25 January 2016

This Week in Water

I'm sure no one on the U.S. East Coast needs to be told what's happening this week in water, but here goes:

A massive, historic winter storm (named 'Jonas') smacked the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard with snowfalls over 30 inches and blizzard winds up to 60 mph and coastal flooding affecting nearly 80 million people and leaving at least 27 dead. You might have heard about it.

In other news:

Hurricane Pali, an extremely rare winter hurricane, swept through the Pacific. Meanwhile, Hurricane Alex, the first January hurricane since 1958, formed in the Atlantic Ocean. More here.

The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the world's oceans has doubled since 1997.

Canada's ice roads are melting, resulting in food and water shortages to many of that country's remote northern First Nation communities.

Warming trends are affecting Greenland's ability to store excess water and, thus, more melting ice may be running off into the ocean than previously believed.

Research suggests that farmlands in more developed countries that rely on climate stability for high yield agriculture may be more vulnerable to changing conditions—such as increased drought—affected by climate change.

Drought conditions and water shortages are now a threat to what was once the world's wettest place—Cherrapunji in northeastern India.

Though El Niño storms are replenishing many California lakes and aquifers, some scientists fear the state may never fully recover from its historic drought.

Continuing winter flooding along the lower Mississippi River may prove to be among the costliest in history.

The toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan, continues. Criminal investigations are being initiated and the National Guard has been summoned, yet people still do not have sufficient lead-free water to bathe and cook and drink. The ramifications of this colossal political miscalculation by Gov. Rick Snyder may continue for generations.

President Obama rejected an attempt by congressional Republicans to gut the Clean Water Act and overturn landmark federal regulation seeking to ensure that water used for drinking, bathing, recreation, and energy development is protected.

Some fear that by 2050 there will be more discarded plastic in the ocean than fish.

Restoration of coastal wetlands may play a crucial role in slowing climate change. Saltwater ecosystems of seagrass and marshes and mangrove promote healthy fisheries, sequester carbon in their soils, stave off erosion, and provide defenses to powerful storm surges.

Chile is attempting to harness seawater and solar power in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.

Scientists still don't fully understand why water is such a unique liquid, e.g., why ice floats or how it absorbs and releases a large amount of heat without undergoing huge changes in temperature.

Is there water ice on Pluto?

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I've got the Thundermobile mostly dug out, and a plow (actually a tractor) came by the street yesterday.

However, the garbage cans in the alley remain inaccessible. And if a plow came through, there's too much snow in too narrow a space...where could they even put it?