Skip to main content

California Droughts

by Isobel Wright, MSS Intern
Tamalpais High School

Having suffered three consecutive years with abnormally low rainfall averages, California faces its most severe drought in decades. In 2013, we received less rain than any year since California became a state in 1850. In fact, many Bay Area scientists have proven from tree-ring data, that on the current path, the upcoming rainfall season will be the driest since 1580. The effects of low water levels have left communities fighting over emergency water supplies, fires raging across the state, and whole species and industries are subsequently threatened.



Many reservoirs are only 30 percent full (like Folsom Lake, shown above). Retrieved from Huffington Post.



But we have had little rainfall before, so what makes this drought different? What makes this drought particularly cruel is the record-keeping heat experienced in the first half of 2014. This heat exacerbated an already devastating drought. The National Climatic Data Center released information revealing that California had its warmest January-June season since the recording began in 1895, with the temperature being 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

This graph shows the extremely low rain fall levels in 2014. Retrieved from Independent.com. 
It is thought that this intense heat is being caused by human created global warming and a persistent high pressure ridge above the West and the eastern Pacific Ocean. This ridge has prevented storms from reaching this region.

Information sources:

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_24993601/california-drought-past-dry-periods-have-lasted-more
http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/09/02/california-megadrought/14446195/
http://ca.gov/drought/

Join us Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 to learn more at "Pain for Cows and Pumpkins: Drought Impacts on Central Valley Agricultural Water Supply" with Douglas Charlton PhD of Charlton International.  7:30 - 8:30 pm Terra Linda High School, San Rafael, Room 207. RSVP on Facebook here.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Birth of the Universe, through Today's Telescopes

by Sandra Ning, Terra Linda HS

A nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Though nebulae are often the focus of space appreciation in pop culture, the universe encompasses billions more phenomena. (source)
     A story is typically told from the beginning, but oftentimes the universe is an exception. As a society, time is measured in days and nights, hours, minutes, and seconds. But even more so, time is apparent to us through the peachy sunrise of dawn, the angry grumbles of an empty stomach at noon, and the fatigue that settles with the darkness of night. It's hard to imagine any of these things in relation to the universe, with its sleepless planets and nomadic asteroids, all swallowed up in an unimaginably large blanket of space. If the universe is a story, and all the galaxies, comets, and stars its characters, where does it all begin? 
     Luckily, scientists have already delved into the origins of the universe, and have resurfaced with new and exciting insights regarding these qu…

"Gnashing, Gnawing, and Grinding: The Science of Teeth" - An Interview with Tesla Monson of UC Berkeley

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Dr. Tesla Monson studies mammals, especially their skulls and teeth. She is a researcher at UC Berkeley and has a BA in cultural anthropology, an MA in biological anthropology, and PhD in Integrative Biology. 

1. What made you want to study mammals?
Growing up in Washington State, I was always really interested in biological life, and particularly animals and plants. When I first learned about Paleolithic cave art in my undergraduate anthropology class, which is some of the oldest and most beautiful art, dated to more than 30,000 years ago, I became fascinated with the seemingly timeless question, "What makes us human?", "What makes me, me?, "What makes humans unique from other animals?" And "What makes non-human animals different from each other?" Because these questions are focused on trying to place humans within the context of evolution and life on this planet, and because humans are mammals, I have been …

All About Lysosomes

by Angel Zhou, Branson School

Lysosomes, discovered and named by Belgian biologist Christian de Duve, who eventually received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1974, are membrane-enclosed organelles that function as the digestive system of the cell, both degrading material taken up from outside the cell and digesting obsolete components of the cell itself. The membrane around a lysosome allows the digestive enzymes to work at the pH they require. In their simplest form, lysosomes are visualized as dense spherical vacuoles, but they can display considerable variation in size and shape as a result of differences in the materials that have been taken up for digestion. Lysosomes contain an array of enzymes capable of breaking down biological polymers, including proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.

The lysosome’s enzymes are synthesized in the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The enzymes are released from Golgi apparatus in small vesicles which ultimately fuse with acidic vesicles ca…