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24 July 2017

Humanitarian groundwater projects; notes on motivations from the academic world

Globally, the need for regional hydrologic humanitarian efforts is obvious. Even today, 1,000 children die due to diarrhoeal diseases on a daily basis.

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9 July 2017

Of Karst! – short episodes about karst

Episode 2: Dissolving rock? (or, how karst evolves). This episode will now deal with the processes that create such amazing surface and subsurface landforms. The widely used term “karstification” refers to the chemical weathering of easily soluble rock composed of carbonate rock or gypsum.

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27 June 2017

How prehistoric water pit stops may have driven human evolution

Post by Matthew Robert Bennett, Bournemouth University and Mark O Cuthbert, Cardiff University Our ancient ancestors seem to have survived some pretty harsh arid spells in East Africa’s Rift Valley over five million years. Quite how they kept going has long been a mystery, given the lack of water to drink. Now, new research shows that they may have been able to survive on a small networks of springs. The …

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26 June 2017

What is the difference between ‘water withdrawal’ and ‘water consumption’, and why do we need to know?

Last week I had to teach my first class in global hydrology. When I showed the global trend on increasing demands and withdrawals I needed to explain the different terms as sometimes the term “water use” gets, well, misused.

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12 April 2017

Musical groundwater?

Post by Kevin Befus, University of Wyoming I don’t mean to get your hopes up, but keep them up there. I’m not talking about recording the sonorific excitement that is groundwater flow. And, I’m not talking about the squeak of a pump handle, the gurgling of a spring, the grumble of a generator, or the roar of a drill rig. Rather, I want to share with you some songs that …

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7 April 2017

Of Karst! – short episodes about karst

Writing my first contribution to the Water Underground blog I want to take advantage of this less formal environment. I will introduce karst as I and many others around the world see it. As the most beautiful environment to explore and study.

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5 April 2017

Research links decline in hemlock forests to changes in water resources

An insect infestation killing hemlock trees in New England is having a significant impact on essential water supplies in one of the nation’s most populous regions, a new study finds. The study is the first to show an increase in water yield, the amount of water reaching streams and rivers, resulting from forest damage caused by an insect pest called the hemlock woolly adelgid.

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30 March 2017

Research mini-conference in fourth year groundwater class

Fourth year and graduate students led a fun mini-conference during class in Groundwater Hydrology (CIVE 445, Civil Engineering at University of Victoria) yesterday. Local consulting and government hydrogeologists joined, making the students both nervous and excited to be presenting to professionals with up to forty years of groundwater experience.

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22 March 2017

Happy world water day from water underground!

It’s World Water Day.

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24 February 2017

(Geo)science Matters: Snow surveys aren’t just for TV

Everyone (in California, at least) has seen those clips that get run every winter of the snow surveys: people walking out into a white-blanketed meadow to shove a pole into the snow and record the depth. Or, in the case of the 2015 broadcast, walking out onto muddy grass and gesturing sadly at a lack of snow in which to do this. It’s a good photo op, but the broadcasts rarely follow up with much of the science behind the survey.

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9 January 2017

Crop kites

Post by WaterUnderground contributor Mikhail Smilovic. Mikhail is a PhD  candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at McGill University, in Quebec. Crops use water for photosynthesis, absorbing nutrients, and transpiration, or the plant-equivalent of sweating. A crop may experience water-stress if the soil surrounding the roots is not adequately wet, and this stress will affect the crop differently depending on the crop’s stage of growth. Irrigation is the watering of …

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15 December 2016

Deposits discovered in Monterey Canyon’s mouth may cause marine landslides, study finds

Researchers have discovered a large concentration of sediment deposits at the end of Monterey Canyon, an underwater chasm beneath Monterey Bay, California. The sediment deposits are relatively young and may be more likely to catalyze underwater landslides than other sections of the canyon, according to the researchers who presented their discovery at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

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30 November 2016

Permafrost loss dramatically changes Yukon River chemistry

Permafrost loss due to a warming Alaska is leading to changes in the chemistry of the Yukon River Basin with potential global climate implications. This is the first time a Yukon River study has been able to use long-term continuous water chemistry data to document hydrological changes over such an enormous geographic area and long time span.

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Little mine in Big Sur: Perpetuating mercury contamination in California’s Central Coast

Wildfires can perpetuate mercury contamination by releasing it from soil and plants and spreading it through smoke and ash. It doesn’t take much heat to convert mercury to a gas.

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11 October 2016

Large precipitation events critical in replenishing groundwater resources

Large precipitation events that occur about every 10 years are a critical source of recharge for replenishing groundwater resources, according to a new study. Groundwater is a vital source of water in the western United States and will be increasingly important with continued population growth and climate variability. Understanding the role of these large recharge events in replenishing aquifers and sustaining water supplies is crucial for long-term groundwater management.

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30 August 2016

The demise of the Maya civilization: water shortage can destroy cultures

Something really drastic must have happened to the ancient Maya at the end of the Classic Period in the 9th Century. Within a short period of time, this advanced civilization in Central America went from flourishing to collapsing – the population dwindling rapidly and monumental stone structures, like the ones built at Yucatán, were no longer being constructed. The reason for this demise remains the subject of debate even today. Now, researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) may have found the explanation: the irrigation technology that served the Mayans well during periods of drought may have actually made their society more vulnerable to major catastrophes.

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7 July 2016

Future astronauts might not be able to use water on Mars, study suggests

Last year, scientists made a splash with the news that dark streaks on the Martian surface were signs of flowing liquid water. So far, they have been unable to determine where the water is coming from, but a new study uses recently acquired data of a large canyon system on Mars to eliminate some of the possibilities.

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22 June 2016

It is what it is – searching for symbiosis

Andreas Novotny thought he would find Hemiaulus here. He has not. “It is what it is, which is fine,” he says. “What we need to do is figure out why.” Andreas is a PhD. student and his research focuses in the symbiotic relationship between a kind of plankton, a Diatom called Rhizosolenia, and a Nitrogen-fixing Cyanobacteria, called Richelia.

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2 June 2016

In desert suburb, homes in homeowners’ associations use less water, study finds

A new study finds that in a Phoenix suburb, homeowners’ associations are good for water conservation. According to the study, homes in HOAs in Goodyear, Arizona use up to 17,000 fewer liters of water (4490 gallons) in the peak month of July compared to their non-HOA counterparts, roughly the amount needed to fill eleven hot tubs.

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20 April 2016

Asian irrigation influences East African rain

Irrigation from agriculture can directly influence climate thousands of kilometers away and even leap across continents, new research finds. Up to 40 percent of the rain in some regions of East Africa can be attributed to irrigation used in agriculture in Asia, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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