"California is now five years deep into one of its most severe droughts on record, and scientists are continually probing the different factors that affect the state’s climate, and how much those are related to the overall warming of the globe. Increasingly, this means looking back into the past for clues about how the region has changed over the last few thousand years and what influences might shape its future.
In this connection, new research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports suggests the Pacific Ocean may play a bigger role than anyone thought — and an unexpected one. Moreover, it suggests that massive long-term droughts can hit the region in conjunction with cycles of ocean warming and cooling — and that if these patterns continue to hold, another megadrought could lie in the future.
'What this paper provides is a new analysis of the link between what happens in the ocean and what happens in terms of the water availability on the land,' said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate system expert at Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study. "