Driest Year Ever Recorded In California?
Greatly contrasting the climate of last year in the Golden State, California is facing a serious lack of precipitation this year, climatologists saying it could very well be the driest year the state has ever had (well, since weather started being recorded).
Most would want to blame this uncharacteristically dry winter on “La Nina,” which is a natural phenomenon that causes a dry weather pattern from the Pacific Ocean. But the problem with this is that last year was wetter and snowier than usual, and La Nina was most definitely present last year as well.
Experts are attributing the exceptionally dry January to another meteorological happening that occurs, called “arctic oscillation,” which is the varying in strength of the atmospheric barrier which separates places like California from the far northern areas. Apparently this year, it’s really strong.
When this atmospheric barrier known as arctic oscillation is in a weaker state, the moist air from the arctic can freely escape down southward, thus causing storms in places like California. But according to world renowned climatologist Bill Patzert, when the oscillation is strong like it is this year, the oscillation tends to reinforce the dryness that La Nina causes.
Pazert has compared this phenomenon to a “fence” that shields the arctic air in. The impact of this has been very heavy, not only in a strictly meteorological sense, but has also been very harmful to various businesses and morale in the higher altitude areas of California. The Los Angeles area has only gotten 3.76 inches of rain, which is very light compared to the average which is 5.24, and last year which was 12.28.