HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Scientists say a ripple effect is making California’s drought even worse, as the state’s annual “June Gloom” cloud cover has been disappearing over recent years.
Climate scientist Park Williams says the cloud cover generally seen in June is going away, due to an “urban heat island effect”. Essentially, buildings and pavement in urban areas absorb heat from the day, but are unable to cool down by nightfall.
This causes an unexpected ripple effect.
“While the rest of the globe has been getting warmer during day and night, in LA and the rest of Southern California coast, it actually hasn’t been getting hotter during the daytime,” Williams said. “It’s just been getting hotter at night.”
This is having a devastating effect on regular weather patterns, according to Williams.
“We’ve known for a while that urban areas are getting warmer, but we haven’t known that the warming is actually causing clouds to rise,” Williams said. “As they rise they’re developing higher in the sky, and less often.”
In other words, “June Gloom” is clearing faster, nights are getting warmer, and costs of electricity are continuing to rise.
Williams says that the urban heat island effect is drying up the chaparral on Southern California hillsides, which is becoming more of a potential fire hazard than a plant.