California Drought Report #2

The Public Policy Institute of California has established a Water Policy Center and has published a report titled California’s Water. This is the introduction:

Climate Change will affect California Water management in many Ways California’s climate is highly variable, with frequent droughts and floods. Climate models predict significant changes: warmer temperatures and more variable precipitation, with short, concentrated wet periods and more frequent and intense droughts. Some models also predict average precipitation will decline.

Warming is already a reality for California. Since the early 1980s, average temperatures have been significantly higher than they were during the previous 50 years. The year 2014 was the warmest on record. Warming has complex and interrelated effects: it reduces the share of precipitation that falls as snow, causes earlier snowpack melting with higher winter runoff and winter floods, raises water temperatures, and amplifies the severity of droughts. Meanwhile, the sea level has been rising, which increases pressure on coastal flood defenses. Sea level rise and larger freshwater floods threaten fragile levees in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, an important hub of the state’s water supply.

California has been a national leader in addressing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. However, the state is only in the early stages of developing water policies that help adapt to a changing climate in areas such as supply, flooding, and ecosystem management. California’s water management systems were designed for the conditions of the past century. Reconfiguring them to respond to climate change—against a background of a growing population and rising demand for healthy ecosystems—is a grand challenge. Meeting this challenge will require a concerted public and private sector effort that involves all levels of government.


There is no mention of anthropogenic warming;  just warming based on the models associated with the UN IPCC effort to calculate the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change. The report indicates that down scaled models of the UN IPCC General Circulation Model were used to calculate the future temperatures in California. The credibility of the UN IPCC General Circulation Models has been questioned, with studies showing they are too sensitive CO2 emissions. The ability produce statically significant results using down scaled GCMs, have been questions by credible scientists.

While the models are in question, my question concerns the optics associate with the above graphic. It shows a huge temperature increase in 2014, based on data from the 1931 to 2014. It is true there was a significant jump in global temperatures in the late 1970s, but look want happens when we look at the 38 years of temperatures from 1896 to 1934 in this figure.


A similar story could have been written about this global warming, which exactly what J.B. Kincer did in the 1933 Monthly Weather Review in a paper titled “Is our Climate Changing”. This paper clearly demonstrated global warming. A Hat Tip to Patrick J. Michaels, writing at Watts Up With That, for this 80 years of climate history and insight into the very similar outlier temperatures of 1934 and 2014.

Is climate change was just a cycle, which repeats it’s self throughout history?

I think the PPIC Water Policy Center could have a positive impact on the shaping of California water policy, however, I would be more comfortable if they were using historical data, rather then climate models to make public policy. The GCM models are clearly flawed and need to be revised.

Real Warming vs Predictions

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
This entry was posted in Analysis, California, Climate Change, Drought. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to California Drought Report #2

  1. Russ Steele says:

    The New York Time has an article on California’s drought with some stunning comparison pictures of human intervention in the desert.


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