SCIENCE NEWS: Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US; Things are looking up: the 2018 salmon season; Using genetics to inform conservation of spring-run chinook salmon; and more …

Sierra de Velasco Mountains, Argentina (USGS)

In science news this week:

Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US:  “Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires, according to a new study by a team of researchers at Portland State University (PSU) , the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and the University of Nevada, Reno.  It’s a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate.  The study, published May 2 in the journal Nature Communications, provides new insight into the magnitude and persistence of forest fire disturbance on critical snow-water resources. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US

Things are looking up: the 2018 salmon season:  “It’s time for our yearly review of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) Review of Ocean Salmon Fisheries. This is the report that PFMC publishes annually on the previous year’s salmon fisheries along the West Coast. The report details harvest totals and socioeconomic benefits for the California ocean fishery, as well as escapement totals, or the number of salmon that “escaped” the fishery and returned to the Central Valley. The report also provides an opportunity to compare these numbers with the preseason prediction that was used to set harvest regulations for that year. Inaccurate preseason predictions can have severe consequences: an underestimation impacts commercial fishers because preset harvest limits may be too severe, while an overestimation of the population can lead to increased commercial harvest and reduced escapement, with low numbers of fish available for in-river recreational fishing.  … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Things are looking up: the 2018 salmon season

From liability to asset: Tragic death sparks shift in community’s restoration focus: “Teri Biancardi remembers vividly the day a dangerous restoration issue in her community came to light.  “Two little boys were digging tunnels along the streambank. The tunnels collapsed on top of the boys and only one was able to escape. This happened just six inches from our property line,” recalled the board member of the Meadowview Community Association — a homeowners association in Temecula, Calif.  Prior to the tragedy, the association was working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, implementing upland restoration projects such as controlling non-native plants and weeds using goats, and installing burrowing owl nest boxes. … ”  Read more from the US Fish and Wildlife Service here:  From liability to asset: Tragic death sparks shift in community’s restoration focus

Using Nature to Tackle Water Infrastructure Challenges: Frontiers of Green Infrastructure Research at Stanford:  “Walking across the Stanford campus, it’s not unusual to see flocks of active undergraduates playing soccer, serving volleyballs or just generally enjoying one of the many inviting lawns. At first glance, the scene seems like a poster for the benefits of college in California come to life. What the casual observer—and even most students—might not realize is that many of these spaces are serving multiple purposes. The soccer field, for instance, is also a detention pond, storing stormwater and preventing flooding, while also recharging our precious groundwater. ... ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  Using Nature to Tackle Water Infrastructure Challenges: Frontiers of Green Infrastructure Research at Stanford

Using Genetics to Inform Conservation: Spring-Run Chinook Salmon in the Klamath-Trinity River Basin:  “Like many people, I love eating salmon, and I was surprised to learn that many populations of several salmon species are listed as threatened, endangered, or are even extinct from their native ranges along the West Coast. This is mostly due to overfishing during the 19th and 20th centuries, but salmon are also impacted by pollution, warming temperatures, and dams that block key freshwater habitat.  All salmon spawn in freshwater and are “anadromous”. This means that to complete their life cycle, juvenile salmon must migrate out to the ocean and return as adults to reproduce in the river where they were born. … ”  Read more from EnviroBites here:  Using Genetics to Inform Conservation: Spring-Run Chinook Salmon in the Klamath-Trinity River Basin

NASA Study: Human Influence on Global Droughts Goes Back 100 Years:  “Human-generated greenhouse gases and atmospheric particles were affecting global drought risk as far back as the early 20th century, according to a study from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City.  The study, published in the journal Nature, compared predicted and real-world soil moisture data to look for human influences on global drought patterns in the 20th century. ... ”  Read more from NASA here:  NASA Study: Human Influence on Global Droughts Goes Back 100 Years

El Niño is now stronger and stranger, coral records show:  “The pattern of El Niño has changed dramatically in recent years, according to the first seasonal record distinguishing different types of El Niño events over the last 400 years.  A new category of El Niño has become far more prevalent in the last few decades than at any time in the past four centuries. Over the same period, traditional El Niño events have become more intense. This new finding will arguably alter our understanding of the El Niño phenomenon. Changes to El Niño will influence patterns of precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Americas. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  El Niño is now stronger and stranger, coral records show

Using diatoms as a water quality indicator:  “A team from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University working with New Jersey officials has revealed that the state’s water quality indicators—those specific to nutrients—need some work. But unlike some other approaches that focus on chemical analysis or other biological indicators like the health of benthic macroinvertebrates, this technique is focused on tiny, single-celled diatoms, a form of algae.  Dr. Don Charles, a senior academy scientist and the principal author of a recent paper spoke to EM about the work.  “The New Jersey DEP came to us and said that they were interested in having metrics that better reflected nutrient conditions in the rivers and streams in New Jersey,” explains Dr. Charles. … ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Using diatoms as a water quality indicator

Data scientists map the supply chains of every U.S. city:  “No matter where you live in the United States, some food in your kitchen probably started its life in California’s agricultural fields.  How do you know? Vegetables, like every other product, follow a supply chain that moves them from where they’re grown to where they’re consumed. That supply chain can be tracked through data, and those data paint a picture of how food, water and energy move throughout the United States. The result shows that every corner of America is connected.  FEWSION is a data fusion project developed by scientist Ben Ruddell of Northern Arizona University and colleagues. The project maps the food, energy and water supply chains for every community in the United States. ... ”  Read more from the NSF here:  Data scientists map the supply chains of every U.S. city

Intense Rainfall Is As Damaging to Crops As Heatwaves and Drought, and Climate Change Is Making It Worse:  “Intense rainfall is as damaging to the U.S. agricultural sector as heatwaves and excessive droughts, according to a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology that examined more than three decades of crop insurance, climate, soil, and corn yield data.  The study, led by scientists at the University of Illinois, found that since 1981, corn yields in the U.S. Midwest were reduced by as much as 34 percent during years with excessive rainfall.  Years with drought and heatwaves experienced yield loss of up to 37 percent. Intense rain events can physically damage crops, delay planting and harvesting, restrict root growth, and cause oxygen deficiency and nutrient loss. Between 1989 and 2016, excessive rainfall caused $10 billion in agricultural losses. … ”  Read more from Yale e360 here:  Intense Rainfall Is As Damaging to Crops As Heatwaves and Drought, and Climate Change Is Making It Worse

Nature’s dangerous decline ‘unprecedented’; species extinction rates ‘accelerating’:  “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April — 4 May) in Paris.  “The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Nature’s dangerous decline ‘unprecedented’; species extinction rates ‘accelerating’

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

 

Daily emailsSign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!


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

(Visited 242 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply