Look at the maroon and mustard map above and you will notice that 100% of California is in a severe drought with serious drought, with an unprecedented 70% of the state in an extreme drought. The dark maroon band, stretching from the coast of southern California up to the bay area and inland to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, roughly 30% of the state, is experiencing the most advanced stage, “exceptional drought.” According to By Steve Scauzillo of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune this is the first “exceptional drought” in the history of the United States Drought Monitor program. “Those are remarkable numbers,” said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist and the center’s monitoring program leader.
Even more troubling, a prominent climatologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Bill Patzert, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune the chances of an El Nino arriving this year are declining according to Bill Patzert. “The El Niño had a very promising, dramatic surge in January, February and March, but now as we enter summer, all of a sudden it is disappearing,” The Tribune reported that Patzert, who once was booed off the stage at an American Meteorological Society meeting in January 2007 for predicting an El Niño would fizzle, often goes against the scientific grain. However, that year, the El Niño, a warming of the ocean waters that often brings rain and sometimes flooding, had weakened as he said it would, resulting in the driest rain season in the history of Los Angeles, up to that time.
As the drought continues to lengthen and worsen, Californians are faced with the stark reality of increasing fires, food prices, and shortages of water. Check the California Drought Monitor program’s website for updates and changes to this unprecedented drought.