Ridiculous claim from Columbia University: 'Warming climate is deepening California drought '

From the THE EARTH INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY and the department of “intense droughts only occur in the age of the SUV” department, where they apparently failed to take the climatic history of the region into account:

California_drought_timeline

Graphic from North American drought: Reconstructions, causes, and consequences, Cook et al. 2007 PDF here: NADrought


 

Warming climate is deepening California drought 

Scientists say increasing heat drives moisture from ground

A new study says that global warming has measurably worsened the ongoing California drought. While scientists largely agree that natural weather variations have caused a lack of rain, an emerging consensus says that rising temperatures may be making things worse by driving moisture from plants and soil into the air. The new study is the first to estimate how much worse: as much as a quarter. The findings suggest that within a few decades, continually increasing temperatures and resulting moisture losses will push California into even more persistent aridity. The study appears this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

CAPTION This image shows an abnormally low lake level at Horseshoe Lake in the high-elevation Mammoth Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada Mountains, This photo was taken June 2015. CREDIT Jennifer Bernstein

(this is part of their evidence with the press release) This image shows an abnormally low lake level at Horseshoe Lake in the high-elevation Mammoth Lakes Basin, Sierra Nevada Mountains, This photo was taken June 2015. CREDIT Jennifer Bernstein

“A lot of people think that the amount of rain that falls out the sky is the only thing that matters,” said lead author A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “But warming changes the baseline amount of water that’s available to us, because it sends water back into the sky.”

The study adds to growing evidence that climate change is already bringing extreme weather to some regions. California is the world’s eighth-largest economy, ahead of most countries, but many scientists think that the nice weather it is famous for may now be in the process of going away. The record-breaking drought is now in its fourth year; it is drying up wells, affecting major produce growers and feeding wildfires now sweeping over vast areas.

The researchers analyzed multiple sets of month-by-month data from 1901 to 2014. They looked at precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind and other factors. They could find no long-term rainfall trend. But average temperatures have been creeping up–about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the 114-year period, in step with building fossil-fuel emissions. Natural weather variations have made California unusually hot over the last several years; added to this was the background trend. Thus, when rainfall declined in 2012, the air sucked already scant moisture from soil, trees and crops harder than ever. The study did not look directly at snow, but in the past, gradual melting of the high-mountain winter snowpack has helped water the lowlands in warm months. Now, melting has accelerated, or the snowpack has not formed at all, helping make warm months even dryer according to other researchers.

Due to the complexity of the data, the scientists could put only a range, not a single number, on the proportion of the drought caused by global warming. The paper estimates 8 to 27 percent, but Williams said that somewhere in the middle–probably 15 to 20 percent–is most likely.

Last year, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored a study that blamed the rain deficit on a persistent ridge of high-pressure air over the northeast Pacific, which has been blocking moisture-laden ocean air from reaching land. Lamont-Doherty climatologist Richard Seager, who led that study (and coauthored the new one), said the blockage probably has nothing to do with global warming; normal weather patterns will eventually push away the obstacle, and rainfall will return. In fact, most projections say that warming will eventually increase California’s rainfall a bit. But the new study says that evaporation will overpower any increase in rain, and then some. This means that by around the 2060s, more or less permanent drought will set in, interrupted only by the rainiest years. More intense rainfall is expected to come in short bursts, then disappear.

Many researchers believe that rain will resume as early as this winter. “When this happens, the danger is that it will lull people into thinking that everything is now OK, back to normal,” said Williams. “But as time goes on, precipitation will be less able to make up for the intensified warmth. People will have to adapt to a new normal.”

This study is not the first to make such assertions, but it is the most specific. A paper by scientists from Lamont-Doherty and Cornell University, published this February, warned that climate change will push much of the central and western United States into the driest period for at least 1,000 years. A March study out of Stanford University said that California droughts have been intensified by higher temperatures, and gives similar warnings for the future.

A further twist was introduced in a 2010 study by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. They showed that massive irrigation from underground aquifers has been offsetting global warming in some areas, because the water cools the air. The effect has been especially sharp in California’s heavily irrigated Central Valley–possibly up to 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit during some seasons. Now, aquifers are dropping fast, sending irrigation on a downward trajectory. If irrigation’s cooling effect declines, this will boost air temperatures even higher, which will dry aquifers further, and so on. Scientists call this process “positive feedback.”

Climatologist Noah Diffenbaugh, who led the earlier Stanford research, said the new study is an important step forward. It has “brought together the most comprehensive set of data for the current drought,” he said. “It supports the previous work showing that temperature makes it harder for drought to break, and increases the long-term risk.”

Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, said, “It’s important to have quantitative estimates of how much human-caused warming is already making droughts more severe.” But, he said, “it’s troubling to know that human influence will continue to make droughts more severe until greenhouse gas emissions are cut back in a big way.”

