Ag Today March 13, 2018

Last California drought one of the worst since Columbus landed in the New World

BY DALE KASLER- The Sacramento Bee – March 12, 2018 04:12 PM

Just how bad was California’s last drought?

For most of Southern California, it was either the worst or second worst since the century Columbus landed in the New World, the Ottoman empire was started and Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

In other words, it was one of the worst since the 1400s, according to a study released Monday by the California Department of Water Resources.

Compiled by examining trees in the southern half of the state, the study put the just-ended drought in some historical perspective. It was conducted in cooperation with the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, which looked at trees in 46 different sites from the southern Sierra Nevada to just north of the Mexico border.

The research revealed two nine-year droughts in California history: one starting in 1452 and another beginning in 1775. The most recent drought was relatively compact, lasting just five years, but appears to have set records for dryness, said Dave Meko, an Arizona professor who led the tree-ring analysis.

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