Water News

Not-so-new Water News can still be useful. Some of our links are only promoted on the sidebar for a short time, so this is where you can browse through past links that we considered to be news-worthy.

A Longer Vernal Window: The Role of Winter Coldness Andsnowpack in Driving Spring Transitions and Lags

Warmer winters with less snow result in a longer spring season. To some extent, seasonality is controlled by the earth’s orbit but the transition of the seasons is not strictly centered on the dates of the equinox and solstice. The smearing of seasonality around these dates is changing, which will have many hydrological and ecosystem effects that are yet to become fully apparent.

2017 U.S. Spring Climate and Flood Outlook

“If you’re in northern North Dakota, or in the Snake River basin in Idaho, prepare for moderate to major flooding this spring,”; “Above average temperatures are favored for much of the U.S. this spring with the south-central Plains and eastern U.S. having the highest chance for warmer than average conditions,”; “the geographic extent of drought in the state dropped from 73 percent three months ago to eight percent this week, due to near-record precipitation from a series of powerful winter storms. Also, in February, only three percent of the contiguous U.S. saw severe to exceptional drought, the lowest level in seven years.”

World Water Day – Live from the Vatican

“1.6 billion people currently live in countries and regions with absolute water scarcity. That number is expected to rise to 2.8 billion people by 2025.”; “69 percent of the water taken from rivers, lakes, and aquifers is used to grow food, globally. Another 19% goes to industrial production, and 12% is used for city water services. (FAO)”; Women and children spend 125 million hours collecting fresh water every day. Individual women and children spend as many as six hours collecting fresh water daily. (Water.org)”.

Coming Soon: A New Home for Water Storage Information

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is releasing an upgraded dashboard that uses interactive graphs and improved search functions to provide simpler ways to make direct comparison of surface water availability across rural and urban systems, States and Territories and drainage divisions.

Whanganui River Gets the Rights of a Legal Person

In New Zealand a river has been recognized as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea. The legal representation recognizes the deep spiritual connection of the Whanganui Iwi and the Whanganui River. This precedent-setting decision could have far reaching implications. I don’t understand law but having been involved with many environmental reviews I have seen how the defense of the environment is often by extension (e.g. harm to the environment is only deemed harmful if that harm causes harm to humans or to protected species). This new legal status may mean that the environment can be protected even if there are no endangered species or human values at immediate risk.

Predicting Coastal Algal Blooms in Southern California

An equation-free modeling approach known as empirical dynamic modeling (EDM) takes advantage of long time-series of data to identify the “stochastic chaos” that forces nonlinear population dynamics, hence overcoming the limitations of traditional model fitting. The apparent success of this data-driven approach validates continuing investments in systematic long term environmental monitoring. The future value of such data is inestimable.

New Decade for Water

International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028:  Water monitoring and sustainable development are inextricably linked. You can’t achieve sustainability without the ability to measure the efficacy of policies and practices.

HESS Opinions “Catchments as Meta-Organisms – a New Blueprint for Hydrological Modelling”

I like opinion pieces like this that challenge conventional wisdom. Most hydrologists identify closer to the geophysical realm than to the biological, which makes sense because water is not sentient. However, water differs from minerals in the degree to which it dynamically interacts with every living thing in a catchment. One could impute a ‘purposefulness’ to water as it serves its various functions, where that ‘purpose’ is enabled by living things that in turn affect control over their own destiny. Perhaps it is time to consider the function of water in the environment as something in between animal and mineral in terms of capacity for self-determination.

Adaptation Opportunities and Constraints in Coupled Systems: Evidence from the U.S. Energy-Water Nexus

The key to success in the 21st century will be adaptation to a changing hydrological regime for the energy-water nexus. The first of the three constraints identified in this paper is insufficient data and information. It is one thing to know this is true. It is another thing to do something about it. It is my opinion that the regions of the world that will leave the greatest endowment to the next generation are those that invest in water information management as a strategic asset.

Making Better Use of Local Data in Flood Frequency Estimation

In addition to the use of long peak flow records local data including: short records of river flow; river level measurements; information on flood seasonality or hydrograph widths; historical flood and palaeoflood data; and information on river channel dimensions can substantially improve flood frequency prediction.

Global Heat Continues, Sea Ice Hits New Record Lows

”What happens at the Poles does not stay at the Poles.” Yikes! The Arctic sea ice extent for January 2017 was 260,000 km2 less than the previous record set just last year. “This will have serious implications for Arctic sea ice extent in summer as well as for the global climate system.”