california snow drought extreme critical fire risk los angeles san francisco oakland january 2014
Satellite images from NASA/NOAA

The Snow Water Equivalents in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California is at a historic low for this time of year, as can be seen in this image comparing 2013 to 2014. The Sierra Nevada mountains are experiencing Extreme Drought with no relief in sight. This might be bad news for skiers but if the second half of the season does not bring much needed precipitation it could spell disaster for the entire state of California.

This image compares January 13, 2013 and January 13, 2014 snow cover as seen by the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument.

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96 Comments

  1. gg says:

    But there’s no such thing as climate change right?

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Go sniff your own farts liberal douche

      Reply
      • ted says:

        is that really all you’ve got? it’s funny that people like you deny climate change, something backed up by thousands of the world’s top scientists, with brilliant one liners like “but cycles!” and “youre a smug liberal”

        the fact that youre sipping the kool aid so hard that you actually think of climate change primarily as a political issue is all i need to hear to realize you need to do some homework

        Reply
        • Anonymous says:

          climate change is obvious, I think a lot of us can agree on its existence. I think he was commenting on the fact that he was being smug about the obvious. so smell your own fucking fart and cut ya hair ya hippie.

          Reply
          • Anonymous says:

            your own farts are emitting methane and CO2, causing this whole mess in the first place you redneck

        • Brett says:

          Your awesome.

          Reply
          • Robin says:

            You’re…… the word is you’re.

          • Amy says:

            Robin, I hope and pray that you are the future of America. If people still don’t know and regularly use the proper forms of your and you’re, I truly believe they should be denied certain rights like driving, owning a home, getting ANY job, etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          Climate change has been going on since the dawn of time…anyone remember an event called “The Ice Age”? Wasn’t that climate change? Haven’t animals been found to have frozen to death in the middle of chewing a mouthful of grass? (grass still in mouth)…that’s pretty drastic “climate change’.

          There is absolutely nothing any human being can do to “control the climate”. As long as this earth spins on it’s axis and planets continue to move throughout the galaxy…the climate will change.

          Reply
      • Larissa says:

        Perhaps more eloquent and specific response is in order? We’re debating the fate of the human race. Just say’in. CD.

        Reply
        • CVMommy says:

          Way to keep it classy Larissa. Apparently we can’t have an educated dialogue these days.

          Reply
        • Donny Brook says:

          You don’t care about the planet. You are just worried about a safe environment for your iPhone.

          Reply
        • Bob says:

          You want to debate the fate of the human race? Then understand the only way ALL of this (climate change, famine, pandemics, etc.) gets fixed is if ~80% of the human race dies off. There are far too many humans here for the planet to support, and THAT is the elephant in the room nobody wants to discuss.

          Reply
          • Nico says:

            I disagree with you on the ~80%… I dont think the issue is that the planet cant support the population. Moreso the means of production for our resources, weather that may be energy, food, water, or medicine, is designed to benefit the producer over consumer needs. The bottom line is profit, not quality of life. that is the issue; profit over people.

            dont play the bull shit ad hominem game of liberal douche vs. GOP turd sandwich. if thats your game, you’re a filibuster… everyone with sense hates you.

          • ObozoTheTyrant says:

            You must be one of those non-breeding types. You know, the ones that are unable to reproduce the way nature intended because you have sex with another man’s anus or two vaginas but no penis. So you take your frustration out on the normal heterosexuals by claiming that we’re overpopulated.

            Like your crazy Uncle Joe (Biden) says: “Malarkey!”

          • Robin says:

            The human race could live harmoniously with our planet, it’s about choices. It’s about money and control. It’s about continuing to live as humans tend to do, selfishly. This planet could support all of us, this bitch is a bounty of life and as kind and nurturing as we allow her to be.

          • ted says:

            that is NOT the elephant in the room re: climate change, pandemics, famine, etc

            “there are far too many humans here for the planet to support” is demonstrably false. try reading some time dude

          • Anonymous says:

            Bob: You’ve spoken my exact thoughts. Sure is unpleasant to consider, but true.

          • Anonymous says:

            Bob I agree with you 100%!… We have far too many people and it is not sustainable. OUr population has grown far to fast. Due to people living longer, people using fertility drugs and having multiple babies, etc.. has anyone ever thought that just maybe things like plagues were Gods way of naturally keeping the population down?

          • Anonymous says:

            Just an FYI, if you take the total population of the earth, every individual would fit fit and have 1,100 sq ft of dry land in the state of Texas. Unfortunately not all country’s , e.g. China, India, Pakistan, put to much thought into our environment. As much as we do, it is sadly offset by other who couldn’t care less if this planet exists in two hundred years.

