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Great Central Valley of California and Climate Change Issues

37.3N 121.8W

March 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change

USA – February 28th, 2013

The Central Valley of California, USA, is a vast region – about 450 miles long, averaging 50 miles wide. It is bound by mountain ranges – to the east and north stand the snow-capped Sierra Nevada and the Cascades, and to the west are the Coast Ranges, a barrier against the moister, milder climate of the Pacific Coast. The Tehachapis separate the Central Valley from the metropolitan areas to the south. Scientists have shown that global warming is placing additional stresses on water supply and use in the valley and the semi-arid parts of California.

Climate-change effects are also becoming already apparent in the state in areas with steep natural gradients in climate and species, such as the Sierra Nevada. Changes in snow/rain fractions, freeze/thaw cycles and temperature affect the availability of fresh water, with multi-billiondollar implications for California’s economy and the many ecosystem services in the affected forests and rangelands. Research has shown that shifts in snow accumulation, spring runoff, greenup, tree mortality, species migration and fire frequency are occurring; these trends and others are projected to continue (click here for more information).

One Response to “Great Central Valley of California and Climate Change Issues”

  1. 1
    Tom Yulsman:

    It also bears mentioning that this MODIS image was captured on the same day (Feb. 28) that the California Department of Water Resources confirmed that the Sierra Nevada snowpack in January and February was the thinnest ever recorded. Here are the details (along with the same image):

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