The Central Valley is in the grip of a global warming trend

The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California

January 2017

I live for the winter. When the temps get down to zero and the wind picks up, I feel alive again.

As a person who works for a government agency that pays to have my personal email address on my tax return, I should be well aware of the impact of a changing climate.

But for now, all I can focus on is that we’re in the grip of a long-term trend toward global warming and the effects of that warming. And to my chagrin, I see that trend accelerating.

A new report from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration offers yet another bleak outlook for California’s drought-stricken Central Valley region.

According to a survey released last week by NOAA, the region is going through what it calls “drought stress.” The stress was rated on a scale of 10, with 10 representing the most severe drought stress.

The survey shows that seven of the 10 counties in California’s central valley — Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Amador, San Luis Obispo, Solano, and Kern — have been rated in that category.

California’s drought has been well-known to the public for years. But in the past few years, we’ve had to deal with its harshest effects.

First, the rain turned to snow that completely buried the hills around Sacramento in March 2014. Then, the wet weather was followed by devastating drought, which has been declared in parts of California, including California’s Central Valley.

The latest outlook

The latest outlook from NOAA, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is even more frightening.

Here’s an example of how the agency describes what’s happening to the central valley:

“Drought stress is a broad category of drought-related conditions that result from extreme short or long-term precipitation deficits — a situation

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