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The Verge: Satellite images show just how bad California’s drought is

The Verge's J

ustine Calma reports that satellite images show just how bad California’s drought is and according to her (and the images), California looks way worse from space this year than it did last June. 

Seen from space, California’s drought is horrifying. To get some perspective on the dire situation, the European Space Agency took a satellite image of Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Reservoir in Southern California this month and compared that to an image taken around the same time last year.

Here is a 2nd link to the article: https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/22/22545107/satellite-images-california-drought-water-esa. The images are absolutely frightening. Honestly, we are dumbfounded and terrified- this looks incredible bad. 

In 2020, the landscape looks lush and green and the San Gabriel Reservoir is bright blue. Fast forward to this year, and the same location is so dry it looks like a scene out of a Mars movie. The forest is scarred red, and the San Gabriel Reservoir is almost empty.

While 2020 was awful for plenty of other reasons, it did give California a brief break from drought. The Golden State’s longest drought persisted from 2011 to 2019. The relief didn’t last long. This year, Northern California endured one of its driest Februarys, which is usually a wetter month, in more than 150 years.

The entire western US is in trouble when it comes to water shortages. More than 80 percent of it is parched, with close to half of the region in “extreme” drought. The Hoover Dam reservoir, the largest in the US, hit the lowest water level in its history earlier this month. It’s a crucial water source for 25 million people across several states, including California.

We are reading increasing reports where there are parts of California running very low on water- which is very scary for both the people and economy. A recent Bloomberg article reported that California's almond growers are seeing their crops being devastated. And we have not even discussed the horrors of the upcoming California fireseason. 

Soaring temperatures that shattered hundreds of records across the US recently are also sucking the west dry. That has essentially turned vegetation into tinder for wildfires. California had its worst fire season on the books last year, when more than twice as many acres burned than the previous state record. Experts say there’s even more potential for mega blazes this year.

We started Ursa Nova from one of these horrific wildfires. We are Californians and these duel threats are terrifying. We also want to emphasize- this- the impacts on climate change- is happening here. In the United States. In our home towns and communities. Not in some far away land. We need to take action now!

“When we see droughts like this, it really amplifies the fire season,” Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who creates maps for the US Drought Monitor, told The Verge last week. “This is currently the most exceptional drought that we’ve ever shown on the map in the Western US.”

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Climate change is a major crisis and an existential threat to all of us- regardless of race, creed, color or circumstances. We need to reinforce our society and infrastructures to defend against the extremes of climate change as well as build new technologies and processes to combat climate change. This is no longer an option- we need to act now!

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