DAILY DIGEST: Headed to the beach? Look out for monster 30-foot waves, CA officials warn; Tree ring study shows the Americas are prone to catastrophic, simultaneous droughts; The ocean plastic we see is ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Where’s the other 99%?; and more …

In California water news today, Headed to the beach? Look out for monster 30-foot waves, California officials warn; A warning from ancient tree rings: The Americas are prone to catastrophic, simultaneous droughts; How do conifers survive droughts? Study points to existing roots, not new growth; ‘Horrific’ bird losses touch every state, may worsen as temperatures rise; Trump weighs executive order on scientific research; The ocean plastic we see is ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Where’s the other 99%?; and more …

In the news today …

Headed to the beach? Look out for monster 30-foot waves, California officials warn:  “Beach-goers planning to ring in 2020 by the sea may want to keep an eye on the surf, the National Weather Service says.  Breakers up to nearly 30 feet are expected at ocean-facing beaches from Sonoma County down to Monterey County, including the San Francisco Bay Area, the agency says.  The weather service issued a beach hazards statement from 1 p.m. Tuesday through 9 p.m. Wednesday. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Headed to the beach? Look out for monster 30-foot waves, California officials warn

A warning from ancient tree rings: The Americas are prone to catastrophic, simultaneous droughts: “For 10 years, central Chile has been gripped by unrelenting drought. With 30% less rainfall than normal, verdant landscapes have withered, reservoirs are low, and more than 100,000 farm animals have died. The dry spell has lasted so long that researchers are calling it a “megadrought,” rivaling dry stretches centuries ago. It’s not so different from the decadelong drought that California, some 8000 kilometers away, endured until last year.  By analyzing tree ring records, scientists have now found evidence that such tandem droughts are more than a coincidence: They are surprisingly common over the past 1200 years, and they may often share a common cause—an abnormally cool state of the eastern Pacific Ocean known as La Niña. … ”  Read more from Science Magazine here: A warning from ancient tree rings: The Americas are prone to catastrophic, simultaneous droughts

How do conifers survive droughts? Study points to existing roots, not new growth:  “As the world warms, a new study is helping scientists understand how cone-bearing trees like pines and junipers may respond to drought.  The research addresses a classic question in the field: When conditions are dry for long periods of time, do trees survive by growing new roots to tap water sources, or by relying on established roots that already go deep? … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: How do conifers survive droughts? Study points to existing roots, not new growth

‘Horrific’ bird losses touch every state, may worsen as temperatures rise:  “As Wes Biggs tells it, a Baltimore oriole flew onto his family’s front porch and landed on his bassinet when he was only 6 months old. Captivated, he became a lifelong bird-watcher.  Over the 71 years since then, like thousands of other longtime birders across the continent, Biggs has seen and helped document dramatic change.  Bald eagles surged back from the brink of extinction. Many duck species rebounded. But a host of other species — including sparrows, meadowlark and quail — declined at an alarming rate. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: ‘Horrific’ bird losses touch every state, may worsen as temperatures rise

Trump weighs executive order on scientific research:  “White House officials are working on an executive order that would boost public access to federally funded research, prompting publishers to panic about the future of their business models, according to people familiar with the plan.  Ostensibly, the order would follow longtime bipartisan interest in improving public access to research that is paid for by taxpayers.  It is expected to require that publicly funded science be obtainable for free immediately, building on an Obama initiative, multiple sources said. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Trump weighs executive order on scientific research

The ocean plastic we see is ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Where’s the other 99%?  “Every year, 8m tons of plastic enters the ocean. Images of common household waste swirling in vast garbage patches in the open sea, or tangled up with whales and seabirds, have turned plastic pollution into one of the most popular environmental issues in the world.  But for at least a decade, the biggest question among scientists who study marine plastic hasn’t been why plastic in the ocean is so abundant, but why it isn’t. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: The ocean plastic we see is ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Where’s the other 99%?

In commentary today …

Drink more recycled wastewater, say Cecilia Tortajada & Pierre van Rensburg:  They write, “Drinkable water is becoming increasingly scarce. Population growth, pollution and climate change mean that more cities are being forced to search for unconventional water sources1. In a growing number of places, drinking highly treated municipal wastewater, called ‘reused water’, has become the best option — and, in some cases, the only one (see ‘What is reused water?’).  But anxieties about reused water, often heightened by sensational media coverage, have prevented several projects from going ahead. … ”  Read more from Nature here:  Drink more recycled wastewater

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath: 2019 ends with reflections on water: As the New Year nears, officials this month reflected on water so far in 2019 and the impact it has had to date in the Klamath Project.  Jeff Nettleton, manager for the Klamath Basin Area Office for the Bureau of Reclamation, called 2019 a “cool” and “wet” year; an average year for water allocation with less demand from agriculture, and more water for the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in an interview with H&N in mid-December. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: 2019 ends with reflections on water

Ridgecrest: Zdeba, Kicinski provide GSP update at Dems lunch:  “The topic of water took center stage at the Democratic Club of the High Desert on Saturday as Indian Wells Valley Water District general manager Don Zdeba and board member Ron Kicinski provided some updates.  Zdeba touched on the status of the groundwater sustainability plan and the IWV Groundwater Authority. The GSP is a roadmap that will detail how the IWV basin needs to achieve a sustainable safe yield by 2040, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  “Surface water has been regulated in California for nearly 100 years, but before SGMA came along, groundwater was not managed at all,” Zdeba said. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Zdeba, Kicinski provide GSP update at Dems lunch

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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