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.
Separating the influence of temperature, drought, and fire on interannual variability in atmospheric CO2 Keppel-Aleks, Gretchen; Wolf, Aaron S.; Mu, Mingquan; Doney, Scott C.; Morton, Douglas C.; Kasibhatla, Prasad S.; Miller, John B.; Dlugokencky, Edward J.; Randerson, James T. (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-11-19)The response of the carbon cycle in prognostic Earth system models (ESMs) contributes significant uncertainty to projections of global climate change. Quantifying contributions of known drivers of interannual variability ...
Can Australian multiyear droughts and wet spells be generated in the absence of oceanic variability? Taschetto, Andrea S.; Sen Gupta, Alexander; Ummenhofer, Caroline C.; England, Matthew H. (American Meteorological Society, 2016-08-19)Anomalous conditions in the tropical oceans, such as those related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean dipole, have been previously blamed for extended droughts and wet periods in Australia. Yet the extent ...
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 ...