How drought shaped Southern California

From the Orange County (Calif.) Weekly, a story about how drought shaped Southern California: Orange County as we know it exists because of the Great Drought of 1864. It wrecked Southern California’s cattle industry, then one of the largest in the world and the heart of the area’s economy, and forced ranchers to unload their …

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Plan for a bad news future on the Colorado, or embrace uncertainty?

In Colorado River Basin planning, there is a common mistake growing out the the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study. It is made by seizing on the study’s finding regarding the impact of climate change (as exemplified by the results of General Circulation Models, or GCM’s) on the river, quoted here from the executive summary (pdf), …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: RIP Yoda, the tree

When Henri Grissino-Mayer first told me about the tough little old Douglas fir named Yoda, it struck me as the perfect bit of anthropomorphic business for a book about tree rings for kids. When Henri emailed me last month to tell me that Yoda had died over the summer, I knew I couldn’t let the …

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Colorado River Basin forecast for the winter of 2014-15: “meh”

Even with the fizzling El Niño forecast, the winter outlook for the United States released by the Climate Prediction Center yesterday looks awfully El Niño-like, with odds favoring wetter weather across the southern tier of states. But for the bulk of the Colorado River Basin’s water-producing region, which is in the central Rockies, the forecast looks …

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California’s drought – is this what climate adaptation looks like?

Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga last week gave us a nice tour through the details of how California’s agricultural businesses are responding to drought conditions. He notes especially a shift, was water gets more expensive, into higher valued crops. Stuff that can be grown in places where water is cheap and plentiful, like what, into high-dollar crops …

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How well is California weathering the drought?

Peter Gleick runs down some of the impacts of California’s remarkable drought: [W]ater still comes out of my tap, in unrestricted amounts and superb quality, at a reasonable price. And this is true of every resident in the state: drinking water supplies have not been affected, especially for the vast majority of the population that …

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