While 2020 was terrible for many other reasons, it gave California a brief break from the drought. The longest drought in the Golden State lasted from 2011 to 2019.
The last two years since 1976-77 have been the driest in nearly half a century. As the COVID pandemic seems to be fading away, how did the state find itself in a new crisis?
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Scientists say California’s dried-up plight largely comes down to two words: “atmospheric river.” The relief did not last long.
This year, Northern California endured one of its driest February, which is usually a wet month, in more than 150 years.
California drought 2021 is Worsening!
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in April, then extended it in May as the situation continued to worsen.
A month later, nearly 2 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area were placed under a water shortage emergency.
Water at a major northern California reservoir – Lake Oroville – is expected to fall so low this summer that its hydroelectric power plant will be forced to close for the first time since it opened in 1967.
The entire western US is in trouble when it comes to water scarcity. More than 80 percent of it is dry, with about half of the area in “extreme” drought.
The Hoover Dam reservoir, the largest in the US, reached the lowest water level in its history earlier this month. It is an important water source for 25 million people in several states, including California.
What is California Drought?
Most people think of a drought as a period of unusually dry weather that lasts long enough to cause problems such as crop damage and lack of water supply.
But since dry conditions develop for a variety of reasons, there is more than one definition of drought. “Droughts are caused not only by lack of rainfall and high temperatures but by overuse and overpopulation,”
Said David Miska, a drought expert, and meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.
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What is the Reason for California Drought 2021?
A high-pressure ridge of air, moving away from the state’s coastline, is turning several large storms to the north.
Alaska suffered extensive landslides and flooding that destroyed roads and homes this winter, and Seattle and British Columbia saw major snowfalls.
UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain described similar weather patterns from 2012 to 2016 as a “ridiculously resilient ridge.”
So many hurricanes swept away from California that the state endured its worst drought since the state’s formation in 1850.
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Rising Heat one of the Reasons for California Drought!
The rising temperature according to official estimates, the state’s last drought lasted for nearly seven years from December 2011 to March 2019.
But some scientists believe it never really came to an end. These researchers suggest that the West is in the grip of an emerging “megadrought” that could persist for decades.
A 2020 study looking at tree rings for historical climate clues concluded that the region may be entering the worst period of drought in more than 1,200 years and attributed nearly half of the effects of human-caused global warming.