###

The study’s other authors are Richard Seager, Jason Smerdon, Benjamin Cook and Edward Cook, all of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; and geographer John Abatzoglou of the University of Idaho.

 

The paper, “Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012-2014,” is available from the authors or the Earth Institute press office.

Abstract

A suite of climate datasets and multiple representations of atmospheric moisture demand are used to calculate many estimates of the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index, a proxy for near-surface soil moisture, across California from 1901–2014 at high spatial resolution. Based on the ensemble of calculations, California drought conditions were record-breaking in 2014, but probably not record-breaking in 2012–2014, contrary to prior findings. Regionally, the 2012–2014 drought was record-breaking in the agriculturally important southern Central Valley and highly populated coastal areas. Contributions of individual climate variables to recent drought are also examined, including the temperature component associated with anthropogenic warming. Precipitation is the primary driver of drought variability but anthropogenic warming is estimated to have accounted for 8–27% of the observed drought anomaly in 2012–2014 and 5–18% in 2014. Although natural variability dominates, anthropogenic warming has substantially increased the overall likelihood of extreme California droughts.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL064924/abstract

Advertisements

134 thoughts on “Ridiculous claim from Columbia University: 'Warming climate is deepening California drought '

    • I thought the study was a test to see if they could still generate alarmist headlines in the NYT. They can.

      • More hysteria preparing for the next big meeting of the ignorant and their controllers. Expect more and worse to come. This may be their last best chance to control through climate hysteria.

      • although the graph only shows a 12 – 1300 year period, it does indicate a roughly 600 year periodicity between the last dry period 800 – 1400 and the last wet period 1400 – 2000. Could the state be entering another natural 600 year dry period? It would be interesting to go back another 1200 years to 400bce and see if the cycle repeats. Ca would have an extended WET period between 200 and 800 and a dry period between 400 BCE and 200 CE

  1. Wait, they got this drought while the world hasn’t warmed.
    I’ll bet it rains if it does.
    Those fools.
    ==============

    • Hi kim, thanks for support elsewhere, not that I expect it again.
      In past I commented that the California’s rainfall is regulated by interactions of Kuroshio (warm) and Oyashio (cold) currents of the east Japan’s coast ( most recently here:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/12/august-2015-update-for-the-blob/#comment-2006118
      I think that flow of this currents is occasionally affected by major earthquakes
      Since I have no records of major sub-marine quakes (list of major tsunamis would be more appropriate) I used the land ones as a possibly relevant proxy and superimposed on the articles title graph section (since 1850 – California becoming state)
      http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/JE-CD.gif
      Illustration suggests that as the Japan’s islands are more frequently affected by tectonics, there is less rainfall in California.

      • vukcevic
        Some correlation.
        Unsure of the causation.
        Can you be more explicit for an interested lay reader – bum boatie – in another post, please.
        Thanks, and have a grand weekend.
        Auto

      • Auto hi
        Water coming down the west of Canada, a year or two earlier was flowing by the Japan’s Honshu island (debris of 2011 tsunami reach Canada just over a year later?, you could google it).
        In the link quoted earlier it is mentioned that there is warm and cold ocean currents mixing off Japan; if this is somehow affected by Japanese earthquakes, than the ocean’s temperature and evaporation off California and finally the California’s rainfall could depend on what happen some years earlier on the other side of Pacific.

    • @Kim:
      One might also ask if it was warming that caused the extreme drought of the 1970s… oh, wait, it was the comming ice age then….
      (I learned to skii in the mid ’70s at the Olympic site of Squaw Valley… it was necessary to scoot over hay 1/2 way down Mountain Run due to the low snow precipitation…)

  2. “They showed that massive irrigation from underground aquifers has been offsetting global warming in some areas, because the water cools the air.” – All this time I thought the government scientists at NOAA claimed water vapor caused global warming via radiative forcing?

    • Bahahahahaha .
      Ha-ha.
      Wait, you thought keeping a consistent storyline was important to warmista alarmists?
      How silly!

      • The money line was
        “Although natural variability dominates, anthropogenic warming has substantially increased the overall likelihood of extreme California droughts.”
        As long as man is at fault, the proponents of CAGW always agree.

      • Totally agree Mr. Ballard.
        They avoid contradicting each other like the plague.
        Speaking of which, wonder how long before they blame the plague in Yosemite on Global Warming?

    • It doesn’t give any rational basis supporting the notion that reducing GHG emissions will reduce the severity of droughts. I agree, logic holds that irrigation leads to increased evaporation, which leads to higher concentrations of GHGS (eg, humidity). Therefore, the most rational solution would be to outlaw irrigation immediately.

    • Bingo! I was hoping someone would remind us that predictions of “drought as the new normal” have been made by other alarmists.
      And they brazenly continue on with their alarmism even when the flooding rains soon after see dams overflowing and bursting.

