Clearing Hundreds of Parkway Homeless Camps

The inability to do so causes another problem, a very serious one, as this story from Channel 13 reports.

An excerpt.

“SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Law enforcement said the homeless camps along the river made thermal imaging difficult to use while searching for 5-year-old Ziyon Butler Monday night near Discovery Park.

“Butler was found Tuesday morning under the bridge near the park. He was last seen near the beach at Discovery Park with family around 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

“A law enforcement spokesperson told CBS13 it was tough to use the thermal imaging in that area due to the number of trees and hundreds of homeless encampments along the American River. (highlighting added)

“Some of the homeless people worry the worst when it comes to the criminal element living among them. Robert Witt has been living in the area for a couple of months. He was one of dozens of people who police interviewed in the search for the five-year-old boy.”

Retrieved May 26, 2020 from https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2020/05/26/helicopter-thermal-imaging-search-homeless-ziyon-butler/

Be well everyone.

Posted in Government, Homelessness

Urban/Suburban Planning

It is going though a big change due to the Virus—with even more folks turning to the suburbs and transport by cars—as explained in this article from American Mind.

An excerpt.

“We can be far more efficient in our fight against pandemics.

“It will be months, likely years, before we understand how COVID-19 has reshaped our communities. Yet there is enough data, based on just the last three months, to get some notion of what areas and populations are most vulnerable.

“The patterns are in many ways fairly clear. Media outlets, particularly those based in New York, seem to feel that the pain of the urban centers will be shared universally. The “science” as generally endorsed by our ruling Clerisy  dictates that we impose strong controls which, though perhaps necessary in New York and other places, have been disastrous in marginally unaffected rural and suburban areas.

“In reality, the data seem to indicate that exposure density, mass transit, and poverty are the key factors in facilitating the spread of the virus. Targeted attention to those areas would constitute a far more efficient and effective response than the one our elites are currently forcing upon us.

“The Density Connection

“Perhaps no aspect of the pandemic’s rise has been more hotly contested than population density. Yet the tie between density and pestilence is not a new one. It is reminiscent of great Renaissance cities like Venice which, as noted by historian William McNeill, suffered grievously from waves of pestilence far more than relative backwaters in central Europe and Poland. Then and now, many of the same things that make cities great—such as exposure to foreign trade and immigrants—naturally aid the spread of pandemics. Most of the largest hotspots for COVID-19 to date in both America and Europe have been dense, urban areas.

“Technically speaking, it is not population density per se that matters so much as what is called “exposure density”—that is, the amount of time spent in unavoidable close proximity to others, particularly in unventilated spaces and crowded households. But population density, of course, is a major factor of exposure density. This likely explains, to a large extent, the extraordinary rate of infection and fatalities located in New York City and some of its suburban areas. The city itself represents only 2.5% of the nation’s population, yet accounts for 15% of cases and an astounding 26% of fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard (May 7).

Apologists for dense urban development point to the relative success in containing the contagion in places like Singapore, Tokyo, and Seoul. These cities have benefited from their experiences with previous pandemics such as SARS; they enjoy less extreme poverty; and their populations are generally more disciplined and less diverse. Even so, all are now facing a new upsurge of cases. In Japan, 30% of all cases are in Tokyo prefecture—this is nearly three times the prefecture’s share of the country’s total population. As a result, Japan has been forced to go back under lockdown as its hospital system becomes increasingly stressed.

“The geographic differentials are equally stark in the United States, which was clearly far less prepared for the pandemic. New York is home to some of the densest neighborhoods in the nation and remains by far the most transit-dependent city in North America. Life is just much more crowded in the city, which makes social distancing more difficult, lockdowns more draconian, and exposure density more severe.

“Unsurprisingly, the media, based as it is largely in New York, warns that the rest of the country faces the same or similar risk of infection. This may be true, but there is not much evidence now. Less urban states like Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota now all have among the lowest rates of COVID-related deaths in the country—roughly one fortieth that of New York. These divisions have been so widespread that some states have tried to keep people from high-infection areas from entering.

“Economist Jed Kolko estimates the death rates in large urban counties to be well over twice those in high-density suburbs and four times higher than those in lower-density ones, with even larger gaps between smaller metros and rural areas. These findings are largely confirmed by the research of the Brookings Institution. According to data published by the New York Times, the Empire State has had a fatality rate more than 40 times that of Texas, and about 20 times that of California and Florida.

“Transit and Exposure Density

“Another key multiplier for exposure density is transit. People who spend a long time each day packed on commuter trains and subways are clearly more vulnerable than those who work at home, or ride in cars. This is particularly evident in New York City (home to nearly 30% of nationwide transit commuters), as MIT medical economist Jeffrey Harris shown. That situation was made particularly bad, at least in the early days of the pandemic, by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s almost diabolical call for New Yorkers to ride the subways without fear. But crowded public transportation is also a factor in limited areas like Detroit, a generally weak transit market where many poor people take the bus.

“In contrast, areas with greater car usage—like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and even Los Angeles—have had dramatically fewer cases and fatalities. For example, Dallas County has 60% more residents than Manhattan, but at least 90% fewer fatalities. Houston’s core Harris County has three times the population of Manhattan and also at least 90% fewer fatalities. Los Angeles County has 20% more residents than the city of New York, yet also has at least 90% fewer fatalities than NYC. At the same time the rate of infections in nearby Orange County, where car usage is even greater and single family homes more prevalent, is barely one seventh of that in Los Angeles County.

“Perplexingly, some transit advocates are doubling down on their advocacy of both more density and more transit, despite the clear implications of the data. One economist even traces the extraordinary outbreaks in the outer boroughs to people driving cars—this despite the fact that most commuting there is by transit. Some environmentalists even see in the lockdown a “test run” for their proposals to achieve “de-growth”—these fans of the lockdown go so far as to celebrate the empty city streets (lined as they are with bankrupt and abandoned stores). But it is hard to see how cities can practice social distancing if they become more dependent on transit usage rather than less.

“A Big Issue: Poverty

“Arguably one of the biggest and least-understood vectors for this virus is poverty. Dense urban pockets of wealth like Manhattan or San Francisco have done relatively well. The wealthier have more options—such as drivers, rideshare services like Uber, and cabs. They can afford to avoid their workplaces, or else their commute may be walkable. Others can retreat to their country houses or work at home. In contrast, working-class people in city hotspots have little choice but to use crowded subways and buses. They often work and live in conditions of extreme exposure density.

Poor people in general also often have limited access to health care, even though they disproportionately suffer from diabetes, obesity, and other ailments. These same preconditions have made them particularly vulnerable to the virus. This can be seen not only in New York or Detroit but also in some ski resorts, meat-packing plants, and Native American reservations. There are concerns that some impoverished rural areas could be added to this list. Ultimately, there can be no useful response to future pandemics without addressing the predicaments of poverty in the U.S.

“Whether in New York, Detroit, New OrleansHouston, or Los Angeles, the brunt of the infection—outside of nursing homes—seems to be in poor neighborhoods. In both New Orleans and Detroit, the vast majority of deaths have been Americans. This is not a diminishing problem: Despite all the brouhaha about urban renaissance, the number of these  high-poverty areas has grown steadily over the past few decades and doubled in population between 1980 and 2018.

“Generally, poor people are more transit-dependent than the wealthy. New York reveals that it is not the posh Manhattan high-rises that have been hardest hit, but dense, transit-dependent, and working-class areas in central Queens (home to New York’s largest Chinese community), crowded eastern Brooklyn, and the impoverished Bronx.

“But poor people’s exposure density is more than simply a function of transit or crowded work sites. Many suffer from exposure density in their everyday lives and are far more likely to live in crowded apartments and ride crowded elevators. They also often live in multi-generational households because of economic constraints. In the outer boroughs with subway service (the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens), households are 3.5 times as likely to live in apartments as in houses. Similarly in Los Angeles, where infections have clustered mostly in the poor south, we again find crowded households.

“Arguably even more affected will be a new generation of workers who, having been clipped by the Great Recession, now are suffering the largest share of the job losses. It is the low-income worker, more than any segment of society, that is bearing the biggest burden from the lockdowns.

“Where We Go from Here

“To survive, cities need to focus on reducing exposure density, which the public may also support. Right now, according to the Harris Poll, as many as two in five urban residents, including the young, are considering a move to a less dense place. The latest consumer survey from the National Association of Realtors found consumers are “looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors.”

“The cities of the future will no doubt retain “hip”, dense creative districts, but tech and high-end business services have been moving during the past five years to sprawling, low-density metro areas like Austin, Nashville, Orlando, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh. For many cities, it might make sense to give incentives not for office towers but for home-based workers; most people now working from home—some 60% according to Gallup—express a preference to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.”

