Nobody had any doubts that California would have record-breaking climate conditions in 2015. The state has been enduring a devastating and anomalous drought for several years now, so it was expected that indicators like the Sierra snowpack levels, would be incredibly low. But researchers have found that the amount of snow on these mountains was lower than their wildest expectations.
This past spring, they found that the Sierra’s snowpack was only 5% of its yearly average since measurements were first taken in the 1930’s. The researchers also collected tree ring samples from over 1500 oaks in the region, and managed to estimate the yearly rainfall they experienced, as well as how much of that rain turned into snow. Their data covered every rainy season since the year 1400. They found that the snowpack in the Sierras hasn’t been this low in 500 years, and that the chances of this happening every 500 years was less than 5%.
While the researchers were quick to blame global warming for the lack of snow, the timeline seems to line up with the multi-decade megadroughts that strike the region every few hundred years. Either way, the snowpack that normally fills 30% of the state’s water reservoirs could take years to recover.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .