“Water is the driving force of all nature.” ~ Leonardo Di Vinci
Last weekend was hot … beautiful, but hot. Summer-like weather took over winter’s last days. Looking for snow? A bit further to the west – in Hawaii storms left volcanic peaks snow-capped and Mauna Loa under blizzard warning.
The yard in my La Crescenta house has three leafless birch trees. No spring leaves here as they are victims of drought. At this very minute time, the world’s climate seems chaotic. Setting global warming aside, I contextualize with “…there is nothing new under the sun.” The beginning of this quotation from Ecclesiastes 1:9 reads, “What has been will be again …”
Climatologists agree the present drought in California is just one more chapter in the history of extended dry periods. The study of west’s long-term climate patterns show droughts lasting beyond 200 years; the term “mega-drought” is defined.
Tree rings document multiple droughts in California’s climatic history. The current one has been deemed the driest period in the state’s recorded rainfall history. And according to UC Berkley paleoclimatologists, the 2013-14 rainfall season may be the driest – based on tree ring data – in 434 years.
We are in the fourth year of drought. These dry years are nothing when compared to those considered mega-droughts. The following account is well documented, both scientifically and historically. There is no doubt our local native population suffered from this event as well.
In Mesa Verde, Colorado around 1300 A.D., the Anasazi people and their surrounding cultures disappeared. The mystery has long been disputed by archaeologists, but the tree-ring records and radio-carbon dates of their plants show centuries of alternating heat-induced droughts throughout the southwest. The peak period and most intense was called “great drought” from 1276 to 1299 A.D. With natural resources affected, perhaps the Anasazi were unable survive. Although considered theory, it is most probable.
According to Bill Patzert, oceanographer at NASA’s JPL, “The west is in a 20 year drought that began in 2000. A negative Pacific decadal oscillation is underway…. linked are extreme high-pressure ridges that block storms.”
There is no connections between this and global warming; this is not to say that “global warming” does not exist!
If current dry conditions continue, what will happen? Agriculture will be hardest hit, which use 80% of water resources. Cities will definitely be inconvenienced, but will adapt. CV Water District’s restrictions will remain at yellow – Extraordinary – for now. According to a spokesperson at their office, this may change in July.
An unstable air mass moved into the foothills as CV Weekly reached deadline. Hopefully, the possibility of thundershowers and an inch of rain were fulfilled. Partly cloudy to clear days with mild temperatures will welcome spring.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.