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Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Calif. Water Supplies

Mountain Forest Changes Threaten Calif. Water Supplies

Hike high enough up California’s Sierra Nevada and the forest morphs around you. At around 6,000 feet, the dazzling diversity of the lower montane forest, replete with California black oak, ponderosa pine, and incense cedars gives way to more monotonous landscapes of red fir and lodgepole pine. Hike further still and trees eventually disappear alto… Read More

Battle Wages for California’s Groundwater Rights

Battle Wages for California’s Groundwater Rights

Grapevines march across wires strung along rolling hills, their little trunks improbably supporting heavy black fruit. Cindy Steinbeck’s family has been farming this land since 1920. They grow Zinfandel, Viognier, Cabernet, Merlot, and Petite Syrah grapes but are best known in this area of Central California for a blend called The Crash, named afte… Read More

Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought

Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought

If you think the drought in California is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. New research indicates that climate change is giving a boost to the odds of long-term drought across the Southwest. The research, published Thursday in the Journal of Climate, puts the chances of a megadrought lasting 35 years or longer at up to 50 percent in the region. It… Read More

Crowdsourced Photos Provide Drought Snapshots

Crowdsourced Photos Provide Drought Snapshots

On May 24, a roiling dust cloud enveloped a desolate stretch of road in Prowers County, a rural county in southeast Colorado. The county and surrounding area had been deeply mired in drought for more than 2 years and the photo bore proof of just what drought looked like to its residents. The short note accompanying the photo added more context: “Ph… Read More

The Jargonaut: What’s a Rossby Wave?

The Jargonaut: What’s a Rossby Wave?

This is the year of obscure atmospheric phenomenon. The polar vortex chilled everyone’s winter. Methane releases might be carving mysterious craters in the Arctic ice. And blocking patterns got the blame for Colorado’s so-called thousand-year flood. So if you want to impress friends and relatives with your meteorological knowledge, you’re going to … Read More

Epic Drought in West is Literally Moving Mountains

Epic Drought in West is Literally Moving Mountains

Some parts of California’s mountains have been uplifted up to 15 mm in the last 18 months because the massive amount of water lost in the drought is no longer weighing down the land, causing it to rise a bit like an uncoiled spring, a new study shows.… Read More

Ongoing Coverage of Historic Drought in U.S.

Ongoing Coverage of Historic Drought in U.S.

After a warm and dry spring and a scorchingly hot start to the summer, the U.S. is in the grips of one of its top 10 worst drought events on record. The drought extends from Delaware to California, with the most intense drought conditions centered in the nation's heartland. Corn growers and ranchers have been hard-hit this year, prompting fears of … Read More

California Has Hottest Start to Year While Midwest Chills

California Has Hottest Start to Year While Midwest Chills

The heat records keep falling for California. The state has had its hottest first seven months of the year, crushing the previous mark. Neighboring states have also baked, though not quite at record levels, helping contribute to both the spread of drought and large wildfires. At the same time, cool weather had a number of Midwest states … Read More