-- one of a number of stories today about the drought in the West.
There has been a lot of nonsense lately about how "the drought in the West" is being "caused" by global warming/climate change/global weirding, etc. At this point, there is no reason to bring global warming into the discussion.
#1. There is usually a drought in the central or western U.S. in the odd-numbers decades. I've researched this back into the 1880's. Here are are examples of the Palmer Drought Index.
Look at the dates. See a pattern? In fact, if you ask a Kansan over about the age of 40 they will tell you about the "twenty-year drought cycle." If there wasn't a drought in an odd-numbered decade, that would be evidence of climate change! A number of climatologists believe this is related to the 22-year sunspot cycle but there is no consensus on that issue.
#2. So, let's look at the current drought that has the media so excited. Since these are monthly maps, December is the most recent. It has gotten incrementally worse during January.
That said, so far, this drought is small in size. This drought, as droughts go, is neither unusual nor historic.
The forecast in California the next five days is for some light to moderate moisture. It is enough to keep the drought from getting worse, but will do little or nothing to improve the situation.