100,000 Wells About to Go Dry? NASA Finds California Drought Removing 4 Trillion Gallons of Water Each Year

As of October 4, the State of California had entered its 4th year of a raging drought that shows no sign of abating. A drought that a growing number of studies are linking to human-caused climate change. A drought that appears to be readying to level a terrible blow at residents, communities and farmers living in the increasingly dessicated Central Valley region.

State reservoirs, despite ever-heightening restrictions on water use, were 43 percent lower than is typical for this time of year. And the state’s largest reservoir — Lake Oroville — had declined to 30% of capacity by early October (record lowest level is 27 percent capacity set in 1977).

All the while, NASA’s GRACE gravity sensor is providing a record of a historic drying that has been ongoing since at least 2002.


(NASA/UC Urvine graphic showing California water loss through June of 2014.)

The above image is a visual representation of NASA gravity sensor measurements of California ground water losses over the past 12 years. What the sensors — a pair of minivan sized satellites that use microwave altimetry to measure changes in the planet’s gravity — have found is that California’s Central Valley has been losing 4 trillion gallons of water each year for the past three years running.

It is a massive loss of water with far-reaching impacts including greatly reducing the flows of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.

The loss of ground water is primarily due to increasing rates at which both communities and farmers are tapping well water supplies to make up for the massive deficits of the ongoing drought. Overall, more than 600,000 wells feed individual homes, small communities and farms throughout the Central Valley. As wells dried up, residents and growers in the region turned to deeper and deeper drilling — tapping water further and further underground.

The result is a very rapid depletion of the aquifer water store. A depletion starkly visible to NASA satellite sensors. A race for the last remaining drops of an ever-shrinking pool of water.

Lake Oroville 2

(Lake Oroville at full in 2011 [top frame] and nearing bone dry during August of 2014 [bottom frame]. Image source: Paul Hames, California Department of Water Resources and Justin Sullican, Getty Images.)

100,000 Wells about To Go Dry

Such a massive and rapid depletion of the ground water supply can’t go on without having a severe impact. And it appears now that some communities, residents and growers with more tenuous links to California’s rapidly dwindling water are already starting to feel the effects. As of October, fruit and nut exports from California were down by 8% on the back of merciless drought conditions and dwindling ground water supplies.

More ominously, however, is the fact that many Central Valley residents are already at the point where wells won’t produce at all. By mid-September, towns like Porterville and Seville saw hundreds of residents without running water. In hardest hit Tulare County, 1,000 of the region’s 7,300 residents had lost access to running water due to well failure. In this most extreme of cases, victims of water shortage were forced to haul bottled water to homes from local stores or relief centers set up by firefighters and state emergency personnel.

Tulware may well be California’s canary in the drought coal mine as recent reports find that as many as 100,000 wells — about 1/6th of all the wells in the Central Valley — could go dry by mid October without a bout of well-replenishing rains. And with heatwaves rising under a powerful blocking high pressure system that has dominated the California climate for nearly two years now, the likelihood of such rains appears to be starkly low.

Blocking High California

(Blocking high keeping California dry is plainly visible in the October 12 European Model weather forecast. Image source: ECMWF.)

Weather forecasts continue to show the emergence of ridiculously resilient high pressure systems over California and the near shore Pacific. Rain-bearing low pressure systems continue to be deflected northward into Alaska and British Columbia. Such forecasts indicate that October may well be a very difficult month for the water-strapped State. And with ridging continuing to be the dominant influence, it appears California may be facing another water-poor late fall and early winter going forward.


Human Hothouse Found to Be California Drought Culprit

NASA Satellites Put California Drought into Shocking Perspective

NASA/UC Urvine


Crunch Time for California Drought

Drought Cuts California’s Food Exports Sharply

Not One Drop: How Long Will California Survive Without Water?

Leave a comment


  1. What happened to these guys? They were all over the news a few months ago.


  2. Good work as usual Scribbler. A couple minor corrections might be in order, though: It is “Tulare” county and there is no “s” in Porterville.