Retrieved May 25, 2020 from https://americanmind.org/post/blue-city-lockdowns-obscure-ovids-root-causes/

Be well everyone.

Posted in demographics, Transportation

Local Traffic & the Virus

Quite a change, as reported by Sacramento News & Review.

An excerpt.

“Because no one crashed or died, the California Highway Patrol was able to throw some shade on social media at the motorcyclist who didn’t care about other people.

“On May 13, a CHP officer assigned to South Sacramento watched the rider of a gray Harley Davidson dart between two cars at an insanely high speed and then gun it to 105 mph. After he was stopped on the side of Highway 99, the rider reportedly told the ticket-writing CHP officer he was was late for a haircut in Rocklin.

“Not sure how he got that appointment and who is cutting his hair during shelter in place, but that is one expensive haircut,” the South Sac CHP unit snarked on Facebook.

“Inconsiderate coronavirus skeptics notwithstanding, the rest of you are saving a lot more lives than you think by staying home during the pandemic. According to the CHP, the numbers of vehicle crashes and fatalities have plummeted since we all went into socially responsible isolation.

“The preliminary figures come from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, which compared accident data between March 19 and April 30 to the same period a year ago. And the benefits of fewer drivers on the state’s highways and local roads are indisputable.

“Let’s start with the number of traffic deaths, which dropped an incredible 88% compared to a year ago. A total of 43 people have lost their lives in vehicle accidents this year, most of those in highway crashes. And while each of those deaths represents its own ripple-out tragedy, the total figure represents a sharp drop from the 369 lives lost 12 months earlier.

“In short, that’s more than 300 people who wouldn’t otherwise get to experience this surreal holiday weekend, which is also the subject of a maximum enforcement effort that ends at midnight Monday.

“Similarly, the six-week period that the CHP examined saw a 79% dive in injury accidents, a 71% drop in accidents resulting in property damage and a 75% decrease in all vehicle accidents, which numbered 13,554 in the quarantine period ending April 30, compared to more than 53,000 last year.”

Retrieved May 25, 2020 from https://sacramento.newsreview.com/2020/05/25/stat-of-the-week-memorial-day-edition/?utm_

Be well everyone.

Posted in Transportation

Oil & the Virus

Things could change, but not necessarily as expected, according to this article from City Journal.

An excerpt.

“China is about one month ahead of the United States in exiting the Covid-19 shutdown. That country’s rush-hour traffic jams now equal or exceeded pre-lockdown levels, even in Wuhan. This quick reversal happened despite claims that telecommuting would “change everything,” especially old-fashioned commuting and, thus, oil demand.

“At a global level, the pandemic didn’t change the fact that oil powers 97 percent of transportation. All commerce requires moving materials, food, finished goods, and people. Thus the oil used by planes, trains, and automobiles serves as the fuel gauge for the economy. The reaction to the coronavirus was, effectively, an x-ray of this reality.

“The March lockdowns, which kept so many people and goods from moving anywhere, crushed global oil demand by 30 percent. Shortly thereafter, data showed that global GDP had collapsed by nearly 10 percent. Now that U.S. gasoline demand is starting to rise, many claim we are headed for a long, slow rise back to pre-crisis levels of congestion and oil use. But perhaps not.

“Consider the view that communications will now replace commutes—an idea dating to the dawn of the Internet and even to the dawn of telegraphy. But most of what most people do at work requires showing up, not video conferencing. And, by now, many Zoom-weary people have rediscovered that in-person meetings are not only more time-efficient but also reveal important cues that get lost in flat, tiled images. “Teleconferencing will surely continue, and grow, but post-Covid, most people will still travel to work. This is because we’ll rediscover that “ideas have sex,” to borrow zoologist Matt Ridley’s expression. Centuries of experience show that innovation, inspiration, and commerce happen with close, regular human interaction.

“There is one thing the pandemic will change and that’s the trend to cram employees closer together in open-plan offices, and simultaneously reduce air-exchanges in buildings to make them more energy-efficient. More space between employees and more (clean) air will boost electricity demand in the summer and heat in the winter. Meantime, in the travel sector, reservations for fuel-guzzling recreational vehicles are reporting all-time highs. That mirrors a trend seen after 9/11, when Americans bypassed foreign vacations for domestic ones, traveling to those destinations mainly by cars, which use more energy per passenger mile than aircraft.

