight of the atmosphere back into equilibrium.
Since the molecular weight of CO2 is 44, and the molecular weight of H2O is 18, it takes (44/18) = 2.44 molecules of H2O to equal the weight of 1 CO2 molecule. What is interesting is that this would yield a negative H2O feedback of 2.4, which almost exactly balances the 3 time positive water feedback assumed by climate science. Since the H2O will tend to come out of the atmosphere more rapidly than temps will rise, it could well be that partial pressure law causes a net negative feedback.
Which would explain why the models are running hot. They fail to allow for partial pressure law to reduce H2O in their calculations, as CO2 increases.

ferd berple says:
August 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Not to worry. Trenberth has lately been studying the mass of the atmosphere and will soon find that it is increasing, which will be a new reason to worry about CO2. Before drowning and burning up, we’ll all be crushed!
Good analysis, though.

And suffocated.

‘Voters don’t hear the words “climate change” when Democrats in competitive races in California explain what’s causing the worst drought in the state’s history.’
Funny; voters don’t hear climate change from any Democrats when they’re running for office (did Obama campaign on climate change in 2012?), but they sure hear those two words from the Democrats after they’ve been elected, don’t they?

The current drought is certainly no worse than 1976/7, when reservoir levels were lower than now.
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/drought-in-california-a-historical-perspective/

Steve in SC

If I were to do any sort of project for California, I would have to insist on cash up front.

Robert W Turner

It’s well established — by real paleoclimatologists — that at about the year 1500 a major climate shift did occur in southwest and central North America as the region became much wetter on average. Prior to 1500 semi-arid areas were arid and even the Great Plains contained vast dune fields instead of rolling hills of grass.
It’s a very real possibility that this region could return to those drier climate conditions for hundreds of years but instead of investing in large public water-sources the feds are bent on taxing carbon dioxide and destabilizing our energy grid. Climate science-fiction shares a large portion of blame for this ineptitude from the feds. What climastrologists are doing is a criminal act in my mind and I can’t wait for them to be held accountable.

Robert W Turner

Here is an interesting Ted Talk that politicians and denizens of the western U.S. should see:
https://www.ted.com/talks/anupam_mishra_the_ancient_ingenuity_of_water_harvesting

Unmentionable

“… President Obama has repeatedly blamed global warming for episodes of severe weather, including wildfires and droughts …”
__
( (Al Gore + AGW) * relevance deprivation) – Box’oMatches = Inconvenient Wildfire

outtheback

Bryan A says:
August 18, 2014 at 10:13 am
What is needed for California and the San Joaquin Valley is an inexpensive way to Desalinate the Delta Waters then pump them to the Aquaduct.
Indeed they should build that plant, it worked in Queensland Australia. As soon as the plant was built the rain came back. The dams are full and I don’t believe the behemoth has been needed yet. However it is there in case needed in the future.
Looks to me that there is a correlation between building these plants and the rain coming back, bit like a rain dance. And as we all know if there is correlation it is causation (if it suits us).

Not that CA is likely ever to approve more nuclear plants, but there is this option to meeting its freshwater needs:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512082949.htm
But floating nuclear power plants might meet with less opposition, although it would be a little tougher to get the fresh water generated at them to shore.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512082949.htm
Or CA could just deport millions of illegal aliens to save on water.

more soylent green!

Robert W Turner says:
August 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm
It’s well established — by real paleoclimatologists — that at about the year 1500 a major climate shift did occur in southwest and central North America as the region became much wetter on average. Prior to 1500 semi-arid areas were arid and even the Great Plains contained vast dune fields instead of rolling hills of grass.

Can you offer some links? 1500 AD seems not too long ago and I’ve never heard of any European explorers ever mentioning those dunes.

more soylent green! says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Active dune sand on the Great Plains in the 19th century:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.researchgate.net%2Fpublication%2F222496758_Evidence_of_Active_Dune_Sand_on_the_Great_Plains_in_the_19th_Century_from_Accounts_of_Early_Explorers%2Flinks%2F09e4150605a1ec36d5000000&ei=9V_yU7L6BsG9oQTXzIHoCA&usg=AFQjCNGWM29Ovb-q_272aI_q9oS4CC5Z-Q&sig2=6My7CsDZL6HpAbEU33SEcA&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cGU
The sandhills of Nebraska were active dunes during the MWP. They’ve been in the news again as an excuse for moving the Keystone XL pipeline, but environmental concern was just a front for Buffett’s fear of losing traffic on his railroad.
Folland, C.K.; Karl, T.R.; Christy, J.R.; Clarke, R.A.; Gruza, G.V.; Jouzel, J.; Mann, M.E.; Oerlemans, J.; Salinger, M.J. (2001). “2.3.3 Was there a “Little Ice Age” and a “Medieval Warm Period”?””. In Houghton, J.T.; Ding, Y.; Griggs, D.J.; Noguer, M.; van der Linden; Dai; Maskell; Johnson. Working Group I: The Scientific Basis. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Climate Change 2001. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. p. 881. ISBN 0-521-80767-0.

