This is what California looked like on January 13 in 2013 and 2014. You'll notice things have changed.
I live here, so this morning I listened as Governor Jerry Brown delivered his annual State of the State address. He described the drought as cause for long-term concern:
We do not know how much our current problem derives from the build-up of heat-trapping gasses, but we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come. The United Nations Panel on Climate Change says – with 95 percent confidence – that human beings are changing our climate. This means more droughts and more extreme weather events, and, in California, more forest fires and less snow pack.
I've written in the past about how climate scientists cannot pin single weather events on climate change. But what we do know for certain is that it causes more extreme extremes. This means we can expect regions with hot temperatures will get hotter, wet places will get wetter, storms will get more intense, and dry areas will get drier--all around the world.
During the current California drought emergency, we have seen heat records broken and critically low reservoirs. As the governor pointed out this morning, this is no longer an anomaly. Instead, it's a glimpse into the future.
This post originally appeared at Scientific American’s ‘Plugged In’