Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Third Of California's Trees Died In The Drought

This is not a picture of fall foliage. All the orange and rust
color you see here are trees in California killed off
by the drought. U.S. Forest Service photo.  
I had my tiny little mini weather drama here at my St Albans, Vermont weather hacienda when this week's storm destroyed about one third of a weeping willow on my property.

Imagine the maxi-drama, then going on in California where one third of all the trees in the state have died in the past six years.  

Talk about two contrasting disasters: Mine, an extremely minor inconvenience, and California's which is literally putting many lives at risk.

Blame the long lasting drought for California's sudden lack of trees.

About 62 million trees in California died this year, bringing the total during the drought to more than 102 million, says

The majority of the dead trees are in the central and southern Sierra Nevada range.  More trees will likely die as well, even if good rains somehow return to California.

"It's not beyond the pale to suggest that this is a pretty unprecedented event in at least recent history," said Adrian Das, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, as quoted in

This many dead trees is dangerous because all that dead wood would make wildfires much worse and more intense than they otherwise would be, which would put people at greater risk.

Tree roots also hold soil in place on steep hillsides. With the roots disappearing, there's a greater risk of erosion, landslides, mudslides and flash floods when it does rain.  That's more risk of death and property damage there.

This year's rainy season in California seems to be getting off to an OK start, but most of the rain so far has been in the north. Southern and central California are in most need of precipitation.

NOAA's winter outlook indicates bad news for central and southern California. If NOAA is right, that area can expect a drier and warmer than normal winter, exactly the opposite of what they need.

No comments:

Post a Comment