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Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Reaches New High Despite Pandemic, Scripps Reports

Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory peaked for 2021 in May at a monthly average of 419 parts per million, the highest level since accurate measurements began 63 years ago, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego reported Monday.

Scripps scientist Charles David Keeling initiated on-site measurements of carbon dioxide atop the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1958. NOAA began measurements in 1974, and the two research institutions have made complementary, independent observations ever since.

Severe Drought, Worsened by Climate Change, Ravages the American West

This year, New Mexican officials have a message for farmers who depend on irrigation water from the Rio Grande and other rivers: Unless you absolutely have to plant this year, don’t.

Years of warming temperatures, a failed rainy season last summer and low snowpack this winter have combined to reduce the state’s rivers to a relative trickle. The agency that controls irrigation flows on the Rio Grande forced the issue. To conserve water, it opened its gates a month later than usual.

Severe drought — largely connected to climate change — is ravaging not only New Mexico but the entire Western half of the United States, from the Pacific Coast, across the Great Basin and desert Southwest, and up through the Rockies to the Northern Plains.

In California, wells are drying up, forcing some homeowners to drill new ones that are deeper and costlier. Lake Mead, on the border of Arizona and Nevada, is so drained of Colorado River water that the two states are facing the eventual possibility of cuts in their supply.

Rep. Ruiz Sends Letters to IID & FWS Regarding the Red Hill Project at the Salton Sea

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. tells News Channel 3 exclusively that his office has sent letters to Fish and Wildlife Service and Imperial Irrigation District in regards to the Red Hill Bay Project at the Salton Sea.

The joint effort between IID and FWS broke ground in 2015, but has yet to be completed.

It was designed to create over 600 acres of shallow saline ponds by mixing water from the Salton Sea and the Alamo River. These new ponds would faciliate a new habitat for birds, while also preventing dust from emerging into the air.

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Gets $10,000 Grant From REI

The nonprofit San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy received a $10,000 grant for its Next to Nature program (N2N) from the REI Co-op. The program shows residents how to create sustainable landscapes that are beneficial for the environment. To show people how to develop eco-beneficial areas around their homes or businesses, the conservancy is working with locally based production company Condor Visual Media to put out six free webinars focusing on Landscape Site Design, Sustainable Gardening, Urban Green Infrastructure, Wildfire Risk Reduction, Water Management and Conservation and Landscape Material and Energy Management.

New Research Finds Climate Models Mostly Get It Right

New climate research, which was done mostly in San Diego, finds that a study of land temperatures during the last ice age confirms some widely held thoughts about climate change.

Lead author Alan Seltzer, a paleoclimatologist at the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute, studied ancient water as a way to gain insight into previously unrecorded planetary temperatures.

County Officials Applaud New Salton Sea Funding

Newly announced state funding for the Salton Sea is expected to maximize habitat outcomes and provide immediate economic relief to the community.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $5.1 billion water infrastructure, drought response and climate resilience proposal, which he announced Monday as part of his $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,” includes $220 million for the Salton Sea.

At Tuesday’s Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, District 1 Supervisor Jesus Eduardo Escobar wanted to know what is meant by providing immediate economic relief to the community and how this would occur. He also asked if the $220 million was part of the master plan and whether the funds would be used for restoration purposes.

San Diego County’s Climate Future

Climate change and drought will impact San Diego County’s climate future, but regional water supply planning and adaptation measures will ensure a safe, reliable supply for the region.

Water supply strategy was one of the key points participants learned about during a Monday panel discussion, “San Diego County’s Climate Future,” hosted online by the San Diego County Water Authority, Citizens Water Academy, Leaders 20/20 and San Diego Green Drinks.

Wells Dry Up, Crops Imperiled, Workers in Limbo as California Drought Grips San Joaquin Valley

As yet another season of drought returns to California, the mood has grown increasingly grim across the vast and fertile San Joaquin Valley. Renowned for its bounty of dairies, row crops, grapes, almonds, pistachios and fruit trees, this agricultural heartland is still reeling from the effects of the last punishing drought, which left the region geologically depressed and mentally traumatized. Now, as the valley braces for another dry spell of undetermined duration, some are openly questioning the future of farming here, even as legislative representatives call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a drought emergency. Many small, predominantly Latino communities also face the risk of having their wells run dry.

How I Got Beyond the Concrete and Learned to Love my Watershed

A year ago, when stay-at-home orders were a newly disorienting fact of life, I started taking long walks through my neighborhood on L.A.’s Westside. Wandering south from Palms into Culver City, I realized I live near a huge concrete channel — a creek, trapped in place — with a bike path along the water, and a view of oil pumpjacks rising and falling atop the Baldwin Hills. There were beautiful murals, too, showing a healthy, thriving waterway. They were hashtagged #KnowYourWatershed. And the more I admired them, the more I realized that I did not, in fact, know my watershed, despite growing up not far from here.

Colorado Mountain Snowpack Still Lags Slightly Below Norm — and Recent Storms Won’t Offset Drought

The snowpack in Colorado’s mountains has reached 93% of normal, federal survey data showed Tuesday — lagging slightly at the moment when cities and food growers decide whether water supplies will be sufficient for crops, cattle and a growing population. While recent heavy snow bodes well, measured in relation to the norm between 1981 and 2010, federal forecasters on Tuesday also warned they’re expecting “below normal” water flows in streams and rivers once snow melts due to decades of mostly increasing aridity.