How unusual is the 2012–2014 California drought?
MetadataShow full item record
For the past three years (2012–2014), California has experienced the most severe drought conditions in its last century. But how unusual is this event? Here we use two paleoclimate reconstructions of drought and precipitation for Central and Southern California to place this current event in the context of the last millennium. We demonstrate that while 3 year periods of persistent below-average soil moisture are not uncommon, the current event is the most severe drought in the last 1200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years. Tree ring chronologies extended through the 2014 growing season reveal that precipitation during the drought has been anomalously low but not outside the range of natural variability. The current California drought is exceptionally severe in the context of at least the last millennium and is driven by reduced though not unprecedented precipitation and record high temperatures.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 41 (2014): 9017–9023, doi:10.1002/2014GL062433.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Kleppe, J. A.; Brothers, Daniel S.; Kent, Graham M.; Biondi, F.; Jensen, S.; Driscoll, Neal W. (Elsevier B.V., 2001-09-16)Droughts in the western U.S. in the past 200 years are small compared to several megadroughts that occurred during Medieval times. We reconstruct duration and magnitude of extreme droughts in the northern Sierra Nevada ...
A simple mechanism for the climatological midsummer drought along the Pacific coast of Central America Karnauskas, Kristopher B.; Seager, Richard; Giannini, A.; Busalacchi, Antonio J. (Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, UNAM, 2013-04)The global distribution, seasonal evolution, and underlying mechanisms for the climatological midsummer drought (MSD) are investigated using a suite of relatively high spatial and temporal resolution station observations ...
Carbon, water, and energy fluxes in a semiarid cold desert grassland during and following multiyear drought Bowling, D. R.; Bethers-Marchetti, S.; Lunch, Claire K.; Grote, E. E.; Belnap, J. (American Geophysical Union, 2010-11-18)The net exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy were examined in a perennial Colorado Plateau grassland for 5 years. The study began within a multiyear drought and continued as the drought ended. The grassland ...