SCIENCE NEWS: Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage; California’s growing marijuana issue; Mining for answers on abandoned mines; and more …

In science news this week: Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage; California’s growing marijuana issue; Mining for answers on abandoned mines; How exactly does water get to homes?; and Where rivers meet the sea:  Harvesting energy generated when fresh water meets salt water

Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage:  “New research from a multi-university team of biologists shows what could be a startling drop in the amount of carbon stored in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to projected climate change and wildfire events.  The study, “Potential decline in carbon carrying capacity under projected climate-wildfire interactions in the Sierra Nevada,” published this week in Scientific Reports, shows another facet of the impact current human-made carbon emissions will have on our world if big changes aren’t made. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage

California’s growing marijuana issue:  “It just takes a Google Earth tour to spot the rise of marijuana growing in California. Navigate through aerial imagery of Humboldt County forests, and patches of cleared trees lined with greenhouses quickly come into view, like those shown above. Many people hope the legalization of recreational marijuana in California will enable the state to finally regulate marijuana growing and reduce its associated environmental impacts. However, others argue that until a national policy is implemented to regulate marijuana effectively, a black market will persist to skirt regulations. It has become increasingly clear that a host of environmental issues associated with this industry must be addressed for California to make it a sustainable part of the state’s economy and healthcare system. Many scientists and resource managers are currently investigating the impacts of marijuana cultivation on aquatic ecosystems, while working to prevent further ecological damage in sensitive areas. … ”  Read more from Fish Bio blog here:  California’s growing marijuana issue

Mining for answers on abandoned mines:  “Soil scientist Jim Ippolito believes in local solutions to local problems. The problem he’s working on is contaminated soils near abandoned mines.  In the western United States 160,000 abandoned mines contaminate soils in the region. Ippolito, associate professor of soil science at Colorado State University, hopes to solve this problem with biochar, a charcoal-like substance that can reduce the toxic consequences of mining for metals.  Biochar is made by burning plant material in a low-oxygen kiln. Ippolito proposes using western states plant materials such as dead lodge pole pine trees or pesky, nuisance trees — like the invasive tamarisk — as fodder for the kiln. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Mining for answers on abandoned mines

How exactly does water get to homes?  “New Indiana University research shows many Americans don’t know how clean water gets to their homes and especially what happens after wastewater is flushed away, knowledge that is vital in confronting challenges including droughts and failing infrastructure that can lead to contamination.  The researchers asked about 500 university students to draw diagrams illustrating how water reaches the sink and how it is returned to the natural environment. Twenty-nine percent of the participants didn’t draw a water treatment plant and 64 percent did not draw a wastewater treatment plan. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  How exactly does water get to homes?

Where rivers meet the sea:  Harvesting energy generated when fresh water meets salt water:  “Penn State researchers have created a new hybrid technology that produces unprecedented amounts of electrical power where seawater and freshwater combine at the coast.  “The goal of this technology is to generate electricity from where the rivers meet the ocean,” said Christopher Gorski, assistant professor in environmental engineering at Penn State. “It’s based on the difference in the salt concentrations between the two water sources.”  That difference in salt concentration has the potential to generate enough energy to meet up to 40 percent of global electricity demands. Though methods currently exist to capture this energy, the two most successful methods, pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) and reverse electrodialysis (RED), have thus far fallen short. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Where rivers meet the sea:  Harvesting energy generated when fresh water meets salt water

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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