SCIENCE NEWS: How do we deflect Delta invasions?; Climate conditions behind deadly October 2017 wildfires; Salt marsh research warns of pumpkin-colored ‘zombies’; Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations; and more …

Diatoms in the Columbia River; Photo courtesy Pacific Northwest National Labs.

In science news this week: How do we deflect Delta invasions?; Climate conditions behind deadly October 2017 wildfires; Salt marsh research warns of pumpkin-colored ‘zombies’; Soil holds potential to slow global warming, researchers find; Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations; Droughts and wildfires: How global warming is drying up the North American monsoon; Decision to rescind WOTUS based on flawed analysis; and more …

How do we deflect Delta invasions?  “Quick! You’ve spotted a potentially invasive species in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta—who do you tell? The answer is surprisingly unclear, given the serious threat that non-native invasions pose to the Delta ecosystem. A need for better prioritization and coordination around invasive species is one of the conclusions that emerged from a recent symposium on Delta Invasive Species hosted in Davis, California, by the Delta Interagency Invasive Species Coordination team, the Delta Stewardship Council Delta Science Program, and the University of California, Davis. A range of speakers expressed great urgency when describing dramatic threats posed by potential invaders, from mussels to mammals, but information is generally lacking on how to quickly and easily report such species if found, or address them in the Delta. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  How do we deflect Delta invasions?

Climate conditions behind deadly October 2017 wildfires“Under the driving force of fierce winds, deadly wildfires exploded across northern California in the second week of October 2017. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 17 people had been killed as of October 11, and thousands of homes and other infrastructure—including cell phone towers used by the state’s emergency services—had been destroyed.  The extremely dangerous fire conditions actually began last winter, with near-record precipitation between December 2016-February 2017. The drought-busting amounts of precipitation re-stocked the state’s snowpack, which had been heavily depleted by 6 years of drought. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Climate conditions behind deadly October 2017 wildfires

Salt marsh research warns of pumpkin-colored ‘zombies’: “Just in time for Halloween, a new study reveals that pumpkin-colored zombies may be running rampant through your local salt marsh.  The research, led by Dr. David Johnson of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, isn’t quite as spooky as it sounds. These zombies aren’t flesh-eating humanoids of the Walking Dead variety, but tiny shrimp infected by a microscopic parasite. Even so, their growing abundance in nutrient-fueled saltmarshes may well portend future threats to humankind. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Salt marsh research warns of pumpkin-colored ‘zombies’

Soil holds potential to slow global warming, researchers find:  “If you want to do something about global warming, look under your feet. Managed well, soil’s ability to trap carbon dioxide is potentially much greater than previously estimated, according to Stanford researchers who claim the resource could “significantly” offset increasing global emissions. They call for a reversal of federal cutbacks to related research programs to learn more about this valuable resource.  The work, published in two overlapping studies Oct. 5 in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics and Global Change Biology, emphasizes the need for more research into how soil — if managed well — could mitigate a rapidly changing climate. …   Read more from Science Daily here:  Soil holds potential to slow global warming, researchers find

Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations: “The Colorado River tumbles through varied landscapes, draining watersheds from seven western states. This 1,450-mile-long system is a critical water supply for agriculture, industry and municipalities from Denver to Tijuana.  In the drylands of the Colorado’s lower basin, formed by Nevada, Arizona and California, thunderstorms — known in meteorological parlance as convective precipitation — typically control runoff, stream flow, water supply and flood risk to human populations in addition to water availability to vegetation.  Convective precipitation, which can lead to huge floods and subsequent disasters, is generated by heat from the Earth’s surface. Moisture quickly rises into the atmosphere and then condenses very rapidly to form sudden rainstorms that are poorly understood within global climate models and data sets. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations

Droughts and wildfires: How global warming is drying up the North American monsoon:  “Researchers have struggled to accurately model the changes to the abundant summer rains that sweep across the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, known to scientists as the “North American monsoon.”  In a report published Oct. 9 in the journal Nature Climate Change, a team of Princeton and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers have applied a key factor in improving climate models — correcting for sea surface temperatures — to the monsoon. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Droughts and wildfires: How global warming is drying up the North American monsoon

Decision to rescind WOTUS based on flawed analysis:  “New evidence suggests that the Trump Administration’s proposal to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that would limit the scope of the Clean Water Act inappropriately overlooks wetlands-related values.  In a 2017 government-issued analysis, benefits to rescind the rule were found to be greater than costs, results that conflict with a similar analysis made in 2015 under the Obama Administration. The 2017 analysis left wetlands-related values unquantified, according to economists who evaluated both administrations’ analyses. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Decision to rescind WOTUS based on flawed analysis

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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