California Drought Report #57: What Does the Future Hold?

The California Weather Blog has an analysis on what the near-term future holds.

So what are our prospects for the rest of the season? Well, El Niño is certainly still with us, and it’s still a top-tier event. For that reason, the good money’s still on a wetter than average season for California (yes, even now). This is especially true since the precipitation during strong El Niño years is often heavily “back weighted,” with an unusually large fraction of seasonal totals occurring during the second half of the rainy season from February-April. What is less clear, at this point, is whether the northerly-shifted atmospheric response to this El Niño will persist—and whether Southern California will start to make up for lost time. It’s certainly possible that a sudden transition to a much wetter pattern will occur, and it’s easy to forget that a surprisingly large fraction of precipitation in the Southland occurs during a handful of intense storms each year (even in strong El Niño years). From a statewide perspective, some substantial drought relief has already occurred this year, but there remain large regions in the southern part of the state that are still extremely dry. The refrain from earlier in the autumn is now more relevant than ever: while El Niño is likely to bring some degree of drought relief, California will likely still be facing long-term drought conditions by the coming summer.

More moisture to come, but the drought is not over. We need to continue to conserve our water, to preserve that water for use by humans.  The sun’s energy level is dropping and when that has happened in the past the southwest experience extended droughts.  We may be on the cusp of one of those long-term droughts.  We must conserve this precious El Niño water.

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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.
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