  3. The researchers analyzed multiple sets of month-by-month data from 1901 to 2014. They looked at precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind and other factors. They could find no long-term rainfall trend.

    Oh dear, what to do, what to do. I know, let’s use baseless suppositions and assertions, useless correlations, and gee-whiz computer simulations to come up with Alarmist “predictions”. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  4. “Many researchers believe that rain will resume as early as this winter.”
    These studies are much like the Gore-effect. As soon as they are published, the opposite happens. Which means, of course, that they are just wrong and made the whole thing up. Much like every climate science prophesy study.

    • And silly me; I thought that California’s rain came out of the Pacific Ocean. That’s how it appears on the 6 PM news weather charts, sweeping in from the west or north west or southwest.
      We don’t get as much rain coming over from the Atlantic; that’s a bit too far, at least from the north east. We haven’t had a good northeaster rain storm in quite a few months now.
      But I never would have guessed that we actually grow our own rain; really we get it from the plants and California grows a lot of plants, so our rain comes right out of the ground.
      Maybe North Africa should grow a lot of plants, so they could get rain out of the ground.
      g

      • I prefer out of the N or NW. I’ve got a leaky attic vent facing SW and I hate crawling up there.

      • Get that grant application started george ! You should also consider growing plants in the Arctic so the extra water could then be frozen. Be sure to mention that plants destroy CO2.

    • As soon as they are published, the opposite happens.
      See? All these alarmist studies and headlines and sound bites are saving the environment! That’s why they never end! If the climate doom obsessionists ever stop with the catastrogeddon talk we’ll really be in trouble!

      • Tony Heller posted a week or so back about the comical tendency for things to go exactly opposite of any warmista predictions.
        He noted that recent studies had conclusively proved that increased sea ice in Antarctica is caused by global warming, even though global warming causes the opposite effect in the Arctic.
        But now Antarctic bsea ice is dropping below long term averages for the first time in years! And Arctic ice is building up again, including a huge mass gain in Greenland since last year!
        So, the big question now is, how long will it take until they can tie the Gordian Knot of lies a little tighter, and insist that both trends reversing is further proof that CO2 is the devil?

    • http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/teleconnections/eln-5-pg.gif
      El Nino rain
      La Nina drought
      http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-el-nino-watch-alert-california-rain-20140306-story.html
      “The odds are increasing that El Niño, the powerful climate phenomenon that alters precipitation patterns across the globe, will develop in the Pacific Ocean this year, U.S. government forecasters say.”
      “El Niño conditions often result in higher rainfall in California, but not always. Typically, they cause the jet stream to dip south over North America, directing storms to the California coast and across the southern U.S. La Niña, the cycle’s cool-water counterpart, is associated with drier weather in those regions.”

  5. “…emerging consensus says that rising temperatures may be making things worse by driving moisture from plants and soil into the air.”
    Emerging Consensus always exaggerates. People should know better than to pay any attention to his ramblings.

  6. I just hope it lasts long enough to force the development of new infrastructure. It generally doesn’t. The rain arrives just in time for politicians abandon planned long-term solutions once again.

    • Except in Australia. We actually built three giant water purification systems, just in time for the rain. White elephant sale, anyone?

  7. Appoint “Minister for Drought” , drought immediately breaks! Simples!
    Worked for us in the UK in 1976.

    • I think Gaia will give the Minister of Drought an Atomic Wedgie, whereupon he will change his title to the Minister of Funny Walks

      • Yeah, urederra,
        One of my favourite photos!
        I was working about 10 metres/yards from where the photo was taken, and – for sure – we had some cloudbursts [for England, although old Guinness Books of Records mention a 17th Century storm that put ‘near two feet of water into a barrel in less than half a quarter of an hour’ – three inches of rain a minute! Cherrapunji [India, up in the hills] gets by on three inches an hour!].
        Auto

  8. Please correct me if I am wrong but historically speaking I thought that California was technically speaking a desert area hence the unusually hot good weather and just because humanity has gravitated towards the West to enjoy that good weather does not mean that this brief spell in history will continue ad infinitum. Humanity has always suffered from the affliction of conflating aspirations with needs wants desires and must haves because that’s the way we like it hence the obsession now with climate change, it cant be allowed because my house, my car, my status, my lifestyle will be put at risk and that just cannot be allowed to happen, ban fossil fuels now that will make a difference. Yes it will, no foreign travel, no pan American travel, no food, no garbage disposal, no clothes, no shoes, no catheters!
    Once upon a time what is now the Arabian Gulf was a green nirvana flush with rain and moisture and now all we have is sand, it has happened before and it will happen again and any sentient human on the planet who really does believe humanity can exercise a degree of discretion over the way in which our climate will change belongs to the fruit and nut association.

