What Will California's Drought Do To Our Food Supply?

California is in the middle of a crushing, and steadily worsening, drought. It's also one of our top agricultural producers. So just what does this drought mean for our food supply?

Top image: California riverbed, post-drought / NOAA.

These twin infrared satellite images, taken three years apart of the same region in Northern California in 2011 and 2014 give some indication of what we might expect:

2011

What Will California's Drought Do To Our Food Supply?

2014

What Will California's Drought Do To Our Food Supply?

Though the red glow spread out over the land may look alarming, it's actually it's absence that is concerning. The red color indicates photosynthesis activity, and is a pretty good indicator of how agriculturally productive a region is.

Interestingly, though most of the image shows native plant growth, there's also a region of the image in the lower lefthand corner that scientists identified as farmland. And that light pink area remained mostly unchanged both pre- and post- drought, which indicates that at least for the moment, irrigation practices are still keeping the crops growing in this farm.

Satellite images: NASA Earth Observatory image / Jesse Allen.