    I came up in California, so these things jump out for me. Most folks will not notice.


  3. Jay M

     /  October 6, 2014

    Ironically Tulare was a basin draining the southern Sierra and the place of a marvelous fresh water lake:

  4. Good post, Robert. That blocking high off the west coast just keeps digging in.
    And as this drought continues, hydroelectric power diminishes and fossil fuels try to make up the difference.

    ‘As California’s historic drought dries up the state’s water supplies and withers its crops, it’s also shaking up the way electricity is produced there.

    There’s so little water available in the state’s reservoirs that California’s ability to produce hydropower has been cut in half, while its use of renewables and natural gas power has spiked, a U.S. Energy Information Administration report published Monday shows…

    Nearly all of California’s reservoir levels are below average for this time of year, with the water level of Lake Shasta, one of the state’s largest reservoirs, currently sitting at 42 percent of historical average, said California Department of Water Resources spokesman Ted Thomas…

    Conditions are so dire that the California State Water Project, which provides supplemental water to 29 public water agencies, can only deliver 5 percent of the amount of water those agencies requested this year, he said.’


  5. Loni

     /  October 6, 2014

    Thank you for the post Robert. Us farmers in California are gettin’ a tad edgy. I believe you stated once that the heat in the eastern Pacific, (off the West Coast), is a contributing factor to the atmospheres High Pressure, if that’s is the case, can this high pressure influencing California’s weather be dislodged by anything
    , or is it there as long as the heat in the Pacific is there?

    • The factors involved appear to be heightened sea surface temperatures in the NE Pacific, polar amplification/sea ice loss weakening the Jet Stream and allowing preferential Rossby type ridging along the West Coast of North America, and an overall warming of the atmosphere that is contributing to drier conditions in the US West at large.

      The SST warming is probably 70 percent natural variability, 30 percent climate change. The mangling of the Jet Stream is probably all due to climate change. And the drought preference due to warming is all due to climate change.

      If the SSTs were to cool, you’d likely have the ridge shift more toward the mid continent. That said, the general poleward shift of the storm track due to warming is going to generate preferential drying from this point forward.

      A strong El Niño could provide the moisture and atmospheric patterns needed. But the one that appeared eminent earlier this year has faded to a weak system at best.

      I’m sorry there’s not better news. How are you fairing?

      • “The mangling of the Jet Stream is probably all due to climate change. And the drought preference due to warming is all due to climate change. ”
        Robert, I am in total agreement.

      • Loni

         /  October 7, 2014

        Robert, thank you for your informative response, AND your personal inquiry, considering your time allotments, that is generous of you.
        As the crow flies, I’m about 30 miles inland in the hinterland east of Humboldt Bay on the north coast of California. I’m in the foot hills of the Trinity Alps, thus have very unique weather conditions. It is my observation that I am at the cusp of the ocean influence and the valley weather pattern, the valley being the Redding area. I’m at 600 foot elevation and in a bowl with surrounding ridges in the 1200+ elevations. I’m at the edge of the lush underbrush before one starts climbing in altitude along highway 299.
        So, having “placed” myself, the weather here has been getting colder in the winter, and hotter in the summer, especially the last two years. As a kid growing up on the coast in Eureka, I remember when the fog would be so thick, one had to literally stick ones head out the window and look straight down to see the dotted line on the highway, as one could not see their hood ornament. Or again, fog so thick, one had to listen for the waves breaking along the jetties to negotiate ones way back into the bay. It was no joke, but now the fog is gone, and has not been around for years. The Eel River dried up this year, and the river I border, the Trinity River, the state has put further restrictions on the release of water out of the dams near Redding.
        The weather is inching its’ way somewhere, but just where that “where” is, is the question.

        Take care, and thank you for being such a resource of information. For those of us spreading the words of warning on warming, you along with a select few are my resources.