“Then there are the other energy-related trends that predate the coronavirus crisis but will now likely accelerate. Young professionals, for example, were already moving to the suburbs. Odds are that the urban exodus will only intensify, with many baby boomers joining in. Car commuting and suburbia are essentially synonymous. As for mass transit, in post-recovery China, ridership remains down some 30 to 50 percent. Absent massive subsidies, travel by (crowded) mass transit—at least as we knew it—might be finished.

“An agriculture-labor shortage is another pre-Covid trend that figures to continue. Those proposing that unemployed citizens pick crops are, to put it gently, naïve. Urban dwellers abandoned such tasks within days when France tried it earlier this year. Picking crops is a skill. A solution is coming from automated harvesting and robotic fruit-picking technologies that are just now becoming viable—but mechanized labor always uses more energy. And machines that operate all day in the fields will likely burn oil; even Tesla batteries aren’t nearly good enough for widespread use there.

“Finally, the virus has exposed geopolitical supply-chain vulnerabilities that will accelerate the reshoring of manufacturing. For energy accountants the implications are obvious; it takes three to four times more energy to produce a dollar of industrial GDP than a dollar of services-related activity. In recent years, much of our national efficiency gains came from off-shoring energy-intensive industries.

“In 1776, Adam Smith pointed out in The Wealth of Nations that prosperity is anchored in “the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” That truth remains unchanged and is also relevant for Silicon Valley. Even digital “exchange” is anchored in energy-using physical machinery. Each person-hour of streaming video uses—in the network, not on the desktop—about as much fuel as taking a four-mile train commute. Tens of millions of students attending school online are guzzling massive amounts of power-plant electrons.”

Retrieved May 22, 2020 from https://www.city-journal.org/covid-19-will-intensify-dominance-of-oil

Be well everyone.

Posted in Economy, Environmentalism, Transportation

Trusting the Virus Models

A devastating article from City Journal about how wrong that can go without verification.

An excerpt.

“In early March, British leaders planned to take a laissez-faire approach to the spread of the coronavirus. Officials would pursue “herd immunity,” allowing as many people in non-vulnerable categories to catch the virus in the hope that eventually it would stop spreading. But on March 16, a report from the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team, led by noted epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, shocked the Cabinet of the United Kingdom into a complete reversal of its plans. Report 9, titled “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand,” used computational models to predict that, absent social distancing and other mitigation measures, Britain would suffer 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Even with mitigation measures in place, the report said, the epidemic “would still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over.” The conclusions so alarmed Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he imposed a national quarantine.

“Subsequent publication of the details of the computer model that the Imperial College team used to reach its conclusions raised eyebrows among epidemiologists and specialists in computational biology and presented some uncomfortable questions about model-driven decision-making. The Imperial College model itself appeared solid. As a spatial model, it divides the area of the U.K. into small cells, then simulates various processes of transmission, incubation, and recovery over each cell. It factors in a good deal of randomness. The model is typically run tens of thousands of times, and results are averaged—a technique commonly referred to as an ensemble model.

“In a tweet sent in late March, Ferguson—then still one of the leading voices within the U.K.’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), tasked with handling the coronavirus crisis—stated that the model was implemented in “thousands of lines of undocumented” code written in C, a widely used and high-performing computing language. He refused to publish the original source code, and Imperial College has refused a Freedom of Information Act request for the original source, alleging that the public interest is not sufficiently compelling.

“As Ferguson himself admits, the code was written 13 years ago, to model an influenza pandemic. This raises multiple questions: other than Ferguson’s reputation, what did the British government have at its disposal to assess the model and its implementation? How was the model validated, and what safeguards were implemented to ensure that it was correctly applied? The recent release of an improved version of the source code does not paint a favorable picture. The code is a tangled mess of undocumented steps, with no discernible overall structure. Even experienced developers would have to make a serious effort to understand it.

“I’m a virologist, and modelling complex processes is part of my day-to-day work. It’s not uncommon to see long and complex code for predicting the movement of an infection in a population, but tools exist to structure and document code properly. The Imperial College effort suggests an incumbency effect: with their outstanding reputations, the college and Ferguson possessed an authority based solely on their own authority. The code on which they based their predictions would not pass a cursory review by a Ph.D. committee in computational epidemiology.

