Climate scientists have been keeping a close eye on the years-long drought plaguing California, looking for clues that might suggest how to cope with or even reverse the drought conditions. Although droughts occur from time to time over the course of history as part of natural cycles, scientists said Thursday that global warming has had a direct and severe impact on the current drought, making it much more severe than it might be otherwise. And, of course, the droughts aren’t the only consequence of human-caused climate change.

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This latest information comes from a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. In that research, a team of climate scientists looked specifically at data that would help determine how much of the current drought conditions have been caused by climate change. Although the drought has been worsening for several years, the team concluded that climate change did in fact intensify the California drought between eight percent and 27 percent in the period from 2012 to 2014. To evaluate the impact, they looked at temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and other factors in order to measure how climate change has impacted the drought.

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Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and the lead author of the paper, hopes that this research will help illustrate the need for resilient solutions to the long-term problem of climate change. “I hope that the measures that are under way now to improve resilience to droughts don’t end as soon as it gets wet again in a few years,” Williams told the Guardian, after pointing out that California has a habit of discontinuing drought-fighting efforts once conditions improve.

This study provides the concrete evidence to confirm what many have believed for quite some time. The link between the devastating drought and climate change is so obvious that even the American Farm Bureau finally caved earlier this year, admitting that the progressing climate change issues were posing a challenge for farmers, who have already taken some drastic measures to cope with the lack of water.

+ Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012–2014

Via The Guardian

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