RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Under business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, climate models predict California will get warmer during the rest of the century and most also predict the state will get drier.
But, new research, published July 6th in the journal Nature Communications, predicts that California will actually get wetter. The scientists from the University of California, Riverside predict the state will get an average of 12 percent more precipitation through the end of this century, compared to the last 20 years of last century.
The researchers found different rates of precipitation increase for northern, central and southern California. Northern California, which they define as starting just north of Santa Rosa (southern boundary), would increase 14.1 percent. Central California, which starts just south of San Luis Obispo (southern boundary), would go up 15.2 percent. Southern California would actually decrease 3.3 percent.
They also found the winter months of December, January and February, when California traditionally gets the bulk of its precipitation, would account for much of the overall increase in precipitation. During those three months, precipitation levels would increase 31.6 percent in northern California, 39.2 percent in central California and 10.6 percent in southern California.
All these percentages are in comparison to data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project observed between 1979 and 1999.
“Most previous research emphasized uncertainty with regards to future precipitation levels in California, but the overall thought was California would become drier with continued climate change,” said Robert Allen, an associate professor at UC Riverside and one of…