“Ferguson and Imperial College’s refusal of all requests to examine taxpayer-funded code that supported one of the most significant peacetime decisions in British history is entirely contrary to the principles of open science—especially in the Internet age. The Web has created an unprecedented scientific commons, a marketplace of ideas in which Ferguson’s arguments sound only a little better than “the dog ate my homework.” Worst of all, however, Ferguson and Imperial College, through both their work and their haughtiness about it, have put the public at risk. Epidemiological modelling is a valuable tool for public health, and Covid-19 underscores the value of such models in decision-making. But the Imperial College model implementation lends credence to the worst fears of modelling skeptics—namely, that many models are no better than high-stakes gambles played on computers. This isn’t true: well-executed models can contribute to the objective, data-driven decision-making that we should expect from our leaders in a crisis. But leaders need to learn how to vet models and data.”

Retrieved May 16, 2020 from https://www.city-journal.org/coronavirus-model-driven-decision-making

Be well everyone.

Posted in History

Weather Forecasting

Still an inexact science—especially vital in terms of water—but this article from Comstock’s Magazine reports on potential improvements.

An excerpt.

“One rainy morning last December, John James stood outside holding a big white balloon, which looked like a perfect target for a lightning strike. Next to him, Carly Ellis, a field researcher with the UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography, asked a group of spectators if they were ready. Then, all together, they counted down: “Five, four, three, two, one.”

“Not a second later, James, water operations projects manager for the Yuba Water Agency, released the balloon. “Whew, that went fast!” said an onlooker as the balloon shot up, snatched by the winds, and flew into gray clouds, the attached sensor flapping like a tail.

“After a minute or so, the balloon disappeared, but the sensor kept sending data — temperature, pressure, moisture, wind — in real time to researchers on the ground. The balloon would rise until it reached a max altitude of 25,000 meters (15.5 miles), at which point it would pop and a small parachute would deploy, carrying the sensor safely back to the ground, collecting more data on the way down.

“The event was the first weather balloon launch from a Yuba Water Agency site near Beale Air Force Base. But it will not be the last. During atmospheric rivers, scientists plan to release a balloon every three hours from this point to collect data. And the more data, the better, because understanding the structure of these storms can help with forecasting and flood control.

“The idea is we’re looking for science to provide answers to managing one of the most precious resources the state has, which is water,” James says months later, as he explains the water management mission to Comstock’s.

“In winter months, atmospheric rivers (such as Pineapple Express storms, which originate near Hawaii) come barreling in from the Pacific Ocean to batter the Western states. They’re like that unpredictable relative that drops by on short notice: making messes, causing spills, breaking things. Over a 40-year span, these storms caused roughly $1.1 billion in damages annually to California and 10 other western states, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.

“For decades, flood management involved dumping water from the reservoirs, which usually then flows into rivers toward the ocean, to make space for flood waters. It was a “better safe than sorry” strategy to protect flood-prone areas. But sometimes the rains never came, so that water, which could have been used to supply homes and farms, was lost.

“Following the weather balloon launch in Yuba County, 2020 marks the beginning of the field campaign for Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations, or FIRO, a new water management strategy and collaborative effort by various agencies. The idea is that, in the face of climate change, environmental stress and population growth, advanced technology can lead to enhanced weather forecasting, which could make a huge impact in preventing floods and keeping reservoirs full.

‘Forecasts Aren’t Reliable’

“Researchers are already using radar aimed at the Sierra Nevada and dropping sensors from military planes above storms in the Pacific Ocean. They will check moisture levels in the soil to see how much is absorbed. Weather balloons have been used for a long time, released by the National Weather Service every 12 hours at sites across the U.S., including three in California. But now, researchers plan to send them up more frequently during storms from strategic sites in the state. With better tools at their disposal, agencies can monitor atmospheric rivers and plan accordingly, says Anna Wilson, field research manager for the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps.

“It is so important for California’s future as we start to get less snow, more rain, more intense storms, and swings between wet and dry years becoming more severe,” Wilson says. “We need to use everything that’s out there in service of this pressing problem of Western water.”

“Across the U.S., many large dams were built in the mid-1900s, when weather forecasting was low-tech. Predictive tools have become more advanced, but many water control manuals are stuck in the past. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages flood risk across the country, partially paid for the construction of the major reservoirs so it has dictated how to operate portions of the reservoirs set aside for flood operations. The process, before the days of satellites and modern radar, was simple: If the water level crossed a specified line on the diagram, water managers were supposed to release water.

