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High-resolution modeling assesses impact of cities on river ecosystems
August 23, 2017 05:29 PM - DOE / Oak Ridge National Laboratory

New mapping methods developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help urban planners minimize the environmental impacts of cities’ water and energy demands on surrounding stream ecologies.

In an analysis published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an ORNL-led team used high-resolution geospatial modeling to quantify the effects of land, energy, and water infrastructures on the nation’s rivers and streams. 

Septic systems are a major source of emerging contaminants in drinking water
June 27, 2017 06:19 AM - Silent Spring Institute

A new analysis shows that septic systems in the United States routinely discharge pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals, and other potentially hazardous chemicals into the environment. The study, published June 15 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of septic systems as important sources of emerging contaminants, raising health concerns since many of these chemicals, once discharged, end up in groundwater and drinking water supplies.

Known as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), these types of pollutants are frequently detected in U.S. rivers, lakes, and drinking water supplies. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not currently regulate them in drinking water. Many emerging contaminants are hormone disruptors.

Alaska's North Slope Snow-Free Season is Lengthening
August 4, 2017 03:26 PM - University of Colorado at Boulder

On the North Slope of Alaska, snow is melting earlier in the spring and the snow-in date is happening later in the fall, according to a new study by CIRES and NOAA researchers. Atmospheric dynamics and sea ice conditions are behind this lengthening of the snow-free season, the scientists found, and the consequences are far reaching—including birds laying eggs sooner and iced-over rivers flowing earlier.

“The timing of snowmelt and length of the snow-free season significantly impacts weather, the permafrost, and wildlife—in short, the Arctic terrestrial system as a whole,” said Christopher Cox, a scientist with CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA’s Physical Sciences Division in Boulder, Colorado. The study has been accepted for publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Groundwater pumping drying up Great Plains streams, driving fish extinctions
July 12, 2017 05:12 PM - Colorado State University

Farmers in the Great Plains of Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and the panhandle of Texas produce about one-sixth of the world’s grain, and water for these crops comes from the High Plains Aquifer — often known as the Ogallala Aquifer — the single greatest source of groundwater in North America. A team of researchers, including Colorado State University Professor Kurt Fausch and Jeff Falke, a CSU alumnus and an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, have discovered that more than half a century of groundwater pumping from the aquifer has led to long segments of rivers drying up and the collapse of large-stream fishes.

Professor proposes using artificial intelligence to predict aquatic ecosystem health
June 1, 2017 08:26 AM - York University

Lassonde School of Engineering Professor Usman Khan‘s research on the measurement of aquatic ecosystem health has been published in the journal Water.

In the paper, Khan proposes an approach based on artificial intelligence to predict dissolved oxygen in an urban river environment.

Artificial sweeteners in groundwater indicate contamination from septic systems
November 15, 2017 11:30 AM - University of Waterloo

The presence of artificial sweeteners in rural groundwater shows evidence for contamination by local septic system wastewater, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

Climate change challenges the survival of fish across the world
September 13, 2017 04:53 PM - University of Washington

Climate change will force many amphibians, mammals and birds to move to cooler areas outside their normal ranges, provided they can find space and a clear trajectory among our urban developments and growing cities.

University of Saskatchewan, NASA team up on global water survey
August 25, 2017 08:28 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Pardon the pun, but Canada is practically overflowing with freshwater.

And, believe it or not, that abundance causes problems for water researchers.

“Canada is blessed with more freshwater than anywhere else in the world, but there’s no way you can put sensors in to monitor everything,” said Al Pietroniro, executive director of National Hydrological Services, an adjunct professor with the University of Saskatchewan and member of the Centre for Hydrology. “It’s too big.”

Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change
August 4, 2017 02:24 PM - Lancaster University

Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change, according to research published by a Lancaster University-led team.

Remote Amazonian cities more vulnerable to climate change
July 5, 2017 03:47 PM - Lancaster University

Amazonians living in remote cities are more vulnerable to flooding and droughts than more accessible centres, researchers at Lancaster University have discovered.

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