The Stream, September 1: New Zealand Faces Water Pollution Woes

The Global Rundown

Population growth and increased agricultural activities are polluting New Zealand’s waters. Dam levels in South Africa begin to recover after a year of drought. Researchers experimentally raise temperatures in the Antarctic Ocean, noting dramatic changes in the makeup of organisms in a natural seabed. The United States pledges $91 million in additional humanitarian aid to Ethiopia as it enters its third year of drought. Scientists consider the contribution of climate change to recent extreme storms. The city of Beaumont, Texas loses access to clean water due to floods from Tropical Storm Harvey.

“We see that when those climate models are run in the future, with those higher greenhouse gas concentrations, we see more extreme events of certain types, more heat waves, more heavy rain events and more frequent coastal flooding.” –Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University, in reference to the question of whether climate change has intensified recent mega storms. Horton and other scientists conclude that although it is difficult to determine the effects of climate change on individual storms, a warmer atmosphere will likely lead to more severe weather events. PBS NewsHour

By The Numbers

$654 million Amount of U.S. humanitarian aid donated to Ethiopia in 2017, including a recently-pledged $91 million. The aid has largely been used for food, medical care, and development projects throughout the country, which is in its third year of intense drought. Washington Post

In context: Ethiopia hunger reaches emergency levels

120,000 Number of people living in Beaumont, Texas, who have no access to clean water as of early Thursday. Flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey caused a loss of power at the city’s main pump station as well as a secondary source of well water in a neighboring county. PBS NewsHour

5,000 Number of people in a New Zealand suburb who fell ill with gastrointestinal issues after drinking contaminated water. Population growth and agricultural activity are tainting the quality of New Zealand’s freshwater supply. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

A team of researchers intentionally warmed a seabed in the Antarctic Ocean by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in order to track changes in organism makeup. With a 1°C increase, a single organism species began dominating the community, and a 2°C rise in temperature caused a wide range of growth-rate responses among various species. Based on the findings, researchers concluded that climate change could have a greater effect on polar marine ecosystems than expected. Science Daily

On The Radar

After a year of drought, the water levels in some South African dams are showing signs of improvement. Despite this, water restrictions throughout the country will likely remain for the foreseeable future. Times Live