Science news: How are beaches restored?; Why some beaches have blue water, some have grey; Groundwater discharge to upper Colorado River varies in response to drought; and more …

Sand off of Australia NASA

Sand banks off of the east coast of Australia; Photo by NASA

In science news this week: How are beaches restored?; Why some beaches have blue water, some have grey; Groundwater discharge to upper Colorado River varies in response to drought; A brief history of people behaving badly in Yellowstone; 2016 climate trends continue to break records; Tackling America’s water challenges with science 

How are beaches restored? For our July 1 Soils Matter blog, we discussed beaches and their benefit to humans and the environment. Beaches are classic vacation spots and habitats for unique plants and animals. They naturally filter waste from ocean water, provide people and wildlife with delicious seafood, and protect coastal communities from storms.  Despite their importance, beach ecosystems worldwide face many serious pressures. Several things threaten their health, functionality, and even existence. These include human-made events, like coastal development, offshore mining, and overfishing. But, natural events, like hurricanes and tsunamis, also pose a great threat to coastal environments. … ” Read more from the Soils Matter blog:  How are beaches restored

Here’s why some beaches have blue water, some have grey:  “Being surrounded by iridescent turquoise beaches for 10 days has a way of getting you to ask the tough questions.  Questions like: “Why are some beaches graced with perfectly clear water, while others seem to get stuck with the murky grey stuff?”  Fortunately for those of us who live near greyish waters, the answer almost never has to do with the amount of human pollution nearby. As it happens, several factors play a role in distinguishing the sparkly, blue water of certain coasts from the dirty, puddle-like water on other beaches – from the rotation of the planet to the ingredients in the water. ... ”  Read more from Science Alert here:  Here’s why some beaches have blue water, some have grey

Groundwater discharge to upper Colorado River varies in response to drought: Groundwater discharge that flows into the Upper Colorado River Basin varies in response to drought, which is likely due to aquifer systems that contain relatively young groundwater, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in Hydrogeology Journal.  The Colorado River and its tributaries provide water to more than 40 million people in seven states, irrigate more than 5.5 million acres of land, and support hydropower facilities. More than half of the total streamflow in the UCRB originates from groundwater. Reductions in groundwater recharge associated with climate variability or increased water demand will likely reduce groundwater discharge to streams. … ”  Read more from Science Alert here:  Groundwater discharge to upper Colorado River varies in response to drought

A brief history of people behaving badly in Yellowstone: This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, a reason for celebration.  And yet, this summer’s press seems dominated by tourists behaving badly in national parks, sometimes with grim consequences. The infamous bison calf “rescue” has gone viral, and more recently, a 23-year-old man boiled to death in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin.  Many reporters and social media commentators have reached the same conclusion: people no longer know how to behave in nature. They suggest that out-of-touch urbanites treat national parks more like amusement parks.  But is this a recent phenomenon? History suggests otherwise. The reality is that humans have struggled with how to behave when confronted with wild nature at least since Yellowstone, the first national park, opened in 1872. ... ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  A brief history of people behaving badly in Yellowstone

2016 climate trends continue to break records:  “Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data.  Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  2016 climate trends continue to break records

Tackling America’s water challenges with science:  Dr. Kathryn Sullivan writes, “We are approaching the peak of summer, a season when droughts, heat waves, thunderstorms and tropical systems occur more frequently and at a higher intensity than any other time of the year. Extreme weather events like these not only put people and communities in great danger, they can also spell disaster for America’s water supply.  Too much water, too little water, water of poor quality, or water simply in the wrong place can shut down roads and harbors, ruin crops and pastures, contaminate drinking water, sicken wildlife, and inflict other damages with costs that can soar into millions or billions of dollars. In the U.S. and indeed around the world, water security is increasingly in jeopardy with consequences that pose systemic risk to the viability and fabric of society.  Across America, we see water challenges unfold in many forms: … ”  Read more at the NOAA here:  Tackling America’s water challenges with science

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

 

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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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