It’s getting close to that time of year when weather watchers and water managers start wringing their hands and wondering whether it will be a boy or a girl. The boy is none other than El Niño – that Pacific weather pattern characterized by warm ocean temperatures and heavy precipitation. Last year, we heard all about the monster El Niño that would refill California’s reservoirs. But it never actually materialized. Now, the National Weather Service projects a different winter visitor – La Niña. She’s the opposite of her brother – a weather pattern characterized by dry conditions.
Archive for date: September 8th, 2016
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Water, energy and climate in California are closely linked. Nearly 20 percent of the state’s electricity currently goes to the water sector, and climate change is already impacting the availability and timing of water resources. Reducing the energy costs of water production, including through conserving electricity and increasing water efficiency, will become increasingly important as California faces the reality of climate change and prolonged drought. Meet 12 people who are among the top experts that Water Deeply’s editors, reporters and contributors look to when it comes to this crucial issue.
This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw improvements in drought conditions in parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic in association with Hurricane-Tropical Storm Hermine. Hurricane Hermine marked the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in eleven years since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The hurricane came ashore along the Florida Panhandle moving northeast and impacting eastern portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina before moving off-shore. The system brought flooding and heavy rainfall accumulations ranging from three-to-eighteen inches with the heaviest accumulations observed in Florida as well as coastal areas of the Carolinas.
Cooling Pacific Ocean conditions that follow an El Nino and known to hinder winter storms from dousing California have weakened enough that forecasters “La Nina watch” Thursday. In wake of one the strongest El Ninos ever recorded, Pacific Ocean water temperatures are gradually returning to normal and there is only a 40 percent chance of a strong La Nina developing this winter, climate scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a monthly update.The update sparks optimism that El Nino’s drier sibling won’t materialize over drought-riddled California, despite NOAA scientists in May giving La Nina a 75 percent chance of developing.
The summer season is ending on a high note for Lake Mead. After hitting an all-time low at the end of June, the water level is now up 3 feet in September. “It’s like a mini-vacation for me every time,” said Bob Clements, a frequent boater on the lake. “It’s a lot of fun.”The blue water of Lake Mead is just outside of Bob Clements front door, but inside he keeps another view on the wall. A picture taken before the water started draining away from the Lake Mead RV Village.
Coming off the heels of a historically hot summer, California citizens may be in for a bit of a reprieve for this year’s winter, and if meteorologists are correct in their predictions, perhaps a positive impact on the drought as well.The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), a subsect of the National Weather Service, has released a monthly forecast which predicts that La Niña is no longer likely to occur. According to Reuters, last month the CPC stated that La Niña conditions were favored to occur with a 55-60 percent chance of developing during the upcoming fall and winter.
Okay, okay, so Mark Twain never said that the coldest winter he’d ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. But were he alive today to be misquoted, he might proclaim this summer in California the warmest he’d experienced. And he’d be right. Federal climate trackers confirmed Thursday that this summer (defined as June through August) was California’s warmest in 122 years of records. The statewide average temperature for the three months was 75.5°F, or 3.3°F above average.
When Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 32 into law on Thursday, he said of the sweeping climate change bill, “This is big, and I hope it sends a message across the country.” Q: So what, exactly, does it do? A: SB 32 comes a decade after California’s landmark Assembly Bill 32, which required the California Air Resources Board to reduce statewide emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. The legislation Brown signed Wednesday expands on that mandate, requiring California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Water agencies across California are relaxing water use restrictions imposed last year because of the drought. In many places, about half of a household’s water usage goes to caring for a lawn. During the drought, the state prohibited people from watering their lawns more than twice a week. Those restrictions are loosening, though, and people can now return to watering their lawns more often, but keeping track of what’s allowed can be tricky since there’s about two dozen different water agencies in the county and a patchwork of rules.
Gov. Jerry Brown extended the nation’s most ambitious climate change law Thursday by another 10 years as California charts a new goal to reduce carbon pollution.The Democratic governor signed the legislation in a Los Angeles park amid opposition from the oil industry, business groups and Republicans. It expands on California’s landmark 2006 law, which set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The state is poised to meet or exceed that benchmark, with steps including restricting the carbon content of gasoline and diesel fuel, encouraging sales of zero-emission vehicles and imposing a tax on pollution, Brown said.