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New scale helps meteorologists measure positives and negatives of atmospheric river storms

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are a newly understood phenomenon, officially defined by the American Meteorological Society (AMS; Boston) just 2 years ago. ARs – narrow, fast-moving bands of highly concentrated atmospheric water vapor that commonly stretch hundreds of miles in length – often result in severe rain or snow storms when that vapor makes landfall. On […]

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Passing planes pull added precipitation from clouds

From releasing greenhouse gases while in the air to discharging fuels, lubricants, and other potentially toxic chemicals before takeoff, countless studies have determined that air travel has an undeniable effect on the environment. Now, a newly published study, led by University of Helsinki (Finland) researchers, finds that planes flying above clouds during precipitation events can […]

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Researchers read tea leaves to study precipitation across millennia

The 12-year “Millennium Drought” that parched parts of Australia beginning in the late 1990s often is considered the most severe drought ever experienced by the island nation. But according to results from a first-of-its-kind survey by University of Adelaide (Australia) researchers, the Millennium Drought was far from unique. New evidence, obtained by studying preserved tea […]

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Denmark demonstrates footprint-free stormwater treatment method

The Danish island of Amager, located just east of Copenhagen, is the testing ground for an innovative stormwater treatment technology called dual porosity filtration (DPF). Early results from a demonstration DPF facility recently constructed on the island’s water-conscious Ørestad district have proven the technology’s ability to treat up to 110 L (30 gal) of urban, […]

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Record-breaking summer rainfall undermines Chesapeake Bay recovery efforts

Despite slight improvements to the Chesapeake Bay’s dissolved oxygen concentration, underwater grass growth, and shoreside green spaces during the last 2 years, scientists monitoring the largest estuary in the U.S. graded the bay’s overall health as a D+ in their 2018 State of the Bay Report. The assessment, published every other year by the Chesapeake […]

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Green infrastructure limits flood risk, say insurers

A new Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC; Toronto, Ontario) report urges communities to consider green infrastructure to limit flood risk. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto, and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty insurance market in Canada. The report, Combatting Canada’s Rising Flood […]

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U.S. EPA seeks input on regulatory approach for managing excess flows

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host three public listening sessions to seek input on a rulemaking effort aimed at providing certainty surrounding the management of peak wet weather flows at certain municipal wastewater treatment plants. “EPA is taking action to provide municipalities with sought-after regulatory certainty so that facilities can optimize wastewater treatment […]

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First-ever NMSA State of Stormwater report highlights common challenges for U.S. MS4 permittees

The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA; Alexandria, Va.), a group of municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permittees from around the U.S., released its first annual state-by-state review of MS4 program updates, challenges, and needs on Aug. 13. The 2018 NMSA State of Stormwater report analyzes the effectiveness of MS4 programs in 14 states and […]

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China embarks on massive stormwater projects to plan for future water risks

China is midway through its decades-long South—North Water Transfer Project, a massive system of aqueducts intended to convey 44.8 billion m3 (11.8 trillion gal) of fresh water each year from China’s rural, rainy south to its drier and more urbanized north. However, the country also is exploring far-reaching ways to use stormwater as the basis […]

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Figure 1 from the 2018 publication (originally Figure 2.1 in the 2013 report) presents trends in different types of natural catastrophes worldwide from 1980 to 2016. The updated data shows a continuation of the trends previously observed whereby climate-related extreme events are rising, with a particularly sharp increase in hydrological events. (Data from MunichRE Natcatservice/EASAC)

New data updates earlier findings on extreme weather events

The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC; Halle, Germany) recently released a publication that updates a previous 2013 EASAC report with new data showing that extreme weather events have become more frequent during the past 36 years. The new findings — which confirm the conclusions in the original report and extend the previous analysis — […]

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