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.
More than two years after the 2015-16 Dungeness and rock crab seasons in California was marred by toxic algae blooms, the federal government this week has allocated $25.8M in disaster funds to relieve fishermen and businesses affected by the closure. The Yurok Tribe was also allocated nearly $4M in disaster relief for its 2016 commercial salmon season, which was closed due to low numbers of returning spawners.
Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million.
An executive order signed by President Trump late Tuesday eliminates an uncelebrated but far-reaching review process put in place eight years ago among state, tribal and federal agencies to better coordinate ocean policy in the wake of the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
As the level of carbon dioxide in the air continues to rise because of climate change, scientists are trying to pin down how the plants we eat are being impacted. Mounting evidence suggests that many key plants lose nutritional value at higher CO2 levels, and scientists are running experiments all over the world to try to tease out the effects.
David Inouye is an accidental climate scientist. More than 40 years ago, the University of Maryland biologist started studying when wildflowers, birds, bees and butterflies first appeared each spring on this mountain.
That oceanfront property in Stinson Beach you’ve dreamed about may not be so perfect after all. A report published Monday finds that nearly 4,400 homes in Marin County might not make it beyond a 30-year mortgage because of encroaching seawater.
Nowhere is the domino effect in Western water policy played out more than on the Colorado River, and specifically when it involves the Lower Basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona. We are seeing that play out now as the three states strive to forge a Drought Contingency Plan. Yet that plan can’t be finalized until Arizona finds a unifying voice between its major water players, an effort you can read more about in the latest in-depth article of Western Water.
Even then, there are some issues to resolve just within California.
New York City’s attempt to hold five of the world’s biggest oil companies responsible for damage from global warming didn’t seem to impress a judge during oral arguments Wednesday to determine if a lawsuit can proceed. … The January lawsuit came after similar litigation was filed by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz in California.
The U.S. record $18 billion wildfire season of 2017 was triggered by the coincidence of three primary factors that came into play or persisted longer than anticipated, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado. Those “switches,” according to study leader Jennifer Balch, were ignition, aridity and fuel.
This small rectangle of wetland near the San Francisco Bay in San Lorenzo doesn’t look particularly visionary. Above ground, it’s an appealing – if unusually orderly – array of meadows, cattails and willows. But there’s far more here than meets the eye. This modest strip of land, just 38 by 150 feet, in the Oro Loma Sanitary District promises to help solve two of the Bay Area’s most pressing concerns: sea-level rise and nutrient pollution.
Record heat returned to the United States with a vengeance in May. May warmed to a record average 65.4 degrees in the Lower 48 states, breaking the high of 64.7 set in 1934, according to federal weather figures released Wednesday. May was 5.2 degrees above the 20th century’s average for the month.
Four statewide ballot propositions were passing in California on Tuesday, while an effort to control spending of funds collected through the state’s climate change program appeared headed toward a defeat.
Deputies with a Lake Tahoe patrol crew helped recover a malfunctioning robot deployed by UC Davis researchers to study climate change, Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday on Facebook. And it’s a good thing they picked it up before someone else did, because the yellow-and-blue device bears a fairly strong resemblance to a torpedo.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, in a rebuke to the Trump administration’s retreat on environmental protection, voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of a full board review of the agency’s most important actions to dismantle climate policy.
In an interview, Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged the hope felt by many climate activists because of efforts from states like his and by private companies. But he also said the world is only just beginning to feel the environmental harm inflicted by the Trump administration.
You can shove water back from the land, or let the land flood, but either way, San Francisco Bay is getting higher. Along more than 400 miles of bayfront, in at least forty communities that touch water, the once-sneaky problem of sea level rise is revealing itself as it accelerates.
Backing away from attempts at censorship, the National Park Service today released a report charting the risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms. Drafts of the report obtained earlier this year by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed park service officials had deleted every mention of humans causing climate change. But the long-delayed report, published today without fanfare on the agency’s website, restored those references.
Eight years ago, Marin County created a new kind of public power agency in California — over the strenuous objections of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. … Community choice allows local governments to band together in something like a buyer’s club for electricity, purchasing in bulk from operators of power plants, wind farms, hydroelectric dams and solar facilities. Each community choice program’s governing board sets its own electricity rates.
Five of the world’s largest oil producers urged a federal judge Thursday to dismiss lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland that seek to hold the companies liable for climate change, arguing that the issue is one for Congress, not the courts.
Fighting global warming is starting to sound like a lucrative investment. A new study out of Stanford University finds that keeping global warming a half-degree beneath the Paris climate agreement’s 2 degree Celsius target could potentially save more than $20 trillion globally.
We traveled 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 made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.
For years now, thousands of studies have linked rising sea levels to climate change. But one Republican congressman had an alternate explanation he floated this week during a meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology with leading climate scientist Philip Duffy.
Marine life across North America will experience a substantial shift northward over the next few decades, according to a new comprehensive report that looks at how climate change will alter the habitats of 686 marine species.
Using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, NASA scientists have tracked changes in water supplies worldwide and they’ve found that in many places humans are dramatically altering the global water map. … Their findings in a new study reveal that of the 34 “hotspots” of water change in places from California to China, the trends in about two-thirds of those areas may be linked to climate change or human activities, such as excessive groundwater pumping in farming regions.
A new study from NASA reinforces the idea that droughts are getting worse and could become more frequent in the Western U.S. The culprit is human-caused climate change. Droughts aren’t just about precipitation, said NASA scientist and the study’s co-author Benjamin Cook.
This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen. Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California.
Imagine the snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a giant reservoir providing water for 23 million people throughout California. During droughts, this snow reserve shrinks, affecting water availability in the state.
Warmer days — and nights. Rising sea levels. Less water available in summer. A report released Wednesday by state officials says climate change is affecting California’s ecosystem already in ways great and small.
Some 950 wildfires have burned more than 5,800 acres of California so far this year, and residents need to recognize that fire, as a result of a host of factors including climate change, is now a year-round threat, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said.
Bigger, more intense forest fires, longer droughts, warmer ocean temperatures and an ever shrinking snowpack in the Sierra Nevada are “unequivocal” evidence of the ruinous domino-effects that climate change is having on California, a new California Environmental Protection Agency report states.
Arizona’s largest water provider tried Tuesday to defuse a multi-state dispute over the Colorado River, saying it regretted the belligerent-sounding words it used to describe its management strategy for the critical, over-used waterway. … It also pledged to cooperate on drawing up a multi-state plan for possible shortages in the river, which appear more and more likely because of the drought and climate change.
Since the 1940s, the Hawaiian island of Kauai has endured two tsunamis and two hurricanes, but locals say they have never experienced anything like the thunderstorm that drenched the island this month. “The rain gauge in Hanalei broke at 28 inches within 24 hours,” said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura of the North Shore community.
State regulators are urging local elected officials to brace for retreat as scientists continue to predict sea levels will rise in coming decades and pummel beachfront communities from San Diego to Arcata.
A world-class snowboarder, former Navy SEAL Josh Jespersen served for four years in Afghanistan and Iraq. … Now he’s undertaking a different kind of expedition — urging mountain-state politicians to take seriously the threat of climate change, and working to vote them out of office if they don’t.
California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is vital to water supplies for 25 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. It is linked to the Pacific Ocean via San Francisco Bay, which makes this water supply uniquely vulnerable to sea level rise. Yet understanding sea level rise in the Delta is complicated.
A primary goal of Drawdown is to help people who feel overwhelmed by gloom-and-doom messages see that reversing global warming is bursting with possibility: walkable cities, afforestation, bamboo, high-rises built of wood, marine permaculture, multistrata agroforestry, clean cookstoves, plant-rich diet, assisting women smallholders, regenerative agriculture, supporting girls’ ongoing education, smart glass, in-stream hydro, on and on.
A wave of legal challenges that is washing over the oil and gas industry, demanding accountability for climate change, started as a ripple after revelations that ExxonMobil had long recognized the threat fossil fuels pose to the world.
The extreme weather swings experienced by Californians the past six years — a historic drought followed by drenching winter storms that caused $100 million in damage to San Jose and wrecked the spillway at Oroville Dam — will become the norm over coming generations, a new study has found.
