Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
Where Solutions Flow
602 E. Huntington Drive, Suite B., Monrovia, CA, 91016 | (626) 443-2297

News

July 24, 2017                      

MEDIA ADVISORY

 UPPER SAN GABRIEL VALLEY MWD HOSTS WATERSHED RESTORATION VOLUNTEER EVENT IN SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS

WHAT: The Watershed Restoration Program, hosted by the Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD and in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, helps to reduce the negative impacts of fire, invasive species and cultivate a healthy watershed. Volunteer efforts play a vital role in the survival and prosperity of regional watersheds and open space. The program works toward restoring and preserving the watershed in the San Gabriel Mountains, which directly impacts the local groundwater supply.

WHEN: Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

WHERE: Volunteers will meet at the San Gabriel Canyon Environmental Education Center on Highway 39 (across from the Rincon Fire Station).

PARTICIPANTS: Residents and community members of all ages are invited to help with watershed restoration efforts. Students are eligible to earn community service hours for their participation. Adult supervision of children is required. Participants should plan to wear sturdy non-skid closed-toe shoes, drinking water, and snack. Outdoor work/garden gloves are also suggested. Participants must provide their own transportation for the duration of the event. Dropping off or leaving participants without transportation during the event is not permitted.

SITE CONTACT:

Elena Layugan, cell: (909) 921-5815

David Orozco, USDA Forest Service, (626) 335-1251

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 Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water.  Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area.  For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

July 24, 2017

PHOTO ADVISORY

UPPER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE 2017 “WATER IS LIFE” STUDENT ART CONTEST

MONROVIA, CA, — On July 18, 2017, the Board of Directors for the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) honored 20 San Gabriel Valley students who submitted award-winning entries to Upper District’s annual “Water is Life,” student art contest.

Upper District’s “Water is Life” art contest helps raise water conservation awareness while educating students on the importance of preserving our most precious natural resource. This year, Upper District received a total of 123 entries from 30 schools located across the district’s service territory. All eligible art entries were displayed at Upper District to allow Board members, staff, and members of the public the opportunity to vote by ballot for their top choices in each student category. Art contest entries are divided into four award categories: Kindergarten – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades, 6th – 8th grades, and 9th -12th grades. Within each of these award categories, the art entries with the highest votes are designated as 1st through 5th place.

The top 5 student artists within each of the four grade-level categories and their families were invited to last Tuesday’s Board meeting, where each winning student was presented with a congratulatory certificate. Upper District’s winning entries will now go on to compete in the “Water is Life” student art contest hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The winners of Metropolitan’s contest are usually announced in late autumn. The winners of Upper District’s 2017 “Water is Life” art contest are as follows:

K- 2nd Grades
 1st Place: Fiana Lee, 2nd grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Angie Li, 1st grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Weihao Luo, 1st grade, LA Art Academy
 4th Place: Claire Heyler-Erickson, 2nd grade, Marengo Elementary School
 5th Place: April Vong, 1st grade, LA Art Academy

3rd – 5th Grades
 1st Place: Sunny Xu, 3rd grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Lena Huang, 5th grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Cathy Jialu Gu, 5th grade, LA Art Academy
 4th Place: Eric Gu, 3rd grade, LA Art Academy
 5th Place: Belle Bao, 5th grade, Christ Lutheran School

6th – 8th Grades
 1st Place: Shang Ying Wu, 6th grade, LA Art Academy
 2nd Place: Iris Xu, 6th grade, LA Art Academy
 3rd Place: Bianca Villeda, 7th grade, Madrid Middle School
 4th Place: Nikki Ma, 8th Place, Madrid Middle School
 5th Place: Savannary Phan, 8th grade, Sierra Vista Middle School

9th – 12th Grades
 1st Place: Emily Chan-Diaz, 9th grade, Rosemead High School
 2nd Place: Setthinan Joy Siridachanon, 12th grade, Rosemead High School
 3rd Place: Natalie Ayala, 11th grade, La Puente High School
 4th Place: Natalia Jacobo, 9th grade, La Puente High School
 5th Place: Manuel Ponce, 10th grade, La Puente High School

(Photo Caption: Upper District Board of Directors, Alfonso Contreras, Bryan Urias, Ed Chavez, Dr. Anthony Fellow and Charles Trevino with the winners of the 2017 “Water is Life” art contest.)