          • Bob says:

            Interesting factiod, even though it is a non sequitur. Feel free to try and tie that into a reasoned response in rebuttal to my post if you can…

          • mr. miles says:

            I’m pretty sure it’s in the neighborhood of 3 Billion, what we can sustain. It was around 2.5 billion before the advent of artificial nitrogen fertilizer, so I would assume with efficiency improvements we could probably swing 3 billion.

          • Bob says:

            Nitrogen fertilizer? Oh, you mean for food production. Sorry, that’s only one small piece of the puzzle, man does not live on bread alone.

            Current sunlight can support no more than a billion people. Once the population goes above that, we have to use stored sunlight (burning trees, petro products, etc.) to cover the overage, and we also tax atmosphere and fresh water supplies. This has been a known fact for a decade now, and as far as global warming goes, the trend is up. I don’t believe humans are as much of a cause as some would like everyone to believe, but the trend is there, and the question becomes, even if we only have a small impact, don’t we want to minimize it? At some point, the planet becomes uninhabitable, the question is, when? Remember, before the Ice Age, the world was a LOT hotter than it is now, we only cooled off due to the impact of an extraplanetary body off the Yucatan Peninsula ~65 billion years ago. That’s what killed off the dinosaurs.

          • Bob says:

            @ Obozothetyrant: My wife and daughter would beg to disagree on your assessment of my sexuality, and it was a poor attempt at trolling. However, I’d imagine your result on anything you attempt to do is just that, poor.

            The point is, your Fundamentalist Christian whackjob belief that you must continually have your wife spewing as many babies forth as possible in a lame attempt to “have more Christians than Muslims to fight the upcoming Holy War” is idiotic at best. What you’re too stupid to realize from your extreme conservative view is that you can’t win that battle, because the Fundamentalist Muslim whackjob believers have figured out how to beat you at your own game, they can have multiple wives! Sorry. pal, you lose. LOL

            By the way, I have no problem with religion or religious folks (I am myself), it’s the Fundamentalist Whackjobs on both sides that make the non-Fundamentalists look so stupid.

          • Anonymous says:

            the planet can support about 10.5 billion, bob, what are you talking about?

        • Altos Conic says:

          Not the entire human race. Climate change will happen without human intervention but humans are certainly speeding up the greenhouse process. But the entire human race will not be wiped out. There will be a huge “die off” but the human race will survive. Enjoy this day and age because we are approaching the summit of human existence. At no other time in our history will we humans be so decadent but at the same time clueless or in denial about the consequences. Truth is mother Earth has plenty of ways to rid herself of fleas and she is beginning to feel quite itchy.

          Reply
        • John says:

          Maybe it would have been more eloquent if you had said “Perhaps a more eloquent….”

          Reply
      • Jim says:

        Morons seem to like fart and potty jokes.

        Reply
      • vjhh says:

        Kill yourself, you fuckin meat sack.

        Reply
      • depressedfromyou says:

        *Face Palm*
        aaaand you’re part of the reason why America sucks…

        Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      What ever happened to them folks exploring Antartica to look at global warming clues that got ICED in? We dont hear about that anymore…. Oh it was a whole month ago already! There is ‘climate change’ which is BS, and ‘natural changing climates’ which vary year to year. Hippies.

      Reply
      • leonid7 says:

        Not this same, tired, misinformed argument again. “Weather” is not the same as “climate”. When will science deniers finally acknowledge this blatantly obvious fact? Seriously, enough with the red herrings and straw men. It’s winter in Antarctica, and no legit climate scientist anywhere has said weather events like this won’t happen. In fact, climate change models predict MORE extremes in weather, so stop arguing with things no one is actually saying, as if they all think nowhere will get cold again. And though you ridiculously attribute climate change “BS” solely to “hippies”, 97% of climatologists and the vast majority of scientifically literate individuals in the world happen to agree. Do you really think they are all hippies too? If over 97% of the experts agree with us, who is really ignoring the science and making this a BS political game?

        Reply
    • C B says:

      Climate change occurs at minute and barely imperceptible intervals. This drought isn’t a result of climate change. It’s merely a natural occurrence.

      Reply
    • Hopeful says:

      Climate change has been happening since the beginning time.
      Yes, man has changed the ozone layer but we did not make the climate changes that something that just mother nature does naturally! There has been an ice age with in the last 100 years in Europe and there is no global warming for all those people who live on the east coast this winter. They may think they are in an ice age. :) Rep what u show no what u rep.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Hola Conos Liberales.

