Although the NWS calls it “patchy fog,” the shit here on the coast feels like a soft, wet rain. Yesterday morning walking to work I could nearly feel the individual droplets — patchy my ass.
And while the US eastern seaboard and mid-section are way-cooler for this time of year, out here in the wild west, it’s different: When one part of the country is experiencing unusually cool weather…such as what the East is getting…it is often common that the other half of the nation pays the price with warming. For the West…that means hot and mostly dry which can exacerbate drought and fire weather conditions.
We don’t complicate, or aggregate — us be Californians.
(Illustration found here).
And we’re smack-dab right in the midst of a three-year drought, exacerbated by climate change and a shifting western water system. However, even if this drought is already bad, it’s likely to continue well into a waterless future. A costly and dry future — the cost has already scored big points.
Via CBS News:
A study by the University of California, Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences find that this year’s drought and the resulting water shortage will cost the state about $1.5 billion in direct agricultural costs, including $810 million in crop revenue and over $200 million in dairy and livestock.
Total drought-related costs to the California economy for the year are projected at $2.2 billion, with a loss of 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs.
The report, which was released Tuesday, was funded by the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as the California Department of Water Resources.
Dry conditions in California are unlikely to go away.
Researchers expect next year to be another drought year for California, even if a change in El Niño conditions brings some much-needed rain to the state.
The big concern, according to the report, is what several more years of drought might end up meaning for California’s ground water supplies, especially since it is the only western state where groundwater use remains largely unregulated.
And hence the dry, chaffing rub.
Unless it’s for us here in Humboldt County, where drought conditions attack our cash weed crop — water for the $400 million-a-year influx into the local economy: “If the water situation remains dire, prices will go up, but if people can find the product cheaper, that will push the prices down,” said Chip Perry, manager of Medical Cannabis Consultants and Evaluations in Eureka. “Consumers dictate the prices, and they’ll try to find the cheapest medicine out there. I’d estimate marijuana prices could increase by 10 to 20 percent because of the drought, but the increase still won’t raise prices to the amount they were in 2010.”
Yet smoke is cheap, water more than expensive…
And Gov. Moonbeam (Jerry Brown in modern times) is trying his hardest to get citizens to respond — he requested in January, water use to be voluntarily cut back 20 percent — and now six months later, the latest reports indicate, water use rose 1 percent in May, there’s nothing happening.
Last month, Brown proposed a $6 billion bond to the state legislature, but alas nothing has yet to appear on that either.
Yesterday, though, the hammer came down — from KTLA in Los Angeles:
Amid a historic drought affecting the entire state of California, state regulators on Tuesday approved emergency conservation measures that will allow water wasters to be fined up to $500 per day.
The measures, directed primarily at outdoor water use in urban areas, were called a “a minimum level of effort in this time of emergency” in a fact sheet on the proposal from the State Water Resources Control Board.
The regulations ban the “direct application of water to any hard surface for washing.”
They were approved at a board meeting in Sacramento Tuesday evening, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Also banned under the proposed regulation was outdoor watering that causes runoff onto adjacent nonirrigated areas, including sidewalks and streets.
Washing vehicles must have to be done with a hose that has a shut-off nozzle, under the regulations.
And fountains or other decorative water features must be turned off unless they use recirculated water.
Violations will considered an infraction of the law that could bring fines of up to $500 per day. The regulations give local agencies the authority to impose the fines.
The big, dry rub, however, is climate change — droughts are here to stay, and will only worsen. Last spring, our drought and global warming were linked as partners in mischief.
The study shows that, beginning with unusually cold waters off Southeast Asia, a persistent high-pressure ridge, or dipole, built up late last year and anchored over the Gulf of Alaska, preventing usual levels of moisture from reaching the West Coast of North America.
Reviewing weather data and sea surface temperatures, the study also determined that the dipole generated a low-pressure ridge built up north of the Great Lakes, eventually resulting in so-called freezing Polar Vortex events in central Canada and the U.S.
Simon Wang, Assistant Professor of Climate at Utah State University, is the lead author of the study — Probable causes of the abnormal ridge accompanying the 2013–2014 California drought: ENSO precursor and anthropogenic warming footprint.
In an email interview, Wang told DeSmog the study results are important because “scientists have known for years that climate change impacts extreme events like drought, but had not been able to relate a single event to climate change or warming.”
Wang said the research provides quantitative evidence how the California drought and the polar vortex events are linked to the long-term change in climate, and the role of greenhouse gases.
“Knowing this link helps people anticipate future extreme events, because the trend is going to continue and drought can get worse,” he said.
“Simply put, there will be drought again and we need to be ready for it when it strikes.”
Or will never go away — a dry-heave of a Hotel California, where you can check out anytime, but you can never, ever leave a glass of water sitting around.