(Photo Caption: Families of the 2017 “Water is Life” art contest, gather at Upper District’s Board of Directors meeting for the “Water is Life” awards ceremony.)

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Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water. Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area. For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

89.3 KPCC

By Sharon McNary

January 23, 2017

1.26.17

Los Angeles County storm water capture systems have shunted enough water from rain-swollen rivers into percolation ponds this rain season to serve the annual water needs of about a half-million people, an official said Monday.

More than 22 billion gallons of storm water has been collected since mid-October  along the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers, said Steven Frasher, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.

However, most of the water that falls on the region is still lost to the Pacific, partly because the kinds of investments made over the years in spreading grounds along the San Gabriel River have been lagging along the Los Angeles River, said Mark Gold of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

“You see a storm year like this and you see all the water that ends up going through the LA River and Ballona Creek and Dominguez Channel, and you say, “Wow. That could have been our water supply for the next year,” Gold said.

“I think this storm here has really demonstrated where the shortcomings are in our local water system,” Gold said. “We’ve barely scratched the surface on what we can do in the eastern San Fernando Valley in trying to capture more of that precious rainfall from the sky and have it actually infiltrate into the ground and get into our groundwater supply.”

Why do we lose so much rain water?

The flood control system was initially built to speed water to the ocean to avoid damage to communities along the rivers during heavy rain storms. So it took decades for the region to adapt to the idea of capturing that water for later use.

Every few decades from the first settlements to early 1900s, big rainstorms would cause flooding and destruction along the rivers that run through Los Angeles and surrounding counties. And while local governments raised some money to channelize parts of the river and build dams,  the 1938 flood became was a turning point.

In late February and early March 1938, record-setting rain caused a disastrous flood on the Los Angeles River. Homes were swept away, bridges torn out. That’s back when the L.A. River was a natural river.

After that storm, Congress authorized federal money to build a new system designed to flush stormwater out to the Pacific as fast as possible.  The Los Angeles and the San Gabriel rivers were  mostly lined with concrete.  Orange County’s Santa Ana River and some of its larger creeks also were lined for much of their reach. That system was mostly built out by 1960.

In recent decades, as the region has struggled through repeated droughts, the sight of all that water being lost to the Pacific Ocean has motivated water agencies to install more projects to capture storm runoff. A network of spreading grounds has been built up along the region’s rivers. In some places, rubber dams are used to redirect the flow of water.

However, some of these groundwater aquifer recharge projects go back to the late 1930s, like one along the Rio Hondo tributary of the Los Angeles River. They’ve become more common in the past two decades.

Can those spreading grounds absorb all this rain?

Nope. There’s just too much rain coming down at once for the spreading grounds to soak up. That’s where the dams come in.

High up in the San Gabriel  Mountains is a series of dams that capture and control rainwater falling on the slopes. The Morris, San Gabriel and Cogswell dams are visible alongside Highway 39 above Azusa. Farther down in the San Gabriel Valley are the Santa Fe and Whittier Narrows dams.

And the water in those dams is parceled out to the spreading grounds a bit at a time over many months.

How much rain is being saved this way?

L.A. County Flood Control estimates that from the latest storm, they were able store 433 million gallons of stormwater. That’s about 656 Olympic-size pools of water, about enough to serve the water needs of 10,600 people a year.

Since the rainy season started in mid-October, the spreading grounds have saved enough water to serve more than a half-million residents, Frasher said.

All that rain takes months or years to percolate down through layers of soil and rock to filter into the groundwater where it can be pumped out.

How else are we hanging onto all this rain?

There are some pretty remarkable water saving projects in the works.

One in Sun Valley is a series of human-made caverns built underneath a park’s baseball field. The water from flood-prone Sun Valley flows to the park and drains into these catacombs to be filtered into the groundwater. More projects like these are being built across the region.

What still needs to be done?

Where local history is full of mega-projects like large dams and river-fed groundwater recharge fields covering hundreds of acres, others see the potential water supply that could come from micro-projects like residential rooftop water capture systems put on millions of homes and businesses.

“Right now there are a number of these missed opportunities when we get these wonderful rainstorms,” said Cindy Montanez, CEO of Treepeople. The water advocacy nonprofit is collaborating in a project with the large local water utilities including Los Angeles DWP to make such projects achievable.

“The Trump administration has said they want to spend more on water infrastructure. We hope that means that our front yards and distributed storm water will be seen as an opportunity for storm water capture, and not just build big dams that are more difficult to site in California,” Montanez said.

She also hopes the region can get new federal funding to clean pollution from underground water aquifers in the San Fernando Valley, making them more suitable for storing large amounts of stormwater.

Gold, the UCLA sustainability expert, said he’d like to see the state put money toward aquifer cleanup and other stormwater storage projects from the $7.5 billion that voters approved for water projects in Prop 1. Like Montanez, Gold also sees potential for more groundwater recharge with “green streets” designs that use porous ground coverings to soak water into the earth.

Read Article Here…

Jan. 10, 2017

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Contacts:

Bob Muir, (213) 217-6930; (213) 324-5213, mobile
Rebecca Kimitch, (213) 217-6450; (202) 821-5253, mobile

TREVIÑO RETURNS TO METROPOLITAN BOARD AS UPPER SAN GABRIEL VALLEY MWD’S REPRESENTATIVE

San Gabriel Valley water leader Charles M. Treviño returned today as a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Treviño represents the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District on Metropolitan’s 38-member board. He previously represented Central Basin Municipal Water District from March 1999 to December 2000. He succeeds Michael Touhey, who had served on Metropolitan’s board since February 2013.

First elected to Upper District’s Board of Directors in November 2008, Treviño has since served two consecutive four-year terms, representing all or parts of Arcadia, Rosemead, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, South San Gabriel, and Temple City. During his Upper District tenure, he has served as board president in 2011 and vice president in both 2009 and 2010. Treviño’s water sector experience also includes 10 years on Central Basin’s Board of Directors, which he was first elected to in 1994.

He currently is Upper District’s representative to the Association of California Water Agencies’ Joint Powers Insurance Authority and the San Gabriel Valley Protective Association and is a board member of the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster. He also is a member of the Los Angeles County Water Appeals Board, the vice president of the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults, and a former chair of the South Pasadena Senior Commission.

Treviño retired from Metropolitan in 2014 as a principal public affairs representative within the education unit of the district’s external affairs group. Prior to that, Treviño was a Metropolitan government affairs representative.

A U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War and received an honorable discharge in 1968, Treviño used the GI Bill to earn an associate’s degree from Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University at Los Angeles.

In addition, he received a teaching credential from UCLA, a master’s degree in school management and an administrative credential from San Diego’s Point Loma Nazarene University. He then worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a teacher and administrator until his retirement in 2002.

Treviño and his wife, Carmen, reside in South Pasadena.

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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

Download the MWD Press Release…

January 05, 2017

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

 UPPER SAN GABRIEL VALLEY MWD BOARD OF DIRECTORS REORGANIZES FOR 2017

 MONROVIA, CA – At the first board meeting of 2017, the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) Board of Directors conducted its annual reorganization of officers. Director Ed Chavez was elected as President and Director Alfonso “Al” Contreras will serve as Vice President.  Director Anthony Fellow, Ph.D., was elected to serve as Secretary and Director Charles M. Treviño as Treasurer.

Referencing his colleagues and the year ahead, Director Chavez stated, “With five consecutive years of unprecedented drought, we face many challenges moving forward as we continue to provide a reliable, affordable, and sustainable water supply to the San Gabriel Valley.  It is going to require a strong and unified leadership.  I look forward to continue working with my fellow Directors as we tackle these issues.”

Upon his reelection, this past November, Director Chavez is serving his third term on the board and will also serve as the district’s representative to the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority (WQA).  Director Chavez, an educator, is a former Board Member of the Bassett Unified School District, Mayor and Councilmember of the City of La Puente, and three-term member of the California State Assembly representing the 57th District.  During his tenure with Upper District, Director Chavez previously served as the Board’s Secretary/Treasurer from 2009 to 2012 and Vice President in 2013 and 2014. Director Chavez represents Division 3 which includes all, or parts of, Avocado Heights, City of Industry, Hacienda Heights, La Puente, and South El Monte.

Newly elected to the board, Alfonso Contreras was officially sworn into the Board of Directors in December 2016 and will represent Division 4 of Upper District’s service area which includes all, or parts of, Azusa, Covina, Glendora, Irwindale, and West Covina. Director Contreras was first elected to the Board in 2002 and served two consecutive 4-year terms.  In addition to being elected Vice President, Director Contreras will serve as the alternate representative to WQA, chair of Upper District’s Administration & Finance Committee, and vice chair of the Water Policy Committee.

Dr. Fellow is currently serving his seventh term on Upper District’s Board of Directors and will serve as the Board Secretary and vice chair of the Government & Community Affairs Committee.  Dr. Fellow will also serve as Upper District’s representative to the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority, San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, and an alternate representative to the San Gabriel Valley Water Association.  Additionally, Dr. Fellow is serving his second year as an appointed member of the Association of California Water Agencies’ Federal Affairs Committee.  Dr. Fellow represents Division 1 which includes all, or parts of, Arcadia, Bradbury, El Monte, Monrovia, Rosemead, and Temple City.

Director Charles M. Treviño was recently reelected this past November to serve a third term on the board. In addition to being elected as Board Treasurer, Director Treviño was also elected to serve as the Upper District representative on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  He will continue serving on ACWA’s Joint Powers Insurance Authority, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, the San Gabriel Valley Protective Association, and as chair of Upper District’s Water Policy Committee.  Director Treviño represents Division 2 which includes all, or parts of, Arcadia, Rosemead, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, South San Gabriel, and Temple City.

Representing Division 5 which includes all, or parts of, Baldwin Park, Duarte, El Monte, and Irwindale, Director Urias is currently serving his second term on the board. He will continue as the board’s representative to the San Gabriel Valley Water Association, an alternate to the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority, and chair of Upper District’s Government & Community Affairs Committee.

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water.  Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area.  For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

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Download: press-release-2017-usgvmwd-board-reorganization

December 15, 2016

Los Angeles Times

By Matt Stevens

12-15-16

When California water officials assess the drought, the first place they look is the northern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Rain and snowmelt from the area feed into a complex system of rivers, canals and reservoirs that send water across the state. And by almost all measures, the drought picture in Northern California has dramatically improved over the last two months, as a series of storms have helped replenish the state’s two major water projects. So far this season, rain levels in the northern Sierra are 180% of average, with 23.5 inches of rain falling — and more on the way this week.

 But the story is more grim in Southern California, which remains historically dry. Now water officials must figure out how to deal with the disparity and its implications for managing the drought. While Southern California still gets some water from the Sierra, about 50% of its supply comes from local sources such as groundwater and reservoirs.

“California is a big place. It has different droughts in different parts,” said Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis who studies water in California. “We certainly saw that last year … and we’re likely to see that again.”

Another big storm moving into California on Thursday is expected to dump large amounts of rain and snow in the north and considerably smaller amounts in Southern California.

Los Angeles marked a sober milestone earlier this year, when the National Weather Service announced that the last five years were the driest ever documented in downtown L.A. since official record keeping began almost 140 years ago. Precipitation during that period totaled just 38.79 inches — roughly half of normal.

Forecasters had predicted a wet 2016 fueled by El Niño, but the big storms never materialized. Federal climate scientists declared La Niña conditions last month, which they said will likely keep Southern California dry again this winter.

Northern California typically gets more rain than Southern California does, and the state’s water system is designed with that in mind; it moves water from the Sierra into cities and farms to the south.

But Lund said that even as conditions have gotten wetter, the state has struggled to move surplus water south across the delta. As a result, the benefits have been limited.

The sixth year of California’s drought could hardly have gotten off to a better start in Northern California. In October, when the water year began, the northern Sierra got more than four times its average amount of precipitation for the month.

As recently as last week, the northern Sierra got another 8 inches of precipitation, said Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.

Forecasters say two more storm systems — the second of which will strike Los Angeles — will collectively dump as many as 9 additional inches of rain on the area by Friday.

“Here in Northern California, there has been some improvement,” Del Valle acknowledged.

