Climate change involves natural and man-made changes to weather patterns that occur over millions of years or over decades.
In the past 150 years, human industrial activity has accelerated the rate of change in the climate due to the increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide). Scientific studies describing this climate change continue to be produced and its expected impacts continue to be assessed.
In California, the California Environmental Protection Agency has found temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees since 1895. Looking ahead, temperatures could rise by 2.7 degrees and its sea levels by 55 inches in the next 40 years, according to the California Energy Commission and the California Natural Resources Agency. These are among the ongoing issues the state faces as it grapples with climate change.
Already, California is confronting rising demand for water and diminishing supplies. At the same time, the state’s water infrastructure such as levees is increasingly aging and in disrepair—conditions expected to be made worse by climate change.
The Rev. Richard Cizik used to believe climate change was a myth. The science had to be rigged, he thought; those who believed in it were just tree-huggers. But in 2002, a friend convinced Mr. Cizik to go to a conference about climate change, and there, he said, “the scales came off my eyes.”
A recent study has found that virtually all United States-based winter recreation locations could experience shorter ski seasons, exceeding 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent in 2090 for some downhill skiing destinations.
Recent winters have delivered a bitter chill to the Southeast, reinforcing attitudes among some that global warming is a fraud. But according to a scientific study published this month, the Southeast’s colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America.
Weather experts spent much of this winter cautiously optimistic. There were still weeks to go in the wet season and the reservoirs were full, thanks to last winter’s near record-breaking rain and snow. Now, even the professionals are getting more than a little nervous.
Nearly three-quarters of San Francisco voters would support a bond measure of up to $500 million to improve the city’s disintegrating seawall, a piece of infrastructure that is largely unseen but that experts say is of vital importance in protecting the city against major earthquakes as well as sea level rise.
Every day, people flock to Daniel Swain’s social media platforms to find out the latest news and insight about California’s notoriously unpredictable weather. Swain, a climate scientist at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, famously coined the term “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” in December 2013 to describe the large, formidable high-pressure mass that was parked over the West Coast during winter and diverted storms away from California, intensifying the drought.
Swain’s research focuses on atmospheric processes that cause droughts and floods, along with the changing character of extreme weather events in a warming world. A lifelong Californian and alumnus of University of California, Davis, and Stanford University, Swain is best known for the widely read Weather West blog, which provides unique perspectives on weather and climate in California and the western United States. In a recent interview with Western Water, he talked about the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, its potential long-term impact on California weather, and what may lie ahead for the state’s water supply.
Every day, people flock to Daniel Swain’s social media platforms to find out the latest news and insight about California’s notoriously unpredictable weather. Swain, a climate scientist at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, famously coined the term “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” in December 2013 to describe the large, formidable high-pressure mass that was parked over the West Coast during winter and diverted storms away from California, intensifying the drought.
About 10 miles off the Alabama coast, Ben Raines falls gently backwards from a boat into the Gulf of Mexico, a scuba tank strapped to his back and handsaw on his belt. He’s on a mission to collect cypress samples from 60-feet below. “We’re going to cut some pieces as if we were in a forest on land,” says Raines, an environmental reporter with AL.com.
Lake Powell, which straddles Utah and Arizona, is expected to get 47 percent of its average inflow because of scant snow in the mountains that feed the Colorado River, said Greg Smith, a hydrologist with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Bay Area city of Richmond recently made an unlikely move that got the attention of its largest employer and taxpayer, Chevron. It followed other municipalities and counties across California that have filed lawsuits against oil companies, alleging that the energy giants knowingly contributed to climate change and should begin paying for it. Literally.
Last year, you began your tenure as the president-elect of the American Geophysical Union, a global organization of earth and space scientists who work on ensuring a sustainable future. Do you feel as if we’re at a crossroads for climate change?
Anchored in flood-prone areas in every American state are more than 2,500 sites that handle toxic chemicals, a New York Times analysis of federal floodplain and industrial data shows. About 1,400 are located in areas at highest risk of flooding.
Unseasonably warm and dry temperatures blanketed California over the weekend, shattering records across the state and bringing clear blue skies that were expected to linger through next weekend. … Experts expect extreme weather to become the norm in the state as the climate changes and global temperatures rise.
Lani Estill’s family ranches on thousands of acres in Modoc County on the border of Nevada and California. Her operation, Bare Ranch, sits in a place called Surprise Valley. It’s a beautiful almost forgotten place “Where the West still lives” — that’s the county’s motto.
For [Celeste] Cantú, who has managed water agencies for more than two decades, the extraordinary winter heat is also a stark reminder of how the warming climate is compounding the strains on water supplies in the West. … The amount of snow on the ground is also far below average across the Colorado River Basin, where a 17-year run of mostly dry years has left reservoirs at alarmingly low levels.
San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood has been selected as one of 10 Bay Area sites to get attention from a phalanx of architects, urban planners and environmentalists as part of a competition to battle sea-level rise. Fueled by an almost $5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, teams have been formed to tackle what researchers say is inevitable flooding brought on by climate change.
A new task force of scientists and forestry experts will “review thoroughly the way our forests are managed and suggest ways to reduce the threat of devastating fires,” Gov. Jerry Brown announced in his State of the State speech Thursday.
For a politician who winces at the L-word — “legacy” — Gov. Jerry Brown spent much of his State of the State address on Thursday defending the key projects and policies that will likely define his: the state’s beleaguered bullet train, his Delta tunnel plan and criminal justice reforms reducing California’s prison population.
This is going to be a big year for one of the state’s smallest agencies. As California redoubles its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, officials are rooting around for new ways to meet the state’s goals. Included in their plan: recruiting billions of redwood, oak and pine trees to help diminish planet-warming gases by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
U.S. mayors increasingly view climate change as a pressing urban issue, so much so that many advocate policies that could inconvenience residents or even hurt their cities financially. The annual survey of big-city executives, slated for release on Tuesday by the Boston University Initiative on Cities, also reflected the nation’s sharp political divide.
Fro California Governor Jerry Brown and his administration, 2017 was a water year to remember, and one that would figure into the drafting of the state’s 2018-19 budget, which was released early this month. The $190 billion proposed spending plan names California’s drought and the “extreme natural events of 2017” as determining factors in how the cash was divvied up.
A top manager who supervises the Environmental Protection Agency program responsible for cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated properties and waterways told Congress on Thursday that the government needs to plan for the ongoing threat posed to Superfund sites from climate change.
The United States is facing a number of water issues: drought, wildfires, pollution and inequitable distribution. In fact, when it comes to water policy, the U.S. Water Alliance says that the nation is at a “crossroads” of short-term crises – like deadly storms and acute pollution problems – and long-term trends such as climate change and crumbling infrastructure.
Following a year in which Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s power and water grids and Cape Town stepped to the edge of a water supply disaster, the world’s business, political, and academic elite warn of social and economic upheaval from water and climate hazards.
To scientists who study lakes and rivers, it seems humans have embarked on a huge unplanned experiment. By burning fossil fuels, we have already raised the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent, and we’re on track to increase it by much more. Some of that gas may mix into the world’s inland waters, and recent studies hint that this may have profound effects on the species that live in them.
In December, the city and county of Santa Cruz joined a wave of coastal California communities suing fossil-fuel companies for climate-change related damages. On Monday, ExxonMobil pushed back against what it called “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation,” threatening to file its own legal action and accusing the local jurisdictions of hypocritically omitting reference to climate change damages from their own bond disclosures.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2018 budget continues efforts to combat climate change. A total of $9.8 billion is destined for the Natural Resources Agency for things like groundwater sustainability, flood management and additional funding for expanding the state’s firefighting capabilities.
Starting with the damaged Oroville Dam, California seemed to careen from disaster to disaster in 2017. The dam’s spillway alone is projected to cost more than $500 million to repair. … [Gov. Jerry] Brown maintains that the state will face more weather-related extremes in years ahead because of climate change.
Six months ago, officials in Imperial Beach joined six other California coastal communities in a first of its kind lawsuit: Demanding that 18 energy companies in the oil and coal sectors pay the cities for damages associated with rising sea levels and other effects of a warming planet. Now, one of those companies — ExxonMobil — has fired back with its own aggressive legal strategy.
For millions of people in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and elsewhere whose lives were upended by hurricanes and for tens of thousands of Californians whose homes or businesses were destroyed by wildfires, climate change hit home in 2017. … Despite all that, Al Gore is optimistic.
Last year’s devastating floods and fires in California combined with hurricanes and other natural disasters to wreak unprecedented financial damage on the United States, the federal government reported Monday.
New York will be the first major metropolis to be remapped taking into account the realities of climate change, like rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. … As a result, FEMA and city officials say, New York could be an example for other places around the country.
The Interior Department is dialing back more environmental goals set in the Obama administration, this time through a secretarial order. In a three-page order issued without fanfare Dec. 22, Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt rescinded three Obama-era documents involving environmental mitigation and one involving climate change policy.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality. Join us as we head into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Explore the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
We will travel deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour will make its way to San Francisco Bay, and includes a ferry ride.
Anthony Stansbury propped his rusty bike against a live oak tree and cast his fishing line into the rushing waters of Florida’s Anclote River. … Stansbury is among nearly 2 million people in the U.S. who live within a mile of 327 Superfund sites in areas prone to flooding or vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by climate change, according to an Associated Press analysis of flood zone maps, census data and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records.
In 2017, tens of thousands of people descended upon Washington to protest an administration skeptical of climate change. President Trump declared his intent to withdraw from the historic Paris climate agreement. In the United States, there were a number of record natural disasters, including the latest spate of wildfires in California that will probably last through early next year.
Drought and climate change are having a noticeable impact on the Colorado River Basin, and that is posing potential challenges to those in the Southwestern United States and Mexico who rely on the river.
In the just-released Winter 2017-18 edition of River Report, writer Gary Pitzer examines what scientists project will be the impact of climate change on the Colorado River Basin, and how water managers are preparing for a future of increasing scarcity.
The city and county of Santa Cruz filed separate suits against 29 oil, gas and coal companies seeking climate-change related damages — the latest in a wave of suits filed in recent months by a coastal California communities.
California’s recent wildfires have been nearly unprecedented in terms of their destructiveness and size and the season in which they burned. The Thomas Fire, for example, has grown into one of the largest wildfires in the state’s history, devouring thousands of acres daily as it moves from Ventura to Santa Barbara at a time of year more prone to gray skies and cold rain than burning forests.
By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. If this group formed a country, it would be the fourth-largest in the world, with a population nearly as large as that of the United States. Yet neither individual countries nor the global community are completely prepared to support a whole new class of “climate migrants.”
Rising temperatures from climate change are having a noticeable effect on how much water is flowing down the Colorado River. Read the latest River Report to learn more about what’s happening, and how water managers are responding.
The athletes’ half-hour commute in the Swiss Alps — up two gondolas, then through a tunnel in the world’s highest underground train to a glacier at 11,000 feet — served up daily grim reminders that global warming is threatening their line of work. … Americans once had little need to swap continents to guarantee offseason access to snow.
In 1991, Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted and blanketed the stratosphere with sulfur dioxide particles. The earth cooled 0.7 to 0.9 degrees for two years. It’s theoretically possible for humankind to do something similar as a way to counteract climate change. And Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, wants scientists to explore the possibilities.
Beyond the devastation and personal tragedy of the fires that have ravaged California in recent months, another disaster looms: an alarming uptick in unhealthy air and the sudden release of the carbon dioxide that drives climate change. As millions of acres burn in a cycle of longer and more intense fire seasons, the extensive efforts of industry and regulators to protect the environment can be partly undone in one firestorm.
It’s official: 2017 is the deadliest and most destructive year on record for wildfires in California. Dry conditions, high temperatures, roaring winds and bone-dry trees and brush are all factors responsible for the devastation. But one underlying question is how much of a role has climate change played?
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water managers and others are trying to face the future.
Severe wildfire seasons like the one that has devastated California this fall may occur more frequently because of climate change, scientists say. … The reason is an expected impact of climate change in California: increasing year-to-year variability in temperature and precipitation that will create greater contrast between drought years and wet years.
Hot, dry Santa Ana winds will likely whip up the unseasonably fierce wildfires ravaging Southern California on Thursday, forecasters said. The gales have come at the worst time, at the end of a long dry spell.
Even before the dramatic Southern California wildfires began their harrowing path this week, California was already experiencing its deadliest and most destructive fire season ever. And it’s only getting worse. … For Californians who welcomed one of the wettest, drought-busting winters early in 2017, the fury of the fires is startling.
Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday told a summit of mayors driven to act after President Donald Trump rejected the Paris climate accord that cities and states are the “new face of American leadership” on climate change. … Mayors from 51 cities including Paris, Mexico City, San Francisco and Phoenix attended the summit.
As our climate changes, human creativity has been turning to solutions to problems ranging from restoring water supplies to rebuilding failing ecosystems. In interviews, six scientists discussed their efforts to slow or even reverse changes brought by warming.
California could be hit with significantly more dangerous and more frequent droughts in the near future as changes in weather patterns triggered by global warming block rainfall from reaching the state, according to new research led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Sea-level rise this century may threaten Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas; the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which launches all of NASA’s human spaceflight missions; and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, a new study finds.
Scientists have calculated future scenarios for the coming decades that include sea-level rise, more severe rainfall and an increase in the frequency of heatwaves. Some areas will get drier, others wetter. No matter what the future brings, one thing is clear: Impacts from a warming climate are already being felt across the American West, with changes to ecosystems and water supply.
I [Kirsten James, who oversees the California policy program at Ceres] recently returned from the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany … Amid the talk of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, I couldn’t help but notice how often water resources came into the equation – and rightfully so. In fact, at the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), there was a day devoted to Water Action and a buzz on Twitter around #bluelineBonn.
California could one day be uninhabitable. Fire. Heat. Floods. … Decamping for the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, California academics and political leaders were mulling how to better deploy the distressing projections to give unwary citizens a better understanding of what’s at stake and compel them to see the wisdom of embracing sustainability.
[Philip J.] Rasch and [Joseph] Majkut are two climate specialists who testified Wednesday before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which held a subcommittee hearing on the potential for “geoengineering” — a catchall for proposals to directly cool the atmosphere or pull carbon emissions from it.
Droughts. Soaking winters. Heat waves. Wildfires. The last several years have whipsawed West Coast winemakers such as David Graves, who produces that oh-so-delicate of varietals, pinot noir. It is also prompting vintners to ponder whether climate change — once seen as distant concern — is already visiting their vineyards.
California efforts to prepare for climate change already have begun. In the Sierra Nevada, scientists and forestry management experts burn and thin acres of forest to cut back on fuel for intensifying wildfires. Down south in San Diego County, they replenish beaches, repair sand dunes and plant thousands more shade trees.
A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.
A cascade of extreme weather events fed Northern California’s wildfires that exploded Sunday: Unusually high winds blew flames through unusually dense and dry vegetation, which sprung up following last winter’s heavy rains and then were toasted by months of record hot temperatures.
Around California, the country and the world, reservoirs are silently filling with sediment, and only a few people are thinking about it. … According to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey, in many regions erosion rates are now accelerating thanks to wildfires and climate change. The western U.S., which relies on reservoirs for vital water storage and flood control, will be particularly impacted.
The cities of San Francisco and Oakland are suing some of the world’s largest oil companies over climate change, joining an emerging legal effort to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for the damages wrought by rising seas.
Back-to-back hurricanes raked Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. A Labor Day heat wave broke temperature records in San Francisco and strained California’s electricity grid. Wildfires continue to rage in the Pacific Northwest.
With Hurricane Irma smashing into Florida so soon after Hurricane Harvey flooded southeastern Texas — and as wildfires burn through the western United States — extreme events have been hitting the U.S. from all sides. To what extent does climate change influence them?
Hurricanes Harvey and now Irma became monster storms while swirling over two separate stretches of unusually warm ocean water, a feature that has reignited debate on climate change and the degree it is adding to the intensity of hurricanes.
Soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a page on climate change vanished from the White House website, sending a chill through the scientific community. Within weeks, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, proposed a bill to protect whistleblowers and safeguard data collected by scientists …
Wildfires from the Oregon border to Los Angeles. Temperatures hitting 100 degrees in San Francisco, and higher in Sacramento, capping off the hottest summer in California history. … State climatologist Michael Anderson, who works for the Department of Water Resources, said Californians should start getting used to this kind of weather.
One of north Lake Tahoe’s cutest residents, the American pika, has disappeared. UC Santa Cruz researchers have discovered an extinction spanning from Tahoe City to Truckee, the largest pika die-off in the modern era.
The 21st annual Lake Tahoe Summit brought together federal, California and Nevada elected officials to discuss the importance of continued partnership in the basin-wide fight against tree mortality, invasive species, declining lake clarity — and the global issue of climate change.
Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt will deliver the keynote address — a responsibility performed in 2016 by former President Barack Obama. … Additional remarks will be delivered by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.); Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.); Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.); and Joanne Marchetta, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Earlier this month, someone involved in the government’s latest report on climate change provided The New York Times with a copy of the version submitted to the Trump administration for final approval. The main intent of the leak, according to several people tracking the report, was to complicate any attempt to suppress the study or water down its findings.
An annual analysis of the planet’s climate reaffirms what researchers knew was the case: that 2016 was the hottest year since at least 1880, when reliable global measurements were first kept. … The atmosphere is not only the place with incremental warming: the world’s freshwater lakes are also heating up.
SOUTHWEST (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona) -The average annual temperature has already gone up 1.56 degrees since 1901-1960 and is projected to rise another 4.8 degrees by mid-century and 8.65 degrees by the end of the century if carbon pollution continues unabated.
The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
Intense seasonal changes in 2016 — hallmarks of climate change — killed huge swaths of forest around the lake and nourished invasive species, according to the annual Tahoe State of the Lake Report released Thursday by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
Lake Tahoe’s famously clear waters continue to warm, and the surrounding forests face dire threats due to drought, disease and insects, according to the annual Tahoe State of the Lake report by researchers at UC Davis. The second deepest lake in the United States after Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe has warmed by half a degree Fahrenheit each year for the past four years — 14 times faster than the historic rate, the report said.
As California emerges as a force on climate change and a counterweight to President Donald Trump, residents of the green-minded state widely support environmental actions taken by leaders in Sacramento, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The atmospheric condition at any given time or place, measured by wind, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloudiness and precipitation. Weather changes from hour to hour, day to day, and season to season. Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, during a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years.
Variations in the statistical analysis of the climate on all time and space scales beyond that of individual weather events is known as natural variability. Natural variations in climate over time are caused by internal processes of the climate system, such as El Niño, and phenomena such as volcanic activity and variations in the output of the sun.
Seaside cities are starting to prepare for the worst, conducting vulnerability studies and considering a suite of options. Among other measures, they can try to armor their coastlines using seawalls, move critical infrastructure and even retreat farther inland. Elected officials could update zoning rules to discourage future building along the water.
Californians have been bracing themselves for a drier future accompanying a warming climate. But research by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, suggests that the state may actually get wetter in the event of severe climate change.
Marin County sued 37 oil, gas and coal companies Monday asserting the companies knew their fossil fuel products would cause sea level rise and coastal flooding but failed to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution. The lawsuit was part of a coordinated litigation attack by Marin, San Mateo County and the city of Imperial Beach.
On June 19, the National Weather Service branch in Sacramento, Calif., tweeted a photo of bacon and cookies baking on the dashboard of a car, ending the post with “#heatwave.” … The West, known for hot summers, is getting a glimpse of what the future might hold if climate change continues at the current pace.
When it comes to California and climate change, the predictions are staggering: coastal airports besieged by floodwaters, entire beaches disappearing as sea levels rise. Another disturbing scenario is brewing inland, in the sleepy backwaters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Lawmakers concerned about curbing pollution and a warming planet gave a cool reception to President Donald Trump’s environmental chief on Thursday as he defended the administration’s proposal to sharply reduce the budget of his own agency.
Energy ministers from around the world gathered in Beijing this week to report increased spending to help counter climate change. Yet one prominent voice, that of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, delivered a starkly countervailing message as the Trump administration seeks to roll back spending on clean energy and promote fossil fuels.
Even as President Donald Trump has announced his intention for the U.S. to withdraw from a global climate agreement, many of the nation’s river communities are responding to climate change by raising or replacing bridges that suddenly seem too low to stay safely above water.
Along with the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, California in 2015 helped organize the Under2 Coalition, made up of state and local governments worldwide … Many in the coalition are concerned about how the effects of climate change, including rising seas, could affect their coastal cities, agriculture and ecosystems.
As President Donald Trump dithers on the fate of the Paris climate deal, California and other western states are banding together to reduce carbon emissions and save hundreds of millions of dollars — and now a Canadian province will join them. … BC Hydro operates 31 hydroelectric power plants, which could help California and other western states bring more solar and wind power online.
UC Davis scientists from the Tahoe Environmental Research Center have been measuring the lake’s water clarity for nearly 50 years. The latest data shows a big drop in how far down the human eye can see into the lake.
Climate change is causing Lake Tahoe to warm sooner in the spring than it has historically, disrupting the normal mixing of shallow and deep water and undercutting gains made in reversing the loss of clarity of the cobalt mountain lake, scientists say.
A worst-case sea level rise increase of 10 feet to 12 feet by the year 2100 would utterly transform Stockton as we know it today. Climate Central, a New Jersey-based climate science nonprofit, recently published maps depicting what this unlikely, yet still “plausible,” scenario might look like.
Weird weather and climate warming are two separate things, but a Stanford team is linking them. Using math, powerful computers and historical records, research led by Noah Diffenbaugh found that climate change has boosted the odds of extreme heat, drought, punishing rainstorms and retreating sea ice.
When the health effects of climate change are discussed, the planet-scale impacts get the attention: rising temperatures, which can cause death from overheating; earlier springs, which pump more pollen toward the allergic; runoff from violent storms, which washes fecal bacteria out of sewer pipes; changing airflows that trap ozone near the ground, stressing the systems of people living with heart disease. The unpredictable weather patterns stimulated by climate change affect infectious diseases, as well as chronic ones.
A state-commissioned report on climate change released Wednesday raises the stakes for fighting global warming, offering a clearer and, in some cases, more catastrophic picture of how much sea levels will rise in California.
California’s climate has long been dominated by cycles of intense dry conditions followed by heavy rain and snow. But never before in recorded history has the state seen such an extreme drought-to-deluge swing.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared the end of California’s drought emergency on Friday, stressing that water conservation must be a permanent part of life as the state adapts to climate change and prepares for the next drought.
tartlingly green hills, surging rivers and the snow-wrapped Sierra Nevada had already signaled what Gov. Jerry Brown made official Friday: The long California drought is over. Brown issued an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all but a handful of San Joaquin Valley counties where some communities are still coping with dried-up wells.
California’s water regulators are looking to strengthen their focus on climate change, adopting policies aimed at helping the state prepare for more severe floods, more extreme droughts and shrinking snowpack.
To friends and critics, Mr. [Scott] Pruitt seems intent on building an E.P.A. leadership that is fundamentally at odds with the career officials, scientists and employees who carry out the agency’s missions. That might be a recipe for strife and gridlock at the federal agency tasked to keep safe the nation’s clean air and water while safeguarding the planet’s future.
The drought has been declared over in most of California, with heavy winter rains sending water over the Oroville dam and forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. But climate change is still in the air, and the recent weather pattern is a harbinger of what’s to come.
Above-average snowpack in the Rocky Mountains this year may bring some relief to the Colorado River Basin, which has been in a drought since 2000. But the long-term picture for the region is less rosy after a newly published study found just how much higher temperatures are impacting river flow.
Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.
Top scientists announced in January that last year was the hottest year on record — an announcement they’ve made three years in a row, with 2014, 2015 and now 2016 each being declared warmer than the previous year.
The Trump administration moved Tuesday to distance itself from a leading climate-change skeptic who was part of the team leading the transition for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – an appointment that had alarmed NOAA employees.
President Donald Trump is taking aim at one of the federal government’s main agencies for climate change research – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – and NOAA employees are girding for drastic changes in how they conduct science and report it to the public.
California agriculture is going to have to learn to live with the impacts of climate change and work toward reducing its contributions of greenhouse gas emissions, a Yolo County walnut grower said at the Jan. 26 California Climate Change Symposium in Sacramento.
“I don’t believe we are going to be able to adapt our way out of climate change,” said Russ Lester, co-owner of Dixon Ridge Farms in Winters. “We need to mitigate for it. It won’t solve the problem but it can slow it down.”
Ocean rise already is worsening the floods and high tides sweeping California this stormy winter, climate experts say, and this month’s damage and deaths highlight that even a state known as a global leader in fighting climate change has yet to tackle some of the hardest work of dealing with it.
Americans have had one primary reason for building dams over the past century: capturing water for growth, whether on farms or in cities. Now a new dam proposed on California’s Bear River offers another reason: adapting to climate change.
A new independent study shows no pause in global warming, confirming a set of temperature readings adjusted by U.S. government scientists that some who reject mainstream climate science have questioned.
Powerful storms often hailed for bringing drought-busting rains to California also served to virtually wipe out a healthy growth of native Olympia oysters at China Camp near San Rafael, raising concerns about climate change, according to a new study.
The world’s leading global-warming scientists, many of them living and working on the front lines in Florida, are hoping against hope that President-elect Donald Trump and his top advisers will not take the country backward in the fight against rising sea levels, increasing temperatures and looming environmental dangers.
Donald Trump picked Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling the president-elect will deliver on his vow to disassemble President Obama’s landmark effort to fight climate change.
How low can the Colorado go? When will we get back to “normal” winters? Can we blame it all on climate change? To address some of these questions, the Colorado River Research Group recently released a concise four-page paper explaining how climate change is affecting the river.
In a ruling that has ramifications for land-use and water policy across the United States and California, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that scientists can draw on long-range climate projections to determine whether a species should be listed as threatened.
Climate change from human activity nearly doubled the area that burned in forest fires in the American West over the past 30 years, a major new scientific study has found, and larger, more intense fires are all but guaranteed in the years ahead.
Wildfires in California and across the West have become twice as destructive over the past three decades due to climate change, taking a toll that will only continue to escalate, according to research published Monday.
The Lake Tahoe Basin saw continued environmental improvement over the last four years, but faces major challenges from climate change, according to a draft 2015 Threshold Evaluation Report released by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA).
When naturalist John Muir explored Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park about 150 years ago, the river of ice stretched as far as 10 football fields between the peaks of the Lyell Canyon, a glacier one might expect to see in Alaska, not California.
Released today, the study in Scientific Reports — part of the Nature Publishing Group — found that carbon dioxide and methane emitted from the burning of fossil fuels may be mimicing the effects of some catastrophic environmental phenomena the planet has previously experienced.
As Southern California firefighters battled the Blue Cut Fire last month, there was nothing they could do to fend off an unfortunate reality: Global warming is already lengthening wildfire season and increasing the likelihood of extreme fires across the West.
So far this 4,636 wildfires in California have burned more than 200,000 acres. That’s more fires than this time last year and more fires than the five-year average. … California has an added challenge of dealing with a five-year drought.
President Barack Obama, fixed against a pristine backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, issued a forceful defense Wednesday of his administration’s policies to address climate change, warning that rising temperatures could lay waste to decades of conservation efforts at Lake Tahoe and throughout the United States.
Standing beneath the forest-green peaks of the Sierra Nevada, President Barack Obama drew a connection Wednesday between conservation efforts and stopping global warming, describing the two environmental challenges as inseparably linked.
The White House on Wednesday announced a series of new funding and environmental programs to address the deteriorating health of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding forests caused in part by the increasing temperatures brought about by climate change.
At a conservation summit on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe, President Obama on Wednesday pointed to the environmental degradation of the lake’s once-crystal-clear waters as proof of the damage caused by climate change and warned of the threat posed by Republican leaders who continue to deny its existence.
Tropical Storm Colin ripped across the Gulf of Mexico in June and hit the coast of southwest Florida with 60-mile-an-hour winds. Before it arrived, a team from the U.S. Geological Survey used a new computer model to predict how far inland the waves would invade.
California’s iconic natural features, from salmon runs to Joshua trees, could dwindle or disappear, as climate change rearranges the state’s weather patterns and landscape, leaving much of the state hotter and drier, scientists warn.
Snow-capped Mount Shasta and the slumbering volcanoes of the Cascade range hold reservoirs of life-giving cold water that nourish threatened fish and could save the species when the changing climate warms downstream rivers, UC scientists say.
A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows, despite a partisan divide, 62 percent of likely voters favor the law [AB 32]. … The poll also found that water supply and drought remain the top environmental concern for Californians.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office recently held the first in what’s expected to be a series of private meetings with scientists, conservationists and fire professionals to discuss how to prevent massive blazes in the face of climate change and prolonged drought.
The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.
California’s Rim Fire in 2013 was the third largest in the state’s history, and the 2012 Rush Fire, the second largest. And last year’s Butte and Valley fires were some of the most destructive in state history. These grim statistics are part of an alarming trend in western states: The number of large fires is growing, and so is the area burned and the length of the annual fire season.
