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Earth’s climate may not warm as quickly as expected, suggest new cloud studies

Clouds need to condense around small particles called aerosols to form, and human aerosol pollution—primarily in the form of sulfuric acid—has made for cloudier skies. That’s why scientists have generally assumed Earth’s ancient skies were much sunnier than they are now. But today, three new studies show how naturally emitted gases from trees can also form the seed particles for clouds. The results not only point to a cloudier past, but they also indicate a potentially cooler future: If Earth’s climate is less sensitive to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, as the study suggests, future temperatures may not rise as quickly as predicted.

El Nino Rains Could Boost Sudden Oak Death

Humboldt County’s winter and early spring rainfall could intensify the spread of the pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death (SOD) but the outcome won’t be known for another year or two.

And while new areas of SOD infection weren’t identified in aerial surveys last year, the pathogen continues to spread in existing areas and it’s uncertain that drought has had an effect due to Humboldt County’s numerous, wet “micro-climates.”

Recycled Water Key to California’s Water Security

Each day in California an estimated 1.5 billion gallons (5.7 billion liters) of treated water are dumped into the ocean – that’s more than the amount of water needed to fill 2,270 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It’s the water that’s collected from the sinks, bathrooms and laundries in your home and delivered to municipal wastewater treatment facilities. But what if these billions of gallons of wastewater were further purified and put to use to help solve California’s water woes?

Last winter’s rain and snow didn’t come close to solving our water deficit, and we need to think outside the box.

OPINION: State must remain watchful after easing drought rules

State officials recently eased the reins on local water agencies when it comes to the drought mandate.

While the State Water Resources Control Board has decided to allow agencies like the Coachella Valley Water District – the desert’s largest – to decide for themselves how to conserve, it is imperative that regulators maintain a watchful eye as dry times continue.

New drought rules adopted last week by the state water board will allow the state’s 411 urban water suppliers to “self-certify” their available supplies and decide themselves what level of conservation to pursue.

Lake Mead Record Low Reflects Changing American West

Nervous investors, concerned about their nest eggs, will check the financial markets. Is the New York Stock Exchange up? What direction is the NASDAQ moving?

For people living in the American Southwest, water levels in reservoirs play the same role. And Lake Mead is the blue chip, the biggest, most consequential, most widely watched piece in the game. When water levels are up, spirits are unburdened. People are confident in their place in the desert.


Clean Drinking Water Bill Advances

Legislation to prevent ongoing drinking water contamination like that seen in Flint, Mich., from harming families in disadvantaged communities throughout California was approved Monday on a 4-2 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will be heard next by the full Senate.

Senate Bill 1318, authored by state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would help protect hundreds of thousands of California families living in communities that still do not have access to safe and reliable drinking water or adequate sanitation services.

How the Water Crisis in the West Renewed the Debate About the Effectiveness of Major Dams

Wedged between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles up river from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second largest reserve.


SD Water Authority Proposes Rate Increases

The San Diego County Water Authority staff has proposed increasing rates charged to member agencies by 6.4 percent for untreated water and 5.9 percent for treated water in calendar year 2017, similar to the increases adopted by the Board of Directors for 2016.

Next year’s rate proposal is primarily driven by higher costs from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In addition, it incorporates higher costs for drought-proof water supplies from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

Yosemite Waterfalls Roaring Following Four Years of Drought

If item number one on your summer to-do list is to witness the booming waterfalls of Yosemite National Park, you’re in for a treat. Water levels appear to have rebounded from four years of drought and we’re now in a window of peak waterfall conditions.

United States Geological Survey numbers indicate water under the Pohono Bridge at the west end of the Yosemite Valley has been climbing, and reaching heights not seen since 2012.

San Diego County Water Authority To Propose Rate Hike

The San Diego County Water Authority’s staff is scheduled Thursday to propose increasing rates paid by its 24 member agencies next year.

The proposed hikes are 6.4 percent for untreated water and 5.9 percent for treated water in calendar year 2017, similar to the hikes adopted by the Board of Directors for this year.

The agency receives water from a variety of sources, including the wholesaler Metropolitan Water District, and distributes it to local districts and cities that, in turn, supply customers.