The recent rains were enough to force federal officials to begin releasing water from Folsom Lake to protect against flooding for the first time since March, said Louis Moore, a spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the reservoir. Since the beginning of December, Folsom has risen more than 20 feet — an increase of about 55 billion gallons.

As of last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that drought conditions no longer apply to about 27% of California; it should come as no surprise that all the areas where the drought has relented are located in the upper reaches of the state.

Meanwhile, a vast swath of Southern and Central California — from Orange County to Tulare County — remains mired in “exceptional” drought conditions, according to federal officials.

The so-called Key Well, which measures groundwater levels in the San Gabriel Basin, hit a historic low in October. Meanwhile, Lake Perris in Riverside County is holding less than half the amount of water it usually does at this time of year. Castaic Lake in Los Angeles County is faring only marginally better, filled to only 74% of its normal levels.

Along the Central Coast, Lake Cachuma is filled to only about 7% of its capacity, which has prompted Santa Barbara city officials to impose a ban on lawn watering, effective next year. Further inland, the Tulare Basin has received only about four inches of rain so far this water year — about 64% of average.

“We have some systems that are back in their normal operating range,” said State Climatologist Mike Anderson, “and we have other areas that are in the thick of things as much as they’ve ever been.”

Thursday’s winter storm is expected to cover the entirely of California, Anderson said. But it could be particularly helpful to the southern parts of the state that need the rain the most.

Since Oct. 1, Los Angeles County has gotten about 70% to 90% of average rainfall, said Jayme Laber, a hydrologist in the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office. For example, about 1.4 inches of precipitation has fallen on downtown L.A. since that time — about an inch less than normal.

Thursday’s storm alone could add more than an inch of rain to downtown and fill the gap, Laber said. But it is unlikely to generate the type of torrential rain that causes flooding.

 Read Full Article…

October 10, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WATERFEST 2016 TO HONOR THREE LEADERS AS POLICYMAKERS OF THE YEAR – Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Hosts Annual WaterFest

MONROVIA, CA – Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) is partnering with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to host WaterFest 2016. WaterFest is a community outreach event focused on educating residents on water conservation and environmental stewardship.

Upper District will honor three policymakers who have made a significant impact on water-related policy and legislation. Senator Bob Huff, Senator Carol Liu and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich will receive the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart Award for their focus on water sustainability and support of water conservation projects.

“Honoring these elected officials is our way of thanking them for leadership and efforts in developing sound water policy for the San Gabriel Valley,” said Upper District Board President Bryan Urias. “WaterFest is the perfect community event and we can’t think of a better time to express our appreciation for these policymakers that have dedicated many years of service to their communities.”

Upper District is also honoring Miller Coors with the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart Business of the Year award. Based in Irwindale, the Miller Coors facility has made significant strides in implementing water conservation best practices, such as turf removal, that will significantly reduce their outdoor landscaping water usage.

Over 50 exhibitor booths focused on water sustainability and environmental stewardship will be set up to educate and entertain residents of all ages. There will be food trucks, raffle prizes, activities and giveaways. Waterfest will also have cheer competition for the LA County Parks and Recreation Department’s cheerleading teams. Over 500 cheerleaders will participate and each team will have one minute to perform a water conservation-themed cheer. The top three teams will receive a 2016 WaterFest trophy.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 15th from 10am – 2pm at Arcadia County Park, located at 405 S. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia.

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water. Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area. For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.

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Download Full Press Release…

media-advisory

Download Media Advisory: media-advisory-2016-water-forum

POSTED:

9-15-16

Greenhouse gases trapped in the upper atmosphere are acting like natural climatic forces that made some ancient droughts last for 1,000 years, UCLA researchers say.

Global warming created by these gases could be making a more arid climate, like what California has seen in its current five-year drought, “the new normal,” said UCLA geography professor Glen MacDonald, the study’s lead author.

Released today, the study in Scientific Reports — part of the Nature Publishing Group — found that carbon dioxide and methane emitted from the burning of fossil fuels may be mimicing the effects of some catastrophic environmental phenomena the planet has previously experienced.

The consequences of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere look a lot like the effects of storms on the surface of the sun, decreases in volcanic activity or wobbles in the Earth’s orbit.