      Reply
    • J K Ellison says:

      The earth has had several ICE AGES that melted into TROPICAL AGES even before Al Gore was born. Ever heard of the DUST BOWL? No factories, cars, or coal plants then… Read the book GLACIAL LAKE MISSOULA which will describe climate changes that have occurred over the past billion years… what makes us think they will just stop? There was a climatologist at Cal Tech that predicted that we may experience a “mini ice age” within the next 100 years…then he was threatened that the grants will dry up if he doesn’t shut up. Yes, there will be climate changes just as THERE ALWAYS HAVE BEEN and our wise, all knowing government will try to legislate to prevent them. Uh hu!

      Reply
  2. Al Gore says:

    I’m Serial you guys….see what happens when you do not listen to me. Excelsior!

    Reply
  3. Snowhope says:

    Damn this is bad for everyone. Please snow soon for Jah sake!

    Reply
  4. Mike says:

    Hard because last year was dry too, we got one big storm in December and it stayed cold, so January, the hills were whiter…if we get one storm all year, it could still be more than last water year.

    Reply
    • jim says:

      Agree. Last year was bad in Jan. Can’t imagine what its like this year……. I hope the snow god makes an appearance for you soon

      Reply
      • Gregg says:

        I’m glad this has been noted. Snowcover (which is show in these photos) is just one aspect of the combined measurements that are used to create a snowpack analysis. Snow depth, and water content must also be considered). For a fuller understanding of the issue, it would be good to overlay the other snowpack data from 2013 ,2014, and a normal year, over the map. The snow cover, snow depth, and water content of the snowpack are what indicate how much water will runoff through the spring summer and fall.

        Reply
  5. Dirt Pow Junkie says:

    What’s the problem? I see lot’s of brown pow just waiting for my rock board. Get some!

    Reply
  6. MTB brah says:

    The real tragedy here is that a decent used mountainbike costs more than a brand new pair of skiis

    Reply
  7. krisy says:

    Every year is different. Just had record snowfall in 2010-11.. And 05 was great, too

    Reply
  8. Socalist says:

    So there was a storm Jan 13th 2013 but not Jan 14th 2014 ? Who gives? There might be a storm Jan 26th 2014 but not Jan 26th 2013. Two still images prove nothing. In fact the 2014 image on the right shows more snow than the 2013 image on the left. What might be interesting to see is time lapse from like October to date.

    Reply
    • Just saying says:

      That’s not a storm that’s snow on the ground bud.

      Reply
      • doppelganger says:

        also the grass in the central valley

        Reply
      • Socalist says:

        Uh – huh. So those are icebergs in the Pacific, and there’s a solid snowpack across Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert because it’s all white ?

        Reply
        • Factsschmacts says:

          Actually both snowpack AND clouds can be seen in the 2013 picture. Notice that neither appear in the 2014 picture. Incidentally, that’s because there’s a drought going on.

          Reply
    • Robin says:

      Yeah, the picture means nothing, but the record drought does. Pictures might lie but recorded snowfall and rain don’t. This picture is not the only evidence we’re in the midst of a horrid drought.

      Reply
  9. Not Convinced says:

    Global warming? What about that research vessel (studying global warming, mind you) that just got stuck in 15 feet of ice in just a few days? They sent in ice breaking ships and nothing could get them out. Researchers had to abandon ship!

    Reply
    • Lex says:

      It sounds like you don’t believe in global warming because things elsewhere are so cold. I hate to burst your bubble but you need to look up what global warming actually is. It refers to weather extremes of both hot AND cold developing, not just extreme heat. So the freezing weather in other locations is actually further proof of global warming.

      Reply
      • Jimmy says:

        I hate to burst your bubble but you are extremely ignorant to not realize that there is a high pressure system in California blocking the rain and cold air. While you’re at it realize that global warming clearly isn’t happening consider we are the only ones getting this weather. And don’t tell me the exact same thing you told the guy who you replied to.

        Reply
        • Factsschmacts says:

          Actually, Australia is also experiencing a record drought. But I know that when you hear the word “globe” you just see a map of the United Sates.

          Reply
        • Chris says:

          And Australia has been suffering through its two hottest Summers ever. Just because it’s cold somewhere in Winter, and hot somewhere else in Summer, doesn’t prove or disprove global warming.

          The rise in extreme precipitation and temperature range is an indicator of change, though, since warmer air can hold more moisture. Yes, more snow can fall even though the atmosphere is warmer.

