“a permanent loss of normal”: CA climate today

A couple of years ago I worked hard on a story about a hugely important study from Daniel Swain et al on the all-too-likely re-occurence of the Great California Flood. For personal reasons nothing came of my story, but eventually the news did break in a big (Los Angeles Times) and accessible (Science Friday) sort of way, and that’s great.

But from my perspective, the underlying lesson of Swain’s important study (which is actually bolstered by a great deal of other research on how our climate in California is becoming more extreme, both in terms of heat and drought and in terms of rain and snow) is that the “normal” world we have become accustomed to over the decades of our lives…is going away. May be gone already.

This crucial and not-understood fact came out in a compelling conversation between David Wallace-Wells on his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, and David Roberts, the excellent climate and energy analyst from Vox.

Here’s the back and forth:

Wallace-Wells:      This [our climate] is not a new normal. We’re entering into a long time period where nothing will ever be the same, everything will always be changing. 

Roberts:                 A permanent loss of normal. I think that’s the way to put it. 

And here’s the podcast (with Roberts sitting in for Ezra Klein). My highest rec:


And here’s the chart version from Swain’s study, written up here on his blog:

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

One thought on ““a permanent loss of normal”: CA climate today

  1. Good piece. Memories of “my” California are just that, memories, no longer a reality of what it’s like to live in the state now. Not a pretty picture, but thanks Kit! And for sharing a link to Swain’s paper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: