Despite the latest scientific innovations, officials at the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) in Lincoln, Neb. told NBC News this week that they have no way of predicting how long the drought will last. They have looked at tree growth rings throughout the state and reveal that there have been prolonged periods of aridity in the past.
“To know that we are going into another pattern like California has experienced in the past—that we could expect this drought to persist for 10 or 15 years—is really, really hard to say,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatalogist with the NDMC. “There is nothing in our forecasting models that are being looked at that would suggest that we would even have the ability to do that.” Fuchs said some California droughts stretching back 700 years moved entire [Native Indian] societies out of regions. “Are we able to offset some of that impact because of the developed water systems and technology? That’s even a tough question to ask,” Fuchs added.
On Tuesday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) announced the dry weather has began to impact air quality—despite the showers that began Wednesday evening over Southern California—trapping fine particles to the ground and leaving a build-up of sooty haze over the county.
“Wood smoke from fireplaces contributes to regional particulate pollution, which is a serious health threat,” said Barry R. Wallerstein, SCAQMD executive officer. “Residents can play an important role in helping to clean the air and protect their family’s health by checking before they burn wood in their fireplaces.”