“In the 1970s, Joseph Countryman was head of reservoir operations for the Corps in Sacramento. With the diagram being so crude, he advocated to incorporate forecasts. But the chain of command, which flowed up and eastward to Washington, D.C., didn’t want to bank on weather predictions to manage floods, he says. “‘Yes, the logic is great,’” Countryman recalls being told, “‘but the forecasts aren’t reliable.’”

Retrieved May 13, 2020 from https://www.comstocksmag.com/longreads/storm-chasers?utm_

Be well everyone.

Posted in History, Technology, Water

Water Storage Mistakes

Had the original plans for Shasta Dam—200 feet higher, triple the storage—and Auburn Dam been completed, we would have plenty of water, rather than the situation reported by UC Merced News.

It is not too late for common sense policies to be developed and implemented.

An excerpt.

“The San Joaquin Valley — with all its agriculture and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it — is one of the places most at risk because of changing snowmelt patterns, a new study shows.

“California is the No. 1 producer of food in the nation, and agriculture in the state is a $50 billion-a-year industry. Valley crops provide more than a third of the country’s produce, including 95 percent of the fruit and nuts, and they depend on water coming from the Sierra Nevada snowpack. In fact, most of the Valley’s primary crops, including grapes and nuts, get a third or more of their irrigation from snowmelt.

“A new study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that about 50 percent of current runoff comes directly from Sierra snowmelt, and the Valley stands to lose between 13 percent and 50 percent of snowmelt runoff as the climate warms.

“The Valley is used to getting its snowmelt water in the late spring, and that carries us through the summer, except in drought years,” said incoming UC Merced Professor John Abatzoglou, a climatologist who officially joins the Department of Management of Complex Systems on July 1. “But because of climate change, more precipitation that used to fall as snow in our mountains now falls as rain.”

“The annual April 1 snow-water equivalent has declined by between 10 percent and 20 percent over the past six decades. That means less snowmelt water for the hottest months of the year, leaving the Valley more reliant on water stores in reservoirs and aquifers and resulting in a profound impact on food production.

“Abatzoglou is part of the team of researchers, primarily from UC Irvine, that studied how temperature increases of 2 degrees to 6 degrees Fahrenheit would change snowmelt and impact agriculture. Over the past century, California has seen about 2 degrees of warming, and without changes in policy and practice, that warming will continue, scientists agree.

“The research team identified several hotspots around the globe, including the Valley and similar runoff-dependent basins in the Tibetan Plateau, Central Asia, western Russia and the southern Andes. With continued warming and reduced snowmelt runoff, upwards of 40 percent of the irrigation demand in these hotspots would need to be met by new alternative water supplies, the team wrote.

“We’ll have to find intelligent, sustainable ways to find, store and allocate water,” Abatzoglou said. “That might include a change in the mix of crops grown in the Valley. There has already been a shift toward almonds, but away from other water-intensive crops such as cotton and alfalfa.” But it can be difficult for farmers to change because they gravitate toward crops that earn them the most money per acre, he said.

“Changes in the snowpack worldwide are already well documented, the research team said.

“People are being affected in ways they don’t even realize yet,” Abatzoglou said. “We recalibrate ‘normal’ about every five to seven years.”

“One of the changes Valley residents notice is the lack of tule fog that blanketed the Valley every winter, contributing to road accidents but giving trees a dormancy with prolonged periods of cool temperatures that helped them produce flowers and fruit. One factor is the warming climate: As the ground has gotten drier and the winters warmer, there have been fewer foggy days.

“A UC Berkeley study, which also attributes the decrease to less nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere, indicates that fog days fell 76 percent between 1980 to 2016, after the enactment of air pollution regulations.

“Abatzoglou and his colleagues also have looked at the future of a few important crops in the Northwest and in California, including almonds, cherries and wine grapes. They found that continued warming will lead to more years in which many commonly grown cherry varietals in the southern San Joaquin Valley near Bakersfield will have insufficient chill for good crops.

“Absent changes in varietals of cherries planted or technological changes, this could lead to changes that ultimately impact what is planted and where the water flows,” he said.”

Retrieved May 13, 2020 from https://news.ucmerced.edu/news/2020/changing-snowmelt-threatens-valley-ag-way-life

Be well everyone.

Posted in Shasta Auburn Dam, Water