    • Sshhh. Do not disturb them while they are concentrating their mental energy on refreezing the Arctic real quick.
      They will focus on fixing the drought after.

    • I’m from San Diego, and we learned growing up that we have at least 2 desert regimes in California–“low desert”, as in Mojave and Anza-Borrego, for instance: lots of sand, heat, and dryness; and “high desert” or “chapparal” (for the kind of plants that can thrive there), as in most of the state west of the Sierra Nevada, including much of San Diego county; high desert is full of shrubs, sand-like soils, heat, and dryness. One of my favorite images of San Diego, represented by this one at
      http://www.sandiegohistory.org/photostore/product/san-diego-1870-365/
      looks across the bay northwestward, with Point Loma seen as the distant ridge in the background. In 1870, San Diego had not been terra-formed as yet, and there is nary a tree in sight. For those of you who have not grown up there, there are native trees found on the coast north of the city (the “Torrey Pine”, a beautiful but not majestic tree–dense in needles, richly green, but not very tall), and you have to go pretty far to the east, up into the Laguna Mountains that separate San Diego and Imperial Counties, to find extensive native forest, though we always laughed at the Forest Service signs saying “Entering xxx National Forest”, etc., because the set-aside areas for “forests” in Southern California are ridiculously larger than any forest you might find within. Present-day San Diego is only the home to 2+ million people (counting the suburbs) because of vast amounts of impounded and imported water.

      • Not quite. High desert is not the same as chaparral. High desert is literally desert at a high elevation, such as the Mojave. The chaparral zones span from semi arid ranging even into proper warm summer Mediterranean zones. You won’t find chaparral in a high desert climate zone, there is not enough moisture to support scrub / elfin forest of such a density. Using the nomenclature of Sunset Western Garden Guide, high desert would be zones 10 and 11. Chaparral is in zones such as 7, 9, and 14 – 24.

  9. Global warming foolishness aside, California seriously overdrew its aquifers and other water resources during a century that was abnormally wet by historical standards. It should be clear that California’s current water usage cannot continue on.

      • intelligence eh?!! No wonder this country has problems…why not use an intelligent person instead of a politician?

      • There are NO representatives that are qualified. Not ad hominem. Experience….I’ve been there I know….no second term plus politician can be trusted. You must follow party lines to ever be re- elected.

      • well worth the read. california’s drought is a man made problem. due to environmental regulations they are letting water flow into the sea that used to be available for human use.

      • An excellent article, Bubba, and an important one. This should be spread far and wide as it’s an important lesson on the tactics of human-hating/civilization-destroying eco-alarmists. Very frightening indeed.
        One by one people are waking up – I just wish they would wake up faster and collectively get angry. I sometimes think that the only way this is going to end is when angry citizens rise up and make it known that they won’t tolerate these liars and manipulators anymore. Pitchforks may be necessary.

  10. What, back in the olden days when there was a drought, it was not any hotter and drier than before and after the drought?
    It only gets hot when there is a drought since the boogeymen…I mean CO2 took over control of the weather.
    Normal droughts were not caused by abnormally stubborn ridges of high pressure, and back then high pressure and descending air did not lead to hotter than normal conditions anyway.

  11. Ridiculous claim from Columbia University: ‘Warming climate is deepening California drought ‘
    The first graph would seem to indicate that the earlier megadroughts were during the Medieval Warm Period, so is the claim so ridiculous?

    • Yes it is rediculous since in reality we are not in the same climate position as the MWP. California temperatures have trended down over the last few decades according to NOAA “climate at a glance” site. And all the unadjusted temp reports show no global warming in last 20 years.
      Don’t play this using their rules and their adjusted “facts”.

  12. Charlatains have co-opted terminology from Statistics to apply the phrase ‘trend analysis” and related vocabulary to the concept that, for practical purposes, is defined as ‘we’re really just making this stuff up’.

    • The steadily increasing, rat-a-tat tempo of “global warming” claims — mostly drivel like this from “scientists” — is becoming almost comically obvious. I predict a professional liars’ convention will soon commence.

  13. While a connection between warming and drought may exist for some places, we keep hearing this proposition applied generally, especially to Australia. Yet Australia was a drier place between 1895 and the late 1940s. The north of Australia was much drier prior to the 1970s. 1902 was the driest year, the 1930s the driest decade for the continent overall. Common knowledge, all there in BoM’s records.
    What is this supposed connection between drought and warming? Check out cooling/drought in China during the Ming and LIA. Check out what the Bond Event cooling of 2200BC did to rainfall in much of the settled world. What may be true of California is not true of most of the planet. And are these people studying the knowable about California’s climate – or are they fitting some bad times and poor development decisions in California to their holy green dogma?

    • mosomoso

      What is this supposed connection between drought and warming?

