California Drought

By: Ardyn Allessie

The Causes

Natural conditions have played a part in causing the drought-a naturally induced “warm patch” of water in the western Pacific helped to create a high-pressure ridge blocking precipitation from entering California. Also, with rising temperatures global warming has played a part in causing this drought. Another reasons is California's location. When it rains, it seems to be the place were rain is missed.

The Role of Climate and Atmospheric Conditions

Research showed that a high region of high atmospheric pressure hovering over the Pacific Ocean that diverged storms away from California were much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations. Meaning that extreme atmospheric pressure in California, which is connected with the low precipitation in California, is much more likely to occur today prior to human emission of greenhouse gases. So with a high pressure, low precipitation, and the emission of greenhouse gases California was destined for a drought to occur.

What Climatologists and Meteorologists use to Determine Drought Conditions

Climatologists and Meteorologists use precipitation and temperature changes at a regional, state, and national level to determine drought conditions. The pictures below show the severity of the drought since when it first started.
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Drought Duration and Future Predictions

The California Drought has lasted for three years, starting in 2012. The drought is expected to last for another three months, ending at the end of February in 2015. With California's seasonal increase in precipitation, and enhanced changes for a wetter-than-normal winter across the southern half of the state should bring improvement to many areas, but not elimination. It is expected that most of the state will be in some degree of drought at the end of the winter, with significant areas still in severe drought.

Policies Addressing the Drought

Governor Brown of California signed the historic ground water legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of groundwater basins. This legislation allowed local agencies to tailor sustainable groundwater plans to their regional economic and environmental needs. Then he issued an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to families in dire need as the drought continues to affect the state. Then the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) initiated a second round of funding for The State Water Efficiency And Enhancement Program. Recently the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board approved permits that will allow the Cambria Community Services District to operate an emergency water treatment system to increase the community's water supplies during the drought.

Public Response

Residents of California have taken action in response to the drought. A website known as "Save Out Water" was created so people can know different ways of conserving their water. The website advises to take shorter showers, make sure your dishwasher is full when using it. Also, to run your sprinklers in in the cool of the morning saves water, instill a drip irrigation system or adding a weather-based "smart" controller.