California's incipient dustbowl: photos of a drought


Did the bridge melt?


this would be a good time for the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and clean while it can be done with bulldozers instead of underwater equipment. On the other hand? it may never return, and oh well. the comments section on the article show diverse levels of comment and sadness.


Uh, the two pictures selected don’t show a before and after, so that is just confusing. Also, not really great pictures of Dust in the Dust-bowl photo series.

Also, I think its time they reduced the number of houseboats on the lake.

It’s the wrong pair of pictures. The “after” picture is #11 in the article, and BB has paired it with #12 as the “before” when it should be with #10.

Number12 pairs with both #13 and the un-numbered picture at the top of the linked article.

I was thinking that if they need to build any new bridges, this would be a good time.

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Yes. Photo selection failure.

What seems weird to me is that the trees seem to be doing okay. They’re not as bright a shade of green, but they aren’t dead either. The difference in hue could be from the time of day or image processing as much as anything else.

Does that mean droughts like this are normal for the area, in historical terms?

Those are artificial lakes formed by hydroelectric dams. If they just opened the dams it might look like this. Does anyone have before and after photos of the drought’s effects on natural rivers and lakes?

In historical terms, not so much. This is pretty much the worst drought in recorded history in California. However, archaeological evidence indicates that worse droughts were more common in the centuries before California was colonized by Europeans. In other words, the period of time since Europeans have shown up to record things has been unusually wet, misleading everyone about what’s “normal” in California.

Most California lakes, even natural ones, are dammed, and the big ones that aren’t are the shallow types that have large seasonable variability anyway. California rivers also have large variability and many go dry in summer even in normal years.

I blame all that water wasted by that ALS ice water bucket challenge thing.

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I can’t say that far up, but down here In Baja Mexico, you can see dam’s slowly running dry. :frowning:

If you drive down the I-5 you’ll see plenty of these signs:

…which seem to imply that there’s plenty of water to go around, but meddling government folks are unfairly limiting how much of it farmers can use to irrigate their land. I think this photo series makes a pretty convincing counter-argument.


How government can turn a paradise into a dustbowl

Of course we like to attribute global warming climate change to these type of problems but in reality it is created by Congress, to protect a fish.

Did you actually look at these photos before you decided to claim that? Because it’s just what Brainspore said in the post one before yours: they make it extremely plain what is happening here is much more than something created by how congress distributes water.

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These are all Photoshopped. I can tell by the comments.


In 2012, California had the highest agricultural production of any US state, and “produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables”.

We’re in serious trouble.

Drought? Yes.
Dustbowl? No, not yet.
Not to say this drought isn’t bad, the “Dustbowl” was a pretty wicked event. All the topsoil blew away, there were tremendous sand storms that would leave the land (houses, trains, etc.) buried in giant dunes and blew from the westward Kansas and Oklahoma to the East Coast Cities of NYC and DC and “often reduced visibility to 1 metre” – Wikipedia. Lots of people starved & died lost their jobs, lost their property. This was the “Great Depression.” After that, people mostly migrated to, of all places, California which brings us full circle.
Drought? Yes.
Dustbowl? No, not yet.

Maybe @TrollsOpinion (and the people who put up those signs) think congress drank all that water, or somehow redirected it to D.C. to squander it in reflecting pools.

My guess is that “Troll’s Opinion” is just an honest username. Certainly no rational person could look at California’s spent reservoirs and continue to put scare quotes around the word “drought” when discussing current water resources. Even the link posted above is clearly far out of date, because it includes this little gem:

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on “drought,” though northern reservoirs are currently full.

Um, about that…