      Is it not obvious?
      The Sahara Desert is hot.
      The Sahara Desert is dry.
      Central Australia is a hotter climate than London.
      Central Australia is a drier climate than London.
      Therefore, a hotter climate is always drier.
      And the hotter the climate, the drier the climate, right?

      • Rio de Janeiro is hotter than Butte Montana, but wetter.
        Antarctica is colder than everywhere else on Earth, and also drier.
        I wonder, if global warming had worsened the drought, what effect did it have on the flooding rains that deluged the state in the year prior to the drought?
        And did global warming cause the mass insanity that led the leaders of California to flush all the excess water from those generous rains into the ocean in a futile and unnecessary effort to help a few buckets full of minnows?
        And I am wondering…the next time they have some better than normal years, will they realize that it may be a good plan to save a little of it for the inevitable dry years?
        Does anyone out there understand the concept of “long term averages”?
        Or are they as blind to future trends as they are to historical ones?
        So many questions, so little common sense…

      • I have a far to expensive weather station. I live in the middle of the Central Valley of Cal. We have had a very mild summer 5 days so far over 100 degrees F I live in a rural/ suburban location 50 yards from nearest asphalt. Can’t wait to hear about warmest summer ever. It’s a flat lie folks nothing more or less. An honest government would point out we are well into a cooling period…..but then how would they increase control over everything the people do?

      • Wrong! The Central Australian deserts are not the result of a hotter climate.
        Research at Lake Amadeus and Lake Lewis by Chen et al. (1995) has revealed climatic shifts consistent with broader continental arid zone changes. From about 25,000 years ago it became progressively colder, drier and windier, peaking at 18,000 years BP. It was during the last glacial maximum that the dunefields which dominate the heart of the continent were formed or expanded. By 16,000 years BP the lakes were dry and the formation of the Simpson and Strezlecki dunefields continued until around 13,000 years ago. The climate during this period is likely to have seen a reduction in mean annual temperatures by 7°, rainfall halved, increased seasonal and diurnal contrasts, a shortened growing period, expansion of the arid zone and seasonal outcropping of saline groundwater (Bowler 1976, Bowler and Wasson 1984, Harrison 1993, Ross et al. 1992, Wasson 1983, 1984, Nix and Kalma 1972, Wasson and Donnelly 1991).
        Phytolith and charcoal records from Puritjarra rock shelter in the Cleland Hills,
        indicates that there occurred a rapid amelioration of arid conditions with an increase
        in grasses and acacias by 13,000 yrs BP (Smith 2006:372, see also Bowdery 1995,
        1998; Hesse et al. 2004, 2005; Smith et al. 1995). Conditions further ameliorated in
        the early Holocene but this was not a progressive change towards a warmer and
        wetter climate; rather it appears to have been a series of oscillations with conditions
        stabilizing around 6,000 – 7,000 years BP (Smith 1988:12). Lake Eyre appears to
        have been semi-permanent between 10,000 – 5,000 years ago (Wasson and
        Donnelly 1991:16). According to Smith (1988:12) this period is likely to have been an
        optimal period for human settlement in the arid zone when constraints on water
        availability were relaxed.
        The optimal conditions of the early Holocene appear to have been relatively short lived
        with the climate becoming progressively drier from about 5,000 – 4,000 years
        BP, peaking at 3,000 years BP, although not on the same magnitude as that
        experienced at 18,000 years BP (Wasson 1983). Research by Nanson et al. (1995)
        in the lower catchment of the Finke River indicates a period of renewed dune building
        around 5,000 – 4,000 years ago. This is consistent with evidence for a decline in
        grasses around Puritjarra after 5,000yrs BP, possibly in response to increasing aridity
        (Smith 2006:372).
        From about 1,500 years ago the climate appears to have become slightly wetter. A
        study of palaeofloods on the Finke River suggests that the latest series of large
        floods commenced about 850 years ago, following a period of 3,500 years without
        comparable events (Pickup and Allen 1988, Baker et al. 1983). Similarly the
        stratigraphy of the Ross River floodplain reflects several very large or “superfloods”
        during the Holocene with the most recent series of flood events occurring between
        1,500 and 700 years BP.

  14. Looking at CAG’s data on CA precipitation for CA (water year – Oct thru Sept):
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/us/04/00/pcp/12/09/1895-2015?base_prd=true&firstbaseyear=1901&lastbaseyear=2000&trend=true&trend_base=100&firsttrendyear=1896&lasttrendyear=2014
    . . there’s a 0.17in/100 yr decreasing trend in annual precipitation. Amazing the damage that 65 years of AGW has resulted in.
    Run for the hills – just avoid the “short bursts of intense rainfall” beginning in 2060.

  15. As we are in the process of having a significant El Nino, it is probably safe to say that the drought in the southwest will break this winter. They only have a few more months to publish this sort of thing and get it into the public consciousness before the rains wash the narrative away. Of course the important thing is to get the propaganda firmly into the minds of the populace before reality can intervene. Once the propaganda has had its effect, full reservoirs won’t change the targets’ minds. Climate change will be causing everyone to die of thirst in the minds of the masses even if the central valley is flooded to the rims of the mountains!

    • Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. An El Nino in the midst of overall negative(ish) PDO may not yield the rainfall / snowfall everyone is already in giddy anticipation of. It merely increases chances of a normal to above normal rainy season but it is no guarantee. The mid 00s El Nino didn’t do squat, as an example. For that matter, neither did the most recent one.

  16. Hold on.. In the image of the graph at the top of the posting, it states that:
    “Evidence from the tree rings shows that drought was historically…”
    But, but, but..
    Didn’t Michael Mann show that temperature influences tree ring growth, not drought?
    Which is it? How does one differentiate between drought and temperature when reading tree rings? Is it more like reading tea leaves in the bottom of the tea cup? It’s up to interpretation of the one reading the rings? Is there a course I can take in Reading Tree Rings? So I too can predict the future.

  17. “Precipitation is the primary driver of drought variability but anthropogenic warming is estimated to have accounted for 8–27% of the observed drought anomaly in 2012–2014 and 5–18% in 2014.”
    Interesting that they find that the AGW footprint was less in the worst year of the three years
    “Although natural variability dominates, anthropogenic warming has substantially increased the overall likelihood of extreme California droughts.”
    Is the assumption here, that all of the GW (since some period of time) AGW, or do they allow that some of the warming is naturally occurring?
    “But average temperatures have been creeping up–about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the 114-year period, in step with building fossil-fuel emission”
    “114 years?” Is not the consensus view that an observable human footprint on GW, begins in about 1950 (w/ many suggesting 2 or 3 decades later)? So – this study has thrown their consensuses out the window, assuming that it all began in 1901 – and that AGW has been 100% of the warming – since 1901?

    • Gary H

      “But average temperatures have been creeping up–about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the 114-year period, in step with building fossil-fuel emission”

      “114 years?” Is not the consensus view that an observable human footprint on GW, begins in about 1950 (w/ many suggesting 2 or 3 decades later)? So – this study has thrown their consensuses out the window, assuming that it all began in 1901 – and that AGW has been 100% of the warming – since 1901?

      Does this very quote not establish the 60-year short cycle that IS visible in the temperature record – the short cycle that CAGW theory denies so vehemently when it tries to blame all warming since 1850 on CO2 … that wasn’t being released in signifigcant amounts until after 1945? That same period as the earth cooled from 1945 through 1976?

  18. “While a connection between warming and drought may exist”
    Well it hasn’t rained in Antarctica for a long time !

      • And . . they’re made from oil.
        They’re certainly adding to the urban heat island effect, one would think.

      • They went with black due to adding carbon black to resist UV. Any other color would cause chemical leakage into the water…so they say.

      • it is surprising that they didn’t choose polished aluminum balls. reflect all the light and heat back into space and cool the earth/water in the process. black is going to absorb the light and heat, warming the water and add to global warming. unintended consequences.
        cover California with aluminum foil and the air temperature would drop 20 degrees, ending the drought.

      • Not if there’s no exposed surface from which to evaporate
        ====================
        round balls cannot pack together without leaving gaps between the balls. You would need something with flat sides to eliminate the exposed water surface.
        why not simply cover the reservoirs/california with reflective mylar film? the inside of recyled mylar xmas paper works well and is a green alternative.
        https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRcNAAkiY-vkd0MKyDFCZD5IbjGK-WwCpbS33lVqEZ0fE46JSPj

      • Actually they observed that the balls reduce evaporation because they reduce the surface area of the water that is exposed to air. Also the balls are hollow wich should give them some insulating effect. However in my opinion they should use white balls to reduce evaporation and to cool the surface.

    • And I thought that one of the evils of the modern world was chemicals leeching out of plastics, and into our water supply. And so they go and fill the water supply with plastic.
      And what does this do to any aquatic life? Surely the ending of all aquatic life will make this lake stagnant?
      And if those ball turn over, are you not simply increasing the temperature and the surface area for evaporation?
      Did anyone test this idea out, before implementation?
      Here is an article on this absurd idea:
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3194098/Could-plastic-balls-bring-relief-drought-stricken-California-Los-Angeles-releases-96-million-spheres-protect-reservoir-water.html

      • Whether you like the Daily Mail or not, they were recording the truth here. A lake was covered in black plastic balls. Do you contend that reality?

      • Not all plastics leach chemicals. One fo those none leachiing plastics is polyehtylene which is used in the reservior. Furthermore the reservior in question is small and frequently dries up. A lake that dries up once a year isn’t going to have much aquatic life in it. And yes the idea was tested and it was found to reduce evaporation.

