Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Folsom Lake Blues: With apologies to Johnny Cash, drought looks almost as bad as the blues about the prison

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NASA scientists announced Tuesday that they'll work with the California Department of Water Resources to use "advanced remote sensing and improved forecast modeling to better assess water resources, monitor drought conditions and water supplies, plan for drought response and mitigation, and measure drought impacts."

Part of the collaboration will entail NASA's Earth observation team sharing assets "to help California better manage its water resources and monitor and respond to the ongoing drought."

Which sounds terrific. But some of DWR's work is already speaking for itself. Using the advanced sensing tools in my head, these photos of Folsom Lake show a striking juxtaposition. 

Keep in mind that summer snowmelt filled the lake in the picture on the left, which is two-and-a-half years old; the left and right pictures aren't exactly apples-to-apples comparisons, the way two summer pictures or two winter pictures would be. The juxtaposition of summer and winter views does serve to underscore the extremity of water we get from seasonal snowpack and rain, just as we anticipate some storms

My colleague Sanden Totten explained how NASA tracks underground water storage from space. As he pointed out, NASA and DWR are meeting all this week to talk drought. 

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