A recent study suggests that California drought was made worse by global warming which may fuel even more dry conditions in the Golden State in the future.
A comprehensive study published Thursday in the Geophysical Research Letters shows that climate change worsens drought in the afflicted state, although global warming was not behind the extreme weather event. Climate scientists argued that California drought was caused by natural variations occurring in a cyclical pattern.
But the latest study suggests that California drought could have been a lot milder if it weren’t global warming. Climate change reportedly worsened drought conditions by 15 to 20 percent.
A. Park Williams, senior author of the study and climate scientist at Columbia University, acknowledged that the Golden State drought would still occur if there was no global warming. But over the course of last century, when greenhouse gas emissions jumped to off-the-charts levels, droughts worldwide became worse because of the phenomenon.
Scientists explained that a greenhouse effect depletes the soil and plants of vital moisture. Williams argues that that moisture is as important as the rainfall that falls out of the sky.
Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University explained that he had also found in a previous research that global warming may fuel droughts and even make them last longer than usual.
Diffenbaugh added that unusually high temperatures are perfect conditions for more drought to occur. In California, climate scientists recorded a constant warming trend for years, so the recent drought should not be a surprise. And there may be even more.
Nevertheless, scientists hope that rainfall would get back to normal this winter. Williams said that when that happens people should not rest assured that everything would get back to normal. The scientists said that Californians should expect less precipitation and see it as a “new normal”
This year, California entered its fourth year of drought. In nearly 70 percent of its regions drought conditions were deemed either “extreme” or “exceptional.” Agriculture was badly hit as crops do not yield as they used to, reservoirs are empty, and wildfires are sweeping the land. According to a recent University of California report, California’s agribusinesses should expect a $1.84 billion loss by the end of the year.
Gov. Jerry Brown and President Obama linked California drought to global warming, but Republican politicians refuse to believe that. Earlier this year, the Senate voted against the idea that global warming was man-made. Back then, Sen. James Inhofe deemed the idea that humans caused climate change the “biggest hoax perpetrated against mankind.”
Image Source: Green Forward News
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