We just read this article and it highly recommend you read it, especially if you live in California. As skiers and riders, we’re constantly thinking about snowfall. Maybe it’s time for us to start thinking more long term…
Below is an excerpt from “A Wet Winter Won’t Save California” written by Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Christopher B. Field
Now climatologists have confirmed that a powerful El Niño is building, and forecasts suggest a high likelihood that El Niño conditions will persist through the next several months. So we in California expect a rainy winter.
But before everyone gets too excited, it is important to understand this: Two physical realities virtually ensure that Californians will still face drought, regardless of how this El Niño unfolds.
The first is that California has missed at least a year’s worth of precipitation, meaning that it would take an extraordinarily wet rainy season to single-handedly break the drought. Even if that happened, we would most likely suffer from too much water too fast, as occurred in the early 1980s and late 1990s, when El Niño delivered more rainfall than aquifers could absorb and reservoirs could store.
The second is that California is facing a new climate reality, in which extreme drought is more likely. The state’s water rights, infrastructure and management were designed for an old climate, one that no longer exists.
The second point is the truly scary one. Has California’s climate changed? Is drought the new reality for California? Will much of this year’s precipitation in the mountains come as rain, not snow? Gosh, we sure hope not…