  6. islandraider

     /  October 6, 2014

    I imagine you have seen this article concerning the drought in California. Here is the link:

    View story at Medium.com

    Interesting & well written look at some of the local farmers & how they have been impacted by the ongoing drought. General consensus seems to be drought was not caused by global warming, blocking highs & altered jetstream, but rather by the damn environmentalists & government diverting their surface water to provide stream flow for endangered aquatic species. Their response: pump groundwater until you can’t. Hard to be hopeful or find hope when folks can’t even agree on the cause of a problem. Really sad watching people (us) degrade the life-sustaining, living planet while fighting among ourselves over who gets the last bit. Like watching hope drain away…

    • Comes from the same place climate change denial comes from — obstinate ignorance and base political driven fear and hatred. The mentality of the conquered, defeated and oppressed. Dupes fueled by extreme right wing media propaganda.

      In other words, welcome back to the Middle Ages. The pitchfork mafia has returned.

      • bassman

         /  October 7, 2014

        Can’t believe Roy Spencer used that second study from NASA (no sub 2000m warming) to suggest it casts doubt on CC. Have wasted so much energy defending the obvious on that site.

      • Loni

         /  October 8, 2014

        islandraider, what must be becoming apparent to the California farmer, is that those same, “damn environmentalist and government……” are causing serious havoc in the weather of the far east, Europe, Siberia, etc. etc. I believe it is safe to say, that at this point, evidence is such that to deny or ignore it is to admit to the moronic ‘Kings new clothes’ syndrome. They simply choose to believe what ain’t there, and ignore what is.

    • Thanks for this story. It’s very revealing of many of California’s plight.
      Alan Heathcock, and the photographs by Matt Black takes us right in to the people and places. The photos are outstanding.
      It is sad though to hear so many of these farmer business people take on the role of victim. But engaging in farming huge tracts of water intensive crops, often for export or meat production, (cotton, alfalfa, almonds, etc.) in a place that has no natural water is just a throw the dice. Balance with nature is crucial — as we are finding out. This applies to every consumer choice too.
      Be sure that these people and their attitudes are emblematic of what we face in these days of climate crisis.

      • Apneaman

         /  October 7, 2014

        I’m certain it’s hard work, but do any of these farmer “victims” get subsidies and special breaks? I don’t think too much of the prairie farming is feasible without subsidies let alone FFs.

      • They despise the government that brings them water which belongs to everyone.

    • Spike

       /  October 7, 2014

      We had similar reactions during extreme UK floods last winter when the right attacked the Environment Agency for not dredging rivers (the experts said it wouldn’t have helped and when they wanted to their budget was inadequate). They were also attacked for constructing “soft” defences, such as salt marshes that benefit nature as well as reducing floods – money should apparently have been spent on manly projects with concrete and big machines, to protect people and property only. The wettest winter ever recorded in the UK, the atmospheric moisture loading, poor farming and mangled jet stream didn’t get a look in on our pathetic media.

      I used to think crisis might wake people up, but it seems to lead to them being read into unreason, with the shock doctrine used to attack environmentalist concerns and opinions and the blame game being encouraged.

      • Yes.

        The environmentalists and scientists are warning that a bad climate is on the way. The conservatives are doing everything they can to figure out how to blame the messenger.

  7. Nudist colony accused of stealing water in Nor Cal.


    (comic analysis can be added with [reply])

  8. The NWS is forecasting higher than normal temperatures this fall and winter for the Pacific Northwest as well as below normal precipitation in weak El Nino conditions (http://mynorthwest.com/11/2619255/Temperatures-trending-towards-El-Nino-winter-in-Seattle). That doesn’t bode well for California since it needs immediate relief.

    Right now in SW Washington state, we’re experiencing something of a heat wave which has longtime residents saying they’ve never seen it so warm and dry this late in the year.

    • Temps for the region continue to range between 5 and 20 F above average.

      Global anomaly today above the 1979 to 2000 mean is +0.56 C. Global SST above the same mean period is +0.98 C.

      September was probably a top 4 warm month again…

  9. rayduray

     /  October 7, 2014

    For those of us hoping El Nino would offer California some drought relief, things are not shaping up as we’d wish. It seems that the high pressure ridge off the CA coast might be with us for a while longer.


