Science news and reports: Forecasting a river of atmospheric water, counting fish, lake restoration from the bottom up, why there are so many ENSO indexes and more …

minerals by PNNLIn science news this week, Forecasting a river of atmospheric water, Emigration Station, From the bottom up at San Francisco's Mountain Lake, NASA satellites spot fields idled by drought, NASA launches groundbreaking Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, Puget Sound salmon face more fluctuation in river flows, Tracking fish easier, quicker, safer with new injectable device, Why are there so many ENSO indexes instead of just one?, and Public and scientists express strikingly different views about science-related issues
Weekly Science News

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Forecasting a river of atmospheric water:  “After starting the new year with a dry month, California will finally be falling off the wagon this weekend. Scientists have been tracking a tentacle of moisture-laden tropical air—a so-called atmospheric river—that’s supposed to make landfall on Thursday. More importantly, it’s supposed to make rain fall.  The state is thirsty, so it’s crucial to know when and where the storm will land. Scientists at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory model the source of atmospheric rivers constantly, and this week their website started showing some serious action. But weather is never simple. … ”  Continue reading at WIRED here:  Inforporn: Forecasting a river of atmospheric water

Satellite animation shows February return of the Pineapple Express:The “Pineapple Express” has set up again and is bringing wet weather to the U.S. Pacific Northwest. An animation of satellite imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite from Feb. 1 to Feb. 4, 2015 captured the movement of a stream of clouds associated with moisture that is expected to bring rain and snow to the region over the next several days.  …A wide-field movie by NOAA's GOES-West satellite shows the Pineapple Express' stream of clouds and moisture moving into the Pacific Northwest. The video was created by NASA/NOAA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. ... ”  Watch animation below, and read more here: Satellite animation shows February return of the Pineapple Express                                                                                                                  

 

Fishbio trapEmigration Station: Now that we’ve recently turned the page to a new year, we also turn our attention to the beginning of out-migration monitoring season. Now that the fall-run migration of adult Chinook salmon is complete, we begin collecting data on the out-migrating juveniles as they leave their local rivers and make their way to the San Joaquin Delta. FISHBIO technicians are working tirelessly to ensure that our operations on a number of rivers in California’s Central Valley return the most accurate data available. Rotary screw traps (RSTs) are a key component in our monitoring program, and are currently in operation on these local rivers.  … ”  Continue reading at the FishBio blog here:  Emigration Station

From the bottom up at San Francisco's Mountain Lake: Jason Lisenby likens his planting process to working with cookie dough. Standing along the south shore of Mountain Lake in San Francisco’s Presidio, he reaches into a large green bucket for a handful of clay and small stones, then adds a bit of water and sand from the lake to soften up the mix.  Next he drops the “chocolate chips”—about 50 sago pondweed seeds —into his recipe and kneads the muddy concoction into a ball in his hand. He sloshes into the lake in his tall black wading boots, drops his mud ball into the shallow water, and watches it sink.  A few American coots swim by, their eyes on the underwater gardening project. “They can’t wait for the buffet to open,” says Lisenby, a biological science technician for the Presidio Trust. ... ”  Read more from Bay-Nature here:  From the bottom up at San Francisco’s Mountain Lake

NASA SatelliteNASA satellites spot fields idled by drought:  “The statewide maps above and the closeup map below are based on data from the Landsat series of satellites (L5, L7, and L8) and from the MODIS instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. They show changes in crop cultivation and idle agricultural lands in California in August 2011 and August 2014. Brown pixels depict farms and orchards that have been left fallow, or “idled,” since January 1 in each year. Green pixels show plots where at least one crop was grown during the calendar year.  … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Satellites spot fields idled by drought

NASA launches groundbreaking Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory: “NASA successfully launched its first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of the vital soil moisture hidden just beneath our feet.  The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, a mission with broad applications for science and society, lifted off at 6:22 a.m. PST (9:22 a.m. EST) Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages SMAP for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, with instrument hardware and science contributions made by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: NASA launches groundbreaking Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory

Puget Sound salmon face more fluctuation in river flows:  “Many salmon rivers around Puget Sound have experienced increasing fluctuations in flow over the past 60 years, just as climate change projections predict – and that's unfortunate news for threatened Chinook salmon, according to a new analysis of salmon survival and river flow.   More pronounced fluctuations in flow can scour away eggs and exhaust young fish, especially when lower flows force adult fish to lay eggs in more exposed areas in the center of the channel. The new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology says such increased flow variability has the most negative effect on of several climate factors considered. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Puget Sound salmon face more ups and downs in river flows

Tracking fish easier, quicker, safer with new injectable device:Fish no longer need to go under the knife to help researchers understand exactly how they swim through hydroelectric dams, thanks to a new injectable tracking device described in the journal Scientific Reports.  The new injectable acoustic tag allows researchers to safely and quickly insert the small device into young fish with a syringe similar to those used to treat humans. Injecting the tag, instead of surgically inserting it as earlier versions required, is less invasive and enables fish to heal faster, which can also provide more reliable information about fish behavior. ... ”  Read more from Phys Org here: Tracking fish easier, quicker, safer with new injectable device

Why are there so many ENSO indexes instead of just one?  “Some people have probably noticed that over the past year, this blog has mentioned several different ways to measure and monitor ENSO — whether we are in an El Niño, La Niña, or neither. At NOAA, the official ENSO indicator is the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), which is based on sea surface temperature (SST) in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean. But we have also mentioned other ways of measuring ENSO. Here, we will review some of them and then provide reasons why several different indicators are best for monitoring ENSO. … ”  Continue reading at the ENSO blog here:  Why are there so many ENSO indexes instead of just one?

Public and scientists express strikingly different views about science-related issues: Despite similar views about the overall place of science in America, the general public and scientists often see science-related issues through a different lens, according to a new pair of surveys by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  The report finds significant differences in views on 13 science-related issues asked about in the surveys. For instance, there is a: 51% point gap between scientists and the public about the safety of eating genetically modified foods — 88% of AAAS scientists think eating GM food is safe, while 37% of the public believes that; 42% point gap over the issue of using animals in research — 89% of scientists favor it, while 47% of the public backs the idea; 40% point gap on the question of whether it is safe to eat foods grown with pesticides — 68% of scientists say that it is, compared with 28% of citizens …”  Continue reading at Science Daily here: Public and scientists express strikingly different views about science-related issues

Maven's XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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About Science News and Reports: This weekly feature, posted every Thursday, is a collection of the latest scientific research and reports with a focus on relevant issues to the Delta and to California water, although other issues such as climate change are sometimes included. Do you have an item to be included here? Submissions of relevant research and other materials is welcome. Email Maven.

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