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Drought in the Western United States

Sierra Snowpack Bigger Than Last Four Years Combined
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Sierra Snowpack Bigger Than Last Four Years Combined

NASA airborne snow surveys provide key information for California water managers.

Published Apr 22, 2017

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California Reservoirs Rise from Drought to Deluge
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California Reservoirs Rise from Drought to Deluge

Reservoirs, lakes, and mountainsides are brimming with water and snow, though scientists caution that underground aquifers are a long way from having the same bounty.

Published Apr 21, 2017

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A California Desert Erupts in Wildflowers
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A California Desert Erupts in Wildflowers

From space, a hint of green betrayed the revival of plant life.

Published Apr 2, 2017

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Astronauts Snap a Photo of Oroville Dam
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Astronauts Snap a Photo of Oroville Dam

The International Space Station got a view of the overflowing dam.

Published Mar 3, 2017

Water Floods Human Presence

Sediment Pours into Monterey Bay
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Sediment Pours into Monterey Bay

Heavy rains discolored the waters off the coast of California in late February.

Published Mar 3, 2017

Land Water Floods

Abundant Snowpack Blankets the Sierra Nevada
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Abundant Snowpack Blankets the Sierra Nevada

The water stored as snow in the 400-mile long range is now 185 percent of normal for the beginning of March.

Published Mar 3, 2017

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River in the Sky Keeps Flowing Over the West
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River in the Sky Keeps Flowing Over the West

Atmospheric rivers from the Pacific have soaked California and other western states with more than twice the usual amount of rain.

Published Feb 22, 2017

Image of the Day Atmosphere Drought

Drought Turns to Deluge in California
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Drought Turns to Deluge in California

A series of winter storms have pushed reservoirs in the Sacramento Valley to the brim—and one dam to the breaking point.

Published Feb 14, 2017

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Drought Continues to Grip Southern California
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Drought Continues to Grip Southern California

While autumn rains offered some relief to Northern California, drought still reigns in the southern part of the state.

Published Nov 16, 2016

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Quantifying Tree Loss in Sierra National Forest
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Quantifying Tree Loss in Sierra National Forest

Mass tree die-offs in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains are sparking worries of fire in the region.

Published Jul 20, 2016

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Sierra Nevada Snowpack is Better, but Not Normal
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Sierra Nevada Snowpack is Better, but Not Normal

El Niño brought more rain and snow to California this winter, but not enough to offset the water deficit built up over four years.

Published Apr 14, 2016

Image of the Day Water Drought Snow and Ice World of Change

Water Levels Rise on Shasta Lake
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Water Levels Rise on Shasta Lake

After four years of shrinking due to drought, the largest reservoir in California got a much-needed boost from El Niño-fueled winter precipitation.

Published Apr 7, 2016

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Goose Lake Dries Up
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Goose Lake Dries Up

Drought conditions have dried this closed-basin lake straddling the California-Oregon border, but it’s not the first time.

Published Aug 12, 2015

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Diminished Snow Pack in the Sierra Nevada
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Diminished Snow Pack in the Sierra Nevada

Snow cover in late March 2015 was significantly lower than the previous worst year on record. The landscape change is stark since 2010, the last time the region saw average snowfall.

Published Apr 3, 2015

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California Landscape is Mix of Green and Brown
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California Landscape is Mix of Green and Brown

December rains and groundwater pumping keep vegetation looking green amidst a deep drought.

Published Feb 26, 2015

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Drought Persists in the American Southwest
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Drought Persists in the American Southwest

More than 64 million people are directly affected by drought in the Southwest and Southern Plains, and far more are indirectly affected because of the vast number of farms, orchards, and ranches that supply the rest of the United States.

Published Nov 27, 2014

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Unusual July Temperatures
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Unusual July Temperatures

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the past few weeks have been strange. In places where it should be seasonably hot, it’s just warm. In places where weather is usually mild in the summer, it has been ridiculously hot.

Published Aug 8, 2014

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An Infrared View of California Drought
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An Infrared View of California Drought

Two reservoirs in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada show the effects of long-term drought.

Published Aug 3, 2014

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Lake Mead Still Shrinking
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Lake Mead Still Shrinking

Ongoing drought and diminished snowpack in the Rockies have combined with increasing demands downstream to cause the great reservoir to drop to historically low levels.

Published Aug 1, 2014

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Groundwater Deficit Out West
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Groundwater Deficit Out West

Dry conditions at the surface in the continental United States are mirrored underground in many places.

Published Jul 24, 2014

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The Golden-Brown State
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The Golden-Brown State

The typically green valleys and snow-covered mountains of California have grown dusty after three years of drought.

Published Jul 18, 2014

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Drought Stressing California’s Plantscape
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Drought Stressing California’s Plantscape

Nearly all of California was in a state of extreme drought at the end of January 2014. Forests and farms clearly showed the effects in satellite measurements of vegetation.

Published Feb 14, 2014

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All Dry on the Western Front
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All Dry on the Western Front

From brown landscapes to the largely snow-free mountains, California is startlingly dry in the view from space, a result of a serious drought that has prompted a state of emergency.

Published Jan 23, 2014

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The Naked Mountain
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The Naked Mountain

Mount Shasta is usually snow-capped. But this winter, it is a lot more brown than white, as drought deepens in California.

Published Jan 17, 2014

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