April 14, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Scientists From UCLA Find Catastrophic Megastorm Now Twice as Likely to Happen in California

Disaster that would likely cost $1 trillion, study finds

By Dolores Quintana

Climate scientists from UCLA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have released a paper at Science Advances that studied how climate change could affect California in a way that most people would not expect. While California is known for its Mediterranean climate and frequent droughts, even megadrought conditions, what the public doesn’t remember is the potential for severe flooding within the state. 

Daniel Swain, UCLA climate scientist and climate scientist Xingying Huang, formerly of UCLA and now with NCAR, studied a potential Arkstorm Scenario 2.0, modeled after the original Arkstorm Scenario 1 that was created in 2010 led by the U.S. Geological Survey and an interdisciplinary team of researchers. This Arkstorm Scenario was modeled after the megaflood of 1862, seeking to account for the effects of climate change and how it would make such megastorms and megafloods potentially worse and the potential for other types of normally unheard of weather events in the area. 

The paper states, “Observed extreme precipitation and severe subregional flood events during the 20th century—including those in 1969, 1986, and 1997—hint at this latent potential, but despite their substantial societal impacts, none have rivaled (from a geophysical perspective) the benchmark “Great Flood of 1861–1862”

Other observations about the megaflood of 1862 are disturbing, “This event, which was characterized by weeks-long sequences of winter storms, produced widespread catastrophic flooding across virtually all of California’s lowlands—transforming the interior Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length and inundating much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange counties.”

This would be a disaster that would likely cost $1 trillion, larger than any other in our history and would mean that parts of the state, including parts of large metro areas like Los Angeles, would be partially underwater. Because a megaflood has only occurred once in 1862, the estimate is that it is an occurrence that happens only once every 100 to 200 years, however, as the climate warms, the more likely it is that megastorms that would cause megafloods. Among climate scientists, the possibility of climate change contributing to megastorms and megafloods in California is referred to as “The Other Big One.” This type of extreme weather, brought on by climate change could include cyclones, landslides, on land denuded of vegetation by wildfires or saturated by rain, and debris flows. The paper observes that “This is especially true in the vicinity of large or high-intensity wildfire burn areas, which are themselves increasing due to climate change.”

What the modeling points to is that climate warming would contribute to larger amounts of runoff during much larger storms because the change in climate would mean that the snow pack of the local mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada, would be much higher as the climate gets hotter. This means that the percentage of precipitation that falls as rain rather than the more beneficial snowpack would increase exponentially. The paper warns that the climate warming could significantly alter the Sierra Nevada’s watershed structure and says, “This points to the potential for historically unprecedented surface runoff regimes during future extreme storms in a strong warming scenario—especially in the watersheds draining the western slopes of the central and southern SN [Sierra Nevada], with major implications for operation of critical water infrastructure in these regions.” and continues to state “that runoff in the future extreme storm scenario is 200 to 400% greater than historical values in the Sierra Nevada because of increased precipitation rates and decreased snow fraction.”

Swain says, as quoted by the article at the UCLA Newsroom by reporter David Colgan, “Every major population center in California would get hit at once — probably parts of Nevada and other adjacent states, too. The effects on infrastructure would complicate relief efforts, with major interstate freeways such as the I-5 and I-80 likely shut down for weeks or months, Swain said. Economic and supply chain effects would be felt globally.” 

Karla Nemeth, director of the Califiornia Department of Water Resources, which provided funding for the study said, as quoted by the UCLA Newsroom, “Modeling extreme weather behavior is crucial to helping all communities understand flood risk even during periods of drought like the one we’re experiencing right now. The department will use this report to identify the risks, seek resources, support the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, and help educate all Californians so we can understand the risk of flooding in our communities and be prepared.”

While it is tempting to think of these potential events as being far off in the future, at the moment, there are monsoonal rain and thunderstorms that are causing flooding throughout the Southwest which have already caused dangerous flash flooding in Death Valley and caused two deaths in Las Vegas, as reported by Fox Weather.com.

in News
Related Posts

Registration Now Open for Summer at New Roads

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

New Roads School is accepting registration for its summer program, a vibrant selection of classes and camps curated to meet...

CodeREV Inspires Kids to Code

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Budding coders, robotics engineers, game developers, animators and STEM campers are invited to join CodeREV this summer for a memorable...

YMCA Santa Monica: When School Is Out, Camp Is In

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

As the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District nears its end,  YMCA Santa Monica is setting up for its popular Summer...

Top 4 Party Boat Rentals in San Diego

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Here’s a rundown of the top 4 party boat rentals that will elevate any event to an unforgettable experience: Alana...

Accents Owner Steven Hanna Reflects on Decades Long Legacy

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

For 37 years, Accents Jewelry has transcended mere commerce, evolving into a vibrant community, a crucible of creativity, and a...

Discover the Untold Story of Folk-Rock Icon Judee Sill in “Lost Angel” Documentary

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Directors Share Insights into the Life and Legacy of the Enigmatic Musician By Dolores Quintana Have you ever heard of...

O.J. Simpson, Infamous Football Star Accused of Murder, Dies at 76

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Controversial Figure Succumbs to Cancer Shortly After Diagnosis Orenthal James Simpson, a former football player who is best known for...

Lyft Driver Faces Felony Sexual Assault Charges, Passenger Was Traveling Between Weho and Santa Monica

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

District Attorney Files Charges Following Allegations by Female Passenger On April 10, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced...

Los Angeles General Medical Center Seeks Public’s Help to Identify Patient Found in West LA

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Hospital Appeals for Assistance in Reuniting Unknown Patient with Family The Los Angeles General Medical Center, a public hospital operated...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew’s Interview; Film Opens on Friday

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

(Video) The New Menu Experience at Cassia Restaurant in Santa Monica is Delicious

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Southeast Asian dishes satisfy. Friendly ambiance, flavorful food, subtle cocktails, beer and wine, and scrumptious desserts. @culvercitywlanews The New...

Woman Shares Apocalyptic Messages On Social Media Before Woodland Hills/Culver City Murder-Suicide

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Social Media Posts Precede Tragic Events at Family’s Home and on the 405 Freeway Reports have surfaced that a 34-year-old...

SB 1509 Advances: Malibu Officials Rally Behind Negligent Operator Treatment Bill

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Senator Stern’s Legislation Gains Momentum in Effort to Curb Reckless Driving SB 1509, the Negligent Operator Treatment bill spearheaded by...

Now Enrolling: St. Matthew’s Summer Enrichment Program

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Discover the magic of St. Matthew’s Parish School through their Summer Enrichment Program, offering a timeless summer camp experience infused...

Rolling Robots Camp is a ‘Tech Genius Program’

April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024

Roll out the .. robots.  An afterschool learning center for robotics and STEM is hosting weekly camps this summer designed...