SCIENCE NEWS: Pacific Coast marshes more resistant to rising seas than Atlantic; Dam bypass spells victory for Russian River salmon; Phosphorus loading rates in Sierra Nevada lakes; and more …

new-caldenoia

Lagoons and Reefs of New Caledonia; Photo by NASA

In science news this week: Pacific Coast marshes more resistant to rising seas than Atlantic; Dam bypass spells victory for Russian River salmon; Phosphorous loading rates in lakes with development and stocked fish in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; Human actions influence fire regimes in the Sierra Nevada; Precious Cargo: Brighter Future For 100 Juvenile Mountain Yellow Legged Frogs, Tadpoles; Applying indigenous and western knowledge to environmental research; UCAR publishes guidance for next administration; A trio of drought hotspots; Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be avoided; and November 2016 La Nina Update: Hello, Lady!

Pacific Coast marshes more resistant to rising seas than Atlantic:  “A NOAA-sponsored study shows that Pacific coast tidal marshes are more resistant to rising sea levels from climate change than marshes in the Atlantic. Pacific marshes are generally at higher elevations than Atlantic marshes, and Pacific oceanographic circulation tends to push water away from the coast, reducing the effect of sea level rise.  The study, conducted by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), established a national baseline for monitoring the effects of climate change on estuaries. NERRS conducted this study at 16 sites in 13 coastal states. ... ”  Read more from the NOAA here:  Pacific Coast marshes more resistant to rising seas than Atlantic

Dam bypass spells victory for Russian River salmon:  “Salmon conservation achieved a major victory this October as construction finished on a fish passage and stream restoration project in Mill Creek, California. After California Sea Grant identified that a flashboard dam was stopping endangered coho salmon from moving upstream, a recovery plan by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service billed it as the highest priority barrier for remediation in the Russian River.  Mill Creek winds past redwood forests, vineyards and private homes west of Healdsburg, California. A major tributary to the Russian River, it harbors some of the best habitat for federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout in the watershed. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Dam bypass spells victory for Russian River salmon

Phosphorus loading rates in lakes with development and stocked fish in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, USA:  Abstract:  “In high-elevation lakes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California, USA, increases in P concentration suggest accelerated nutrient loading in these delicate aquatic ecosystems. Some of these lakes show signs of eutrophication due to increased P loading. Presently, fish stocking practices include introductions of non-native as well as native fish, and sometimes in very large quantities. Stocked fish are fed diets that are often high in P and in turn excrete high P waste into lakes and/or die and decompose, potentially adding additional P to the system. The goal of this research was to determine the potential P contributions from residential shoreline developments and stocked fish. A seasonal, steady state P loading rate model was created to quantify P loading into nine lakes in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Lakes with no fish, stocked lakes, and lakes that have shoreline developments and stocked fish were compared using measured P concentrations. … ” Read the rest of the abstract and the full article from Ecosphere Open Journal here:  Phosphorus loading rates in lakes with development and stocked fish in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

Human actions influence fire regimes in the Sierra Nevada:  “While climate contributes strongly to fire activity in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the western U.S., human activity, starting well before European contact, has also played an important part in the severity, frequency and sheer numbers of forest fires occurring in the area, according to researchers.  “Initially, we did work to see if we could develop long-lead forecasts for fire in the area — six to 18 months in the future — using climate patterns such as El Nino,” said Alan H. Taylor, professor of geography, Penn State. “This would be a significant help because we could place resources in the west if forecasts indicated it would be dry and the southeast would be wet. However, the climate relationships with fire did not consistently track.” … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Human actions influence fire regimes in the Sierra Nevada

Applying indigenous and western knowledge to environmental research:  “Native American researchers, students, and community members will partner with Western science organizations to help shape mutually beneficial research projects as part of a two-year National Science Foundation grant awarded recently to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) under sponsorship by NSF.  The project marks a milestone in collaborations between NCAR|UCAR and Native American partners to increase the presence of indigenous perspectives and participants in geoscience research. It also comes at a time when indigenous people are among the hardest-hit by climate change, with several communities forming America’s first wave of climate refugees. … ”  Read more from AtmosNews here:  Applying indigenous and western knowledge to environmental research

Precious Cargo: Brighter Future For 100 Juvenile Mountain Yellow Legged Frogs, Tadpoles:As I drove up the curving road heading into the San Jacinto Mountains, much of the landscape was dry and yellowed, reflecting the current drought conditions.  After reaching the rendezvous point, I met the group of partners that would be releasing more than one hundred endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs into their natural habitat. The researchers included a mix of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations, all with one designated purpose that day – to help further recovery of an endangered species.  After getting all their gear together, the group descended into a canyon, their buckets holding a precious cargo of 100 juvenile frogs and tadpoles. Watching the group descend into the canyon, I followed them down until I reached a good vantage point at the edge of a 50 foot waterfall – now nearly dry, but not quite. … ”  Read more from the US Fish & Wildlife Service here:  Precious Cargo: Brighter Future For 100 Juvenile Mountain Yellow Legged Frogs, Tadpoles

UCAR publishes guidance for next administration:  “The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has published guidance for the next U.S. presidential administration and Congress on the importance of better understanding and predicting weather, water, climate, and other aspects of the Earth system.  A UCAR white paper emphasizes that focused investment of federal resources in the atmospheric, Earth, and related sciences will make significant contributions addressing important societal needs. These include protection of lives and property, expansion of new economic opportunities, enhancement of national security, and strengthening U.S. leadership in research and development. … ”  Read more from AtmosNews here:  UCAR publishes guidance for next administration

A trio of drought hotspots: Extremely warm temperatures across much of the United States in September and October 2016 have conspired with much lower than average precipitation in parts of the country to bring (or sustain) severe drought to three separate “hotspots” in early November.  Between California—still in drought after nearly 5 years—the Southeast, and New England, 11% of the contiguous United States (i.e., the Lower 48 states) was experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought as of November 8, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor project. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  A trio of drought hotspots

Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be avoided:  “Lake Lanier in Georgia is the primary water reservoir serving suburban and metropolitan Atlanta. When the lake’s water level drops below a certain point, calls go out for water conservation and news reports show images of the red mud shoreline. In some affected counties, water restrictions are imposed. The combination of usage restrictions and changes in precipitation eventually averts the crisis. But, when the crisis ends, water usage rebounds — until the next shortage.  Inspired by this example, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a theory to unite the study of behavior and its effect on the environment. In doing so, they combined theories of strategic behavior with those of resource depletion and restoration, leading to what they term an “oscillating tragedy of the commons.” The research is reported in November 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be avoided

November 2016 La Nina Update: Hello, Lady! Is the sea surface temperature in the Niño3.4 region more than half a degree cooler than average? Yes! (It was about -0.7°C below average during October.) Do forecasters think it will stay cooler than that threshold for several overlapping three-month periods? Yes! (But just barely.) Finally, are there signs that the atmospheric circulation above the tropical Pacific is stronger than average? Yes! This all means that La Niña has officially arrived. The Niño3.4 Index—the temperature of the ocean surface in a specific region of the equatorial Pacific, and our primary metric for measuring El Niño and La Niña—has been trending cooler since the demise of our big El Niño event in May. We now have two consecutive overlapping “seasons” (in climate forecaster lingo, that’s any three-month period) where the Nino3.4 Index averaged more than -0.5°C cooler than the long-term average: July—September and August—October. ... ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  November 2016 La Nina Update: Hello, Lady!

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

2 Responses

  1. michael perrone

    That word in your article is spelled phosphorus, not phosphorous. The latter is an adjective used in chemical names. The former is the name of the element

    Reply

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