Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dry threat

El Niño rains added fuel to the fire season, experts say

Dying trees are shown last year off Highway 180 near Snowline Lodge. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA / Fresno Bee

Fresno Bee

Los Angeles Times

Thanks to El Niño rains and a fifth year of drought, experts say, California’s landscape has provided enough water to spring up new vegetation to ignite while swaths of forest continued to dry out, priming them to burn and creating a dangerous mix that state and federal firefighters will have to contend with this year. Much of the central and southern Sierra Nevada remain in extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

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Drought helps predict climate's effect on species

UC Santa Cruz

A new study documenting the negative effects of drought on an endangered lizard in the San Joaquin Desert provides a glimpse into the potential effects of future droughts expected in California as a result of climate change. The findings may also provide guidance on how to buffer these negative effects to avoid species extinctions.

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At Salton Sea, dreaming big on geothermal power

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Last month, three men stood on Red Hill by the southern shore of the Salton Sea, admiring the geothermal power plants belching steam in the distance. The hill was once an island, but the water has long since receded, leaving a 100-foot-high pile of mud. The men had come from Australia to stand on that desolate hill. They weren't there for the mud, though, or for the water.

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