According to a new study conducted by scientists from UCLA, California could remain in drought for centuries.
If you are hoping for a respite on California’s never-ending drought, you might end up disappointed. Due to relatively low precipitations and high temperatures, normal conditions for the past five years in California, we might see only drought out of the 21st century.
In the past, those long periods of drying and warming were associated with a number of natural phenomenon including changes in volcanic activity in the output of the sun and the Earth’s orbit. But there’s a new threat influencing temperature levels on the planet: greenhouse gasses.
These gasses act as a sort of giant blanket that contributes to something called radiative forcing and is stocked in the upper atmosphere and that’s when energy from the Sun gets stocked and heats up the Earth, instead of redirecting it back into space.
Glen MacDonald, who conducted the study declared that according to recent researches, the increase in greenhouse gasses is a major factor of contribution to the intensity of the current drought in California.
In an attempt trying to discover California’s arid history, MacDonald and his team compared sediment samples from the Pacific with sediment samples from a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. By studying the relationship between those samples, they were able to discover a connection between ocean temperature shifts, a warming Earth and long stretches of a very dry California. In other words, they concluded that back then the same conditions that we see nowadays were responsible for the drought.
Some studies regarding global warming also predict that California could remain in drought. In a 2014 study, also co-authored by UCLA, climate scientist Alex Hall concluded that overall rainfall amounts that will fall in California wouldn’t change much in coming decades.
MacDonald and the team of researchers from several universities used variations found in the forming process of Kirman Lake to identify the new climatic shifts. The Kirman record points to a mid-Holocene Epoch period of aridity that began about 8,000 years ago and lasted for almost 5,000 years, as well to several centuries of drought in the Middle Ages.
Furthermore, if levels of greenhouse gasses continue to grow constantly, the effects could be disastrous: the state’s forest may disappear, decreasing the amounts of snowfall and rainfall.
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Image Source Wikipedia