The rainfall from recent storms has made a major impact on California’s drought, according to the latest data from the state’s drought monitor.
This historic rainfall is an example of what we like to call weather whiplash. Climate change fuels intense droughts but also periods of intense rainfall as warmer global temperatures add more fuel for storms.
The questions that are coming up after all of the rain is: Can you have both, a drought in the midst of flooding? Did all of this rain wipe out the drought? Well the answer is it’s complicated.
The U.S. West has been suffering what’s called a mega drought: It’s widespread and lasting for 20 years. And a wetter than normal season will not refill all of the state’s reservoirs and recharge the water table deep in the soil.
All of the recent rain is helping, but a research scientist who helps write the drought monitor explains further.
“When it comes this quickly, we can’t capture it. So a lot of it doesn’t percolate into the water table,” said David Simeral
Desert Research Institute associate research scientist in climatology. “And it also depends on where the precipitation is falling. Whether they’re in areas where there are reservoirs to store that water. But the long-term situation, in spite of all of the flooding that you’re seeing, there are still long-term problems in terms of reservoir storage having not been resolved yet. And the groundwater situation as I mentioned is a much longer timescale in terms of looking at recovery of the groundwater.”
Source: NBC Bay Area