Scientists knew California’s drought was bad, but newly published research indicates that the drought, now in its fourth year, led to the lowest snow pack in five centuries. The study, which focused on blue oak tree rings in Central California, began in April after scientists found virtually no snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, according to The Washington Post.
“The results were astonishing,” Valerie Trouet, an associate professor at the University of Arizona who was a senior author for the study, published in the journal Nature. “We knew it was an all-time low over a historical period, but to see this as a low for the last 500 years, we didn’t expect that. There’s very little doubt about it.”
The snow pack provides 30 percent of the state’s water supply and without that runoff, groundwater and reservoirs are growing alarmingly low.
Another study indicates that this type of drought, significantly worse than in the past due to climate change, is likely to become more frequent in California.
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