How California Became Ground Zero for Climate Disasters

How California Became Ground Zero for Climate Disasters

Photo: Eric Thayer for The New York Times

California is one of America’s marvels. By moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation.

But now, those same feats have given California a new and unwelcome category of superlatives.

This year is the state’s worst wildfire season on record. … [more…]

Up to half of world’s water supply stolen annually, study finds

Up to half of world's water supply stolen annually, study finds

The Darling river in Louth, New South Wales. The amount of Australian water lost through theft is particularly relevant as governments grapple with the next stage of the Murray-Darling Basin plan. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

As water scarcity increases from factors including climate change, so do drivers of water theft, an ongoing problem in Australia

Between 30% and 50% of the world’s water supply is stolen each year, mainly by … [more…]

It’s Time to Plan for Drier Western Rivers

It’s Time to Plan for Drier Western Rivers

Three recent studies highlight how climate change will jeopardize the water supply from Western rivers. The best antidote, researchers say, is to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. | Illustration by Maddy Olson

A strange thing happens during particularly wet winters in California: farmers flood their fields. Never mind that crops are dormant and soil is already saturated — these farmers are more concerned about what lies beneath their land. Aquifers … [more…]

Farmers Hijack Community Water Access Despite Groundwater Act, Activists Say | KCET

When a fire started on the property next door to Ray Cano’s home, the neighbors used Cano’s hose and well to fight the flames. Running the pump at full throttle, they managed to control the blaze until the fire department arrived. Then, the well’s pump sputtered to a stop.

Cano later called a well inspector, who did some basic probing and discovered the problem: The well had run dry, causing … [more…]

Large contribution from anthropogenic warming to an emerging North American megadrought

A trend of warming and drying

Global warming has pushed what would have been a moderate drought in southwestern North America into megadrought territory. Williams et al. used a combination of hydrological modeling and tree-ring reconstructions of summer soil moisture to show that the period from 2000 to 2018 was the driest 19-year span since the late 1500s and the second driest since 800 CE (see the Perspective by Stahle). … [more…]