Driving South on California Highway 86 along the Salton Sea’s barren, white shores, travelers are tempted to imagine themselves on another planet. The surreal vista of the Santa Rosa mountains, looming over the deep blue lake, its beaches gleaming like snow and surrounded by desert, all of it invites unearthly comparisons.
The first six months of 2014 were the hottest January-through-June on record in California, the National Weather Service said Monday — nearly five degrees warmer than the 20th century average and more than a degree hotter than the record set in 1934.
Just how fast the state’s climate is changing became apparent Monday when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released figures showing the first six months of this year were the hottest the state has ever recorded — breaking the mark by a single degree after 80 years.
The U.S. Geological Survey joins its many partners in other federal agencies, at universities, and in state and local governments in recognizing the importance of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) of 1964.
Signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 17, 1964, the WRRA established a Water Resources Research Institute in each state and Puerto Rico.
Rainy seasons over the last two years were the driest in downtown Los Angeles since record-keeping began in 1877, and forecasters now say the El Niño that had been predicted to bring some relief may not materialize.
With reservoirs headed for historic lows, the [California Archaeological Site Steward] program has taken on added importance. … As water levels gradually drop across the state, cutting grooves into the slopes like bathtub rings, archaeological sites are becoming more accessible — offering a chance for new knowledge as well as temptation for looters.
[Jim] Walker and construction crews building a new 220-foot-high dam at Calaveras Reservoir in the remote canyons east of Milpitas have been digging up a prehistoric treasure trove: the teeth of an extinct hippopotamus-like creature called a Desmostylus, clams, barnacles and the giant teeth from a 40-foot-long shark — and what could turn out to be an entire whale skeleton.
Yosemite National Park, in California’s Sierra Nevada, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the law that preserved it — and planted the seeds for the National Park system. At the same time, the park faces the challenge of protecting the natural wonders from their own popularity.
This is the same river route Lewis and Clark took 200 years ago, a 1,000-mile journey along the Columbia and Snake rivers and right up the musket of the American West. … For eight days we make shore visits to waterfalls, wineries, dams, fish ladders, museums and forts along the way.
From the California WaterBlog by UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, in a post by Jay Lund:
In the past 1,200 years, California had two droughts lasting 120-200 years. Could the state’s water resources continue to supply enough water to drink, grow crops and provide habitat for fish with such an extreme, prolonged drought? … The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences explored this question a few years ago using computer models.