The California Drought and the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge

Photo Credit: P. Nixon

I spent the last week traveling in California.

On the drive from San Diego to Sacramento through the San Joaquin Valley no sign of blossoms on the fruit and nut trees, but the fields and hills were green.   Near Wasco flocks of sheep grazed, knobby-kneed lambs staying close to their mothers.   Dave made a u-turn so I could get a picture of this wary ewe and her baby.

Heavy autumn rains had started to ease the drought in some parts of the state until the spigot shut off in December.  Why did the rain stop?   This story on Friday’s edition of The California Report says it could be due to the return of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge or Triple R, a high pressure system trapped over California that keeps conditions dry.  This atmospheric phenomenon was identified and named by Stanford PhD candidate, Daniel Swain, in 2013.  He says in a recent post on his blog that this year’s condition is not quite the same . . . yet.

Whatever the reason it looks like California could be headed into a fourth year of drought.






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