Temperature impacts on the water year 2014 drought in California

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 



California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. Here we use a hydrological model and risk assessment framework to understand the influence of temperature on the water year (WY) 2014 drought in California and examine the probability that this drought would have been less severe if temperatures resembled the historical climatology. Our results indicate that temperature played an important role in exacerbating the WY 2014 drought severity. We found that if WY 2014 temperatures resembled the 1916–2012 climatology, there would have been at least an 86% chance that winter snow water equivalent and spring-summer soil moisture and runoff deficits would have been less severe than the observed conditions. We also report that the temperature forecast skill in California for the important seasons of winter and spring is negligible, beyond a lead-time of one month, which we postulate might hinder skillful drought prediction in California.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temperature impacts on the water year 2014 drought in California
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2015GL063666
Volume 42
Issue 11
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 10 p.
First page 4384
Last page 4393
Time Range Start 2013-10-01
Time Range End 2014-09-30
Country United States
State California
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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