Tag Archives: Research

German Researchers Measure Rainfall by Studying Radio Waves

Conventional approaches to studying rainfall patterns across both large distances and long timeframes suffer from a Goldilocks problem. For example, while a rain gauge may provide comprehensive precipitation data for a specific point on a near-constant basis, accurately capturing the variable nature of rainfall across a watershed may require researchers to deploy too many gauges […]

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Salt Marshes and Seawalls Work Together to Minimize Flood Damages

Salt marshes — coastal wetlands common to northern parts of the globe that flood and drain with the movement of ocean tides — are prized for their ability to protect coastal communities by shrinking and slowing ocean waves. However, according to a recently published study, contemporary and historical data underscore an even more important function […]

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Increasing Dependence on Mountain Meltwater Could Threaten Lowland Agriculture

California’s Central Valley generates an estimated $17 billion in crop sales each year while occupying less than 1% of farmland in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In many southern stretches of the Central Valley, as much as 50% of water currently used for agricultural irrigation originates from the Sierra Nevada mountains, […]

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Study: Beavers Transform Forests into Wetlands Over Many Decades

In urban environments, humans pave over landscapes that would otherwise absorb stormwater. However, it turns out humans are not the only species that disrupts natural hydrological processes as their habitats develop. By cutting trees, digging canals, and building dams, beaver colonies shape their forest dwellings in ways that transform flooding patterns, the local food chain, […]

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Unique Seawall Design Provides Rain-or-Shine Benefits

Building seawalls around high-traffic coastal areas such as piers, boardwalks, and beachfronts often can provide suitable protection from storm surges, but this added security can entail a social cost. In many cases, seawalls obstruct ocean views. Even worse, while seawalls may confine floodwaters to the beach, they also can restrict convenient ocean access by pedestrians […]

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Citizen Scientists Rescue Centuries of U.K. Rainfall Data

This winter, the United Kingdom weathered its rainiest February in at least 150 years of records kept by the U.K. Meteorological Office (Met Office). According to the Met Office, only four months from 1862 until today had higher monthly rainfall totals than February 2020. Comparing U.K. precipitation data across centuries was, until recently, a painstaking […]

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Access Water provides knowledge at your fingertips

Information is more accessible today than ever before, but when searching the internet for an answer that has real consequences for the environment and public health, the quality of that information is just as important as its accessibility. The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) has released a new knowledge platform, Access Water, that offers […]

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Researchers sound alarm about storm effects on lake ecology

In a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology, a team of researchers from 20 countries highlight a gap in scientific knowledge about how stormwater might affect phytoplankton growth and the health of lakes and similar freshwater bodies. Because climatologists expect climate change to cause more intense and frequent storm events, the global […]

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Less snowpack may mean greater floods in western U.S.

In several mountainous and high-latitude regions, one of the major consequences of climate change means that more winter precipitation falls as rain than as snow. The downtick in snowfall and uptick in rainfall is particularly impactful in much of the western U.S., where melting winter mountain snowpack makes a crucial difference for water supplies in […]

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Study: Urbanites value green infrastructure benefits

Because green infrastructure is decentralized by nature, infrastructure managers often depend on participation from community members to ensure these systems can successfully mitigate flooding and provide sought-after co-benefits. This could entail volunteering time and labor to help maintain neighborhood green infrastructure projects or contributing funding to support upkeep activities. According to a new study from […]

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