Today he's wanting to downplay it again in an article by Robert Moore (archived here). He's not downplaying it quite so much this time. The top lot of images he's used don't help his argument much. It shows how the drought emerged over the past 3 years. Here's what it looks like now - a very small improvement from the worst of it three months ago (click to enlarge):
|Source: US Drought Monitor|
Here's an image of what makes all this worse - the depletion of ground water - in an image I snagged from a recent paper by JS Famiglietti in Nature Climate Change:
Instead of writing about the drop in water tables, like was demonstrated in that paper, and by NASA recently, he seems to be more concerned about not creating public panic. Which is a very worthy aim. Robert wrote about how this:
is not even the 2nd driest water year for California in the last 120 years.Well, well, well. It's only been the third driest year. Nothing to be concerned about after all. Or is it? What Robert found was that back in the 1920's and again in the 1950's there was a year in which there was less precipitation in California. Do those times ring a bell?
Fortunately Robert is not completely dismissing the severity of the current drought. He wrote:
Do these facts mean that we are in good shape re California’s water supply? No!
But we shouldn’t be framing the search for a stable California water supply by starting from a wildly incorrect statement that seems focused on creating public panic.
If we begin our search for a solution from reality, it is more likely that we can achieve a realistic long term solution.
Robert doesn't say who made any wildly incorrect statement. No links. Nothing. I'm guessing from the post title "Worst drought in California history? Not really…" that he read or heard someone somewhere at some time or another say that this current drought is the worst drought in the history of California - and that Robert disagrees. [Added for clarification, muddiness, by Sou]
Nor does Robert have any suggestions to make regarding water security. He's just making a point that California has had droughts before, which is true. And that decisions need to be made for the long term, which I expect the planners in California have already figured out, while they try to cope with the immediate short term demands for water.
From the WUWT comments
I'm flat out on other things at the moment so I don't have time to write more about this. I'll just post a few of the well-meaning comments of sympathy and support for Californians from the WUWT readers.
Proud Skeptic points out that these days there are more people making more demands on the water supply and maybe Californians should stop whining and send some of their residents packing:
November 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm
I guess it is a much bigger deal now. Back in 1920, California wasn’t nearly as populated as it is now. Maybe the answer is that fewer people should live there. Or maybe they can stop whining about climate change and go find some water.
MCourtney agrees with Proud Skeptic, and adds some suggestions for powering desal plants:
November 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm
Oh, you said exactly what I was going to say.
But I was going to add something about desalination plants.
Maybe divert all the windfarms to running new desalination plants and building coal, gas or nuclear to replace them?
When it stops blowing you will have stored the electricity in the form of potable water.
I think I’ve just solved the unreliability problem of wind and solar.
Bolshevictim says to outlaw lawns, which is sensible, and get rid of undocumented immigrants - a completely different issue but one that's clearly a concern to him.
November 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Well, my solution is to outlaw green lawns, not only would it reduce water consumption, but demand for cheap lawn service, aka.undocumented immigrants, would be almost completely eliminated.
David R hints at the the problems that arise when heat and drought combine:
November 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm
Is 2014 going to be the warmest year on record for California?
Bloke down the pub adds his two bob's worth and says:
November 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
There are of course different ways of defining drought. If you measure it by the moisture content of the soil, then the amount of water taken out to supply the growing population will mean that droughts will get more severe, whatever the short term variability of weather.
Dawtgtomis decides that Californians need to adapt to a hotter world, not bother making California less hot and dry, and says:
November 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm
Clean water for all IS worth spending money on. CO2 abatement IS NOT worth any spending.
Stephen Richards is more worried about what's in his hip pocket than the plight of Californians:
November 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm
The socialists are doing their bit increasing taxes and enrgy prices
That's all I've got time for right now. You can read more here, if you want to.
Famiglietti, J. S. "The global groundwater crisis." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 11 (2014): 945-948. doi:10.1038/nclimate2425