More than 80 percent of California is stuck in extreme or worse drought, thanks to a weather pattern reminiscent of one of North America’s worst droughts.
According to the latest Drought Monitor report, drought conditions were unchanged in California for the last week, and the probability of dry conditions in the state over the next 10 days is high. Click here for the Drought Monitor map.
But how bad is it in 2014, really? A new study suggests it is just a small fry compared to 1934.
The American Geophysical Union announced a new study, detailing research that concluded the 1934 drought was the most intense and far-reaching drought of the last 1,000 years. The researchers also noted something interesting – the same atmospheric pattern of a high pressure ridge over the West Coast that deflected away storms last year was also present in the area during the winter of 1933-1934.
"When you have a high-pressure system there, it steers storms much farther north than they would normally be," Cook told Live Science in an article here. "With this high pressure sitting there in the winter of 1933 to 1934, it blocked a lot of the rainfall and storms that you would expect to come into California."
However, while the pattern may be similar, the drought is minimal compared to the one in 1934. The dry spell spanned a decade and was far from regional. Extreme drought covered three-quarters of the western United States.
There is also another major effort to prevent the drought from resembling the Dust Bowl – efforts to minimize wind and storm erosion. The Natural Resource Conservation Service works with farmers, producers and geologists to create conservation plans.
"They can reduce the chance of a 1934 event occurring again," Cook said.