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Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here?

Yesterday our team at the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling released a report on the California drought.  The report describes the birds-eye view of statewide water resources that we see from the NASA GRACE satellite mission. We’ve been working since the mid-1990’s, well before the mission was launched in 2002, to develop and test methods…

Chill Out on Ice Cubes to Save Water

Saving water is cool. No ice necessary.                   California 2013-2014 drought. It’s epic. The worst in the state’s recorded history. Everything you can think of is at a record low for this time of year: rainfall, snowpack, streamflow, reservoir storage…It’s so bad that Governor Jerry Brown has…

What the New York Times Misses About the Colorado River

When the New York Times features an alarming story about water in the West, people pay attention. This week’s story, “Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States” by Michael Wines, trended as the Times’ most emailed piece for much of Monday. The article helped to elevate the reach and understanding of Western water…

Fighting Drought With a New Super Corn

Text and photos by Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard So how exactly do you win a tilling competition? We’re at the Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show in Belmond, Iowa, of all places, watching farmers on tractors practicing for the next day’s tillage contest. “You drive as straight as you can,” David Sieck, of…

Colorado Droughts, Wildfires, and Floods, Oh My!

September 16–The view from my window this morning in Boulder, Colorado, is gloomy.  Clouds hover over the mountains, reminding me of the storm we have weathered, and the dismal conditions here on the ground. Torrential rains swept through Colorado’s Front Range this past week, resulting in calamitous floods that continue to threaten lives, destroy property,…

Water Issues Ripple Through Obama Climate Change Speech

President Obama’s climate change speech on Tuesday from Georgetown University was full of references to climate change impacts on water availability, flooding, and drought.  He dealt head on with key issues of changing water cycle intensity, and in particular, with the increasing frequency of hydrologic extremes.  From the outset, the President invoked the Blue Marble…

IEA Says Policies Could Keep 2 Degrees Celsius Goal Alive

Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), warns global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions set an all-time high in 2012, throwing the world off its path to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2020. These emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to 31.6 billion tons—though the U.S. posted its lowest emissions (down 200 million…

8,000 Years After its Advent, Agriculture is Withering in Southern Iraq

As temperatures in Southern Iraq approached 52 degrees Celsius (126°F) last July, Habib Salman, a 52-year-old farmer in the Al-Islah township, shot himself in the head, leaving behind an eleven-member family. The stream on which their farm relied had recently dried up, jeopardizing his family’s survival.

In Cradle of Civilization, Shrinking Rivers Endanger Unique Marsh Arab Culture

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte documents the culture of the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq through text and photos, as well as a video shot and edited by team member Anna Ozbek.

Enki’s Gift: How Civilization Bubbled From the Waters of Mesopotamia

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte examines the historical importance of water in Mesopotamia’s cultures and religions through text and photos, as well as a video shot and edited by team member Anna Ozbek.

Drought and Dams in Biblical Garden of Eden

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte begins her expedition northward along the Tigris River, where she will examine the impacts of Turkey’s Ilısu Dam, with initial glimpses at water issues in Southern Iraq and an introduction to the heated controversy surround the dam.

As Climate Change Reduces Colorado River Communities Must Prepare

Now that a red flag has been raised by the Colorado River Basin Study – a federal and state cooperative analysis published in late 2012 – that there will be water shortages across much of the U.S. Southwest, the handwringing has started. Our cities, farms, and rivers face a slow-motion disaster; what are we going…

Low Lake Levels: Don’t Fight Nature, Plan for It

The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s available surface freshwater–enough to cover the continental United States with 10 feet of water if you turned them upside down. In many places along the lakes, you can stand on one side without seeing the shoreline on the other because they are so huge. It’s difficult…

As Drought Persists in the West, Time to Prepare for Summer Shortages

Drought, drought, and more drought seems to be what’s in store for most river basins in the West, including the Colorado, the lifeline for 30 million people. Back in late November, I wrote about how NOAA’s seasonal drought outlook for mid-November to late February indicated the persistence of dryness in most of the Colorado River…

Drought Fuels Water War Between Texas and New Mexico

As climate change alters rainfall patterns and river flows, tensions are bound to rise between states and countries that share rivers that cross their borders. In the Rio Grande Basin of the American Southwest, that future inevitability has arrived. Last week Texas, suffering through a devastating drought, filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court…