Californiahara

DROUGHT ridge 011414
I don’t know about the rest of you but walking around in San Francisco today, January 15, is a few clicks short of terrifying.  At 73 F — and feels warmer– it is spooky, and change not to come soon.  From the San Jose Mercury News via Climate Crock is this:

As California struggles through a run of historically dry weather, most residents are looking at falling reservoir levels, dusty air and thirsty lawns.

But meteorologists have fixed their attention on the scientific phenomenon they say is to blame for the emerging drought: a vast zone of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast, nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long, so stubborn that one researcher has dubbed it the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.”

Like a brick wall, the mass of high pressure air has been blocking Pacific winter storms from coming ashore in California, deflecting them up into Alaska and British Columbia, even delivering rain and cold weather to the East Coast. Similar high-pressure zones pop up all the time during most winters, but they usually break down, allowing rain to get through to California. This one, ominously, has anchored itself for 13 months, since December 2012, making it unprecedented in modern weather records and leaving researchers scratching their heads.

And what this means is:

Last year was the driest calendar year in recorded history in California in most cities, with records going back 160 years. The first snowpack reading in the Sierra Nevada earlier this month found a snowpack of just 20 percent of normal.

Meanwhile, major reservoirs in Shasta and Oroville are each 36 percent full, about half of normal for this time of year. San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos is 30 percent full, 42 percent of normal.

Just remember, within modern man’s sojourn on earth during the African Humid Period what we now know as the Sahara desert was a green and verdant place with several huge rivers.  The California Humid Period may be wringing out its last drops….

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