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CALIFORNIAN DROUGHT January 20, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, CLIMATE CHANGE.
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Governor Jerry Brown with reluctance declared California to be in drought last Friday. On its face this is surprising since it is summer here, it must be winter there. Furthermore, this is another extreme weather circumstance, occurring in a not a La Nina or El Nina year.

NASA’s GRACE Satellite indicates soil moisture:

GRACE_SFSM

Much like the extreme heat experienced in Australia seems to be “out of joint”. Mother Jones explains  what the map displays:

While the country’s appetite for extreme weather news was filled (to the brim) this week by the polar vortex, spare a thought for sunny California, where exceptionally dry weather is provoking fears of a long, tough summer ahead.

The state is facing what could be its worst drought in four decades. The chart above, released by the National Drought Mitigation Center on Monday, shows just how dry the soil is compared to the historical average: the lighter the color, the more “normal” the current wetness of the soil; the darker the color, the rarer. You can see large swathes of California are bone dry.

Nearly 90 percent of the state is suffering from severe or extreme drought. A statewide survey shows the current snowpack hovering below 20 percent of the average for this time of year. The AP is reporting that if the current trend holds, state water managers will only be able to deliver 5 percent of the water needed for more than 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of farmland.

Anthony York in The LA Times reported California had experienced the driest year on record. Not surprisingly there are serious fires burning. Lack of water for human use and agriculture is a big issue:

Speaking at a San Francisco news conference, [Governor Jerry] Brown also called on “all citizens” to cut back “at least 20% of their water use.” He was flanked by charts and photos showing the state’s anemic precipitation and snowpack.

“We ought to be ready for a long, continued, persistent effort to restrain our water use,” Brown said, adding that conservation efforts would be “voluntary.”
PHOTOS: California drought seen from space

Brown’s announcement, which lawmakers, farmers and activists have been urging for weeks, comes as state reservoirs are critically low and cities across the state have already begun water-rationing measures.

While Brown has downplayed the effect of an official drought declaration, those affected by the water shortage say it will be an important tool in focusing Californians on the problem.
The announcement came as Brown faced growing pressure to act. On Thursday, hundreds of activists from the Central Valley joined a bipartisan cadre of state lawmakers on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento to urge the governor to take action.

El Jazeera provides a summary and indicates a common cause, a high pressure system not moving on as usual:

It is interesting to observe that the Governor responded to the activism of the farmers and other citizens in California. Perhaps something similar could happen here. It is inconceivable that the anti-science ideology and ignorance of the Abbott Government will change anytime soon. While accountability is the fundamental standard of government and citizenship in a democracy, honesty is not a virtue in politics.

At this point I have had to edit out, what I otherwise might have said. I do so on the basis that calling people names is counter productive. As well it is a form of violence. Historians might believe in the efficacy of violence, but perhaps social coherence particularly facing calamity is more important. It is contingent upon the Prime Minister to set out comprehensively and dispassionately his anti-science position in relation to climate change and global warming.  As Noam Chomsky suggests the corporate fossil fuel industry is locked into blinkered corporate and institutional mind set focusing on short term economic return and public relations indoctrination though a compliant media. As in the United States that gives them effective political power and insider trading privileges, especially when persons of the same mental outlook, such as Maurice Newman are appointed as government advisers.  The latest and most egregious example of poisoning drinking water in West Virginia, is one more example of the exercise of this power at the expense of the common good.

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