Thirsty wheat needed new water management strategy in ancient China

Research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that a practice of purposeful water management, or irrigation, was adopted in northern China about 4,000 years ago as part of an effort to grow new grains that had been introduced from southwest Asia. But the story gets more complex from there. Wheat and barley arrived on the scene at about the same time, but early farmers only used water management techniques for wheat.

How to keep your garden up in the middle of a drought

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 1, 2022 – For backyard gardeners, mild droughts and water ban restrictions common during the summer months can be a cause for concern. Kate Venturini Hardesty, a program administrator and educator with the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension, offers some tips for backyard gardeners who are feeling the heat.

How long does a tree or ecosystem remember a drought?

A team of NAU scientists, led by SICCS professor Kiona Ogle, won a $3.6 million grant from the NSF to study the legacy of extreme climate events on ecosystems in the American West; they hope to not only know how long an extreme event influences ecosystems but also figure out how to better forecast such effects.

Modeling Study Projects 21st Century Droughts Will Increase Human Migration

Drought and the potential increase in the number of droughts worldwide due to climate change remains a concern for scientists. A recent study led by Stony Brook University researchers suggests that human migration due to droughts will increase by at least 200 percent as we move through the 21st Century.

California’s carbon mitigation efforts may be thwarted by climate change itself

Irvine, Calif., July 22, 2021 – To meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, California’s policymakers are relying in part on forests and shrublands to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine warn that future climate change may limit the ecosystem’s ability to perform this service.

Climate change is driving plant die-offs in Southern California, UCI study finds

Irvine, Calif., June 21, 2021 – A shift is happening in Southern California, and this time it has nothing to do with earthquakes. According to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, climate change is altering the number of plants populating the region’s deserts and mountains. Using data from the Landsat satellite mission and focusing on an area of nearly 5,000 square miles surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the research team found that between 1984 and 2017, vegetation cover in desert ecosystems decreased overall by about 35 percent, with mountains seeing a 13 percent vegetation decline.

Johns Hopkins Expert Available to Discuss Heat Wave in U.S. West

As triple-digit temperatures scorch millions in California and the Desert West, stoking wildfires and exacerbating drought conditions, Johns Hopkins experts can discuss the environmental and health impacts of the heat wave, and how officials can better prepare for the rest…

Decisions, Decisions: Climate Change and Water

PNNL’s Framework for Assessment of Complex Environmental Tradeoffs (FACET) is designed to navigate and rigorously evaluate competing environmental, economic, and social impacts to help make decisions more equitable. In an example scenario prepared using publicly available data, FACET was applied to predict tradeoffs facing the Colorado River and to balance competing demands of river flow and temperature, along with withdrawals for cities, crop irrigation, and power generation.

Single gene boosts climate resilience, yield and carbon capture in crops

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a single gene that simultaneously boosts plant growth and tolerance for stresses such as drought and salt, all while tackling the root cause of climate change by enabling plants to pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions are lengthening and intensifying droughts

Irvine, Calif., May 17, 2021 — Greenhouse gases and aerosol pollution emitted by human activities are responsible for increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of droughts around the world, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine. In a study published recently in Nature Communications, scientists in UCI’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering showed that over the past century, the likelihood of stronger and more long-lasting dry spells grew in the Americas, the Mediterranean, western and southern Africa and eastern Asia.

Study exposes global ripple effects of regional water scarcity

An integrated model of climate and human activity suggests water scarcity can have economic ripple effects across the globe – sometimes amplifying economic harm, sometimes even providing benefits to distant regions. The model informs the management of regional water resources and economic adaptation

UCI researchers: Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain belt

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 18, 2021 — Future climate change will cause a regionally uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt – a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator – according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions. This development may threaten food security for billions of people.

New climate change study: Number of people suffering extreme droughts will double

Michigan State University is leading a global research effort to offer the first worldwide view of how climate change could affect water availability and drought severity in the decades to come.

By the late 21st century, global land area and population facing extreme droughts could more than double — increasing from 3% during 1976-2005 to 7%-8%, according to Yadu Pokhrel, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in MSU’s College of Engineering, and lead author of the research published in Nature Climate Change.

How Did Red Algae Survive in Extreme Environments?

Red algae have persisted in hot springs and surrounding rocks for about 1 billion years. Now, a Rutgers-led team will investigate why these single-celled extremists have thrived in harsh environments – research that could benefit environmental cleanups and the production of biofuels and other products.

Fuels, not fire weather, control carbon emissions in boreal forest, new study finds

Northern Arizona University researcher Xanthe Walker is the lead author on research published this week that found that the amount of carbon stored in soils was the biggest predictor of how much carbon would combust and that soil moisture also was significant in predicting carbon release.

Researchers Use Satellite Imaging to Map Groundwater Use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

UAH gets $600,000 to create more accurate analysis of soil moisture

A $600,000 grant to create a more accurate analysis of soil moisture for drought depiction, agricultural assessments and flood potential has been awarded to the interim dean of the College of Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

UCI and international institutions link Southeast Asia megadrought to drying in Africa

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 21, 2020 – Physical evidence found in caves in Laos helps tell a story about a connection between the end of the Green Sahara – when once heavily vegetated Northern Africa became a hyper-arid landscape – and a previously unknown megadrought that crippled Southeast Asia 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. In a paper published today in Nature Communications, scientists at the University of California, Irvine, the University of Pennsylvania, William Paterson University of New Jersey and other international institutions explain how this major climate transformation led to a shift in human settlement patterns in Southeast Asia, which is now inhabited by more than 600 million people.

UCI engineers evaluate snow drought in different parts of the world

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 3, 2020 — Environmental engineers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new framework for characterizing snow droughts around the world. Using this tool to analyze conditions from 1980 to 2018, the researchers found a 28-percent increase in the length of intensified snow-water deficits in the Western United States during the second half of the study period.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Tropical Storm Fay in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (July 10, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick climatologist David A. Robinson is available for interviews on Tropical Storm Fay as it approaches New Jersey. “Tropical Storm Fay could deposit several inches of rain across a good portion of the…

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Dry, Warm June in N.J., Potential Drought

New Brunswick, N.J. (July 8, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick climatologist David A. Robinson is available for interviews on the dry, unusually warm June in New Jersey, the dry and very warm first six months of 2020 and the potential for drought…

Greenhouse gas and particulate pollution emissions drive regional drying around the globe

Despite devastating impacts of drought on human and natural systems, the reasons why long-term regional drying occurs remain poorly understood.

Research led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have identified two signatures or “fingerprints” that explain why arid conditions are spreading worldwide, and why the Western United States has tended towards drought conditions since the 1980s while the African Sahel has recovered from its prolonged drought. The research appears in the July 6 edition of Nature Climate Change.

Know the risks of investing in forests

Some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
Forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes.