The Stream, October 6: Weak La Niña Weather Pattern Could Bring Droughts, Floods

The Global Rundown

A weak La Niña pattern is possible in the final quarter of 2017, which could bring an increase in droughts and floods. China is unlikely to meet its year-end air quality targets as pollution improvements stall. Excess sewer water overflows into the water near Niagara Falls for the second time in two months. Soil has the potential to slow global warming by trapping large amounts of carbon dioxide, researchers find. Sri Lanka faces mounting food security issues as drought ruins another harvest.

“There is no work. Everyone, big or small, has lost out to the drought.” –Newton Gunathileka, a resident of Periyakulam village, Sri Lanka, in reference to the devastating effects of the country’s ongoing dry spell. Rains have been meager over the past year, and farmers such as Gunathileka are facing their second failed harvest. Voice of America

By The Numbers

50 to 55 percent Probability that a weak La Niña weather pattern may develop in the final quarter of this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization. If it occurs, La Niña could impact rainfall across the globe, potentially bringing both floods and droughts. Reuters

$50,000 Amount that New York state fined the Niagara Falls Water Board after excess sewer water overflowed into the Niagara River for the second time this year. The first spill occurred two months ago, prompting tourists to report black-colored water near Niagara Falls. Local officials claimed that outdated equipment was responsible for the overflows. ABC News

Science, Studies, And Reports

Soil may have the ability to trap much higher levels of carbon dioxide than previously realized, according to researchers from Stanford University. Proper soil management, through methods such as reduced tillage, year-round livestock forage, and composting could increase soil’s carbon storage, which would help “significantly” offset future carbon emissions. Science Daily

On The Radar

China’s environmental protection minister announced that the country will likely struggle to meet its 2017 air quality goals. In some areas of the country, air quality improvement has stalled or worsened. China plans to close extra factories and enforce bigger emission cuts in upcoming months. Reuters