Climate change and ‘atmospheric thirst’ to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA

Climate change and 'atmospheric thirst' to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA
Climate change and a “thirsty atmosphere” will bring more extreme wildfire danger and multi-year droughts to Nevada and California by the end of this century, according to new research. Credit: Meghan Collins/DRI

Climate change and a “thirsty atmosphere” will bring more extreme wildfire danger and multi-year droughts to Nevada and California by the end of this century, according to new research from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Merced.


In a new study published in Earth’s Future, scientists looked at future projections of evaporative demand—a measure of how dry the air is—in California and Nevada through the end of the 21st century. They then examined how changes in evaporative demand would impact the frequency of extreme fire danger and three-year droughts, based on metrics from the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) and the

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Opinion | The Danger in White Moderates Setting Biden’s Agenda

The stakes for all of us are high.

With the coronavirus entering what some scientists say could be its deadliest wave yet, all of our social institutions are buckling under the stress. This pandemic did not only unleash a nimble biological threat to public health, it also politicized common-sense public health measures.

We do not have the testing strategy that every reputable scientist tells us we will need to return to merely normal political sectarianism. The right lost faith in science when science resisted racist declarations. The left lost faith in scientists when the right turned them into political pawns. We cannot even trust the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose missteps in providing good guidance to the public reinforced conspiracy theories and eased the way for its delegitimization by this administration.

The Trump administration carried out that delegitimization primarily as a shield for the president’s outright corruption and

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Crystals reveal the danger of sleeping volcanoes — ScienceDaily

Most active volcanoes on Earth are dormant, meaning that they have not erupted for hundreds or even thousands of years, and are normally not considered hazardous by the local population. A team of volcanologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), working in collaboration with the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has devised a technique that can predict the devastating potential of volcanoes. The scientists used zircon, a tiny crystal contained in volcanic rocks, to estimate the volume of magma that could be erupted once Nevado de Toluca volcano (Mexico) will wake up from its dormancy. Up to 350 km3 of magma — about four times the volume of water stored in Lake Geneva — are currently lying below Nevado de Toluca and their eruption could bring devastation. The new technique, applicable to most types of volcano across the globe, is described in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

The largest

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Just when we need it most, science is in danger

I’m reminded of Matt Damon’s character in the film “The Martian.” Stranded on Mars and knowing that no one is coming to the rescue any time soon, he declares: “In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option. I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.”

Yet just when we need science most, the compact between science and society has become dangerously frayed. The most obvious sign is the spectacle of political officials pressuring health agencies to replace science-based guidance with their own pronouncements. But the problem runs deeper.

The compact was forged just after World War II. Science had helped win the war — with radar, early computers, penicillin, and the atomic bomb. Deciding that we’d need science to succeed in peacetime as well, the nation began investing in scientific research and training at universities. When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957,

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