    Robert Vella,

    I’m in Bend, OR and I’m enjoying this remarkably unseasonable heat wave we’ve been having in the PNW. We’re currently about 12 degrees F. above normal for this time of year here. The leaves are changing to fall colors and it is 83 F? Seems very strange indeed. As far as Indian Summer goes, this one is spectacular.

    • Good luck on the fall colors. I’m up in Portland — 82 F the last two days. The trees near me are losing their dead leaves — flat brown, many with leaf scorch. But we do have plenty of NOX et al. air pollution around here. That’s another subject.
      Here’s NOAA’s three month USA precipitation forecast. We (PNW) stick out as below average.

      • Apneaman

         /  October 7, 2014

        I was just reading about some of the ozone stuff & pics on Gails blog. It’s worth a look just to see her expose Gavin Schmidt for the lowly careerist that he is. That lady is sharp!


        • I think it’s fair to say that there was a push, about a year and a half ago, by misinformers to degrade the importance of CO2 using both methane and NOx/ozone as wedge issues distracting from the larger problem of human carbon emission. It appears that this action has polluted a more open discourse.

          My opinion is that those of us who support the science community should not abandon the methane and NOx issues — as they are quite important in the larger scheme. We just have to make certain the communication is correct in that it is imperative to reduce all ghg emissions and that CO2 remains the largest driver for warming. Methane’s action as an major and highly unstable accomplice, however, should be well noted together with the ongoing poisoning due to ozone at the lower levels. And the link between methane/ozone should be well noted.

          It’s where we get into issue dominance — people saying that methane emission is more important than CO2 emission and then pushing for continued CO2 emission or, worse, use of Arctic methane as a means to expand the fossil fuel burning horizon — that we get into real trouble.

          Gavin is involved in a message war with these folks. And it’s well worth noting that most of us who are concerned about an Arctic Methane release are also pushing for very rapid global carbon emissions reductions and elimination of as much CO2 producing infrastructure as possible.

          So we should consider these dynamics when we address the methane issue. That said, the attempt to marginalize methane release science is not helpful. The RealClimate folks should look to play go with that issue and try to dominate it, not to cut it out of the science entirely. At its face, it provides serious urgency for reducing global carbon emissions. And that’s the line we should all be taking.

      • robertscribbler, why is RealClimate marginalizing the methane release problem?

    • Ray, I understand the appeal of the sun to us pacific northwesterners but it’s just too warm for me. 🙂

  10. Steve Bloom

     /  October 7, 2014

    Just to note, Robert, in “normal” years our (CA) dry season doesn’t start to end until late October/early November, so a lack of rain right now is expected. The time to start watching for a pattern change (or not) is toward the end of the month.

    • True.

      But what we’re watching is the way the Jet is establishing as fall progresses. That and added ocean heat indicate pattern change is less likely.

      We also have the 30-90 day forecasts pointing toward more dry conditions for the region with storms deflected primarily north and some strengthening of the storm track to the south. The far southern edge of the state might receive an above normal moisture allotment, according to these summaries. But the Northern half remains drier than normal in the forecast as the south is expected to see about normal precip.

      This will show intensifying drought for the North Central region, but with some mild abatement for the south, should the forecast come to pass. It’s worth noting that for the prior three forecasts, there has been more moisture than has actually materialized.

      We also have the polar conditions to consider in addition to the NE Pac heat pool together with overall warming.

  11. NOAA’s three month temperature forecast for USA. The entire west coast all the way up to, and around Alaska to the Beaufort… above ‘normal’.
    My internal Weather-Ouji keeps rumbling and telling me to watch out for 2015.

    • Mark from New England

       /  October 7, 2014

      DT, thanks for all the maps and information!

    • Trough development through the Central US. Ridge west and and east.

      Note the western ridge is extraordinarily warm/strong in this forecast.

