California Overcame 1/100 Odds to Beat Its Epic Drought
California Overcame 1/100 Odds to Beat Its Epic Drought.
Never tell California the odds.
Not only has the state recovered from its record-breaking drought, it did so in record time.
According to a new NOAA study looking at 445 years of climate data, California had a 1 percent chance of breaking the drought in just two years.
“What we see in the historic record is an increase in the likelihood of warm and dry periods, punctuated by wet conditions,” says Noah Diffenbaugh, climate scientist at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.
“What we used are existing climate reconstructions based on tree ring data, which show river and stream flows,” says Eugene Wahl, the study’s lead author and a paleoclimatologist for NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information.
To make sure their correlation was sound, Wahl and his co-authors calibrated tree rings to stream flow for over 60 years of data—from 1916 to 1977.
All this legwork was really so Wahl and his team really could figure out the rate at which California recovered from its most recent drought relative to those in the past.
The following year, the bucket gets a little more water.
A little more the following year.