Water flows into a canal that feeds farms in Casa Grande, Ariz.
AP Photo/Darryl Webb
A long-expected federal drought declaration underlines how serious the Colorado River water shortage has become for Western states.
African Americans were used as slave labour in California and other western US territories during the 1850s.
California State Library
If you thought slavery in the US was confined to southern states, think again.
The Cedar Creek Fire burns in Washington’s Methow Valley in late July 2021.
More than 40 fire scientists and forest ecologists in the US and Canada teamed up to investigate why wildfires are getting more extreme. Climate change is part of the problem, but there’s more.
There’s nothing inherently male about playing video games. Videogame culture, on the other hand, is decidedly anti-female.
Sexual harassment and discrimination in gaming and tech is not inevitable or permanent, write experts in the field. The solutions are positive community standards and women in power.
In high alpine terrain, sun and dry air can turn snow straight into water vapor.
As rivers run dry in the Rocky Mountains and the West, it’s easy to wonder where all the snow you see on mountain peaks goes. Some of it ends up in the air, but researchers aren’t sure how much.
Wildfires filled Seattle with smoke in September 2020.
Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images
New research found that smoke from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, carried high concentrations of lead. An environmental toxicologist explains what else you’re breathing and how to stay safe.
Equinor’s Hywind Scotland became the world’s first floating wind farm in 2017.
Øyvind Gravås/Woldcam via Equinor
Some of the most powerful offshore wind is over water too deep for a standard wind turbine. Engineers found a way around the problem.
The entrance to Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.
‘Local, organic, sustainable’ are common buzzwords on US restaurant menus now, but it wasn’t always that way. Alice Waters and her restaurant, Chez Panisse, helped put them there.
Juniper trees, common in Arizona’s Prescott National Forest, have been dying with the drought.
Benjamin Roe/USDA Forest Service via AP
Without enough water, trees can develop embolisms, similar to blockages in human blood vessels, and they’re more likely to die from drought or fires.
Satellites can quickly detect and monitor wildfires from space, like this 2017 fire that encroached on Ventura, California.
NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens
Satellites can already spot a new fire within minutes, but the information they beam back to Earth isn’t getting to everyone who needs it or used as well as it could be.
Hundreds of active oil wells are hiding in plain sight across the Los Angeles area.
David McNew/Getty Images
Photos from the early 1900s show LA’s forests of oil derricks. Hundreds of wells are still pumping, and new research finds people living nearby are struggling with breathing problems.
An orchard near Kettleman City in California’s San Joaquin Valley on April 2, 2021.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
The US has one of the highest groundwater use rates in the world. When wells run dry, households may opt to conserve water, find new sources or sell and move.
The California Aqueduct, which carries water more than 400 miles south from the Sierra Nevada, splits as it enters Southern California at the border of Kern and Los Angeles counties.
Installing solar panels over California’s 4,000 miles of canals could generate less expensive, renewable energy, save water, fight climate change – and offer a solution for the thirsty American West.
Aerial view of Lake Powell on the Colorado River along the Arizona-Utah border.
AP Photo/John Antczak
The Supreme Court recently dealt defeat to Florida in its 20-year legal battle with Georgia over river water. Other interstate water contests loom, but there are no sure winners in these lawsuits.
Futures won’t affect whether there’s water in the hose.
The world’s first futures market for water launched in California in December. Two commodities experts explain how it works, what the potential problems are and why there’s no reason to freak out.
Giant kelp (
Macrocystis pyrifera) is a potential energy crop.
Linking Tourism & Conservation/Flickr
April 1, 2021
Diane Kim, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Ignacio Navarrete, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Jessica Dutton, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Making biofuels from crops grown on land poses trade-offs between food and fuel. A new study looks offshore.
People shop at a fruit and vegetable stand in Kips Bay, New York City, on July 10, 2020.
Noam Galai/Getty Images
Cities have long resisted the public demand for street food vendors, but the pandemic may reverse those restrictions for good.
Icicles on a bush in downtown Houston, Feb. 15, 2021.
Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images
Heat waves, droughts and deep freezes can all strain the electric grid, leading utilities to impose rolling blackouts. Climate change is likely to make these events more common.
A used car superstore in Colma, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Electric cars get a lot of hype, but what really matters for the climate are excess emissions from the many millions of gasoline vehicles still sold each year.
Hallways busy with COVID-19 patients have become temporary patient holding areas in overcrowded hospitals.
Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
States and hospitals are starting to declare ‘crisis standards of care’ as the pandemic floods their ERs. The orders have consequences – both good and bad, as a medical ethicist explains.