      South California might get some extra rain. But that extra heat is a kicker. So even normal precip regions will dry more rapidly. Not a good forecast for a period in which we’d expect drought relief. Maybe not the absolute worst, as the trough may be close enough to feed some moisture in through southern and western regions.

  12. And without a frigid Arctic, we will have no coupling with the warm equator to power the jet stream. A new weather paradigm for the Northern Hemisphere we don’t really want. We should try to avoid this. Ah, the understatement…

    In the Arctic, a +2.42 C temp. anomaly:
    A large dense area of warmth has been hanging around near the Laptev Sea (at about 12 o’clock).

    • It remains very hot over the Laptev in association with very low sea ice values for the region and what appear to be continuous methane seeps and related ghg overburden for that zone.

      We have the Pacific/Scandinavian ridge patterns driving linking warmer than average warm air flows over the poles.

  13. Famine threatens Central America after worst drought in decades:


  14. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    The 18th typhoon of the season blew itself out after racing across the Japanese archipelago, claiming seven lives, injuring 49 others and leaving five missing…………………The typhoon brought torrential rain across the country, dumping 398.5 millimeters on Shizuoka’s Shimizu Ward in the 24 hours until 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 6.

    Yokohama recorded 310 mm in the 24 hours until 10:40 a.m. that day. Nine locations in Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures were lashed with record rainfall in a 24-hour period.


  15. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    I went and looked at the Brazilian drought , still no rain. Coffee prices soaring as a result .
    Two weeks old –
    Unprecedented drought puts Sao Paulo water supply at risk

    “This is an election year and no one wants to acknowledge we have a huge problem, because absolute collapse in the water supply is something we have never experienced and it has far-reaching consequences,” said Paulo Nobre, director of the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies at the National Institute for Space Research in Brasilia.

    “It will be a real humanitarian disaster if it happens,” he added. “We are 20 million people: You can’t bring water on trucks for 20 million. So they are praying that rainfall will come – but it may not rain so much.”


    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 7, 2014

      Coffee futures surged to a 32-month high on speculation that persistent drought will curb next year’s harvest in Brazil, the world’s largest grower and exporter.

      Dry weather was forecast for the next 10 days after no “meaningful” rain fell over the weekend in Brazil’s main growing regions, Drew Lerner, the president of World Weather Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. Arabica-coffee prices have almost doubled this year with crops parched since the start of the year.

    • They would have run out of water already if they hadn’t installed a new system to draw water out of the lowest levels of their reservoirs. Right now, the entire region is scrambling.

      As with many other drought regions, there is no sign of abatement currently. We are dealing with the impacts of a warming globe and the impacts of deforestation in Brazil. Those combined impacts are devastating for the region.

      At the 1 C limit this region starts to tip toward desert. Above 2 C the forests are pushed to the margins. At 4 C they are probably gone entirely and Brazil starts to look more like Saudi Arabia.

      We’ve locked in enough ghg to warm the world 3.6 C long term. So we’re at the start of this process now for Brazil and for many other regions as the global precipitation bands shift northward.

  16. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    Scientists See Severe Coral Bleaching Near Oahu
    Mass bleaching had already been seen about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu, and now Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources says crews have found especially severe bleaching along Oahu’s windward coast.

    Scientists note this September was the second-hottest on record since the 1940s, with recent underwater temperatures as high as 86 degrees. A maximum of 83 degrees is normal.


  17. Andy (at work)

     /  October 7, 2014

    Another hurricane/TS off the coast of Baja following the same track towards Az. Shouldn’t the Pacific be cool enough to dissuade these by this time of year?


    • Yes.

      Another degree or two of SST and we’d be having these things hitting the Southern California Coast.

      The warm water invasion is very far north for this time of year and has altered the range of tropical cyclones for the region this year.

  18. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    Montpellier, France, Floods for Second Time in Nine Days; Soccer Stadium Swamped
    By Nick Wiltgen
    Published: October 7, 2014

    The second flash flood in nine days struck the southern French city of Montpellier on Monday night, swamping a major soccer stadium with 10 feet of water and leaving cars dangling in trees or on top of other cars.

