Midnight In The Desert — water

What is in our water? Known unknowns, and unknown unknowns

Posted by K R on

What is in our water? Known unknowns, and unknown unknowns

What is in your drinking water? It turns out there may be more than we know. In general, we are enjoying a golden era of clean water, with healthy refreshment available at the twist of a tap to over 70% of the population of the world (source: WHO). But we are threatening this most valuable of resources. In many high-profile cases, such as microplastics and rocket fuels, people are beating the drums of change and regulators are acting. But we can't control what we don't know. Target chemicals don't tell the story When it comes to monitoring water supplies for...

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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...

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Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars

Posted by K R on

Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars

At sites across the midsection of Mars, scientists have found layers of water ice buried mere feet beneath the red planet’s surface. The discovery adds crucial detail to Mars’s geologic history, and it may shape how future humans on Mars get their water. "This is a new window into ground ice on Mars," says Colin Dundas, the U.S. Geological Survey geologist who co-discovered the ice layers. Scientists have long theorized that reserves of water ice are locked underground on Mars. In 2002, the NASA Odyssey mission scanned the planet from orbit and detected signs of shallow ground ice at high...

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‘Glowing’ water in exoplanet’s atmosphere discovered by NASA

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‘Glowing’ water in exoplanet’s atmosphere discovered by NASA

A ‘glowing’ water atmosphere has been detected on an enormous super-hot exoplanet, offering the strongest evidence yet for a stratosphere on a planet outside our solar system. Researchers using data from NASA’s Hubble telescope observed hot water molecules on WASP-121b, a type of exoplanet called a ‘hot Jupiter.’ This is the first time glowing water molecules were observed on an exoplanet – a planet orbiting a star outside our solar system – and indicates a stratosphere on an exoplanet, researchers said. A stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere, in which temperature increases with higher altitudes. On Earth, it lies some...

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Crews race to fix California dam before more rain falls

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Crews race to fix California dam before more rain falls

Catastrophic failures at a dam in California combined with heavy winter storms have forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Although the level of the dam’s lake is falling fast, more rain is forecast. On 7 February, a huge hole was found in the main concrete channel that carries overflow water from the Oroville dam to the Feather river. Engineers diverted this water along an unpaved emergency spillway that hadn’t been used in almost 50 years – but this didn’t work. On 12 February, officials ordered over 188,000 residents of downstream towns to evacuate because the spillway was at...

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