Image: satellite image taken December 3, 2017 shows high pressure ridge over the western U.S.
The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, a ridge of high pressure over the Western U.S., is back and is once again preventing winter storms from reaching California. Scientists studying the ridge recently announced three new findings:
- That the formation of the ridge coincides with warm water temperatures in the western Pacific Ocean
- That the ridge forms independently of El Nino and La Nina conditions
- That the ridge is responsible not just for warm, dry winters in the western U.S., but also the the cold, wet weather occurring simultaneously in the eastern U.S.
The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge remained in place throughout the winters of 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, producing one of the most severe droughts on record in California.
Today’s post, from the Weather West blog, discusses these new findings:
New insights into the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and North American Winter Dipole
Photo: Mt. Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado, the highest paved road in North America. (CBS Denver)
In California, 70 percent of the water is in the northern half of the state and 70 percent of the people live in the southern half.
In Colorado, 80 percent of the water is west of the Continental Divide and 80 percent of the people live on the eastern side.
Both states built massive engineering projects decades ago to move the water where it was needed. Today, both states face opposition to plans to improve their water storage capacity and conveyance systems.
Read Colorado River Journey: The Past and Future of Water Use
From the San Francisco Chronicle — A coalition of government agencies and advocates for sustainable fisheries came together Tuesday to launch a long-term effort to save California’s beleaguered salmon populations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.
Read the Story
On Friday, California’s Senate Appropriation Committee in Sacramento will vote on Senate Bill 623, which would establish a state tax on drinking water. The purpose of the bill is to generate funds over the next 15 years to clean up contaminated groundwater and improve faulty water systems in rural areas throughout the state.
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), of which Helix is a member, opposes the bill.
Read The Mercury News’ “First-ever water tax proposed to tackle unsafe drinking water in California”
Watch ACWA’s Video
Photo: The American River in Northern California swollen with melting snow from the Sierra.
The barrage of storms that pounded the Sierra Nevada this winter and spring added up to a snowpack that’s massive. Amid a major heat wave all of that snow is now melting — and fast. How fast? The snow level on Mt. Whitney rose 1,000 feet this week.
Read the San Francisco Chronicle Story
Read the Chronicle’s story on Mt. Whitney