NASA scientists say satellite remote sensing can help determine when water will fall from the sky several weeks in advance. It can pinpoint how much water is available in snowpack and how much water is available in the ground. It’s crucial information during California’s drought.
Duane Waliser is a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He’s using satellite remote sensing to predict a tropical weather pattern that produces heavy precipitation. It’s known as an “atmospheric river.”
“One of these rivers transports as much water at any given time as about five to ten Mississippi Rivers, so it’s very significant, and about 20-to-30 percent of that often ends up in the form of precipitation.”
Scientists can now forecast the weather pattern as much as four weeks in advance. The Department of Water Resources says the information will help the state better prepare and respond during droughts.
A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated.
UPDATE June 26: Fire managers says the Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County has grown to 43,460 acres and is 40 percent contained. Two people have died, and more than 250 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged.
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.
The U.S. Forest Service says 66 million trees are dead in the Sierra Nevada after four consecutive years of drought in California and a bark beetle infestation.