Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Only at WUWT: California's water scarcity is "amusing"

Sou | 6:33 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

This time it's not so much that Anthony Watts of WUWT doubts the findings (the word "claim" doesn't appear in the headline), it's that he is amused by the notion that there's yet another pressure on water availability in his part of the USA. Yes, he thinks it's humorous. (Archived here.)

A new paper was reported in a press release from UC Irvine, which said in part:
Freshwater runoff from the Sierra Nevada may decrease by as much as one-quarter by 2100 due to climate warming on the high slopes, according to scientists at UC Irvine and UC Merced.
Accelerated plant growth at higher elevations caused by increasing temperatures would trigger more water absorption and evaporation, accounting for the projected runoff declines, the researchers add.
A diminished river flow will only add to the burden of providing resources to the thirsty farms and homes that rely on it. The state is currently experiencing a severe drought, and some reservoirs and groundwater levels are at all-time lows.
The study findings appear this week in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

You can read the full press release here. The research was done by Michael L. Goulden and Roger C. Bales. I couldn't find the study at PNAS early edition. I expect it will be posted online shortly.

At WUWT the paper was treated with a mix of disdain, disinterest, disbelief from commenters, and "amusement" from Anthony Watts himself. He wrote:
From the University of California – Irvine and the “Environmentalists are never happy” department comes this amusing quandary.
The cause? Increased high-elevation plant growth fueled by climate warming

I don't think too many people in California and neighbouring states would be amused. California is suffering extreme drought at the moment, according to the US Drought Monitor:

Source: US Drought Monitor

From the WUWT comments

There were ice age comethers, like James the Elder, who wrote:
September 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm
They should be happy about more trees. After all the coal plants are shuttered, they will need the wood to stay warm.

Then there were Pollyanna types, like Rhoda R who wrote:
September 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm
Doesn’t increased run off have a lot to do with flooding in California?

Jack is an example of someone who doesn't "believe" humans are capable of making projections based on a knowledge of biology, atmospheric science, geology, soil physics, and chemistry. He becomes incoherent with rage that scientists get paid for the work they do:
September 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm
what a load of hogwash. Water is too serious a matter to let fools like that play with failed computer models. Anyone who extrapolates out that far is not a scientist of any repute or regard. We have to use what water we have in much better ways and technology is rapidly advancing in this area.
That advance must not be blocked by these dopes trying to grab so me more climate funding. 

cnxtim, who wastes much of his day writing dumb comments at WUWT and who probably wouldn't open a climate textbook if his life depended on it or engage in any productive activity, says:
September 1, 2014 at 7:49 pm
The problem is really one of unbounded funding.
Why governments have been suckered into approving this enormous waste of taxpayers money is beyond me
With so many real problems facing every country, this climate overstudy nonsense is both reprehensible and just plain STUPID!
Get a job you useless bludgers!

latecommer2014 might be oxygen deprived, making up stuff out of thin mountain air:
September 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm
Lots of “coulds” in this article as in “it could be with warming”….. Of course the fact that the Sierras are cooling makes it irrelevant .

In an attempt to claim that "scientists don't know nuffin'", john robertson is even prepared to become a (temporary) greenie:
September 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm
I guess they never leave the air-conditioned office.
Trees, foothill forests prolong river flow throughout the year.
The forest acts as a sponge for snowmelt, downpours and so on, thus preventing flooding and then their real value kicks in, come midsummer the water flow is clean, cool and steady.
Known in many farming areas where the forests were cleared ruthlessly to create farm land.
Until the foothill forests grew back, there was spring flooding and summer drought. 