  19. California’s problems stem mostly from insane water management for the last 50 years made even crazier once the endangered species act got slapped down on the Mad Hatter’s table to stimulate frenzy. Does anyone remember when we used to drain swamps on purpose?

    • They still do every day here in Florida.
      Builders generally have to do certain things to mitigate the loss of wetland habitat, but construction would be nonexistent in this state without draining some swamps.
      Or digging retention ponds and filling them in with the spoil.

  20. “But warming changes the baseline amount of water that’s available to us, because it sends water back into the sky.”
    And it is well known that once water is in the sky, it never comes back down… LOL

    • It should have read “available to CA” – if it evaporates in CA it moves East to somewhere else

  21. From the text:
    A lot of people think that the amount of rain that falls out the sky is the only thing that matters,” said lead author A. Park Williams, …
    He made that up.
    See Thornthwaite, 1948

    • If lack of rain does not define a “drought”, then what does? I think “A lot of people think” that words mean what they mean, not what an activist wants it to mean.

    • Ah, a duly alarmist comment from Jonathan Overpeck, a Climategate conspirator, if, perhaps, just a minor corrupt player.

  22. This quote from above says it all: “…month-by-month data from 1901 to 2014. They looked at precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind and other factors. They could find no long-term rainfall trend. But average temperatures have been creeping up–about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the 114-year period, in step with building fossil-fuel emissions.”
    Clearly the only measured factor that is dramatically increasing, temperature, is the one that is routinely corrected to fabricate a large warming trend. These corrections every 8 to 10 years to “refine” past data have happened so often that I wonder if the actual data obtained 5 to 10 decades ago is even available to the public.

  23. And Winston looked at the sheet handed him:
    “Adjustments prior to 1972 shall be -0.2 degrees and after 1998 shall be +0.3 degrees.”
    Winston wondered at the adjustment to the data. At this point, no one even knows if the data, prior to his adjustments, was raw data or already adjusted one or more times previously.
    It didn’t matter. All Winston was sure of is that one of the lead climatologists needed more slope to match his computer model outputs. He punched out the new Fortran cards and then dropped the old cards into the Memory Hole where they were burned.
    “There!” Winston exclaimed to himself. “Now the temperature data record is correct again; all is double-plus good.”

  24. I’ve always wondered what happened in the Sahara? Magic fairies stole the water? Or can desertification only be cause by global warming?

  25. I heard a brief interview with this fellow (a “bioclimatologist”, which sounds like a BS profession if I’ve ever heard such) this morning on ABC news [radio]. He began by stating that “It is certain that climate change will increase the severity of droughts…” (emphasis added).
    You know that you’re dealing with a con artist, not a scientist, when their first few words are “It is certain”, at least about almost all scientific topics.

  26. They used a poor example with Horseshoe Lake in Mammoth since it’s a remnant volcanic crater with a sandy bottom that allows water to escape. The other lakes around it are at near normal levels.

  27. I wonder if anyone competent analysed this thermally. If the balls are light weight they would float high and only actually cover a small part of the water surface. Depending on the thermal conductivity of the ball material, much of the absorbed energy might be conducted to the top surface of the water causing increased evaporation compared to bulk warming of uncovered water by sunlight. Reduced cooling at night because of radiation shielding of water surface to sky. Because both water and black have absorptivity near one there is not much difference from just color but lighter color would absorb less solar energy. There must be a lighter color UV blocker than carbon black.

    • Zinc oxide is a 100% sunblock. Titanium dioxide is used as a pigment in house paints and a million other products. Both are so good at blocking uv and so safe they are used in topical sunscreen products.
      There are others.

  28. ‘his means that by around the 2060’, when the authors will no longer be around to be reminded of their claims and ask why they where so wrong . How says climate ‘scientists’ never learn anything , while they have certainly learned to make their predictions so far ahead in time that they no longer bite them on the rear end when they totally fail.

  29. These guys may be onto something. If there is a correlation between rising global temperatures and west coast drought, then the strong droughts of the Medieval period prove the existence of the Medieval Warm Period, and that it must have been warmer than today. Congratulations fellas, you’ve just proven that natural variation is stronger than human inputs.

  30. Regarding the timeline of droughts in the American west……I would have thought the drought of 1976/77 would at least have brought the line to average or higher, however briefly considering the scale.

  31. Seems like the recent drought in CA tracks closely with the rise of Ocrat control of CA state government.
    Never let a crisis go by without taking advantage of it, while also blaming it on anyone and everything but your own actions…

  32. I saw this Aug 16 tweet from Rep. Eric Swawell on ‘Steven Goddard’s blog:
    https://i1.wp.com/realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ScreenHunter_10109-Aug.-17-11.46.gif
    Rep. Swalwell lives near Livermore, California, where a weather station has operated since 1903. I looked to see just how threatening Swalwell’s dashboard thermometer reading might be.
    Official high temp at Livermore on August 16 was 106°. That’s a record high for that day, beating the 1951 record of 105°. But the record hottest temperature for August is 112°, set in 1946, and that beat the previous record of 110° set in 1913. Since 1951, when the hottest day was 111°, only in one year, 1998, did August temperatures reach 110° at Livermore.
    Since 1903, there have been 21 months of August when temperatures exceeded 106°. 13 of those were prior to 1952.
    If the current weather forecast is accurate, this August mean max temp will be 87°—1.2° below the 88.2° average for the preceding 113 years.
    Note to Rep. Swalwell:
    Yes, climate changes, and I doubt there are many members of Congress who disagree. But you won’t find evidence of impending climate catastrophe in Livermore’s official weather history, or on your car’s dashboard.

    • Also, car thermomethers vary wildly and generally read off hot asphalt – 109 on a 106 day is actually surprisingly close. This is a fine example of a political point made with a literally meaningless number, wearing a shoddy cardboard “mantle of SCIENCE!”

  33. OK, they claim merely +2.5F in 114 years. Still, that is completely outlandish. I don’t think even Hansen and Mann claim that.

    • I believe that that’s a regional claim, not based on the putative global increase of 0.8°C.

      • But right here at this site we’ve seen multiple data sets showing cooling for CA during this period (bad sites notwithstanding).

    • There are very few weather stations in California that have been in operation for 114 years, and those that have typically have large gaps in the data. 2014 was an extreme record warm year, but the warmth was mostly in the winter and spring. Summertime highs are trending down.
      The record warmth may be due to the warm blob of water off the coast and the ridiculously-resilient high pressure ridge responsible for it. Meteorologists say there’s no proof the warm blob has anything to do with anthropogenic global warming. Climatastrophists say “what else can it be?”

  34. Oh noes! I think I can hear the growing beat of the COP21 jungle drums: “doom, Dooom, DooooM, DOOOOOM!”; summoning all the wide-eyed, knuckle-dragging Paris-ites to their ‘last hurrah’ at the big fossil fuel-powered Global Government knees-up in December.
    Let’s just hope they go down like The Hindenburg…

  35. I have a copy of an older paper – back before the scientists had to include words like “global warming” or “climate change” to get published. While it was looking more specifically at drought in New Mexico, it did indicate that NM was part of a larger area impacted (i.e. the US southwest and Northwestern Mexico). Without even talking about CO2, big coal, evil oil companies, etc, the paper came to three concise conclusions:
    • The 1950s drought was very substantial, but previous droughts (e.g., around A.D. 1000 and in the late thirteenth and sixteenth centuries) were both longer and drier.
    • The late twentieth century wet spell is truncated by the smoothing function, but it is clearly a wet spell of historic proportions.
    • Frequency analysis of this curve indicates that severe droughts occur at least once every century, with an average of approximately 60–80 years between droughts. An average drought periodicity between 50 and 100 years is observed in similar records throughout the Mountain West, suggesting that the next severe drought episode in New Mexico is due anytime within the next couple of decades.
    We don’t need global warming/climate change to have a mega drought in the southwest – it was coming anyway.

  36. From the press release, it sounds as though the Columbia team has forgotten about the oceans. If it were true that the only available water was that in the land and biosphere or already in the air, higher temperatures would indeed suck water out of the land and biosphere, leaving the surface drier. However, given that there is in fact a vast reservoir of water available, namely the oceans, I see no reason for the relative humidity to go up or down if there is AGW warming. Perhaps the article, which I admittedly haven’t read, explains this.
    I would be curious to know by how much a 1dC increase in air temperature would reduce sea level due to the increase in absolute humidity, holding relative humidity constant. I doubt that it’s perceptible, and certainly the oceans would not dry up altogether.
    BTW, I think a useful distinction should be made between climatology and climate science. Climatologists make a living studying the climate, but whether what they are doing is science depends on how they do it. Thus, astrologists study the stars, but what they are doing isn’t science despite the “ology” in their trade.

  37. LATimes had an article yesterday about the Columbia study.
    http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-climate-change-drought-20150820-story.html
    They may have let the cat out of the bag.
    “Williams and his colleagues made their forecast after conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the annual variations of drought and weather conditions at 23,955 locations throughout California. In each of those seven-square-mile plots, the team assessed the precipitation, temperature, wind, humidity and solar radiation for each month over the last 120 years.”
    Looks like they used some type of fillnet-type program to create missing monthly data for five parameters over a 120 years period for most of the 24,000 grid boxes. I think it would be safe to say that more than half of their data is made up out of thin air!
    The author then goes on to say that these “measurements” were then fed into their “simulation” to generate the convenient .statistics that were published.
    I’m sorry. How do these people call themselves scientists?
    It’s time to give these “researchers” a more accurate name: Climate Workers. Credibility for sale one grant at a time.

Comments are closed.