This story was originally published by The Huffington Post and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
California’s record multiyear drought is severe, but new research suggests that, historically, it may be even worse than previously thought.
In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers, calling their findings “an ominous sign of the severity of this drought,” found that the snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range is at the lowest it has been for more than 500 years.
What’s worse is it may become the new normal in California.
The combination of increased temperatures, low precipitation, and record-low snowpack in the state altogether “suggests that the occurrence of much reduced snowpack is likely to be less rare in the future than it has been over the past half-millennium or longer, meaning less storage of water as snow,” Eugene Wahl, co-author of the paper and scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Huffington Post.
NOAA posted these NASA satellite images of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on their web... Read more