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Western Drought Enlarges 'Bathtub' Ring Around Lake Powell

Lake Powell

California drought: State OKs sweeping restrictions on water use

California officials approved a package of far-reaching water restrictions Tuesday, limiting homes and businesses in much of the Bay Area and elsewhere to just two days of outdoor watering per week while cracking down on the way restaurants and hotels use water.

The rules mark unprecedented …

Natural Resources

Drought-stricken California only has one year of water left, Nasa scientist warns

As California experiences the fourth year of one of the most severe droughts in its history, a senior Nasa scientist has warned that the state has about one year of water left.

In an LA Times editorial published last week, Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory senior water cycle scientist Jay Famiglietti …


Why fresh water shortages will cause the next great global crisis

Water is the driving force of all nature, Leonardo da Vinci claimed. Unfortunately for our planet, supplies are now running dry – at an alarming rate. The world’s population continues to soar but that rise in numbers has not been matched by an accompanying increase in supplies of fresh water.

The …


Global flood toll to triple by 2030

The number of people affected by river flooding worldwide could nearly triple in the next 15 years, analysis shows.

Climate change and population growth are driving the increase, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).

In the UK, about 76,000 people a year could be at risk of being affected …

United Kingdom

Worst drought on record dries up São Paulo's main water reserves – in pictures


This is how rain and snow travel across the globe

Today NASA released a visualization of storm swirls that took place in 2014, and the results are pretty spectacular. The data were gathered thanks to NASA's "Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory" (GMP), a satellite network that provides near real-time precipitation data covering the …


US sea level north of New York City 'jumped by 128mm'

Sea levels along the northeast coast of the US rose by record levels during 2009-2010, a study has found.

Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years, according to a report in the journal, Nature Communications.

Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level …

Sea Levels

In California, Demand for Groundwater Causing Huge Swaths of Land to Sink

As growers pump subterranean water, farmlands fall to new lows.

Extensive groundwater pumping is causing a huge swath of central California to sink, in some spots at an alarming rate, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

With California in the throes of a major drought and demand for groundwater

New Technology Measures Snowpack Amid California Drought

NASA scientists train remote sensing on Yosemite to gauge water.

Tom Painter strapped $85,000 worth of scientific equipment to his back and scrambled up the steep, smooth face of Pothole Dome in California's Yosemite National Park. Ravens squawked overhead, and the muffled voices of tourists …

Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Predicted for American West

Global warming to cause historic "megadrought" by century's end.

Large parts of the U.S. are in for a drought of epic proportions in the second half of this century, scientists warn in a new study that provides the highest degree of certainty yet on the impact of global warming on water supplies in …

US 'at risk of mega-drought future'

The American Southwest and Central Plains could be on course for super-droughts the like of which they have not witnessed in over a 1,000 years.

Places like California are already facing very dry conditions, but these are quite gentle compared with some periods in the 12th and 13th …

Canyon carved by three short, savage floods

Geologists have discovered that a huge canyon in Iceland was created by just a few days of catastrophic flooding, separated by thousands of years.

The Jokulsargljufur canyon, 28km long and up to 100m deep, is home to Europe's most powerful waterfall.

By analysing the chemistry of rocks in the …

Death of Yoda the 650-Year-Old Tree Tells Tale of Southwest Drought

A Douglas fir affectionately named Yoda survived many a drought in its six-plus centuries of existence in a rugged lava flow in the El Malpais National Monument area near Grants, New Mexico, but it couldn’t weather the current extreme drought in the parched Southwest.

The recent death of the …


For the first time in recorded history San Francisco got literally no rain in January — the peak of the wet season

California's long-running drought just keeps on going.

Despite hopes that a rainy December would ease conditions in the parched state, drought conditions came surging back in the new year — with a vengeance. Northern California is currently in the midst of its driest January on record.

San Francisco …

San Francisco

Portland's New Pipes Harvest Power From Drinking Water

Turn on the tap and you're getting water and energy for the price of one.

If you live in Portland, your lights may now be partly powered by your drinking water. An ingenious new system captures energy as water flows through the city's pipes, creating hydropower without the negative environmental …


The Antarctic ice sheet is a sleeping giant, beginning to stir

In a paper I just published with colleague Dr Ted Scambos from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, we highlight the impact of southern ice sheet loss, particularly the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, on sea-level rise around the world.

We know that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing the …


America's Got A Water Problem

In Los Angeles and Toledo and across the U.S., historic drought, water-quality threats heightened by warming waters and poorly maintained infrastructure are converging to draw public attention to the value of fresh, clean water to a degree not seen since Congress passed the Clean Water Act in …


We can't let climate change turn droughts, flash floods and mudslides into the new normal

Between power outages, deluging rains, flash floods, mudslides and record droughts, California is quickly becoming unrecognizable – all the bellwethers of an ecosystem out of whack. Thanks to a rapidly changing climate making wet regions wetter and dry regions drier, 2014 will be the hottest year …

Climate Change

This Is What Your City Would Look Like If All The World's Ice Sheets Melt

You're going to need to learn the names of some new islands.

Portland, Oregon, may not be a coastal city, but if all of the world's ice sheets melted, it would still end up mostly underwater. In a new series, Seattle cartographer and urban planner Jeffery Linn mapped out what Portland and several …


Can America's Desert Cities Adapt Before They Dry Out And Die?

Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and many other western cities are all growing fast—and are all running out of water.

Los Angeles traffic is worse than usual as hordes of parched citizens evacuate a concrete tomb that once supported millions of lives. Savvy entrepreneurs are selling bottled water …


Germany’s Sunfire makes synthetic gasoline from water, CO2

While vehicles like Toyota's fuel-cell powered Mirai are leading the charge to a future less reliant on fossil fuels, Germany's Sunfire GmbH may have …

These Maps of California's Water Shortage Are Terrifying

Just how bad is California's water shortage? Really, really bad, according to these new maps, which represent groundwater withdrawals in California …

Natural Resources

Amid drought, mayor directs L.A. to cut water use 20% by 2017

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive on Tuesday requiring Los Angeles to reduce its fresh water use 20% by 2017 as a response to the prolonged drought.

Garcetti also asked L.A. departments to dramatically cut the amount of water used by replacing lawns and other city …

Natural Resources

Napa Earthquake Shakes Loose Unknown Groundwater

A major Northern California earthquake that caused an estimated $400 million in damage also unloosed torrents of groundwater that may help ease the …

Drought has 14 communities on the brink of waterlessness

Under the blistering Central Valley sun, Filiberta Sanchez and her toddler granddaughter strolled down a Parkwood sidewalk lined with yellow weeds, dying grass and trees more fit for kindling than shade.

"It was very pretty here, very pretty," said Sanchez, 56, as little Jenny crunched a fistful of …


Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California

The severity of California’s drought continues to shock, with the latest example coming courtesy of NASA.

The space agency’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites have been been in orbit since 2002, making highly sensitive measurements of Earth’s gravity field. Variations …


Arizona floods: Jan Brewer declares state of emergency

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has declared a state of emergency after record rainfall caused torrential flooding.

Heavy storms on Monday in Phoenix and the surrounding area flooded roads and trapped residents.

The high water level forced the closure of streets, schools and the Arizona House of …