          Reply
  10. Thirsty says:

    @Socialist: Sure, two still photos prove nothing. I’ll assume you don’t live in Calfornia though, or otherwise you wouldn’t be questioning whether the photos illustrate the severity of the drought we’re in.

    Who gives? All the residents of California who are running out of drinking water.

    Who gives about all California not having any water? Everyone in the Country – we grow your food.

    Reply
    • Socalist says:

      Thirsty, you’re running out of drinking water ? Really ? I live in California water – I ski it , surf it, wakeboard it, drink it, and water my lawn and garden with it. Swing by and I’ll top you off so you’re not so thirsty. Thank you COLORADO! And thank you NEVADA for the Hoover Dam!

      Reply
      • amused says:

        Socialist, Maybe you should review the aqueduct systems of California. Based on your response, you obviously live in Southen California? Yes, your drinking water comes from several of the water systems in California. But the huge resevoirs in Northern california, such as the horribly low SHASTA supply water to farmers of the central valley ( which as a NATION alone would rank 6th in agricultural production), the aquatic species of the delta( such as delta smelt), and YOUR drinking water. I’m so glad you mentioned your lawn…which probably leaves a stream of water running down the sidewalk and into the gutter..wasted. You and millions of others in Southern California!! Consider the farmer that would have used that water to grow food. Maybe try water conservation landscaping rather than a lawn..because you live in a place that would be a desert without Northern California ( and yes some from the colorado river).

        Reply
    • amused says:

      Thank you!

      Reply
  11. Anonymous says:

    People are concerned about snowboarding when they should be worried about the water supply in general. We’re using it an unsustainable rate especially after last years winter and the current non existent winter that we’re having. People need to be more conscious about their water usage. I just hope that we have some late storms that dump some snow and rain otherwise the whole state will be on dry and on fire by August

    Reply
  12. Keith says:

    Very scary 4sure. I thought this would take at least another decade to get to this point but man it’s on the fast track. time to stack up on the ammo. shits gonna get ugly!

    Reply
  13. Anny Mouse says:

    Sigh, can’t we all just get along here? It’s obvious we have some big problems when California is facing extreme drought, The Central and Northeast may be experiencing another “polar vortex”, there is snow on the Pyramids and polar bears are dying out because of the change of climate in their habitat. My household has already employed water usage changes. We don’t need to call each other names, we need to work together to help the situation.

    Reply
  14. Lynn says:

    I’m curious if you have similar images for 75 and 76, when we had the last severe drought.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous says:

    There was a drought like this in the 70s people… Chill out

    Reply
    • Factsschmacts says:

      Worst drought since records have been kept starting in 1849, actually. But why quibble over facts?

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      nearly double the population in california now as compared to then, scary stuff

      Reply
      • Bob says:

        @ Obozothetyrant: My wife and daughter would beg to disagree on your assessment of my sexuality, and it was a poor attempt at trolling. However, I’d imagine your result on anything you attempt to do is just that, poor.

        The point is, your Fundamentalist Christian whackjob belief that you must continually have your wife spewing as many babies forth as possible in a lame attempt to “have more Christians than Muslims to fight the upcoming Holy War” is idiotic at best. What you’re too stupid to realize from your extreme conservative view is that you can’t win that battle, because the Fundamentalist Muslim whackjob believers have figured out how to beat you at your own game, they can have multiple wives! Sorry. pal, you lose. LOL

        Reply
  16. Ernie says:

    As my biology high school teacher use to say…”Adapt, Migrate or Die!”

    Reply
  17. Anonymous says:

    People! Where is the love here?

    Reply
  18. Anonymous says:

    Good luck SoCal. You can’t take Northern California’s water if we don’t have any, so… Have fun with that.

    Reply
  19. Anonymous says:

    restore the Tulare lake and other giant lakes in the San Joaquin valley then there will be way more than enough water during these droughts!! research this!!!

    Reply
  20. True Dat says:

    CO2 increases as more fossil fuel is burned. The more consumerism expands the worse it gets. Bring back the middle class!

    Reply
  21. Bazeng03 says:

    Job 37 -
    The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters his lightning through them. At HIS DIRECTION they swirl around the face of the whole earth and do whatever He commands them. He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water His earth and show His love….stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes His lightning flash?

    Reply
  22. Goodbye says:

    You climate change believers seem very unhappy here, you should just leave. Goodbye.

    Reply
  23. Peggy Concepcion says:

    Of coarse there is a climate change. With or without us.
    We were just lucky to be here in a time when climate was relatively
    and predictable. It was hotter. It was colder. There was more CO2 and there
    was less. All without the presents of humanity. To think we
    can have any control of that is errogant and presumptuous .
    Because of the long period of calm, humans have been able to evolve
    far enough to deal with the climate change and move forward
    instead of creating panic, breaking down economies, and finger pointing.

