Science news: When it comes to climate change and streamflow, plants play an important role; Why freshwater fish are so awesome; A new tool for wetland management; Big cities sink faster than seas rise; and more …

Silicon Wafers Etched With Integrated Circuits For Space Missions (Photo by NASA Marshall Space Center)

Silicon Wafers Etched With Integrated Circuits For Space Missions (Photo by NASA Marshall Space Center)

In science news this week: When it comes to climate change and streamflow, plants play an important role; Why freshwater fish are so awesome; A new tool for wetland management; Big cities sink faster than seas rise; and entrancing infrared GIFs show where groundwater bubbles to the surface

When it comes to climate change and streamflow, plants play an important role:  “In California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, as more precipitation falls in the form of rain rather than snow, and the snowpack melts earlier in spring, it’s important for water managers to know when and how much water will be available for urban and agricultural needs and for the environment in general.  While changing precipitation patterns can have a significant impact on stream flows in the Sierra Nevada mountains, a new study by UC Santa Barbara researchers indicates that shifts in vegetation type resulting from warming and other factors may have an equal or greater effect. Their findings appear in the journal PLOS One. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  When it comes to climate change and streamflow, plants play an important role

Why freshwater fish are so awesome:  William Chen writes, “Think of your favorite animal. Perhaps Harry Potter’s snowy owl comes to mind.  Or, maybe the lion, king of the jungle? If we were to take our thought experiment under water, you might think of the massive whale shark, or the majestic sea turtle. Perhaps not. But I bet I can guess what wouldn’t come to mind. Freshwater fish rarely, if ever, have the celebrity status of these other animals. Yet, they can be just as fascinating.  Before working with the National Park Service to monitor Redwood Creek in Marin County, California, I never paid much heed to freshwater fish. Wading through the miles of river that Pacific salmon need to swim against to lay their eggs (with only the energy they accumulated before transitioning to fresh water), however, made me marvel at their tenacity. … ”  Read more from Nautilus here:  Why freshwater fish are so awesome

A new tool for wetland management:  “In arid Utah, a marshy wetland, teeming with aquatic life and migratory birds is among the most cherished natural resources in the state.  But with shrinking water supplies and invasive vegetation, effectively managing these unique landscapes is becoming increasingly difficult. That’s why researchers at Utah State University have developed a new tool to help wetland managers create healthier, more productive wetlands and make them easier to manage. The team developed a computer model that produced two key findings: first, to more dramatically alter water levels in individual diked wetland units and, second, to focus efforts on invasive plant control at a specific time of year. The study was published Sept. 1 in Water Resources Research — a top interdisciplinary academic journal. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  A new tool for wetland management

Big cities sink faster than seas rise:  “While the threat of rising seas is well established, a phenomenon that is, in a sense, its opposite receives far fewer headlines: large coastal cities sinking faster than oceans can rise.  That is the conclusion of a review article published by a team of scientists who recently assembled in New Orleans, La., and in Venice, Italy, to examine the problem. Extraction of groundwater or fossil fuels, and sometimes simply generations of farming, are causing large metropolitan areas in coastal zones around the world to subside surprisingly quickly—making the relative rise of adjacent seas an even greater potential hazard.  “Sea level rise is a problem, and subsidence is a huge problem, too,” said Cathleen Jones, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena who specializes in such hazards and is a member of the New Orleans team. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Big cities sink faster than seas rise

Entrancing infrared GIFs show where groundwater bubbles to the surface:  “Water isn’t just water. That is, a stream might seem like a single, cohesive flow, but it’s really a confluence from different sources. Each flows through different paths, carries different chemicals and nutrients, and has different properties.  In the GIF above, the reddish stuff is groundwater, mixing with blue-er (cooler) surface water. Groundwater is everything from droplets suspended in the tiny spaces between dirt particles to sprawling reservoirs comparable in size and volume to the world’s largest lakes. It is constantly flowing out of, and into, surface water, bringing with it every class of human-generated runoff—from fertilizers to pharmaceuticals. So if you care about the origin of those strange silhouettes you and your friends saw shambling through the gloomy wetland near the chemical factory—or any water you drink, ever—then you should be aware of your groundwater. … ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here:  Entrancing infrared GIFs show where groundwater bubbles to the surface

 

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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