New Study Predicts Hot, Dry Future for California

According to a new study, global warming will leave California either really hosed or just moderately hosed, depending on the choices the world makes in coming years. Conducted by 19 prominent climate-change scientists, the study — published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — models two different scenarios. The first, a “business as usual” scenario involving no substantial change in the burning of fossil fuels or emission of greenhouse gases, would yield a rise in the average temperature of 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Snowpack in the Sierra Mountains, one of the state’s primary water sources, would be reduced by 89 percent. Heat waves would be more severe. The dairy, wine, and skiing industries could be devastated. Luckily, if substantial moves toward renewable energy are undertaken immediately — the second scenario — the average temperature will rise by only 4 to 6 degrees, and though the same effects will ensue, well, at least they’ll be less severe.