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L.A. Times - Environment

The latest news from the Los Angeles Times on science and environmental science.

Last Build Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2016 23:15:35 -0800

Copyright: ©2016 Los Angeles Times

Fall snow, rains have 'satisfied the drought debt' in Northern Sierra Nevada, climatologist says

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 15:30:00 PST

At Heavenly Ski Resort, thousands of feet up in the northern Sierra Nevada, the heavy snowfall around Lake Tahoe forced the lodge to close its small roller coaster due to poor visibility this week.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, concerns over dry conditions were quickly dispatched when...


Southern California air board appoints executive, declines to reconsider beach bonfire rules

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 14:00:00 PST

Southern California’s air quality board formally appointed former industry consultant Wayne Nastri as executive officer Friday in a vote of confidence in the powerful agency’s new leadership.

Nastri was hired as interim head of the South Coast Air Quality Management District eight months ago after...


Rain finally comes to fire-ravaged Tennessee - along with tornadoes, mudslides and the threat of floods

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:40:00 PST

At long last, rain fell on the scorched Appalachian town of Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Wednesday after savage wildfires blazed across eastern Tennessee, killing seven people, forcing thousands to evacuate and burning hundreds of homes to the ground.

Yet even as rainstorms helped firefighters douse the...


Thanks to heavy rains, state may increase water delivery allocations

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 13:50:00 PST

Dozens of water agencies in drought-weary California may receive only 20% of their requested deliveries in 2017, state officials said Monday.

But the Department of Water Resources’ initial allocation forecast is double what was announced a year ago.

Officials said winter storms in coming months...


Northern Sierra Nevada sees wettest fall in 30 years

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:35:00 PST

California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountain range, home to some of the state’s largest reservoirs, had the wettest first two months of the water year since 1984, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

Between October and November, the eight measuring stations along the northern range received...


Trump seems ready to fight the world on climate change. But he's likely to meet resistance

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 15:15:00 PST

Donald Trump is branded with all manner of unflattering labels, but one that hasn’t seemed to much bother him is “climate pariah.”

The president-elect is unabashed in his disdain for America’s global warming policy. He has placed a staunch climate-change doubter and antagonist of mainstream science...


Chinook salmon spawning season improves

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 06:00:00 PST

The picture has brightened slightly for endangered winter-run Chinook salmon after two disastrous spawning seasons.

The number of juveniles migrating downstream this fall is roughly twice what it was last year, thanks to better temperature conditions in the Sacramento River.

“We’re declaring success...


Climate change is real: Just ask the Pentagon

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 03:00:00 PST

A bitter wind blew across Sewell’s Point on a recent afternoon as ocean waves crashed against a concrete pier where two black attack submarines were tied up for the day.

Pier 3 was taking the last hits of a severe storm that had roared ashore a few days before. It flooded four buildings, tore up...


La Niña has arrived, with little rain in store for Southern California

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 14:50:00 PST

La Niña has officially arrived, with mixed messages for California.

If the weather phenomenon behaves as expected, the Pacific Northwest and far Northern California will enjoy a wetter than normal winter, while the southern swath of the state will remain dry.

Federal climate scientists on Thursday...


Will Paris climate accord and other environmental pacts survive a Trump presidency?

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 03:00:00 PST

When Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January, he appears poised to become the only world leader who questions whether climate change is real.

The Republican president-elect has called climate change a hoax and said he would “cancel” the United States’ participation in the historic Paris...


It's not just California. The Deep South is also reeling from a drought

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 03:00:00 PST

An unusual haze, much thicker than traffic smog, hung over Atlanta on Wednesday.

It was smoke, blown in from wildfires in the mountains of northern Georgia, where hundreds of firefighters were battling blazes nourished by a severe drought gripping the nation’s Southeast.

How bad is the drought?...


Feds say 25% of California is drought-free, but state experts are still cautious

Thu, 3 Nov 2016 18:40:00 PDT

A rainy October in Northern California has lifted about a quarter of the state out of drought conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday.

It’s the rosiest picture released by federal officials since the spring of 2013, when about 64% of the state was considered to be in “moderate drought”...


