California is entering its fourth year of drought, with high temperatures, water shortages and increased wildfires. The state has taken some steps to address the impacts of that, includingaddressing greenhouse gas emissions and rationing its diminishing water supply. But there are signs that the impacts of drought on the state could get even worse.
California’s drought could get much worse if climate change isn’t addressed.. Photo credit: Shutterstock
1. A new study shows that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, some parts of Los Angeles area could be experiencing temperatures over 95 degrees for periods as long as two to three months by the end of the century, up from about 12 days now. Researchers at UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences found that downtown Los Angeles could see many many as 54 such days, up from an average of four, while desert areas could see many more. And in the surrounding mountainous areas, days with temperatures below freezing could be cut in half.
2. Fewer freezing days in mountainous areas will certainly impact the snow pack which iscurrently at record lows. Its April assessment set a record for the lowest level in the state’s history, triggering Gov. Jerry Brown’s order that residents and governments cut water use by 25 percent. Shuttered ski resorts are the least of the resulting problems. The runoff from the snow pack melting in the spring replenishes the state’s rivers, streams and reservoirs—but not so much anymore. In an L.A. Times editorial, NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti warned that California reservoirs have only a year’s supply of water left in them. With the rate of replenishment dropping, that spells trouble.