Oct 03 2013

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Science news and notes: New tool for salmon, non-native crayfish, groundwater, Peter Gleick on the IPCC report findings, and El Nino’s effect on GHGs

water flea

Water Flea by Flickr photographer nebarnix

How many salmon or steelhead are returning a particular coastal stream?  Now you can find out in this new tool from the Nature Conservancy called Salmon Snapshots which combines population data with a Google map to give you data on the number of salmon that are returning to that particular stream or river.  The goal of the project is to provide a clearinghouse for population data, to prioritize and encourage comprehensive monitoring, and to highlight past watershed efforts, as well as highlight future ones. ” …Salmon Snapshots” compiles data provided by state and private agencies to centralize salmon information and offer a summary of population numbers and restoration efforts across the state. “The snapshots demonstrate how important steelhead and salmon are to so many people,” said Kevin Shaffer, environmental program manager at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “These reports provide useful and accessible information that will allow the public to both track the progress of conservation and to appreciate the great diversity of places where these fish and people exist together.” … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  New project gives ‘snapshot’ of CA’s wild salmon populations

Non-native Louisiana crayfish found in California:   What's this staple of Cajun cooking doing here?  The FishBio blog answers:  ” … The answer is invading and outcompeting the native crayfish and other native benthic species, like the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Although native species have evolved specific behaviors, physiology, and structures to survive and defend themselves against other native species, developing theses adaptations took thousands or millions of years of refinement. An abrupt introduction of a new species like the red swamp crayfish can therefore create changes that native species aren’t prepared for, and can cause irreversible consequences.   … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Crustacean invasion

Colorado drought planning called a model for the region:  Colorado has learned a thing or two since 2002 when drought and fire caught the state off-guard.  This month, the state's drought task force will finish its Drought Mitigation and Response Plan which focuses on proactive mitigation rather than reactive responses which involves utilizing more weather forecasting and assessing which counties are most vulnerable to drought.  : ” … Though there’s still plenty of work to be done, Colorado’s plan has become a model for other states in the region.  “Most states don’t do a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis on vulnerability. They focus on the response plan, but they don’t tie all the pieces together,” says Taryn Finnessy, climate change specialist with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and lead coordinator of the plan. ... ”  Read more from High Country News here:  Planning for drought while in one: Colorado is a model for the region

Groundwater:  Hidden and forgotten:  Groundwater, that precious resource beneath our feet, provides drinking water for approximately 2 billion people around the world and irrigation for hundreds of millions of hectares of land.  It's a crucial resource in drought years.  In the first panel session of the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, “Cooperation to Address the Complexities of Water Management, the experts discussed things such as what water security means, how to mitigate against water induced conflict, and how to form water governance infrastructure across geo-political boundaries.  Curiously, groundwater wasn't even mentioned.  So National Geographic blogger Sasha Richey decided it was time to prompt the panel.  ” … “What is the role of groundwater in thinking about governance, especially with climate change impacting surface water supplies?” I asked. “How can groundwater be involved in quantifying water security?” Blank stares. Silence. We soon realized that ignoring groundwater was common practice in almost every session at WWW. But why? … ”  Continue reading from National Geographic here:  Groundwater: The Elephant Underfoot

Peter Gleick drills down the IPCC panel report's findings on water:  What does the IPCC say about water?  Peter Gleick runs down some of the key water-related findings for precipitation, evaporation, glaciers, ice mass, and more here:  What does the 2013 IPCC Summary Say About Water?

El Nino cycle found to affect nitrous oxide emissions:  Nitrous oxide is the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, after carbon dioxide and methane.  Researchers have now developed a highly detailed model that simulates the levels of nitrous oxide emissions with some surprising findings:  ” … Regions around the world typically experience a decrease in nitrous oxide emissions during El Niño events, which periodically create unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, affecting temperature and rainfall patterns around the world. Conversely, they found that emissions rise during periods of La Niña, the opposing weather pattern, in which colder waters take over the Pacific. The findings suggest a feedback mechanism in which nitrous oxide not only contributes to global warming, but may also be affected by climate patterns.  … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:   El Nino cycle has a big effect on a major greenhouse gas

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