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Climate Change

Published on April 26th, 2018 | by James Ayre

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California To Experience Drought-To-Flood Whiplashes More & More As Time Goes By, Study Finds

April 26th, 2018 by  


Anthropogenic climate weirding and warming will drive increasing volatility in the climate of California — with severe drought-to-flood events becoming more common as time goes by — according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Such events may end up mirroring the great destruction of the “Great Flood” of 1862 in California, with the effects of such a potential event on the state’s agricultural and industrial systems being possibly debilitating (in the truest sense of the word).

To put that all in plainer language, the shifts between hot and dry summers and wet winters are going to become increasingly extreme.

The lead author of the study, Daniel Swain of the University of California, Los Angeles, noted in an interview with Reuters that during the winter in California, “an opposing trend toward a strong Pacific jet stream is projected to locally enhance precipitation during the core months of the ‘rainy season’.”

Such increases would exacerbate an already near-extreme condition when it comes to year-to-year precipitation variability.

To be more extract, the new study predicts “a 25% to 100% increase in extreme dry-to-wet precipitation events” by 2100.

Reuters provides more:

“California had its worst drought in recorded history from 2010–2016, followed by severe rains and flooding that culminated with evacuation orders for almost 200,000 residents as a precaution near the Oroville Dam last year.

“The study said that major urban centers, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, were ‘more likely than not’ to suffer a freak series of storms by 2060 similar to ones in 1861-62 that led to the ‘Great Flood’. The storms swamped the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, flooding an area 300 miles (500 km) long and 20 miles wide. Storms washed away bridges, inundated mines and wrecked farms.”

As alluded to above, if such an event was to occur nowadays it would entail likely over a trillion dollars worth of damage, and possibly put California into a economic hole it can’t get out of easily.

Relating to that, the study authors argue that authorities in the state should thus begin planning for such events by expanding use of flood plains during planning, etc.. Such findings are based on a scenario whereby the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement are not met — a scenario which is very clearly the one that the world is currently on.


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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.



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