Tag Archives: runoff

A Look Back and Ahead at Greenland’s Changing Climate

Over the past two decades, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased four-fold contributing to one-quarter of global sea level rise. However, the chain of events and physical processes that contributed to it has remained elusive. One likely trigger for the speed up and retreat of glaciers that contributed to this ice loss is ocean warming.

A review paper by physical oceanographers Fiamma Straneo at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Patrick Heimbach at MIT published in Nature explains what scientists have learned from their research on and around Greenland over the past 20 years and describes the measurements and technology needed to continue to move the science forward. (more…)

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NASA Snow Mapper Reaps Big Benefits for California

Unprecedented snowpack maps from NASA’s prototype Airborne Snow Observatory mission helped water managers for 2.6 million residents of the San Francisco Bay Area achieve near-perfect water operations this summer, despite the driest year in California’s recorded history.

The high-resolution NASA snow maps of the Tuolumne River Basin in the Sierra Nevada helped optimize reservoir filling and hydroelectric generation at the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and its O’Shaughnessy Dam. This resulted in a full reservoir at the end of the snowmelt season, no water spillage, and generation of more than $3.9 million in hydropower. The NASA data helped optimize operations during the last two critical weeks of runoff. (more…)

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Midwest Soil Could Take Up to Two Years to Recover from Long Drought, Says MU Researcher

The Midwest suffered the worst drought in years last summer, and Midwest soil has been suffering from a drought since early 2010. As a result, crops have wilted and farmers have fallen on hard times. Now, a University of Missouri researcher says that it may take at least two years for crops and soil to recover.

Randall Miles, associate professor of soil science at the MU School of Natural Resources, found that soil in the Midwest is dry down to as deep as 5 feet, where the roots of the crops absorb moisture and nutrients. (more…)

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Study Indicates Hail May Disappear From Colorado’s Front Range by 2070

Summertime hail could all but disappear from the eastern flank of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains by 2070, says a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Less hail damage could be good news for gardeners and farmers, said lead author Kelly Mahoney, a research scientist at CIRES, but a shift from hail to rain can also mean more runoff, which could raise the risk of flash floods. “In this region of elevated terrain, hail may lessen the risk of flooding because it takes awhile to melt,” Mahoney said. “Decision makers may not want to count on that in the future.” (more…)

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Testing the Water for Bioenergy Crops

*Water significant limiting factor in growing crops like switchgrass*

Energy researchers and environmental advocates are excited about the prospect of gaining more efficient large-scale biofuel production by using large grasses like miscanthus or switchgrass rather than corn.

They have investigated yields, land use, economics and more, but one key factor of agriculture has been overlooked: water.

“While we are looking for solutions for energy through bioenergy crops, dependence on water gets ignored, and water can be a significant limiting factor,” said Praveen Kumar, an environmental engineer and atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (more…)

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Optimizing Climate Change Reduction

Palo Alto, CA — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology have taken a new approach on examining a proposal to fix the warming planet. So-called geoengineering ideas—large-scale projects to change the Earth’s climate—have included erecting giant mirrors in space to reflect solar radiation, injecting aerosols of sulfate into the stratosphere making a global sunshade, and much more. Past modeling of the sulfate idea looked at how the stratospheric aerosols might affect Earth’s climate and chemistry.

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UM Advanced Bio-Filtration System Promises Less Chesapeake Pollution

COLLEGE PARK – Technological advances developed by University of Maryland researchers promise significant reductions in urban runoff polluting the Anacostia watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. The researchers say their work represents the next generation of “low impact development” technologies.

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