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Precipitation

Informing improved water management in the face of current and future climate variability

A decade of collaboration between scientists and California water managers has led to the development of a probabilistic-based decision-support software, called INFORM (Integrated Forecast and Reservoir Management).

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Effect of Changes in Precipitation on Flora

In central and southern Sierra, the giant sequoias, which are among the biggest living things on Earth, might be in threat. As precipitation continues to become more and more irregular, longer drought periods are expected in various regions of the state. Along with the sequoias, there are other kinds of vegetation which are at a risk of drying out.

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Electricity Demand

Climate change may significantly affect the operation of California's electric power system, in both the demand and supply sides. As temperatures rise, electricity demand will also increase to meet air conditioning and other cooling requirements. This in turn will further escalate the emission of greenhouse gases and the air pollution due to use of unclean sources of energy.

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Securing an Adequate Water Supply

Continued global warming will increase pressure on California’s water resources, which are already over-stretched by the demands of a growing economy and population. Decreasing snowmelt and spring stream flows coupled with increasing demand for water resulting from both a growing population and hotter climate could lead to increasing water shortages. By the end of the century, if temperatures rise to the medium warming range and precipitation decreases, late spring stream flow could decline by up to 30 percent. Agricultural areas could be hard hit, with California farmers losing as much as 25 percent of the water supply they need.

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