Golden State may become Sunburn state soon enough

Jose Castro – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Sacramento, CA, United States (4E) – From January until July 2014, the hottest temperatures have been recorded for the sunny state of California. This brings a fourth straight year of drought conditions alongside tinder dry forest fire danger, according to a report on the national climate recently released.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average increase in temperatures from 2013 was by 1.4 degrees Farenheit. These temperatures were scattered all over the Western United States, where six other states had either record breaking or near record breaking temperatures for the same period.

According to NOAA’s National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup, “It’s obviously a significant record, going back more than a hundred years. It’s certainly possible to have a record hot year for the state of California.”

He added, “For the next three months, the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above normal temperatures for Southern California.”

As a result of the high temperatures in the past years, the water reserves in both the topsoil and subsoil are nearly used up. About 70% of the state’s pasture lands are rated from ‘very poor to poor’ in a recent review conducted by the US Department of Agriculture. When considering the factors of lack of rainfall and increased temperatures, 2014 seems to be the worst drought in the recorded weather history of the state.

This isn’t something new or something acute. The International Panel on Climate Change, a consortium of over 1,300 scientists worldwide, had forecasted temperatures would increase between 2.5 degrees to 10 degrees Farenheit over the next century. Thus the recorded increase in temperatures currently being experienced in California is just on the average weather and not really ‘hot weather.’

One way to break the drought though is a strong El Nino that was thought to be forming in the area. This forming has been forecasted to be just at 65% by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. This is a bad omen, as indicated by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert. He said, without the El Nino, “There’s no relief in sight. No El Nino. No nothin’. As we get into September and October, the thing we’re going to have to watch out for – because it’s been so unbelievably dry – is the fire danger is off the scale.”

From January to July, the average temperature in California was at 60.9 degrees Farenheit. This is nearly 5 degrees higher than the average in the 20th century. The previous highest drought year for the same period was in 1934, where the current temperatures topped that by 1.4 degrees.

According to climatologists, the record breaking temperatures were caused by a high pressure formation that had enveloped California. This was compounded by monsoon level moisture, creating a higher than average humidity as well as hotter evenings throughout most of the state.

As for the weekend, mild weather is expected in Sacramento, across the Delta and in the mountain areas of California. The highest temperature forecasted is at 92 degrees Farenheit, which is a bit below the average of 93 degrees for the month of August.

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