Water conservation improved in September but is still worse than in 2015

Tue, 1 Nov 2016 14:45:00 PDT

Californians halted a three-month slide in water conservation in September, saving enough to hearten state regulators who previously had expressed alarm about possible drought fatigue.

Residents and businesses cut their water consumption by 18.3% in September compared with the same month in 2013....


The drought eased up, and these Californians turned on the spigot

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:05:00 PDT

The San Juan Water District showed the rest of California how to save water when the state needed the savings most. The supplier for eastern Sacramento and southern Placer counties cut consumption 41% from 2013 levels during the summer of 2015 - the height of a years-long drought.  District residents...(image)

The drought eased up, and these Californians turned on the spigot

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:05:00 PDT

TThe San Juan Water District showed the rest of California how to save water when the state needed the savings most.

The supplier for eastern Sacramento and southern Placer counties cut consumption 41% from 2013 levels during the summer of 2015 — the height of a years-long drought. 

District residents...


Northern California is seeing two or three times more rain than normal. So why is Southern California so dry?

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 04:00:00 PDT

As the state enters its sixth year of drought, Northern California is seeing some significant relief thanks to a series of powerful storms, while Southern California remains mired in record dry conditions.

Despite a rainstorm set to hit the Southland this week, the region continues to face an unprecedented...


Southland's major water agency is rebuilding depleted regional storage

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:20:00 PDT

The Southland’s biggest water agency painted a surprisingly upbeat picture Monday of the region’s water supplies.

Although the Southland remains stuck in a severe drought, officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California say they are rebuilding depleted storage reserves with...


A governor, a fight and California's public pensions

Sat, 8 Oct 2016 05:00:00 PDT

Good morning. It is Saturday, Oct. 8. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


Police shootings: The Los Angeles Police Commission is considering sweeping changes to the way the Police Department handles officer-involved shootings. The civilian panel is expected to consider...


Weaker water conservation numbers prompt fears that California is going back to its old bad habits

Wed, 5 Oct 2016 14:30:00 PDT

Californians’ water conservation slipped for the third consecutive month in August, prompting new alarm from regulators about whether relaxed water restrictions may be causing residents to revert to old habits as the state enters its sixth year of severe drought.

The trend raises new questions...


One word to describe the last water year? Dry

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:30:00 PDT

There were high hopes going into water year 2016.

To hear some forecasters and scientists tell it, El Niño was coming to save California. With a little luck and a lot of rain, the drought might finally recede in its fifth year — or at least loosen its grip on the state.

The weather phenomenon did...


Zika didn't drive her from Miami Beach - but questions about the pesticide being used to stop it did

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:20:00 PDT

Zika’s arrival in Miami Beach didn’t drive away Miriam Haskell, who is pregnant with her first child. But her questions about one of the chemicals being used to combat the mosquitoes that are spreading the virus did.

Last week, the 36-year-old public interest lawyer packed up and flew to Atlanta,...


SoCal air quality regulators mulling hike in vehicle registration fees for smog reduction

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 20:00:00 PDT

Air quality regulators are considering seeking an increase in vehicle registration fees for millions of Southern California drivers to help pay for smog reduction programs.

The idea, though still in preliminary stages, would be one component of a funding proposal under development by the South...


Hanging on in Navajo Nation: First the water turned orange, then the air went bad

Thu, 8 Sep 2016 10:40:00 PDT

A year ago, the people of Shiprock watched their crops shrivel as a week without water stretched into a month, and then a whole lost season.

Bertha Etsitty’s watermelon vines curled and stiffened, even as her grandchildren emptied their water bottles on the leaves in a failed bid to keep the patch...


Nearly 50 million children uprooted: A global crisis by the numbers

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 19:15:00 PDT

The haunting images of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi’s body washed up on a Turkish beach, and of Omran Daqneesh’s bloodied and bewildered face after his home was destroyed in Aleppo, have become emblems of the heavy toll inflicted by war and displacement on the world’s children.

But the sheer magnitude...


California's water conservation dips in July - are eased rules to blame?

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 14:30:00 PDT

Urban water conservation across California dipped slightly during the second month that less stringent conservation requirements have been in place, state regulators said Wednesday.

More alarming to some, the 20% water-use reduction in July, compared with the same month in 2013, also marked a sharp...