President Trump has aimed to undo much of the Obama administration’s policy on energy and climate. … One could argue that any of the leading candidates in the 2016 Republican primary would have taken similar actions in the climate and energy space. What is needed now, we argue, is momentum toward bipartisan climate legislation in Congress that could outlast the back-and-forth on regulations.
Californians should expect more dramatic swings between dry and wet years as the climate warms, according to a new study that found it likely that the state will be hit by devastating, widespread flooding in coming decades.
From oil spills to rat-infested nesting sites to fishing nets, seabirds have long faced a wide range of threats to their survival. One study of monitored populations found a 70 percent drop in their numbers since 1950. More recently, climate change has added another challenge for seabirds: As global warming accelerates, they’re increasingly out of sync with their prey.
In 2007, at Jeff Creque’s behest, John Wick got in touch with Whendee Silver, an ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Letting cows graze on his property had certainly made the land look healthier, he told Silver. But he and Creque wanted to know: Had it put carbon in the ground? And if so, was it possible to measure how much?
We explored 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 was the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Furry, button-nosed and dependent on sea ice for their survival, polar bears have long been poster animals for climate change. But at a time when established climate science is being questioned at the highest levels of government, climate denialists are turning the charismatic bears to their own uses, capitalizing on their symbolic heft to spread doubts about the threat of global warming.
Californians may collectively be breathing a sigh of relief, but not elation, this week, after the state’s latest snowpack reading. A wet and cold March saved California from a near record-low snowpack, but it proved too little too late to bring a full recovery. And worse, climate scientists say we should start getting used to these low snowpack years.
Every year, as the seasons change, a complex ballet unfolds around the world. Trees in the Northern Hemisphere leaf out in the spring as frost recedes. Caterpillars hatch to gorge on leaves. Bees and butterflies emerge to pollinate flowers.
Learn what new tree-ring studies in Southern California watersheds reveal about drought, hear about efforts to improve subseasonal to seasonal weather forecasting and get the latest on climate change impacts that will alter drought vulnerability in the future.
At our Paleo Drought Workshop on April 19th in San Pedro, you will hear from experts at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Arizona and California Department of Water Resources.
Depending on where in the West you are, this winter was either a winner or a big bust: Montana, for example, is swathed in snow while parts of the Southwest are dismally bare. As of late March, the Upper Colorado River Basin snowpack was well below average.
For the next two months, swaths of Ocean Beach in San Francisco will bear a certain resemblance to a life-size playground sandbox. Each weekday through the end of May, bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks will dig up and ferry 75,000 tons of sand south from the beach’s northern shores in an effort to temporarily replenish precious coastline lost to the forces of nature and accelerated by the effect of climate change.
Dramatic swings in weather patterns over the past few years in California are stark reminders of climate variability and regional vulnerability. Alternating years of drought and intense rain events make long-term planning for storing and distributing water a challenging task.
Current weather forecasting capabilities provide details for short time horizons. Attend the Paleo Drought Workshop in San Pedro on April 19 to learn more about research efforts to improve sub-seasonal to seasonal precipitation forecasting, known as S2S, and how those models could provide more useful weather scenarios for resource managers.
Next week, a Silicon Valley engineer plans to head out on a snowmobile from Barrow, on the northern tip of Alaska, to sprinkle reflective sand on a patch of Arctic sea ice to try to stop it from melting. It’s part of a journey that began in 2006, after Leslie Field watched the climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and felt like she’d been “hit by a big fat truck.”
In an unprecedented “tutorial” before a federal judge Wednesday, a lawyer for a major U.S. oil company accepted the scientific consensus that humans are the primary cause of global climate change. But he also emphasized uncertainties about future impacts, while deflecting industry responsibility. … Wednesday’s hearing was videotaped, and may be viewable by Thursday at the court’s website, http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/home.
After Donald Trump won the presidential election, hundreds of volunteers around the U.S. came together to “rescue” federal data on climate change, thought to be at risk under the new administration. “Guerilla archivists,” including ourselves, gathered to archive federal websites and preserve scientific data.
A federal judge presiding over lawsuits that accuse big oil companies of lying about global warming to protect their profits is turning his courtroom into a classroom in what could be the first hearing to study the science of climate change.
A federal judge in San Francisco Wednesday will preside over the nation’s first-ever court hearing on the science of climate change, but don’t expect it to be a “Scopes Trial” for global warming research. The hearing stems from a state lawsuit that San Francisco and Oakland filed against the world’s biggest oil companies for their greenhouse gas emissions.
Ben Santer has clung to sheer granite walls. He’s hoisted himself onto narrow ledges. He’s inched his way to survival out of a deep, dark and deadly crevasse. Decades of stressful high-stakes mountaineering have prepared the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist for his latest perilous challenge: refuting the Trump Administration’s denial of climate change.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government’s first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years.
Look out, cowboy. Climate change campaigners are coming for your burger business. So are mushroom growers, Silicon Valley investors and the billionaire Bill Gates. … But the cattle industry is not going down without a fight.
Those severe winter storms that have been plaguing the East Coast might be linked to a rapidly warming Arctic, according to a new study on Arctic temperatures and extreme weather in a dozen U.S. cities. While the findings published in the journal Nature Communications build on earlier studies that have looked into this connection, they drew criticism from other researchers who questioned some aspects of the work.
The U.S. National Academies on Monday released a public peer review of a draft document called the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a legally required report that is being produced by the federal Global Change Research Program.
A study published Wednesday finds that flooding along San Francisco Bay could become far worse — sometimes twice as bad as current models suggest — because much of the bayfront is slipping downward at the same time that global warming is driving ocean levels upward.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday unanimously rejected the government’s request for an order that would have directed a judge to dismiss a climate lawsuit filed by 21 youths ages 10 to 21, along with well-known climate scientist James Hanson.
Seeking to stave off the extinction of a storied species, state and federal wildlife officials are releasing 200,000 hatchery-raised salmon into a restored High Sierra creek where once-magnificent winter runs were wiped out over the past century.
Major parts of San Francisco Bay’s shoreline are slowly sinking, a new scientific study has found, dramatically increasing the risk of billions of dollars of flooding in the coming decades as sea level rise continues due to climate change.
Heat waves, droughts and floods are climate trends that will force California farmers to change some practices — including what they grow — to continue producing yields that historically have fed people nationwide, a new study by the University of California says.
The head of U.S. EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board today said he wasn’t sure if man-made emissions of greenhouse gases were causing climate change. “I really don’t know,” SAB Chairman Michael Honeycutt told E&E News. “I haven’t studied that,” he said along the sidelines of the American Chemistry Council’s GlobalChem conference.
If you live in a city or county that sues oil companies over climate change, prepare for a blowback. ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel giants are taking legal action against such local governments, seeking to undermine a key part of their finances — their relationship with lenders.
Over the past decade, California farmers have been seeing symptoms of climate change in their fields and orchards: less winter chill, crops blooming earlier, more heat waves and years of drought when the state baked in record temperatures. Scientists say California agriculture will face much bigger and more severe impacts due to climate change in the coming decades.
he earrings are only a couple of inches long, but the masterfully carved salmon look like they’ve leaped from the water to whisper in the wearer’s ear. Their glowing red hues and iridescent opalescence caress the eye. These colors occur naturally in the medium in which Leah Mata, a Northern Chumash artist, works: the shells of the red abalone, or Haliotis rufescens.
They are enduring symbols of the vast Mojave Desert, but Joshua trees don’t grow everywhere. Even here in the Grapevine Mesa Joshua Tree Forest, a National Natural Landmark since 1967, you can see where the trees thin out and stop as the land rises sharply to the east.
It’s been a painfully slow start to the ski season in the Western U.S. Some places have seen record warm temperatures and record low snowfall, prompting resorts to open late. … And all this means an economic hit.
In Charleston, S.C., where the ports have been expanding to accommodate larger ships sailing through the newly widened Panama Canal, a real-estate developer named Xebec Realty recently went looking for land to build new warehouses and logistics centers. But first, Xebec had a question: What were the odds that the sites it was considering might be underwater in 10 or 20 years?
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
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.