Events such as those precipitated 60-year periods of drought in the 12th century, MacDonald wrote. Some prehistoric droughts created by those phenomena lasted as long as 1,000 years.

Man-made activity causing the Earth’s temperature to rise may take the place of these natural phenomena — known as “radiative forcing” — in creating what scientists identify as extended arid periods.

“Radiative forcing in the past appears to have had catastrophic effects in extending droughts,” said MacDonald, an international expert on drought and climate change, in a statement.

“When you have arid periods that persist for 60 years, as we did in the 12th century, or for millennia, as we did from 6,000 to 1,000 B.C., that’s not really a ‘drought,’ ” MacDonald said. “That aridity is the new normal.”

While many scientists suspected that California had experienced extended dry periods in the ancient past, MacDonald’s study found new, decisive evidence of mega-droughts occurring before recorded history.

Much like how researchers can use tree rings to understand what happened to an ancient tree over the course of its life, MacDonald used sediment samples from Kirman Lake in central-eastern California to document previous droughts. He concluded that these dry periods related to sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

Ocean temperatures help climatologists predict weather patterns like El Niño and La Niña.

Californians awaiting this year’s El Niño knew they could anticipate months of wetter weather. That didn’t happen, with scientists saying a dome of high pressure kept the storm track of the most recent El Niño confined to the northern part of the state.

If the current La Niña period, which usually means drier weather, combines with radiative forcing of global warming, this double-whammy could produce droughtlike conditions that may extend indefinitely, the study says.

If levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise, the resulting effects could wither the state’s forest preserves and decrease snowfall and rainfall, the study’s authors concluded.

The U.S. Forest Service in June said a combination of drought, a bark beetle infestation and hotter temperatures killed an estimated 66 million trees in California’s forests of the Sierra Nevada over the last six years. The mass of dead trees raised concerns that there would be more fuel for wildfires in the state this summer.

The costs of fighting wildfires during the state’s 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended June 30, jumped to $366 million, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. That’s compared to $209 million for the previous fiscal year.

Dry brush as a result of the drought also quickened fires in Southern California, like the Blue Cut fire that raged in the San Bernardino Mountains in August.

“When we go out to hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains or the Santa Monica mountains, I worry that we will see very different wildlands by the end of this century,” MacDonald said in his statement.

Read Article Here…

Los Angeles Times

By: Rong-Gong Lin II

June 21, 2016

6.21.16

Think today’s heat in L.A. is miserable? It’s going to become more frequent in the summers to come.

Days of extreme heat are defined as those on which the temperature reaches 95 degrees. In downtown Los Angeles, there was an average of just six extreme heat days yearly in the 1980s and 1990s. 

But by the year 2050, there could be 22 days of extreme heat in Los Angeles, and by 2100, there could be 54 such days, a study released by UCLA scientists last year said. 

It gets even worse the farther inland you go.  

The San Gabriel Valley could see its number of extreme heat days climb from 32 to 74 by 2050, and 117 by 2100. 

L.A. will keep getting hotter, scientists say — a lot hotter – LA Times

“A new season of extreme heat” likely lies in our future, the UCLA scientists warned. 

By 2050, the most likely average future August will be warmer than the hottest August of the 1980s and 1990s, they said.

In fact, L.A.’s future winters will be most similar to how April felt in the ’80s and ’90s. 

“We have to confront this,” study co-author Alex Hall, a professor at UCLA’s atmospheric and oceanic sciences department, said in an interview last year. “Climate change is inevitable in this region.”

Valleys will be hit worse than the coast, said Katharine Reich, associate director of the Center for Climate Science, part of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, which performed the study. 

“If you’re in the San Fernando Valley, where the Santa Monica Mountains block your access to cool sea breezes, you’ll experience more extreme heat,” she said. “The farther inland you go, the more impacted you’ll be.” 

L.A. will keep getting hotter, scientists say — a lot hotter – LA Times

There is, however, some good news. A concerted effort to control carbon emissions could make L.A.’s future less hot than it could be.

For instance, if a concerted effort were made to curb carbon emissions, downtown L.A. could see only 15 days of extreme heat by 2100, instead of 54 days if business goes on as usual.

And the San Gabriel Valley could see only 61 extreme heat days, instead of 117.