A speeding wildfire in California that turned hundreds of homes near Lake Isabella to piles of twisted rubble has forced a conversation about how to minimize destruction in the most populous state experiencing the effects of climate change.
California has been diligently trying to reduce use of fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 350, which requires 50 percent of the electricity from utilities to come from renewable sources by 2030. But it’s not just energy utilities that can add more renewables to their portfolios – water suppliers can, as well, although they aren’t mandated to do so.
To understand what the future holds, sometimes we have to look at the past, Bruce Daniels has learned. Daniels is trying to help Californians understand future water availability by examining 85 years of daily precipitation records. His analysis has shown that water managers (and the rest of us) have some reason to be concerned.
Experts say the results of a two-year, $10 million experiment called CarbFix , conducted about one-third of a mile (540 meters) deep in the rocks of Iceland, offer new hope for an effective weapon to help fight man-made global warming.
By examining swirling patterns left in ice topping the Red Planet’s north pole, scientists using radar data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have put together an unprecedented look into our rusty neighbor’s most recent ice age.
Fifty years ago, Bay Area residents rallied around the call to save San Francisco Bay. Public action on an unprecedented scale reversed development tides that for more than a century had covered shallow waters with land for industrial parks and housing tracts, roadways and garbage dumps.
In another sign of the warming climate, key species of trees in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range — including lodge pole pine, red fir and western white pine — are shifting to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures, a broad new study by state biologists has found.
We often associate climate change with too much water — the melting ice caps triggering a rise in sea levels. But a new World Bank report says that it’s too little water — the potable sort — that we also need to think about.
A mix of rising global temperatures, mysteriously warmed waters off Baja California and unusually far-reaching storms in the western Pacific Ocean conspired to block this year’s El Niño storms from hitting Southern California, the National Weather Service said this week.
With California entering its fifth year of a statewide drought, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Monday to impose permanent water conservation measures and called on water suppliers to prepare for a future made drier by climate change.
Global warming has mostly made the weather more pleasant for Americans over the last 40 years, which may explain why much of the public doesn’t rank climate change as big a threat as do scientists and the rest of the world, a new study suggests.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday called for “a major course correction” in the way the nation conserves its public lands, waters and wildlife, saying climate change and other trends threaten natural areas “in existential ways.”
This year is off to a record-breaking start for global temperatures. … With the release on Tuesday of its global climate report, NOAA is the third independent agency — along with NASA and the Japan Meteorological Association — to reach similar findings, each using slightly different methods.
If you’ve heard the presidential candidates talk about climate change, you’d probably guess it’s one of America’s most divisive issues. … But polls show that a vast majority of Americans believe climate change is happening — and young people especially want the United States to do something about it.
Among firs and cedars high in the Sierra Nevada, scientists are using an array of instruments to monitor the health of the forest, measure the snowpack and track the water that melts and seeps into the soil. … Already, as the winters have grown warmer, the snow has been melting earlier after storms pass.
The first Alaska wildfire of 2016 broke out in late February, followed by a second there just eight days later. … And on the border of Arizona and California this month, helicopters dumped water on flames so intense that they jumped the Colorado River, forcing the evacuation of two recreational vehicle parks.
Don Cameron expects farmers will see some of the biggest effects as the climate changes, and he says growers need to take proactive steps to prepare. … He is one of several featured speakers at the upcoming One Nation: Climate Change forum at the Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage.
The White House held its first national water summit on Tuesday, seeking to put a greater focus on water challenges ranging from climate change to the old, leaky pipes that waste billions of gallons across the country every day.
President Barack Obama on Monday directed the federal government to come up with a less reactionary and more long-term strategy for dealing with drought. … The White House is hosting a “water summit” on Tuesday, which is World Water Day, to raise awareness of the importance of safe, sufficient and reliable water resources.
California had its warmest winter on record in 2014-2015, with the average Sierra Nevada temperature hovering above 32 degrees Fahrenheit – the highest in 120 years. Thus, where California relies on snow to fall in the mountains and create a snowpack that can slowly melt into reservoirs, it was instead raining. That left the state’s snowpack at its lowest ever – 5 percent on April 1, 2015.
Because he relays stats like these, climate scientist Brad Udall says he doesn’t often get invited back to speak before the same audience about climate change.
As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground. … As many as 1 million California residents could be affected.