In the winter of 2013-2014, the state suffered its worst drought since records started being kept in 1886. Over the last 30 years, droughts have been getting more severe and years of water surplus rarer. Both the abundance of precipitation and its seasonality have been changing for the worse.
The California we know is the breadbasket of the nation, producing more than two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts, including almonds, pistachios, oranges, apricots, nectarines and prunes, and more than a third of its vegetables, including artichokes, broccoli, spinach and carrots. It's all valued at more than $50 billion a year.
That's the assessment of a recent paper by a University of California team led by Tapan Pathak of UC Merced. But the researchers focused on a different aspect of California agriculture: You can kiss much of it goodbye because of climate change.
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