Archive for February 5th, 2016

Zimbawe President declares ’state of disaster’ amidst drought

Asian News International: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, has declared a state of disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought, as more than a quarter of the population faces food shortages. The Guardian reported that the El Nino weather phenomenon has engulfed the region resulting into drought and leaving tens of thousands of cattle dead, reservoirs depleted and crops destroyed. Formerly known as the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has suffered perennial shortages in recent years and has relied on importing grain...

Lead Test Results Confirm Worst Fears for Flint Family

NBC: Deep down, the Brown family knew the water that had flowed through the pipes in their home in Flint, Michigan -- the water that 3-year-old Dana had been drinking for months before anyone was warned -- probably contained toxic lead. This week, they got test results that confirmed their fears. Water Defense, the anti-fracking and safe-water activist group headed by actor Mark Ruffalo, collected samples from Oscar and Elizabeth Brown's home last weekend and brought them to an independent lab in...

Record Missouri flooding was humanmade calamity, scientist says

ScienceDaily: At the end of December 2015, a huge storm named "Goliath" dumped 9-10 inches of rain in a belt across the central United States, centered just southwest of St. Louis, most of it in a three-day downpour. The rain blanketed the Meramec Basin, an area of 4,000 square miles drained by the Meramec River, which enters the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. The Meramec's response was dramatic. Gauging stations recorded a pulse of water that grew as it traveled down the main stem of the Meramec River,...

Hot, Dry Weather Could Cut Into California’s Snowpack

Climate Central: Hello, it's me. Words made famous by Adele could just as easily apply to what's about to happen in California. An unwelcome call is coming from across the Pacific for a state still struggling with drought. A ridge of high pressure is coming to the state, harkening back to the ridiculously resilient ridge of the past few years and butting into California's burgeoning love affair with El Niño. It could set back California's snowpack and break heat records. A ridge of high pressure will deflect...

Clinton wants to move toward banning fossil fuel extraction on public land

Grist: After the latest Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, Hillary Clinton told an activist with 350.org that she supports banning fossil fuel extraction on public lands. “It’s a done deal,” she said. And when asked a follow-up question, she continued, “That’s where the president is moving. No future extraction. I agree with that.” The activist, quite literally, cheered. That cheer might have been a tiny bit premature. Clinton’s quick comments hardly amount to a clear policy proposal. She said...

Mountains in Central Appalachia Flatter Post-Mining

Nature World: Mining has not only moved mountains; it has made them flatter. That's according to a new study from Duke University, which looked at data from 40 years of mountaintop coal mining in Central Appalachia. The research concluded that those mountain areas are now 60 percent more flat than they were before the excavation work. In the research, scientists looked at topographic data of southern West Virginia sites from before and after the mining. In part, they were examining how such mines can affect...

Early 2014 UK flooding made more likely by climate change

Ars Technica: In places like California, researchers have been working to understand how climate change is affecting droughts. But in the UK, it’s unusually wet weather making headlines of late. Southern England and Wales got soaked over the winter that ran into January 2014, leading to near-historic flooding. This led to a natural question: did climate change have a hand in it? Climate is basically the statistics of weather, so the way we answer this is to use climate models to look for a change in those statistics....

Senate Democrats Block Energy Bill in Dispute Over Aid for Flint

New York Times: Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked action on a comprehensive energy bill that had drawn broad bipartisan support after lawmakers failed to agree on including a $600 million amendment to address the crisis over lead-tainted water in Flint, Mich. Senators voted twice to end debate on the energy bill, first falling 10 votes short of the 60-vote threshold needed to bring the item to a conclusion, and then falling six votes short. Absent their Flint aid amendment, 38 Democrats, including one of the...

New Record Low for January Arctic Sea Ice

USA Today: The amount of Arctic sea ice set a record low for the month of January, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday. January 2016 was a remarkably warm month there, the data center said. Air temperatures were 13 degrees above average across most of the Arctic Ocean. Just before New Year's, a slug of mild air pushed temperatures above freezing to within 200 miles of the North Pole, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson. This was due in part to a strong negative...

Has the Southwest Shifted to a ‘Drier Climate State’?

Climate Central: The Southwest is already the most arid part of the U.S. Now new research indicates it's becoming even more dry as wet weather patterns, quite literally, dry up. The change could herald a pattern shift and raises the specter of megadrought in the region. Precipitation across the U.S. that can be attributed to these changes in weather patterns. The gray dots show areas where the results are statistically significant. "We see a very intense trend in the Southwest,' Andreas Prein, a postdoctoral...