During his recent visit to drought-stricken California, President Obama cited man-caused climate change as the reason for the state’s dry spell, adding that the problem will eventually spread to the rest of the country without environmental policy changes.
But a number of scientists have since said they can’t agree with the president’s assumptions, saying there isn’t enough evidence yet to support such claims and that California’s current drought problems resemble past dry spells.
“I’m pretty sure the severity of this thing is due to natural variability,” Richard Seager, a climate scientist who studies water issues at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, told The New York Times.
In fact, say scientists, the most current climate models suggest that, as the earth warms, California should be getting wetter, not dryer, especially during the winter months when the state traditionally gets most of its moisture.
Indeed, that is the trend most scientists are seeing. In sum, drought appears to be decreasing, especially in the central U.S. and certain other parts of the world, and “that is entirely consistent with the longstanding prediction that wet areas of the world will get wetter in a warming climate, even as the dry ones get drier,” the Times reported.
Still, scientists have admitted that overall temperatures in California have been getting warmer.
“We are going through a pattern we’ve seen before, but we’re doing it in a warmer environment,” said Michael Anderson, the California state climatologist.