While politicians debate that anthropogenic climate change even exists, scientists at Columbia University are attributing climate change as one of the reasons that California remains drier than it has ever been. Much of California is either a desert, or neighbors one, which makes the state naturally arid, but according to the New York Times, the gasses that come from the emissions that cause climate change are intensifying this phenomenon by 15 to 20 percent, even though findings suggest that without the climate change, the drought would be happening anyway.
A. Park Williams is one of the climate scientists studying the effects of climate change on the state, and has published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters, a scientific journal that deals in earth and climate science. Williams gave the New York Times a statement on the matter.
“This would be a drought no matter what. It would be a fairly bad drought no matter what. But it’s definitely made worse by global warming.”
Al Jazeera reports that Williams’ team of climate researchers studied various environmental factors that normally vary with climate change, and the temperature in California has climbed 2.5 degrees in the time span from 1901 to 2014.
Williams compared precipitation to currency, and said that climate change is causing the value of snowflakes and raindrops to “inflate.”
“Rising temperatures mean we have to get more rain just to break even. Each raindrop and each snowflake is a little less valuable.”
Peter Gleick, the director of the Pacific Institute, a non-profit water research organization, has echoed much of what A. Park Williams has said, and offered his opinions on the research paper.
“We can no longer deny the growing evidence that the consequences of climate change are here now and not something to anticipate in the future. There is a growing scientific consensus that the California drought has been influenced by human-caused climate change … This is the first paper to actually quantify what those effects are.”
— Pacific Institute (@PacificInstitut) August 7, 2015
California is hopeful that the drought will end soon, because of a “Godzilla El Niño” predicted by NASA climate scientists. Still, if environmental policies do not change, then the western United States could be heading for a drier period than it has seen in a millennium.
Measures have been taken to possibly slow the effects of the drought, such as millions of black balls being released into California’s reservoirs. It is no surprise that California has become desperate, because this drought started in 2012.
With this kind of evidence, here is no denying climate change is real. The question is if we care enough to do something about it.
[Image by David McNew / Getty Images]