    Reply
  24. Paul says:

    You are ALL out of your minds…typical Americans, to politicize the weather.

    When it’s hot the republics are to blame.
    When it’s cold…the democrats shut up.

    It’s weather you idiots. Last december mammoth season got 146 inches and this year it got 20. So in one year the world has flipped a 180 cos California was warm?

    What about the north easy and Canada this winter.

    Monkeys

    It’s called WEATHER now all shut up

    Reply
  25. Tree Hugger says:

    Climate change also states that dry places will get dryer (CA, AZ, NM, Australia) and wet places will get wetter (Louisiana, Indonesia, Philipines, Bahamas) and this is obviously occurring. ( I don’t need to mention that there were record highs this past summer and record lows this winter, this is also in keeping with the scientific research)
    We here in CA are absolutely loving the weather and at the same time we are very worried about the rampaging fires we will doubtless have this coming summer.
    We should be arguing about what to do about this. I think every house should get all of its electric needs by solar panel. I know it’s not feasible yet but it could be soon. Discuss.
    I don’t understand the people on this thread who seem to think that it’s ok to discount everything science says because liberals agree with it. How are we at the same time liberal elites who are too educated and at the same time idiots because we care about the environment?

    Reply
  26. Anonymous says:

    Ugh. Now I see why websites are getting rid of their comments section. I guess 90% of the people who read the news are too fucking dumb to make an intelligent or funny comment about it. Seriously, a one paragraph article about a dry mountain range turns into “liberal hippie–you’re stupid–you’re gay–derpa–derpa–mouthbreather”?

    For realz, most people suck, and they have successfully turned our lives into a bad episode of the real world. Or maybe that’s only what it looks like I’m the Internet.

    Reply
  27. Ajat says:

    Climate change is real. It means accelerated average temperature rise and fluctuations around the world (some cold some hot. EVERY experiment that measures statistics over 100 years proves this.

    This is another IDIOTIC article. If you are trying to prove global warming from a pic in 2013 and 2014 then you might as well accept the anti-climate change arguments about one winter being colder than another. A drought is a drought – if we didn’t have global warming – the two photos would look the same +/- 2%.

    Reply
  28. Joe DIllwood says:

    Breaking News: Climate change has been going on since the ice age. Yes, get people to stop burning fossil fuels, and good luck with that. Do you think the Chinese drivers are all going to pony up for a Tesla? Have you seen the pollution from burning coal in China? Maybe a bit of tariff on goods imported from polluting countries, spent on solar subsidies. Or more nuclear power (in non earthquake an tsunami zones).

    And lets stop watering all of the golf courses (stupid game anyway) and lawns. And stop spending time jerking off in the shower. Tax credits for people with dirty cars! I’ve got even more ideas. All sure to stop global warming or save water.

    Reply
  29. Anonymous says:

    Climate is a popular choice for the next political party. Here in London we are having floods. People who have been made homeless do not have an opinion on climate change. Some where in the world is not happy with their global position and would love to move to somewhere you might be who is not happy with whatever the weather forecast is for the next few days weeks or years. It’s all about perspective.

    Reply
  30. G_money says:

    You know what’s funny is countries like Ethiopia that have drought don’t post from space there lack of water… Lol ‘murica

    Reply
  31. John Marus says:

    After reading some of these hateful comments I’m embarrassed and can only hope for the worst

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree. Reading the ridiculous comments about this very serious water issue just makes me want all humans to die.

      Reply
  32. Bob says:

    We can stuff as many people as can fit on the planet any time we want until we’re shoulder to shoulder on every land mass on the planet, but the question is, how many people want to live in abject misery? How much hunger will people accept before they start eating others, simply because there is no other food source? LOL brings new meaning to the concept of loving your fellow man… I’ll have a prime rib!

    Reply
  33. Tim says:

    You’re all idiots. This is weather, not climate. Look at the East Coast.

    Reply
  34. common sense says:

    This planet that we live on has had many ICE AGES that melted into TROPICAL AGES that froze up again, then melted. Al Gore was there for each climate change; he can tell you! Unfortunately, you can’t legislate (or even use executive action) to stop climate change. Anyone ever heard of the Dust Bowl? No coal plants, cars or factories then…just mother earth doing what mother earth does. Read GLACIAL LAKE MISSOULA, written before politicians thought of using climate change to manipulate the masses. You will find no hateful comments in this book; just facts.

    Reply

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