Despite the promise of high rainfall due to El Niño, March rainfall in my home town of Los Altos, California was about normal. March marks the end of our wet season. Our dry season starts now, with our average monthly rainfall being less than an inch per month through October. Barring unusually rainy weather during our dry season, our drought will continue for months.
Plans to counter sea-level rise by building levees around San Francisco Bay may be hampered by a lack of mud, according to the Scientific American.
The featured image is blue-eyed grass, sisyrinchium bellum, which is blooming now. A California native plant, it’s a bunching grass with small, purple to blue flowers.
We received 3.23″ of rain in March, higher than 2.49″ normal, but this did not make up for our dry February.
For this current rain year starting in October, our rainfall so far is 11.59″, below the normal of 14.53″. This gap of about 3″ is about the same as our February shortfall.
March continued the pattern of normal high temperatures and above-normal low temperatures.
Research on the effect of climate on the San Francisco Bay Area
A research paper from Stanford and other universities concludes that California will continue to get warmer and our wet and dry years will become more extreme. Warmer weather increases water needs, and dry years will stress plants, animals, and people.
There are predictions of sea level rise due to earth’s rising temperatures. The San Francisco Bay Area would be at risk due to our long coastline inside the bay. A proposed countermeasure is to build up marshes and levees around the bay. But this approach depends on mud, and mud is in short supply.
A source of mud is the sediment trapped by dams. Stanford University’s Searsville Dam was built in 1892, and “sedimentation has reduced the reservoir to less than 10 percent of its original water capacity” with “2.7 million cubic yards of trapped sediment”. If Stanford were to take it down, the trapped sediment would benefit the bay and nearby communities. Until changes are made, the trapped sediment will continue to grow.