The Stream, January 4: California Residents Fear Drought after a Dry Start to the State’s Water Year

The Global Rundown

Heavy snowfall in Antarctica could help counter rising sea levels. Storm Eleanor causes flooding and blackouts along the west coast of Ireland. The first several months of California’s water year have been ‘exceptionally dry,’ raising fears of another drought.  Researchers discover a new desalination technique that requires less energy than other methods. Global warming could prompt a hazardous increase in worldwide humidity, scientists claim.

“The conditions we’re talking about basically never occur now–people in most places have never experienced them.” –Ethan Coffel, lead author of a Columbia University study that explores possible increases in humidity due to global warming. The study found that days with extremely high heat and humidity could become 100 to 250 times more likely in the tropics by 2080. These “wet bulb” temperatures would intensify heatwaves and make working outside nearly impossible. Yale Environment 360

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By The Numbers

27,000 Number of homes and businesses without power after Storm Eleanor brought heavy rains and high winds to Ireland’s west coast. Many buildings also suffered flood damage. Reuters  

0.12 inches Amount of rain that the city of Los Angeles, California, has received since the start of the water year on October 1, making it the fourth driest start to a water year on record. The dry conditions are raising concerns about another possible drought in the state. Los Angeles Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers at Penn State University have introduced a new desalination technique which uses less energy that alternative methods. The technology, which is called battery electrode deionization (BDI), lowers the voltage required to complete the process of removing salt from water. Science Daily

On The Radar

A large swath of eastern Antarctica has experienced heavy snowfall in recent years, a trend that could help counteract rising sea levels if the snowfall continues or becomes more widespread. Sustained heavy snowfall would offset long-term ice loss, mitigating an extreme increase in sea levels. The Washington Post