    (PHOTOS: Second Flash Flood Smashes the South of France)

    The flash floods resulted from repeated thunderstorm activity moving over areas just north of the city. According to France’s national weather agency, Meteo-France, the storms dumped 262 millimeters (10.32 inches) of rain on the Prades-le-Lez observation site, breaking the all-time rainfall record since the site was established in 1979. Of that amount, 95 millimeters (3.74 inches) fell in just one hour.


    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 7, 2014

      (MORE: Montpellier’s Sept. 29 Flood)

      Weather Underground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, said that event produced the heaviest two-hour rainfall amount ever recorded in France.

      A number of remarkable flash floods have struck North America, Europe and Asia over the past few months:

      – The remnants of Hurricane Odile unleashed up to 20 inches of rain in the southwestern U.S. the week of Sept. 15-22; numerous individual flash floods occurred in cities such as El Paso and Austin, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

      – Hundreds died in Pakistan and India during monsoon-related floods in early September.

      – Flash floods killed two people in Tucson and destroyed a stretch of Interstate 15 outside Las Vegas Sept. 8.

      – A series of landslides struck Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 20, after 8 inches of rain fell in 3 hours. It took rescuers a full month to find all the victims; 74 people died and dozens more were injured.

      – Flash floods swamped the Phoenix area Aug. 19, closing a stretch of Interstate 17.

      – At least 180 died in Nepal and northern India from flooding and mudslides in August.

      – Flooding closed five freeways in and around Detroit, flooding thousands of homes and causing at least $1 billion in damage Aug. 11.

      – Four people died in a sudden and highly localized flash flood in the mountains of northern Italy on Aug. 2.

    • Again. Isn’t this the third record event for the region in a one month period?

      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 7, 2014

        Yes , each one easily a 100 year event. And second probably a 500 year event.

  19. Apneaman

     /  October 7, 2014

    I have never heard anyone say that methane emissions are more important than CO2 emissions. I have heard many say CO2 emissions will continue to force and trigger unstoppable feed backs. You don’t get methane release without CO2, so it is a nonsensical false choice. If the oceans get warm enough to start the process of melting clathrates is there anyone who doubts it’s game over? If not the species, then civilization, most people and life. It instills no confidence in me when the new head of NASA is getting into cat fights all over the internet. Not exactly my vision of leadership.

    • I find it to be rather immoderate. Methane feedback is a major risk and we will certainly continue to cover it here.

      That said, I supposed you missed the big push by oil interests to extract and burn the methane clathrates as a way to save the planet? Perhaps one of the most farcical and ignoramus suggestions yet.

      • Apneaman

         /  October 7, 2014

        I know all about the clathrate extraction dreams of oil/gov entities. They have been around for at least 30 years. I have paid for some of it thru taxes. So have you. The Canadian gov (Harper gang) dumped their clathrate program to go Full Monty on tar sands. Tar Sands ARE Canada’s energy policy. The Japanese are still trying hard with their clathrate program hoping it may revive their death bed economy. Remember the video I posted showing the monster in action? Getting around that instability and not blowing up the stuff are the two biggest hurdles. How bad are things when one hopes the Japanese economy fails before they figure out how to commercialize clathrates?

        • They need to stop chasing fossil fuels and figure out other ways to run economies. If the endless growth model doesn’t work anymore, ditch it and go with something else. Cutting materials/energy consumption and switching to renewable energy. That’s what we need to be working on now.

  20. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    Super Typhoon Vongfong Headed Towards Japan
    See comment :
    91. TimSoCal


  21. Turtle tumors linked to excessive nitrogen from land-based pollution
    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Posted: Oct 6, 2014

    Hawai‘i’s sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, “superweeds,” along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ.

    Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors…

  22. Photo: Juvenile green turtle with tumors (credit: Chris Stankis, Flickr/Bluewavechris).

      • Colorado Bob

         /  October 7, 2014

        More than 60 percent of turtles in Kāne‘ohe Bay have been observed to bear tumors. Kihei, Maui, has been called a “ground zero” for fibropapillomatosis, the disease that is caused by a herpes virus and manifests as tumors in turtles. Humans appear unaffected by the disease.

        Try feeding the algae to humans.

    • Jacob

       /  October 7, 2014

      Unfortunately the damage has already been done (and the full extent is not yet known), but the end of human civilization will be best for whatever life this planet has left when that time comes.

  23. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    Nobel Prize for physics: How LEDs change the world.

    The Nobel Prize for physics was awarded Tuesday to the inventors of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The Nobel-winners’ creation is already transforming everyday devices in the developed world, and are bringing cheaper, better light to those who don’t have it.


  24. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    California drought: Team climbs high to assess redwoods threat

    HENRY COWELL REDWOODS STATE PARK, Santa Cruz County — Flood, fire and famine have been no match for California’s mighty redwoods. The giant trees that hug the coast from Big Sur to Oregon date back centuries, sometimes to the Roman Empire, and rank among the planet’s oldest living things.

    But a research team worries they may be facing new threats — the latest being the state’s three-year dry spell. And so, last week, UC Berkeley scientist Anthony Ambrose and others ascended ropes high into the canopy of a dense forest near Santa Cruz, seeking to find out if the trees are getting as much water as they’re used to. If not, they wonder, what is the toll?


  25. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    NASA adds up Japan’s soaking rains from Typhoon Phanfone

    Typhoon Phanfone packed heavy rainfall as it brushed over Japan and NASA’s TRMM satellite identified where the rain fell. That data was used to make a map of rainfall totals.

    The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has the ability to calculate rainfall rates within storms as it orbits around the Earth’s tropics from space. TRMM data can also be used to create rainfall maps that show how much rain has fallen over given areas.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-nasa-japan-typhoon-phanfone.html#jCp

    I love the the images this bird generates , their graphics packages are amazing.

  26. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    The Typhoon headed for Japan :

    Peak is now at 165kts but will begin to weaken as it gains latitude.

    189.9 mph for all of us who are land based animals.

    Gusting over 200 mph.

    • Colorado Bob

       /  October 7, 2014

      As of 3 a.m. Japanese time Wednesday (2 p.m. EDT Tuesday in the U.S.), the eye of Vongfong was about 700 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, moving west at about 10 mph.

      Maximum sustained winds had skyrocketed to an estimated 180 mph, the equivalent of a potentially catastrophic , according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

      Vongfong became the fifth super typhoon (150 mph max sustained winds or higher) of 2014.

      According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Vongfong has now surpassed Genevieve for the most intense western Pacific typhoon of 2014 by estimated central pressure (900 millibars). On the JMA typhoon intensity scale, Vongfong is the third “violent typhoon” of 2014, following Genevieve and Halong.

    • Minimum central pressure at 900 mb. This thing is a beast.

  27. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    When the deniers chirp about our Atlantic hurricane season , remind them of the Pacific –

    Super Typhoon Vongfong Winds Hit 180 mph: Earth’s Strongest Storm Since Haiyan

    Vongfong is Earth’s fourth Category 5 storm of 2014
    Vongfong is Earth’s fourth Category 5 storm of the year, and the second in the Western Pacific. The other Western Pacific Cat 5 was Super Typhoon Halong, which topped out at 160 mph winds on August 3, eventually making landfall in Japan on August 10 as a tropical storm. Another Western Pacific Super Typhoon, Rammasun, was only rated a Cat 4 when it hit China’s Hainan Island on July 17, killing 195 people and causing over $7 billion in damage. However, a pressure characteristic of a Category 5 storm, 899.2 mb, was recorded at Qizhou Island just before Rammasun hit Hainan Island. If this pressure is verified, it is likely that the storm will be upgraded to a Category 5 in post-season reanalysis. The Eastern Pacific has had two Cat 5s in 2014 that did not affect land: Marie (160 mph winds) and Genevieve (160 mph winds.) The South Indian Ocean has had one Cat 5 this year, Tropical Cyclone Gillian in March (160 mph winds.) Gillian did not affect any land areas. Between 2000 – 2013, Earth averaged five Category 5 storms per year, with 51% of these occurring in the Western Pacific.


