Drought and global warming are a "one-two punch" for California

Frank Davis, director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and fellow University of California, Santa Barbara professors discuss the challenges of drought in California when coupled with a warming climate in a Phys.org article, One-Two Punch of Drought, Global Warming, by Shelly Leachman. Dr. Davis is also interviewed for the local NPR station, KCLU,

Dr. Davis is quoted saying, "It's not just that there is low precipitation but low precipitation in a warming climate. The combination of warm and dry has a lot of ecological implications. It puts greater physiological stress on, for example, forest trees. Also, when it's dry and warm, we start to see really strong impacts on fresh-water systems, like those that spawn salmon. Being really dry plus warm is a one-two punch."

"It's not just the low precipitation but also vulnerability and demand," added Davis. "There are more people living in the wildland-urban zone in California. There are more opportunities for ignitions to occur and more people vulnerable to fires when they do occur. And drought makes fires, once started, harder to control. All these things compound the impact of drought. This is something that we just have to confront increasingly."

Dr. Davis concludes: "Bottom line: It's all about reforming the way we manage water and reforming the way we're managing and restoring ecosystems so that we're not as heavily impacted by these droughts and are able to recover without such serious ecological and economic effects. I'm not ready to say it's the new normal, but I am ready to say we really need to be thinking about risk management—and we need to do so in an aggressive and systematic way in order to build more resilience into all these systems."

Full Article

KCLU Radio Interview

"It's not just the low precipitation but also vulnerability and demand," said NCEAS' Davis, who is also a professor of ecology and conservation planning at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. "There are more people living in the wildland-urban zone in California. There are more opportunities for ignitions to occur and more people vulnerable to fires when they do occur. And drought makes fires, once started, harder to control. All these things compound the impact of drought.

"This is something that we just have to confront increasingly," he added. "Bottom line: It's all about reforming the way we manage water and reforming the way we're managing and restoring ecosystems so that we're not as heavily impacted by these droughts and are able to recover without such serious ecological and economic effects. I'm not ready to say it's the new normal, but I am ready to say we really need to be thinking about risk management—and we need to do so in an aggressive and systematic way in order to build more resilience into all these systems."



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-one-two-drought-global.html#jCp

 

"It's not just that there is low precipitation but low precipitation in a warming climate," said Frank Davis, director of the UC Santa Barbara-based National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. "The combination of warm and dry has a lot of ecological impactions. It puts greater physiological stress on, for example, forest trees. Also, when it's dry and warm, we start to see really strong impacts on fresh-water systems, like those that spawn salmon. Being really dry plus warm is a one-two punch."



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-one-two-drought-global.html#jCp

 

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Posted on January 29, 2014