Skip to content

California Rainfall Nearly Back To Normal In 2014

January 12, 2015

By Paul Homewood



Alarmists seem to have gone quiet about the drought in California lately.

I wonder why?





Precipitation in 2014 was actually close to normal, ranking 44th driest since 1895. Note that the blue line is the trend, which is falling at a barely noticeable 0.02”/decade.

The bionomial filter trend also shows many worse periods in the past.

And before anybody says it is only because of the December floods, NOAA show that there have been 16 wetter Decembers.




More important, though, is the longer term trend, as that is really what leads to seriously damaging droughts.

A look at the 60-Month averages shows much more severe droughts in the 20thC.




As with all droughts, it will take time for water reserves to build back up again. But it has done so before from much lower levels and there is no reason to suppose it won’t do again.

  1. January 12, 2015 6:42 pm

    I lived in Southern California in the late ’70s and early ’80s and remember well the dry spell followed by the rains and floods as I lived in the northern part of Los Angeles county in the foothills subject to flooding.

    When the rains started, the media would constantly remind us that the drought wasn’t over yet; but when it finally started raining enough that there were floods the media simply stopped reporting on the drought. No mention of it ever ending; but of course it did end. The media just stopped talking about it. Look for the same in this cycle.

  2. Paul Weber permalink
    January 12, 2015 7:03 pm

    Good, the rainfall in California is back to near normal. However, did the people of California learn anything about preparing for next time? Probably not. Progressives/leftists have an aversion for history.

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    January 12, 2015 7:37 pm

    I live in the rain-shadow of the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Discussing water is a way of life. There is an expectation by many that every water-year ought to be above average. This is called the Lake Wobegon characteristic. See here:

    Historically, settlers planted early season crops and used spring run-off from the snow melt from the mountains to the west. Small diversion dams proliferated. In the early 1900s water was plentiful. Note the left-most green spike on your final chart. (Washington was similar to CA in this respect.) The plentiful water encouraged the planting of things that needed more and longer watering. Then from about 1915 to about 1935 there was low precipitation (mountain snow). Larger dams followed. Then precipitation returned – peaking in the ’40s. The pattern continues.
    I like the term “episodic” for the pattern rather than cyclical because the latter term implies a regularity that doesn’t existed.
    When there is ample water there is a smooth transition to talking about the growth of brush and grass and the increase of “fuel” for wildfires. California has a number of plants that are adapted to its climate (Mediterranean type) – called Chaparral – that burn fast and hot.
    Here in Washington State we have an introduced plant, Bromus tectorum, called cheat grass. Check out this CO2 related issue:

    Sage brush/steppe habitat is endangered by cheat grass and the greater sage grouse is in decline. Suprisingly, this offers hope in the West’s battle against cheat grass.

  4. January 12, 2015 9:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Sierra Foothill Commentary and commented:
    Look at the cycles in the precipitation. These are natural cycles driven by large scale Pacific ocean trends, warm PDO or cool PDO. We are currently in a cool phase PDO that should last for the next 20 years.

  5. January 13, 2015 12:42 am

    Time to build some new dams and prepare for the next time a drought happens ? Or do nothing and wait for the obvious punishment to arrive.

  6. January 13, 2015 12:33 pm

    Thanks, Paul. This is good news.
    Everything in nature seems to be cyclical, except for us humans that like never-ending ramps to Heaven-on-Earth.

  7. Nick in BC permalink
    January 13, 2015 2:48 pm

    I live in Victoria, BC, also in the rail shadow of the Olympic mountains, about 750 miles north of San Francisco. We have spent a month for the last two Novembers in San Diego and have observed the drought situation up close. What struck me was the lack of broad water conservation measures that in Victoria we take automatically every year from May to September. (Our annual precipitation is approx 600mm, same as San Fran, double that of San Diego). The shower head in the condo we stayed in blasted you to the back wall – low flow it was not! Although I did see some low flow toilets, the most visible of the water saving measures seemed to be having to ask for a glass of water with your dinner.

  8. vonborks permalink
    January 13, 2015 5:34 pm

    California uses more water than nature can provide, and more is used every year to feed the US and now the world. There are 400 Water Boards in California, they have over-allocated their resources. Normal rainfall will never bring the aquifers and storage areas back to safe working levels unless water usage is reduced. There will always be a water shortage in California, period…

  9. gregladen permalink
    January 13, 2015 6:53 pm

    The first word in your post is “alarmist.” I have no idea what the second word is because starting a post with the word “alarmist” is an excellent way of indicating a lack of credibility. So thanks for doing that, save me some time.

    I will now go read the other excellent sources of information about the current situation in California, which I do hope improves soon. The National weather agency has something current:

    • January 14, 2015 11:47 am

      The first word in your post is “alarmist.” I have no idea what the second word is because starting a post with the word “alarmist” is an excellent way of indicating a lack of credibility.

      LOL!!! Could this be the same Greg Laden who regularly calls sceptics “deniers” and suggests they should be treated as criminals?

      Surely not!!

      BTW – thank you for pointing out that NOAA agree that we should be looking at 3-year data, which shows that we have had worse rainfall shortages on 10 previous occasions in the last century.

    • January 16, 2015 1:51 am

      Wow. One word you don’t like and you’re gone? Without even reading the article?

      It’s nice that you admit you have a closed mind and no tolerance for differing opinions.

  10. Doug Proctor permalink
    January 13, 2015 7:12 pm

    The 60-year cycle keeps showing up … except on the warmist sites. Gee, I wonder why.

  11. January 13, 2015 8:39 pm

    Yea, the undocumented can resume their migration…

  12. January 13, 2015 11:29 pm

    Too bad this post is wrong. Bad use of data, misunderstanding California’s water system, confuses “calendar” year with “water” year. Here is the full story:

    • January 14, 2015 11:39 am

      Taking the “water year” (which I agree is sensible), I presume you realise that 2013/14 was only 3rd driest?

      Both 1976/7 and 1923/24 were drier, and 1975/6 was not far behind.

      The real point is that Oct/Nov/Dec rainfall (when about 40% of California’s rain falls) is a couple of inches above average, thus giving a boost to this new hydrological year.

      Put another way, CA has had 9.1″ in the last 3 months, almost as much as the 9.9″ in the whole hydrological year of 1923/4 and 10.8″ in 1976/7


  1. Where Is Concern for California Drought Now? |
  2. California Rainfall Nearly Back To Normal In 2014 | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
  3. California Drought Update - Not Even Close to Worst Drought Ever - Freedom's Floodgates
  4. Indian Science Congress: ‘Fears Of Man-Made Global Warming Exaggerated’ | Atlas Monitor

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: