Bird populations have collapsed in the desert along the Nevada-California border, and climate change could be to blame, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. Over the past century, the number of bird species has fallen by an average of 43 percent at survey sites across an area larger than New York state.
Bird populations in the Mojave are plummeting for lack of water, in an imbalance driven by climate change. A new study from UC Berkeley finds shrinking rainfall has led to the loss of more then 40 percent of bird species, in a habitat that relies heavily on birds for basic functions such as pollinating plants and acting as both predator and prey.
Historically, water managers throughout the thirsty state of California have relied on hydrology and water engineering — both technical necessities — as well as existing drought and flood patterns to plan for future water needs. Now, climate change is projected to shift water supplies as winters become warmer, spring snowmelt arrives earlier, and extreme weather-related events increase.
Readers who responded to a Your Voice question this week about their top environmental concerns last week wanted to know whether the state will run out of water and how to combat global warming. They also wanted to know what the state can do to prevent so many wildfires.
As the conflagration of California continues, the 17 blazes that have cumulatively burned an area the size of Delaware have also gotten people thinking about the connection between climate change and wildfires like never before.
In the long, hot, smoky California summer of 2018, as we camp under ash-hued sunset skies, the scariest thought is that the future has arrived, and more intense weather extremes will continue to wreak havoc in years to come. Not just in summer, but with drought-deluge cycles and higher temperatures even in cooler months.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, touring neighborhoods devastated by the Carr Fire, stepped up the Trump administration’s push Sunday to remove more trees from national forests as a means of tamping down fire risks. “We need to manage our forests, we need to reduce the fuels,” Zinke said as he overlooked Whiskeytown Lake in the vicinity where the Carr Fire began July 23.
This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the futurethat scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change, and it’s revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet. … For Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, it vindicates the scientific community’s mathematical models.
As the fires raged to the north, threatening the lakeside communities, some residents stayed and armed themselves with garden hoses to protect their homes, which frustrates firefighters and police officers. … The problem, she [Leah Robbins, a captain at the fire station in Lucerne] said, is that “if they are watering down their houses, then water levels for fire hydrants get low.”
What’s really alarming about President Trump’s preposterous tweets about the California wildfires is not what he gets wrong, which is plenty, but what they say about his stubborn refusal to grasp the basics of climate change and, perhaps worse, his administration’s contempt for the science that is drawing an ever-tighter link between a warming globe and extreme weather events around the world.
With flat lift ticket sales across the ski industry, climate change and the historic knowledge that not every winter is epic, resorts are looking to summer activities as an additional revenue stream and a solution to employee retention issues.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Redding on Monday for a series of meetings and briefings with fire crews and local leaders, including a walk through of parts of the city that have been damaged by the fire. Redding Mayor Kristin Schreder, local business leaders and other officials have been invited to join the meetings.
With smoke pooling in the Tahoe Basin, members of Congress from Nevada, California, and Alaska took the stage at Sand Harbor on Tuesday for the 22nd annual Lake Tahoe Summit. While the representatives touched on a number of issues regarding Tahoe and the importance of public-private sponsorships in the fight to preserve and restore the lake, there would be no ignoring the affects of the largest fire in California state history as the members of Congress stood in front of a lake clouded by haze.
Scientist Daniel Swain will address climate whiplash and the challenging road ahead for Western water managers during a morning keynote address Sept. 20 at the Foundation’s 35th annual Water Summit in Sacramento. Swain, who is widely quoted about his research and observations on drought, fires, rising temperatures and climate change, will provide the backdrop for this year’s summit theme, Facing Reality from the Headwaters to the Delta. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman will be the summit’s keynote luncheon speaker.
Government’s first duty is to provide public safety. There should be no higher priority for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature than combating wildfires — not homelessness, not healthcare, not water tunnels, not a bullet train.
Just four months ahead of a consequential midterm election, California and the federal government continue to move in very different directions on environmental policy. … Meanwhile, personal experiences with a prolonged drought and recent severe wildfires are raising Californians’ awareness about the impacts of climate change.
Experts studying the blazes that have ravaged California in recent years have reached a troubling realization: There are several reasons fire seasons are getting worse, and we’re almost completely to blame for all of them.
More than 80,000 people in the mountain community of Lynchburg, Virginia, were at risk, and 120 families evacuated, when rising waters from nearby College Lake reecently threatened to overflow its outdated dam. Although calamity was averted when the water receded, the incident was a frightening reminder of the growing risk facing millions of Americans.
Inside the state’s emergency command center here [Mather], the numbers on a large screen show the scope and reach of California’s record-setting wildfire season glowing in red, blue and yellow: nearly 600,000 acres burned. … And even as the fires burn, analysts are already thinking of the mudslides that could come later, as rain in the winter months soaks the scorched earth.
One truism about the future is that climate change will spare no place. Still, I [Cally Carswell] suspect the threat of warming feels more existential in New Mexico than it does in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. … The forecasts for our water supplies are equally grim. The Colorado River’s flows are down about 20 percent since the start of the drought, and scientists believe the remarkable heat is responsible for up to half of the decline.