California's Long Drought Has Killed 100 Million Trees By kacey deamer

Summary of Article: The drought in California began a couple of years ago. It was caused by a mass of warm water in the Pacific ocean that has drifted closer to the west coast recently. La Niña probably started the drought cycle in 2011 by creating a high pressure system just off of the West Coast, but close to California. The high-pressure system interfered with storm tracks and wind flow, which caused storms that would have hit California to change course and bring precipitation to other places. This high pressure system also rerouted cold air away from it's position over the Pacific, which prevented the atmosphere from removing the usual amount of heat from the ocean, which added to this mass of warm water. Another factor that is influencing the drought is the type of precipitation. In California, snow is better than rain for drought relief. California is dependent upon the buildup of a snowpack in the winter to melt into runoff in the spring for the state’s water supply. Unfortunately, the warm water mass, which is between two to seven degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal water in this part of the ocean, heats the atmosphere above it, making rain more likely than snow. During this drought, California has had record high temperatures and of course record low snowpack depths.

The lingering drought has caused more than one hundred million trees in California to die. In 2016 alone there has been sixty two million tree deaths in California. While trees dying under drought conditions is expected, scientists say that it was unexpected how many trees are dying this fast. The deaths of these trees have put the entire region's ecology at risk.

Analysis of Article: The content of this article is noteworthy because the drought represents how weather patterns have an effect on the environment. The main weather patten being a mass of warm water that has drifted closer to the west coast. The drought has caused trees to die, which is having profound effects on the California's ecology. One effect being an increased risk of wildfire. This poses a risk to property and life in California. The increased risk of wildfire is also affecting the USFS budget; in 2016 California redirected forty three million dollars towards drought and wildfire restoration. Fifty six percent of the USFS' total budget was spent towards fire management. The loss of trees has also likely upset the biogeochemical cycles, as there are less trees for transpiration, photosynthesis, and other processes.

The drought has also cause other types of plants to die including crops. This is causing an increased price in produce, which is hurting California's economy.

I think that there are several actions the residents of California and the government can take. One being more government control over water. There can be harsh penalties for wasting water. This would help conserve water and not waste it, which could go towards keeping more plants alive. If more plants were alive instead of dead, there would also be less environmental problems such as increased risk of fires. I also think that maybe, although it would be difficult and expensive, the government can also put more focus into converting salt water to usable water.

My Big Takeaway: This article has shown me a lot about weather pattens and the effect they have on the environment. I picked this article because we have talked about La Niña in class. I was intrigued by the drought in California, as it seems to be a good case study for weather patterns and their effects. I think drought is a difficult problem to combat. Weather seems to be out of humans' control. I think that unfortunately we don't have the technology to truly make a big enough difference in this drought. This article has made me more aware of the problems California is currently facing, and has inspired my curiosity of ways to combat serious environmental problems such as weather patterns leading to drought.

For more insight into the drought in California, check out this video!

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.