more soylent green!

sturgishooper says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm
While I appreciate the link, the PDF document is vitrually unreadable.

more soylent green! says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm
Did you download it? I can read it OK. Here’s a link to its abstract, however:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033589485710204
It’s easy to find other references by searching, such as:
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/drought/drght_forman.html

AussieBear

Well, given the general tone regarding pollies in California, I would like to offer an observation from a mate of mine who lives there. California politicians are like Granola. Mostly Fruits and Nuts, the rest, Flakes.

AussieBear says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm
Back in the 1970s, CA was proud that it produced most of the nation’s fruits and nuts. How true.

Tom O

The greatest single problem California, like all the other states in this country, face is that the Warren Court passed the One man, One vote ruling that destroyed the balance between cities and rural areas within states. And the worst of it is the Supreme court had no right to vote on the issue since it was a states rights issue, and didn’t involve the federal government. But that ruling destroyed the balance between the state senates that were generally controlled by rural areas and the state house that were controlled by the cities. From that point on, the cities got everything they wanted and the rural areas got whatever was left over. The Colorado River canals were basically paid for by farming interests when the projects first started. The cities weren’t interested. As the water became available, and the Warren Court ruling shifted control of the states to the cities, the water became the priority of the cities and the farmers that paid the bulk of the state costs could go bankrupt. 90% of the problems that face the states and the nation can be laid at the feet of liberalism and the liberal courts of the 50s and 60s. But you can’t go back, only forward, and until there is some common sense conservatism injected into government, we are going to stay on the slippery slope to 3rd world rating. And don’t confuse common sense conservatism with the neo-conservative BS we have suffered since 2000.

And at the peak of the post-1850 dry spell, came the Arkstorm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Flood_of_1862

more soylent green!

Soon, California children will not know lawns. Lawns in California will be a thing of the past.

pat

California is the last hope of the CAGW crowd!
18 Aug: UK Daily Mail: So much for summer: Snow set to blast Scotland as forecasters warn of ‘coldest August spell in a century’
Forecasters have warned that Cumbria and Yorkshire could see the coldest August spell in 95 years
The temperature rose no higher than 8.9C in 1919 and it is expected to dip that low again later this week
Bitter Arctic winds could plunge parts of Britain into the coldest spell of August weather for almost a century…
It is not expected to rise above 9C in parts of the north during the day all week with chilly winds making it feel much colder.
The Met Office said Loadpot Hill, in Cumbria, is unlikely to see a maximum daytime temperature of more than 8C on Thursday…
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727734/Wet-cold-bank-holiday-way-forecasters-warn-two-weeks-bad-weather-ahead.html
16 Aug: The Weather Channel: Snow Pile in Winnipeg, Canada, Still Standing Nearly 60 Feet Tall in Mid-August
http://www.weather.com/news/winnipeg-snow-pile-20140816

Dodgy Geezer 8/18/14 @ 11:29 am says:
A third point. Don’t EVER use the words ‘water shortage’. There is NO shortage of water on this planet. There is a similar amount now compared to when the planet was formed. We can NEVER use it up – it just passes through us.
What people really mean when they say ‘water shortage’ is ‘shortage of collection, storage, processing and distribution facilities for the local area’. Usually caused by too many people moving into an area and investment not following the trend. But the key point is that we are not short of water, we are short of infrastructure. Which is, as you indicate, a human failing….

By the same token, Geezer must conclude there is no drought on the planet, eh? Nobody said anything about global drought or global water shortages.
And in Geezer’s causes of a local water shortage, a redundancy, he neglected this root cause of the problem:
California’s San Joaquin Valley is the salad bowl of the world, providing the majority of fruits and vegetables for the entire nation. But, with another man-made drought looming, the San Joaquin Valley is in danger of becoming a dust bowl unless immediate action is taken to change policies that put the needs of fish above the livelihood of people. Bold added, Hastings, “The Man-Made California Drought”, 2/7/14.
http://naturalresources.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=5921
The synonym for water shortage is man-made drought.

brians356

As go Lawn Darts, so go lawns.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.