Q&A: La Niña’s Back and It’s Not Good for Parts of Dry West

For the second straight year, the world heads into a new La Niña weather event. This would tend to dry out parts of an already parched and fiery American West and boost an already busy Atlantic hurricane season.

Just five months after the end of a La Niña that started in September 2020, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new cooling of the Pacific is underway.


Atmospheric Rivers Left California Mostly Dry in Water Year 2021

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, or CW3E, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, released its report October 11 on atmospheric rivers during Water Year 2021.

The report, “Distribution of Landfalling Atmospheric Rivers over the U.S. West Coast During Water Year 2021: End of Water Year Summary” shows that more atmospheric rivers landed on the U.S. West Coast in Water Year 2021 than in Water Year 2020. But the majority of those storms reached the Pacific Northwest, not California, where drought conditions have impacted water supply.

Atmospheric Rivers Are Stable For Now — But Change Is On The Way

Yale researchers are charting the course of mighty “rivers” in the sky that are holding steady in the face of climate change — for now.

In future decades, however, climate-induced changes to these atmospheric rivers could drastically increase extreme precipitation events in some parts of the world, they report in a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Atmospheric rivers — long, winding filaments of intense water vapor — account for as much as 90% of the moisture sent toward the North and South poles.

UCLA Study: Climate Change Causing ‘Extreme’ Rain and Snowfall Across Globe

A UCLA study shows that abnormally heavy rain and snowfall events since as early as the 1980s are intensifying globally due to human-driven climate change, researchers said Tuesday.

“These findings further elevate the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent even larger impacts down the road,” said senior author Alex Hall, director of the UCLA Center for Climate Science, which is a part of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “We can now say that extreme precipitation is increasing globally due to human-induced climate change.”

Gracie Chillag of Heritage Charter School placed second in the 2021 Student Poster Contest. Photo: City of Escondido Water awareness Artwork

Water Awareness Artwork Wins Escondido Student Poster Contest

Twelve winning student artists from Escondido area elementary schools follow in a long tradition of fourth-graders entering the annual City of Escondido Student Poster Contest. Students were asked to depict the 2021 contest theme “Love Water, Save Water” to illustrate the value of water resources through creative, hand-drawn art.

The winning students and their teachers receive prizes. The top 12 posters are displayed on the City of Escondido website.  The first, second, and third place winners will be featured in the 2022 North County water agencies’ regional calendar.

The winners of the 2021 Student Poster Contest 

First Place: Adeleine Kobriger, Heritage Charter

First Place: Adeleine Kobriger, Heritage Charter

Second Place: Gracie Chillag, Heritage Charter

Second Place: Gracie Chillag, Heritage Charter

Third Place: Camille Gastelum, Grace Christian School

Nine additional students received Honorable Mentions for their work

Honorable Mention: Enzo Chung

Enzo Chung

Honorable Mention: Brooke Gamble

Brooke Gamble

Honorable Mention: Candelaria Juarez

Candelaria Juarez

Honorable Mention: Brendan O'Donnell

Brendan O’Donnell

Honorable Mention: Kathleen O'Neal

Kathleen O’Neal

Honorable Mention: Emma Rhett Water Awareness Artwork

Emma Rhett

Honorable Mention: Geraldiine Ricardo-Valdes

Geraldine Ricardo-Valdes

Honorable Mention: Geraldiine Damaris Saucedo Water Awareness Artwork

Damaris Saucedo

Honorable Mention: Delano Sutic

Delano Sutic

Contest part of comprehensive science education program

The poster contest is a fun activity with a serious goal: teaching children the value of water and the need for water conservation. The City of Escondido supports local public and private schools by providing the Water Science Education Program to elementary and afterschool programs.

The program teaches water science to raise awareness of Earth’s resources through interactive and collaborative activities supplementing each school’s science curriculum. The lessons help meet Next Generation Science Standards. The annual poster contest is part of this annual program.

(Editor’s note: The City of Escondido is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Worsening Droughts Could Increase Arsenic Exposure for Some Americans

More than half of the continental US is currently experiencing some level of drought, and about a quarter is in severe drought or worse. In recent years, the western and southwestern US has been in a seemingly continual state of reduced rainfall and snowpack. Droughts have many well-known, potentially catastrophic consequences, from crop failures to water shortages to wildfires. Yet they can also have more direct human health impacts by not only affecting how much water there is, but also the quality of that water.

San Diego County Students Innovate to Solve Water Challenges

In March, San Diego County Water Authority staff judged water-related projects by students at the 67th annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. Judging the fair is a longstanding tradition at the Water Authority and a component of the education outreach program. For decades, the Water Authority has recognized the top water-related projects with a scholarship and award. This year’s fair was conducted in a virtual format, but more than 280 students still brought their best projects to the table.

Opinion: With San Francisco Bay On Life Support, Newsom Withholds the Cure

San Francisco Bay’s life support systems are unravelling quickly, and a wealth of science indicates that unsustainable water diversions are driving this estuary’s demise.

Yet, with another drought looming, federal and state water managers still plan to divert large amounts of water to their contractors and drain upstream reservoirs this summer. Meanwhile, the state’s most powerful water districts are preparing yet another proposal to maintain excessive water diversions for the long-term.

Report Calls For “Radical Changes” To Colorado River Management

A recent report from Colorado River experts says it’s time for radical new management strategies to safeguard the Southwest’s water supplies. It’s meant to inform discussions on how to renegotiate certain parts of the Law of the River that will expire in 2026. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about the report with Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University.

Something was Killing Baby Salmon. Scientists Traced it to a Food-Web Mystery

The biologists working in a fish hatchery near Shasta Dam grew increasingly concerned last year when newly hatched salmon fry began to act strangely — swimming around and around, in tight, corkscrewing motions, before spiraling to their deaths at the bottom of the tanks.

Certain runs of chinook salmon in California are imperiled; the hatcheries and the fry raised there are the federal government’s last-ditch effort to sustain these ecologically and economically vital fish populations.