If humans go on burning fossil fuels, then California might, after all, remain the Golden State. It will get warmer. But, against all predictions, it might also get wetter.
A new study suggests that by the century’s end, Californians could see 12% more rain than they experienced in the last 20 years of the 20th century.
This is not the standard forecast. Almost all other climate models have warned that California – still recovering from a calamitous and sustained drought – could, like the whole of the US Southwest, become both hotter and drier and far more at risk of wildfire.
But that is not how two researchers see it. They report in the journal Nature Communications that although, under the notorious “business-as-usual” scenario, in which people go on filling cars with petrol and generating electricity by burning coal, the most southern tip of the state would indeed continue to parch, rain in northern California could increase by 14.1% and central California by 15.2%.
“The overall thought was California would become drier with continued climate change. We found the opposite, which is quite surprising”