SAMURAI decides he has the solution to solve all the drought problems farmers are facing in California:
September 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm
It’s absurd that California has not spent more on desalinization plants given its population growth and its semi-desert climate.
Many desalinization plants have been proposed, but the EPA and enviro-wacko advocacy groups have prevented their development.
Another problem in California is the cyclical nature of its precipitation, which closely follows El Nino/La Nina cycles. Stupid political hacks often propose building desalinization plants during dry La Nina cycles, and then defund the projects once El Nino/high precipitation cycles restart….
The US should follow Singapore’s model of rapid desalinization plant development to address their water shortage problem.
In the future, cheap and abundant waste heat from Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will eventually supply arid areas of the country with more fresh water than they’ll know what to do with…
Until LFTRs are available, reverse osmosis desalinization plants must rapidly be built in California to meet its growing water requirements.

Which confuses the deniers no end, because denier blogger Andrew Bolt has told them desal plants like the ones that Perth now relies upon for almost 30% of its water supply, are a complete waste of money. Eugene WR Gallun wrote:
September 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm
All that about desalinization plants was also said in Australia a few years back — and they built them. They now sit unused — one of the biggest government boondoggles in Australian history.:

There was one rare person who wasn't mirthful and mocking like Anthony Watts, and took the report seriously. David in Cal wrote:
September 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm
I take this seriously, given that water shortages already occur every few years. This paper will make a positive contribution if it persuades people to take steps to provide more water.


  1. Denier weirdness at WUWT. I like this comment at the end of Wayman Tisdale's post on current record warm SST numbers.

    September 2, 2014 at 5:04 am

    So, global sea surface temperatures are at a record level and we’re not even having an El Nino.

    We really are screwed.

    Who let the dogs out ???

    1. Perhaps it was mistaken for sarcasm? Heck, maybe it actually was sarcasm, but I'd like to think not.

  2. That drought map of CA just keeps getting more awful.

    Are WUWTers denying the drought yet? That's what they got up to with the midwest drought a couple years ago.

    1. Just an excuse to gouge people for their groceries. Despicable behaviour but that's capitalism for you, always screwing the little guy.

      On second thoughts they probably won't go with that line, so it's happened before and was worse, oh yes it was, nothing to see here, what about that Antarctic sea-ice, eh?

    2. Slagging *capitalism* is out of bounds, but slagging big corporations might be OK.

  3. I assume people know where Chico is on the map. I wonder how many residents know Chico is the HQ for WUWT.

    1. I wonder how many WUWT fans realise that Formal Education in Chico is a heritage men's clothing store. No, really. It's located in downtown Chico and has purchasings (the owner's word) and rentals of full-service suits and tuxedos (for Heartland conventions?).
      I wonder how many WUWT fans know that 'The Graduate in Chico' is not an Anthony but is a huge bar with reasonably priced drinks and great food.

    2. Indeed John. I have been considering the irony of that. I wonder how the Mendocino National Forest to the West and the Tahoe National Forest to the East of the valley in which Chico sits are fairing? This considering that they are each located well within the most drought affected area.

    3. Don't paint all of Chico with the same brush. I imagine Watts hates CSU Chico:


    4. Mendocino National Forest has been pretty quiet this summer. Lightening started a fire closer to the coast, northwest of Laytonville. Burned about 13,000 acres, mostly on the ground. Did crown a few times.


      Wharf Rat

  4. Google: chico drought

  5. This is an interesting pair of photos of Lake Oroville about 20 miles east of Chico in the Sierras.

    I seem to recall Willard denying that the situation up there was this bad a few months ago.

    1. What effect is this going to have on agriculture, will 'Blossom Hill' become a thing of the past?

      Then there is that big ogre California and fracking - Sourcewatch.

    2. My immediate response to thoser photos was 'Bloody 'ell!'. My considered response is essentially the same, but more emphatic.

      How much longer does the drought have to go on to become catastrophic, I wonder?

    3. It already is catastrophic. Water allotments to agriculture have been cut to the bone. In the central coast town of Santa Cruz people are being required to cut back consumption by 25%, with draconian fines being levied on those who fail to act (this is far worse than the required cutbacks in the last bad drought there and the fines are much much worse).


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