Midnight In The Desert — drought

Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next

Posted by K R on

Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next

Cape Town's main water supply, at the Theewaterskloof Dam, is running dry, and the city may soon have to turn off its taps. By late spring, four million people in the city of Cape Town—one of Africa's most affluent metropolises—may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region's most precious commodity: drinking water. Population growth and a record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, is sparking one of the world's most dramatic urban water crises, as South African leaders warn that residents are increasingly likely to face "Day Zero." That's the day, now...

Read more →

Melting Ice Could Cause More California Droughts

Posted by K R on

Melting Ice Could Cause More California Droughts

Loss of ice cover in the Arctic could spur more droughts in California, according to a new study by federal researchers. The study, published today in Nature Communications, finds that sea-ice loss in the Arctic could trigger atmospheric effects that drive precipitation away from California. The research was led by atmospheric scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It's the same kind of effect that contributed to state's historic dry period that ended last year. The five-year drought was exacerbated by an atmospheric pressure system in the North Pacific Ocean that researchers dubbed the "ridiculously resilient ridge," which pushed storms...

Read more →

Drought in Northeast US expected to persist through February

Posted by K R on

Drought in Northeast US expected to persist through February

The long-running drought in much of the Northeastern United States is expected to persist through the winter. The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows dry conditions continuing through February throughout New England and the only relief coming in parts of upstate New York, where some drought-stricken areas could see improving conditions. The drought is the worst in more than a decade. It has been devastating to farmers and resulted in water restrictions in many places. It has dried up drinking wells and caused lake levels to drop. Drought also is expected to persist in much of the Southeast, the...

Read more →

Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record

Posted by K R on

Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record

Saturday was a quiet day across the Gulf of Mexico, but not one without note, because a strange record was set: It has been 1,048 days since a hurricane developed in or entered the Gulf. That is the longest streak in the past 130 years, since formal record-keeping began in 1886. The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and lasts through the end of November. But the last storm in the Gulf was Hurricane Ingrid, which made landfall in northeastern Mexico in September 2013. "You have to have conditions just right for a hurricane to form, and the conditions haven't...

Read more →

Researchers Just Made a Breakthrough in Growing Crops During a Drought

Posted by K R on

Researchers Just Made a Breakthrough in Growing Crops During a Drought

Drought is spreading across farmland worldwide—and it’s only going to get more intense. New research offers a clue on how we might be able to continue to grow the staples we’re used to but with much less water. A lot of staple crops, like rice and wheat, actually have a defense mechanism to protect against drought. But by the time it kicks in, it’s often too late. Researchers at the Australian National University have just identified the enzyme—phosphatase SAL1—responsible in a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Now, they want to use it to push plants...

Read more →