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Has drought in California become the norm?

Image from the International Space Station (ISS) as it flew over California.  Image credit: Stuart Rankin/Flickr

Atmospheric patterns like those that appeared during the latter half of California’s ongoing multiyear drought are becoming much more common, according to study published April 1, 2016 in the journal Scientific Advances.

The team of researchers analyzed the occurrence of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns that have occurred during California’s historical precipitation and temperature extremes.

Lead researcher Noah Diffenbaugh is an associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford University. Diffenbaugh said in a statement:

The current record-breaking drought in California has arisen from both extremely low precipitation and extremely warm temperature. In this new study, we find clear evidence that atmospheric patterns that look like what we’ve seen during this extreme drought have in fact become more common in recent decades.

Continue here.

Source:  Earthsky, April 6, 2016

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