This past week has seen a major storm come through Central Coastal California.
It has deposited over 4” in town and over 10” in the higher regions of the Santa Cruz Watersheds. This has been very welcome to us all.
Two interesting studies were released in the last week. One is a study of the tree rings in California trees like bristlecone pines and Redwoods, trees that live to 2,000 years and more. Measurements find 37 droughts in 1,200 years that last 3 consecutive years. The drought of 2011-2014 the most severe in the last 1,200 years. You can find out more here: http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20141205/tree-ring-study-finds-current-drought-worst-in-1200-years
The other study investigated the high pressure ridge has been so persistent for the last three winters. The high pressure ridge 2000 miles long and 4 miles high, off the coast of Northern California and Oregon forces the jet stream to go around California, usually to the north. This high pressure ridge usually breaks down in the winter, allowing the jet stream to sweep into California bringing the rain storms that are always present in the North Pacific from December through March. The scientists believe that ocean temperatures near and North of Hawaii have caused the high pressure ridge to linger into winter. Now, this December, the high pressure ridge has collapsed, allowing the storms to reach the California mainland: http://www.mercurynews.com/News/ci_27093811/California-drought:-Natural-patterns-not-humancaused-climate-change-federal-study-finds
For now, we can keep an eye on the Jet stream as it approaches the coastline. As long as the Jet stream crosses California, we will receive the rain from these storms…