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California Drought and Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Jerry Camilien

Climate change is drastically affecting the west coast of the United States, especially California which has experienced major droughts due to the lack of long rain. While living in California, I experienced the after-effects of a long drought, which devastated the state. In 2014 California the safe levels in reservoirs were severely decreased and was when California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He also ordered mandatory regulations to conserve water for the first time in the state’s history. California agriculture was dramatically affected by the drought from 2012-2014, when farmers saw their crops yielding less and less. State officials estimated that more than 100 million trees die during the drought because of stress and infestations from bark beetles.

In June 2014, Lake Shasta was at 37% of capacity due to the long California drought. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

How does the changing climate cause these droughts?  Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently issued a study showing more frequent droughts in California. They have linked the disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic and the buildup of high ridges of atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean, and the ridges push winter storms away from the state, causing drought. The rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15% within 20 to 30 years. In California we have also see the air quality greatly affected by climate change. Many different species of fish are dying during the droughts as well. The dry forest regions have sparked forest fires across the state killing the wildlife in those areas. These after effects still remain throughout the California region.

My college major is information technology and I believe the gathering and analyzing data is one way to impact climate change. Utilizing big data through data collecting and data analyzing, will allow officials to make proper judgement calls so they can mitigate climate change in the state.


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  1. Couple additional comments on the duration and severity of both lack of rainfall and runoff. Runoff is one of the significant factors that was used to assess and examine the different severities of drought impacts on the city and urban area. The amount, location, rate and type of precipitation, with the base flow of the rain, the condition of the soil serves as the reservoir storage. The indirect impaction on the role of snow, rain, and precipitation lead to an amount of humidity. 20% of the California water use accounts for households and farm business. Water supplies in suburban areas are less likely to be affected by drought due to the community water supply for emergencies. Urban cities and suburban areas as compared to rural areas where the water sources are scarce. Shortage of water supply is often faced by the communities, especially in the recent years. Statistics showed over 2000 domestic wells from the communities have run dry. Though state offers emergency water supplies, the payoff and investment do not show balance proportions. Low level of precipitation and high water temperature has put wildlife in California in danger. Fishes by the ocean showed the risk of extinction of more than 20 species if the drought does not stop.

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