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Drought Divide: Tropical Rains to Help Plains, Not SoCal

Drought Divide: Tropical Rains to Help Plains, Not SoCal

The remnants of two tropical systems — one from the Gulf of Mexico, the other just west of Baja California — are expected to serve as wells of moisture fueling rains this weekend over portions of the country’s two main drought hotspots, namely parts of the Southern Plains and Southern California. But while those rains could make dents in the Plains… Read More

NASA Releases Blizzard of Precipitation Data

NASA Releases Blizzard of Precipitation Data

Have you been itching to see the most detailed collection of precipitation data ever pulled together? (Join the club) Well, you’re in luck. NASA has just released a vast trove of snow, rain, hail and more liquid measurements from a satellite launched earlier this year. In late February, NASA and an international cohort of space programs launched t… Read More

El Nino Watch: 6 Months and Still Counting

El Nino Watch: 6 Months and Still Counting

For months now, the tropical Pacific Ocean has been flirting with blossoming into a full-fledged El Niño state: Waters off the coast of South America have warmed, a hallmark of the climate phenomenon, but then cooled, only to warm once again. Winds, which normally blow east-to-west have made tentative moves in the other direction, another key… Read More

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

Warming in Europe Raises Risks of Tropical Diseases

Warming in Europe Raises Risks of Tropical Diseases

Add one more horror to the list of awful threats that climate change poses: it could introduce dengue fever in Europe. Dengue fever is already a hazard for 2.5 billion people in humid tropical regions, and 50-100 million people a year are infected by the mosquito-borne disease. It puts 500,000 of them in hospital each year, and kills around 12,000 … Read More

Pests Pose Increasing Risk to Food Security

Pests Pose Increasing Risk to Food Security

Coming soon to a farm near you: just about every possible type of pest that could take advantage of the ripening harvest in the nearby fields. By 2050, according to new research in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, those opportunistic viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpi… 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