  28. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    Quoting 1. rmbjoe1954:

    It’s shocking to see how powerful this year’s Western Pacific storms have been.

    Not really, we are seeing the Highest SST’s on record. That is why June to August was the hottest in the record.
    And they are weighting in, the events in Southern France over the last month make my point . And none of them were cyclones. Every system now carries more energy , and that energy begins with heat in the oceans. The Earth’s surface is 70 % water. Water is base line for measuring heat. Nothing in nature holds more heat than water . Water has thermal mass . Air , and granite don’t even come close.

    So when we see SST’s in Hawaii of 90 F degrees at this time of the year , buckle your chin strap.

  29. Colorado Bob

     /  October 7, 2014

    That Carnegie Library in Salida , Colorado Is wonderful little Greek box sitting just off the park , In downtown Salida , Colorado. It could be the smallest Carnegie ever funded.

    It is a temple to learning , one of the most beautiful I ever entered. And I visited little libraries all over the west.

    • Colorado Bob.
      It sounds like a great place, this “temple to learning”. Everyone should have one. Thanks for sharing.
      I’ve been through Salida. Grandpa used to like to go fishing at Twin Lakes, not far away. I remember the Gunnison River before the damned dam … a lush beautiful river valley it was.

      • Ps CB
        You also share what you have learned — with passion and compassion. I thank you for that 🙂 Q: Where did you learn that? 🙂 🙂

        Thanks for that to Robert too — and the other likable minded people his posts have attracted.


    • Public libraries are just fantastic.

  30. Whatever action is taken to halt the droughts, it will take many years before it becomes effective.

    In the meantime we will have many years of water restrictions.

    Water conservation and waste prevention will become a major feature of our lives.

    A cartoon to illustrate where it may lead us to . . . .




  31. We need Sustainable Energy Policies that will enable us to cut our Carbon Footprint.

    A California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking. It would also create a new revenue stream for the Hard Working Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner.

    Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

    We need a National Feed in Tariff, this petition starts in California.

    California currently has a Feed in Tariff that does not allow home owners to participate in the State mandated goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.

    California also does not allow the homeowner to oversize their R.E systems, as of now, your local utility has allowed only 80% homeowner generation from your R.E system.

    California has 2 different Energy policies Net-metering and a Feed in Tariff.

    Net metering the energy policy for homeowners, allow you to bank excess electricity from R.E systems for future credits. The credits you accumulate are at the retail rate, and are reviewed at the end of the year. It will be written off with a thank you from the utility and no payment to the homeowner for producing more than what you use.

    Net metering has allowed third party leasing companies to replace one utility with another.

    “Examples of Net-metering slow down Renewable Energies:
    1. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) which create de facto caps on the deployment of renewable energies (the Germans do not have any RPSs, their Feed in Tariff has no caps.

    2. Net-metering caps, most states only allow a small percentage of one to two percent of peak load to be net metered.

    3. Third party leasing companies like Solar City, Sun Run, Verango and others fight tooth and nail to protect scarce capacity carve outs (from the States RPSs) so as to bolster their chosen business model.” Bob Tregilus

    No one is fighting for the Hard Working, Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner, we can change that with a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff Energy policy that allows everyone to participate. Homeowner’s, Small and Large Businesses, Small and Large farmers, and Industries, have the right to sell Renewable Energy electricity to the utility.

    We need sustainable and successful energy solutions now and a Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff is sustainable and will help ensure our survival.

    Vote Solar Initiative is a Sierra Club and Solar Leasing Companies platform to ensure that One Utility will take the place of Another through the continued use of Net Metering.

    We need a Policy that will enable Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying Citizens, get a chance to participate in the States goal of 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 through a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

    California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

    This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.


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