reading through some different articles on the National Geographic website, I
decided to do my current event essay on the California mudslides, wildfires,
and droughts. The article is titled: Mudslides,
Wildfires, and Drought- California’s Deadly Weather Explained. This article
is written by Elaina Zachos, who is a full-time writer for National Geographic.
Zachos graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, before National
Geographic Zachos reported investigative magazines and stories.
Several factors went into place for
these mudslides to happen. Due to the heavy rains, a lot of mud and debris came
crashing down the California hills. This one storm accumulated more than 5 ½ inches
of rain, this was the first major winter storm California had seen this year. Next
came the wildfires, which is what made these mudslides that much worse. Vegetation
that they could have used for crops, was burned away from the flames. There weren’t
any hardy roots to keep the dirt packed together and withstand these rainfalls.
Due to those factors, the mudslides became very devastating.
Wildfires have also been devastating
this year in California. Wildfires need three key ingredients: oxygen, fuel,
and a heat source. California was setting up perfectly for these wildfires to
happen. California has a lot of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon
dioxide, there’s plenty of oxygen in our atmosphere, and due to the drought,
the state had been suffering through, the land was very dry. The wildfires were
so strong, which made them nearly impossible to put out, these fires ended up
burning up more than 280,000 acres of land.
Finally, this article talked about
the major drought California had experienced this past year. California has
previously relied on snow for its water source. During each spring the snow
melts, and flow down the mountains, refill streams and reservoirs. With the
climate change, the Cascades and Sierra Nevada ranges are becoming too warm for
snow. The flurries aren’t sticking and, so there is no way for the water that
melts to reach the streams and reservoirs. Due to this, California has been
pumping water out of the ground to make up for the loss water. However, this
has not worked as well, because California is going through water faster than
supplying it. Due to greenhouse emissions that makes for a warmer and drier
conditions across the area. These warmer conditions are also part of the reason
the arctic ice is melting. Some researchers suggest that a “megadrought” could sweep
across the American west by the end of this century.