AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break and when we come back, I want to talk about solutions, what is possible. Our guests or two climate scientists here at Stanford University, Noah Diffenbaugh and Mark Jacobson. And after we finish speaking to them, we’re going to Barcelona, Spain, for an exclusive broadcast interview with the mayor-elect of Barcelona, a leading anti-eviction housing activist who will be the first female mayor of that Spanish city. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: We are broadcasting from Stanford University in California. California, a state that is now in its fourth straight year of drought. This week new mandatory water restrictions went into effect, with residents required to cut back water use by a net total of 25 percent. Just Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor said a wet May that led to greener pastures in some areas failed to bring any relief and "the sprouting of grasses will most likely provide extra fuel for early fall wildfires once the vegetation dies off this summer." Meanwhile, a new study by the University of California, Davis finds that in 2015 alone, the drought will cost the state’s farmers and agricultural industry $2.7 billion and more than 18,000 jobs. The study noted, "The socioeconomic impacts of an extended drought, in 2016 and beyond, could be much more severe." All this comes as the death toll from an ongoing heat wave in India has topped 2300, making it the fifth deadliest in recorded history. India’s earth sciences minister, Harsh Vardhan, said, "It’s not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change."
Well, for more, we’re joined by two guests. Noah Diffenbaugh is a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and an Associate Professor here at Stanford University in Environmental Earth System Science. He recently published a study that found a link between global warming and California’s historic drought. Also joining us is Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford and the director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program. Mark Jacobson is also the co-founder of The Solutions Project, which combines science, business, and culture to develop and implement science based clean-energy plans for states and countries, and we’re going to talk about what those plans are for all 50 states. But first, Noah Diffenbaugh, the connection between the drought and climate change.
NOAH DIFFENBAUGH: So we know that climate change can influence drought in a number of ways, and drought — it’s important to keep in mind — is really the effective moisture that is available. So, a people may think of drought, they think of how much is it raining. But really it’s the effect of moisture. And heat in the atmosphere can really affect that; how much moisture is available for crops, how much is available for reservoirs and in snowpack. And it does so in a few ways. It draws water out of soils. The hotter it is, the more evaporation there will be, the more transpiration from plants. That’s what we’re seeing with the U.S. drought Monitor, is really the long-term effects over this drought of high temperatures. It also affects snow. In California, about a third of our water storage is reliant on snowpack as a natural reservoir. We don’t have the concrete reservoirs to store enough water that California needs. We rely on that snowpack. And the hotter it is, the more precipitation falls as rain rather than snow and the snow that does fall melts earlier in the year. And we are seeing those in California in this drought. When we look over the long-term history of California, we’re seeing increasing occurrence of years in which there is both low rainfall and high temperature. And that’s when we know we have an elevated risk of drought.