SCIENCE NEWS: Tropical storms connected to Central Valley heat waves; Sinking salmon populations hidden by hatcheries; Salinity cycles in Lower Colorado River; Cover crops: Good for water quality?; and more …

Bennu’s Journey, by NASA Goddard Space Center

In science news this week:

Predicting heat waves? Look half a world away: When thunderstorms brew over the tropics, California heat wave soon to follow:  “When heavy rain falls over the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean, it is a good indicator that temperatures in central California will reach 100°Fin four to 16 days, according to a collaborative research team from the University of California, Davis, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center in Busan, South Korea.  The results were published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on April 12. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Predicting heat waves? Look half a world away

Sinking salmon populations hidden by hatcheries:  “You might think it would be relatively straightforward to tell whether the size of an animal population is shrinking, stable, or growing – but sometimes things get a bit complicated. The end goal of most conservation efforts is to build up the populations of imperiled species to the point at which they can persist on their own without outside help. When it comes to salmon, this could mean using hatcheries to bolster a population, or restoring habitat to allow more spawning to occur in the wild, ideally leading to a stable or growing population. However, it can be challenging to tell if such efforts are working, because assessing populations of fall-run Chinook salmon in California’s Central Valley isn’t as simple as counting how many adults have returned to a given stream to spawn. A process known as “source-sink dynamics” may be concealing the fact that certain populations are not self-sustaining. ... ”  Read more from FishBio here: Sinking salmon populations hidden by hatcheries

California’s Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory at Granite Canyon Provides the Latest Research in Environmental Toxicity Monitoring:  “Today, the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory (MPSL) at Granite Canyon is part of The University of California at Davis, a key source of knowledge and continuing research on aquatic toxicology. It was not always so: in its past, the site served a very different function. “It was once a naval installation,” says Bryn Phillips, Research Specialist at Granite Canyon. “It is currently owned by NOAA, but they allow UC Davis to occupy the facility.” Phillips has a deep knowledge of Granite Canyon’s history, having been a Research Specialist there since 1992. He also has a BS degree in zoological sciences from California State at Long Beach and an MS degree in marine sciences from San Jose State University, Moss Landing Marine Labs. … ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  California’s Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory at Granite Canyon Provides the Latest Research in Environmental Toxicity Monitoring

Salinity Cycles in Lower Colorado River: Caused by Precipitation Patterns in Upper Basin:  “A new study shows that mysterious cycles in salinity in the lower Colorado River are a result of precipitation patterns in the headwaters of the upper basin more than a thousand river miles away. The salinity levels generally repeat about every 10 years.  Beginning in the late 1970s, these decadal-scale salinity cycles were observed at monitoring locations on the lower Colorado River in the U.S., hampering the Bureau of Reclamation’s efforts to manage salinity in the river for delivery of water to Mexico to meet obligations under an international treaty. … ”  Read more from the USGS here: Salinity Cycles in Lower Colorado River: Caused by Precipitation Patterns in Upper Basin

Ocean circulation likely to blame for severity of 2018 red tide around Florida:  “The harmful algae that causes red tide is currently at near undetectable levels in Florida waters compared with the much higher concentrations at this time last year. The red tide algae, Karenia brevis, causes respiratory issues, is responsible for massive fish kills and is often blamed for damaging tourism.  While traces of the bloom are always present offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans finds ocean circulation made 2018 the worst year for red tide in more than a decade. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Ocean circulation likely to blame for severity of 2018 red tide around Florida

Cover crops: Good for water quality? Any major water system fulfills many important functions. A large lake can serve as wildlife habitat, drinking water for a community, and a source of recreation and economic benefits. The Great Lakes region of the U.S. is no exception. Not only does this region provide 40 million people with drinking water, it also makes up 21% of the freshwater on the whole planet! Protecting water quality in the Great Lakes is extremely important.  However, the region is also home to 55 million acres of agricultural land. Agricultural land and good water quality usually do not mix. Consistent farming can lead to runoff, erosion, and eutrophication – increased nutrients in the water causing problems like algal blooms and fish kills. … ”  Read more from EnviroBites here: Cover crops: Good for water quality?

Leveraging scientists’ perceptions for successful interactions with policy makers: “Creating new policies that deal with important issues like climate change requires input from geoscientists. Policy makers, media outlets, and the general public are interested in hearing from experts, and scientists are put under increasing amounts of pressure to effectively engage in policy decisions.  “Over the years, scientists have received a lot of criticism about how they engage in policy discussions,” says co-author Scott Kalafatis, assistant professor at Dickinson College. “But I’ve worked with a lot of scientists who were remarkably dedicated and skilled at engaging in the policy process.” Yet, despite these efforts, Kalafatis says it’s still unclear how scientists see themselves in those interactions, and some are unsure of how they might best leverage their strengths into policy decisions. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Leveraging scientists’ perceptions for successful interactions with policy makers

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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