California's terrifying drought, summed up in two satellite images

Illustration for article titled Californias terrifying drought, summed up in two satellite images

California has declared a state of emergency after enduring months of a drought that has left the state with only half the rainfall of the lowest rainfall year on record. Nothing captures the foreboding more than these two stark images.

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California farms supply food to many other parts of the country and the world, so drought here could have dire repercussions economically. Above, you can see a satellite photo of California's Sierra Nevada mountains taken a few days ago. Below, is a photo taken of the same place one year ago. Note the radically different snow cover, and how the valley areas are a barren brown instead of a deep green.

Illustration for article titled Californias terrifying drought, summed up in two satellite images
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For those of us here in California, it feels like the apocalypse may begin with balmy, beautiful weather.

Images via NASA's Earth Observatory

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DISCUSSION

Well if California is anything like Kansas, they'll spend all winter and spring acting surprised that this could ever have happened and talking about conservation measures until it rains a lot this summer. Then everybody will act like nothing bad ever happened and abandon the conservation measures even in spite of evidence that there are still systemic drought problems that might not have been solved by one summer of good rain.