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12 December 2019

One of Europe’s worst famines likely caused by devastating floods

Europe’s Great Famine of 1315–1317 is considered one of the worst population collapses in the continent’s history. Historical records tell of unrelenting rain accompanied by mass crop failure…Now, new research using tree ring records confirms the historical data, showing the years of the Great Famine were some of Europe’s wettest.

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6 December 2019

Peatlands release more methane when disturbed by roads

Roads built through acidic wetlands may make greenhouse gas emissions from the wetlands spike by damming natural water flow, according to a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.

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20 March 2019

Where do microplastics go in the oceans?

Where do tiny bits of plastic go when they are flushed out to sea? Much gets caught in subtropical ocean gyres, but more microplastic may be reaching Arctic waters than previously appreciated. Watch a simulation of microplastic drift over 12 years in the North Pacific.

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7 January 2019

Colorado’s Lake Dillon is warming rapidly

The surface waters of Lake Dillon, a mountain reservoir that supplies water to the the Denver area, have warmed by nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius) in the last 35 years, which is twice the average warming rate for global lakes. Yet surprisingly, Dillon does not show adverse environmental changes, such as nuisance algal blooms, often associated with warming of lakes.

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15 August 2018

Amazon pirating water from neighboring Rio Orinoco

The Amazon River is slowly stealing a 40,000-square-kilometer (25,000-square-mile) drainage basin from the upper Orinoco River, according to new research suggesting this may not be the first time the world’s largest river has expanded its territory by poaching from a neighbor. The rare conjunction could help researchers understand how river systems evolve and how the Amazon Basin grew to dominate the South American continent.

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1 June 2018

Reconstructing America’s longest water level and instrumented flood record in Boston

By Jan Lathrop Using newly-discovered archival measurements to construct an instrumental record of water levels and storm tides in Boston since 1825, researchers report that local averaged relative sea level rose by nearly a foot (0.28 meters) over the past 200 years, with the greatest increase occurring since 1920. The work also highlights tides and their significant effect on flooding in the city. The evaluation of storm events since 1825 …

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19 May 2018

Prairie Woody Encroachment, Fire Ecology, and Implications for Regional Hydrology

Images of modern prairie burns near Council Bluffs, Kansas have been captured by venerable National Geographic photojournalist Jim Richardson. These fires aimed at maintaining prairie grassland ecology carry on a Native American practice that goes back centuries. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln hosts an online archive of The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in which George Clark, who probably never won a spelling bee, recorded this remarkable river scene …

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16 February 2018

Chemical Cocktails Confound Phosphorus Management

It’s been fifty years since the Canadian government at the urging of the International Joint Commission set aside the Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora, Ontario in 1968 to conduct large-scale experiments in aquatic ecology. There, the young Director named David W. Schindler, who would go on to become a world-renown limnologist, and others conducted experiments with nutrient loading and produce one of the most iconic photos in the field of …

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25 January 2018

New study reveals how icy surface ponds on Himalayan glaciers influence water flow

The flow of water that supports hydro-electric and irrigation infrastructure in the mountain regions of Nepal and India is regulated by hundreds of large icy ponds on the surface of some of the world’s highest glaciers, scientists have revealed.

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24 January 2018

Dust on snow controls springtime river rise in West

A new study has found that dust, not spring warmth, controls the pace of spring snowmelt that feeds the headwaters of the Colorado River.

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14 December 2017

The continental U.S. is experiencing more flooding, and earlier in the year

The frequency of flooding in the continental U.S. is increasing, and seasonality of floods is shifting, according to new research.

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4 December 2017

Stronger storms hamper ability of streams and rivers to clean up pollution

Freshwater streams and rivers naturally clean up some forms of pollution originating from urban and agricultural areas, but increased storm intensity reduces this ability.

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16 November 2017

Groundwater recharge in the American west under climate change

Groundwater recharge in the Western U.S. will change as the climate warms–the dry southern regions will have less and the northern regions will have more, according to new research.

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16 October 2017

Waves in lakes make waves in the Earth

Scientists at the University of Utah report that small seismic signals emanating from lakes can aid science. As a record of wave motion in a lake, they can reveal when a lake freezes over and when it thaws. And as a small, constant source of seismic energy in the surrounding earth, lake microseisms can shine a light on the geology surrounding a lake.

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The missing mass — what is causing a geoid low in the Indian Ocean?

In a recent study, scientists explored the reasons behind the existence of the Indian Ocean Geoid Low, a point of low gravity found just south of the Indian peninsula.

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8 September 2017

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Ag Programs Under Review

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) has received a two-year $750,000 grant to evaluate the effectiveness of money spent on farm conservation programs by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). In addition to the GLC, Ohio State University and Michigan State University will play a role in the evaluation process. Earlier this year, the Trump Administration proposed to end funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and National Sea Grant programs. …

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7 September 2017

Increases in wildfire-caused erosion could impact water supply and quality in the West

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study.

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17 May 2017

Researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California’s Central Valley

A new study from researchers at UCLA and the University of Houston reveals estimates of significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

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31 March 2017

Wetlands and Flood Mitigation: The 10 Percent Solution

Following the Great Flood of 1993, an official report called for more research to find ways to prevent flood devastation, apparently unaware the problem had been mostly solved, conceptually over a decade earlier. But taking action through the implementation of a national wetland restoration program has faced intractable political and economic obstacles.

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18 February 2017

Keep Your Shirt On, Save Some Coral?

This is not great news, especially for those of us who like to be out in the sun but get really bad sunburns. As reported by Nature and Scientific American, Hawaii state senator Will Espero has introduced a bill to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that may pose risks to us, such as endocrine disruption, as well as to coral. The Environmental Working Group maintains lists of …

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