Clear and a bit on the chilly side this early Monday on California’s north coast — a big chunk of the moon still lights the western sky, shimmering now out over the Pacific Ocean.
And no rain in anybody’s sight.
No moisture, no water — last Friday, dry shit hit the fan as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California, the worst in the state’s history: “We are in an unprecedented, very serious situation,” said Brown, who asked California residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. “Hopefully, it will rain eventually. But in the meantime, we have to do our part.”
Governator Arnold was the last to make such a move in 2009.
As Moonbeam says, ‘very serious‘ shit we got here.
(Illustration found here).
California is indeed in a world of hurt — and the world literally eats from the heart of the state. The central valley has been referred to as the “breadbasket of the world” because of the massive amount of different crops grown there, and shipped everywhere. We produce dairy, grapes, almonds, walnuts, various varieties of fresh fruit, and vegetables as part of more then 400 types, and though, California only possesses 4 percent of the total U.S. farms, supplies the nation with the most agriculture products.
And without water, all of us will eventually be screwed — or starved.
A peek at the crisis via HuffPost:
The shore of California’s Lake Oroville hasn’t looked this way in modern history.
Cracked dry mud shatters the canyon floor, and buoys rest 10 feet up the side of a shale hill.
The remains of two vehicles — crashed long ago — rise from the mud like shipwrecks at low tide.
The lake is only 36 percent full.
To the north, Lake Shasta also is only 36 percent full.
Farther south in the heart of Central Valley, San Luis Reservoir is at a dismal 30 percent capacity.
The story is the same at Bass Lake, Lake Tahoe and Folsom Lake, where Muslims recently held a prayer service for rain.
For California, 2013 was the driest year since the state started measuring rainfall in 1849, before it was a state, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, or UCAR, a consortium of 75 schools.
Low rainfall has shattered records in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shasta and on up to Eugene, Ore.
And if rain doesn’t fall soon, the worst may be yet to come.
“As impressive as the 2013 rainfall records are, those who watch California weather will be even more focused on what happens over the next several months,” UCAR wrote this week in an analysis.
“[And] the 2013–14 water year is off to a rotten start.”
The Sierra snow pack, where the state gets about a third of its water, was 84 percent below average as of Jan. 10.
Up here where I am, Humboldt County, we’re also on the receiving end of the dry spell — right now we’re nearly 11 inches short of normal rainfall for this time of year, and the forecast sees no rain a-coming. Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf: “We have returned to a severe drought status in December. If we don’t receive any rain for the next few weeks, we will be designated for emergency services again. We reset the clock…It affects agriculture right now, but it kind of snowballs. If you’re not able to get any grass growth, the cattle and dairy farmers won’t be able to feed their cows and will have to buy feed from outside sources, which will be very costly.”
And more than just money. Just a little further south of us, water for people,not crops, is a way-growing, going concern. Earlier this year, the town of Willits instituted a water rationing system (150 gallons a day per household), and now a second town, Brooktrails, a few miles north of Willits, also has water problems and may also ration.
Last week, the iron in the fire (via Willits News):
“As of January 9, 2014 the District has used approximately 80 percent of its stored water.
Since there has been no significant rainfall, staff recommends that the Board implement the provisions of Ordinance 134 for mandatory conservation by adopting the attached emergency ordinance,” says Brooktrails General Manager Denise Rose.
“The staff is proposing that a cap of no more than 110 gallons per day per household (up to four occupants).
Staff estimates that the proposed cap of 110 gallons per day would stretch the District’s water reserves to 110 days.”
And then what? Who knows, this shit is all uncharted territory.
But the outcry is getting louder — climate change is hurdling at us.
Yesterday, from the Guardian:
A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, concludes that in stark contrast to earlier work, the current rate of carbon emissions would mean twice as many extreme El Niños over the next 100 years, with profound socioeconomic consequences.
“This is a highly unexpected consequence of global warming,” said Professor Mat Collins of the University of Exeter, part of the research team.
“Previously we had thought that El Niño would be unaffected by climate change.
Tropical rainfall conditions such as those experienced in extreme El Niños have a dramatic influence on the world […] the impact therefore on mankind is substantial.”
Collins agreed that the findings needed to be tested further.
He said: “The climate system is likely to throw up these unexpected consequences of climate change and we are only just learning about them.
“This is essentially an ‘irreversible’ climate change phenomenon, and it would take a dramatic reduction in greenhouse emissions over a number of generations to reduce the impact.
It is even more evidence that cutting emissions would be a good idea.”
An El Nino causes a reverse in ordinary — this weather phenomena moves sea water in a westerly direction, displacing the usual cold water that comes up from the ocean depths, and can cause bad shit like severe droughts, flooding and even cyclones. Normal circulation gets screwed-up, moisture-bearing trade winds weaken, dry westerlies increase.
One must always remember about science and climate change — it’s worse than anyone yet knows, those “unexpected consequences” must be expected.
Or we all will drought-out.
And look at your smart phone — global warmer!
Also yesterday from the Guardian:
The world’s richest countries are increasingly outsourcing their carbon pollution to China and other rising economies, according to a draft UN report.
Outsourcing of emissions comes in the form of electronic devices such as smartphones, cheap clothes and other goods manufactured in China and other rising economies but consumed in the US and Europe.
A draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by the Guardian, says emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases warming the planet grew twice as fast in the first decade of the 21st century as they did during the previous three decades.
Texting from Dry Gulch.
(Illustration out front found here).