Jul 30, 2009 | 1
Stringent water restrictions in Los Angeles, recently enacted in the face of impending shortages, appear to be working. The city's utility reports that June demand dropped by 11 percent from last year's levels to a 32-year low for the month.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which serves approximately four million residents, instituted mandatory restrictions at the start of June, limiting sprinkler use to two days a week and prohibiting watering of any kind during the middle of the day, among other measures.
Peter Gleick, president of the nonprofit Pacific Institute, hailed the drop as a victory on his blog for the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is precisely what we've been arguing for years and continue to argue [for]," Gleick wrote.
Feb 9, 2009 | 3
At least 135 people have died and authorities say that more than 200 may have perished in wildfires that have been raging in southern Australia since Saturday. The fires in Victoria and New South Wales have destroyed more than 750 homes and charred 815,000 acres (330,000 hectares), according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Associated Press reports that more than a dozen of the 400 blazes ignited over the weekend are still burning; arson is suspected.
"What do you say about anyone like that?" Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Australian TV, speaking of the suspected arsonists. "There's no words to describe it, other than it's mass murder."
Jan 20, 2009 | 2
High flying satellites, which have already proved their mettle in delivering television programs, cell phone calls and views of our neighborhoods (thank you, Google Earth), can also locate potable water in countries such as Niger where droughts have made it scarce, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced this week.
The agency said satellites had successfully pinpointed 90 locations in western Niger where, based on satellite images taken between 1993 and 2007, drinkable surface water was likely to be; the Regional Center of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control (AGRHYMET) confirmed the satellites were right in all cases. AGRHYMET is a Niger-based agency formed in 1974 to gather information about food availability and the management of water and other natural resources in the Sahel, the region in Western Africa that forms the border between the Sahara desert to the north and the less arid forests to the south.
Dec 8, 2008 | 1
Would-be emperors be warned: your empire is likely to crumble if the rains fail. Climate's role in the rise and fall of China's imperial dynasties has been established by the record in an ancient stalagmite, and now a similar record from a cave near Jerusalem adds climate change to the list of woes that forced a Roman and Byzantine retreat from the region by A.D. 700.
"Whether this is what weakened the Byzantines or not isn't known, but it is an interesting correlation," geologist John Valley at the University of Wisconsin–Madison said in a statement about the record found in a stalagmite from Soreq Cave. "These things were certainly going on at the same time that those historic changes occurred."
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