Posted on October 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
California’s Central Valley, as seen from the International Space Station. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.
‘The Central Valley has many areas where recent groundwater levels are more than 100 feet below previous historical low …’
Farmers in California’s Central Valley pumped more groundwater than ever during the state’s ongoing drought, causing aquifers to drop to new record low levels, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The agency recently launched a website to help track Central Valley groundwater depletion and land subsidence. A new paper released about the same time shows geographical nuances in the decline. The biggest changes are in the southern Central Valley, where farmers have shifted from planting annual and seasonal crops to perennial plants. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Drought, global warming | Tagged: California drought, Central Valley, climate change, groundwater | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 30, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Does climate change have an effect on pregnancy and infant health?
Research in Africa suggests drought and heatwaves results in lower birth weight
A complex statistical analysis of health and climate data suggests there may be a link between climate change and birth weight, at least in parts of the developing world. The findings show that a pregnant woman’s exposure to reduced precipitation and an increased number of very hot days results in lower birth weight.
The two-year research project was led by University of Utah geography professor Kathryn Grace, who said the results are a clear warning that climate change may have a direct affect on public health. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Drought, global warming | Tagged: Africa, climate change, drought, public health | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado recorded the greatest increase in average maximum temperatures — between .7 and .9 degrees — from the old normals, compiled between 1971 and 2000, and the new normals, which are based on temperature readings between 1981 and 2010. On average across the U.S., the new average temperatures are about .5 degrees warmer.
Multiple state agencies will eye adaptation, mitigation strategies
Colorado’s new climate plan calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach, with various state agencies working together, and with the public, to address the potential impacts of rising temperatures.
Acknowledging that average temperatures in the state could rise by as much as 2.5 to 5 degrees Celsius in the next few decades, Gov. John Hickenlooper called on Colorado make preparations now.
“Colorado is facing a potential increase in both the number and severity of extreme weather events,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement. “We’ve seen what Mother Nature can do, and additional risks present a considerable set of challenges for the state, our residents, and our way of life. This comprehensive plan puts forth our commitment from the state and sets the groundwork for the collaboration needed to make sure Colorado is prepared.”
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Colorado climate plan, drought, extreme weather, global warming, Gov. John Hickenlooper, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘This is a new planet’
El Niño still strengthening in the Pacific.
LINZ — This year’s strong El Niño may be a climate wildcard, according to experts with the World Meteorological Organization, who said changes in the northern hemisphere’s climate may interact with El Niño in as-yet unknown ways.
“The last big El Niño was 1997-1998. The planet has changed a lot in 15 years,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme. “We have had years of record Arctic sea ice minimum. We have lost a massive area of northern hemisphere snow cover, probably by more than 1 million square kilometers in the past 15 years. We are working on a different planet and we fully do not understand the new patterns emerging.”
He said the 2015 El Niño is unique because of the unprecedented combination of the Equatorial influence of El Niño, and the Arctic influence of low sea ice and snow cover in place at the same time.
“This is a new planet,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme. The 2015 El Niño is the first to take place since the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice and snow cover, Carlson said. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, El Nino, extreme weather, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A scant snowpack left California in a world of hurt. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.
‘We should be prepared for this type of snow drought to occur much more frequently because of rising temperatures …’
LINZ — A new tree ring study suggests this past winter’s snowpack in the Sierra Nevada may have been the lowest in 500 years — and there may be more of the same ahead, warned to researchers who analyzed the data.
“We should be prepared for this type of snow drought to occur much more frequently because of rising temperatures,” said Valerie Trouet, an associate professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. “Anthropogenic warming is making the drought more severe. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, global warming, water | Tagged: California drought, climate change, Dendrochronology, Sierra Nevada snowpack, tree rings | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Current drought offers window into future climate conditions.
‘More years like 2015 do not bode well for the frogs …’
LINZ — This year’s fierce drought in the Pacific Northwest has given researchers a chance to see how climate change may affect the region long-term, and the outlook is not good for amphibians.
The low winter snowpack and long, hot summer have left some frogs high and dry as their mountain ponds dry up and disappear. Those conditions could be the norm in another 50 years, said Se-Yeun Lee, research scientist at University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and one of the lead authors of the study published last week in PLOS ONE.
“This year is an analog for the 2070s in terms of the conditions of the ponds in response to climate,” said Se-Yeun Lee, research scientist at University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and one of the lead authors of the study. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Drought, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Cascades frog, climate change, drought, endangered species, Pacific Northwest | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Much of the West was warmer than average in August 2015.
4 states are record-warm for year to-date
FRISCO — While the Far West heat wave moderated a bit in August, four states in the region are record-warm for the year to date — California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — according to the latest monthly climate update posted by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center this week.
For the contiguous 48 states, the average temperature for the year to date was 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average, making it the warmest such period on record since 2012 and the ninth-warmest year to date on record. The summer months, June-August, were the 12th warmest on record, according to the NCDC report. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: August 2015 climate statistics, climate change, global warming, U.S. climate | Leave a comment »