The Stream, January 22, 2021: Lake Heatwaves To Become More Frequent, Intense, Study Finds


  • A new study breaks ground on the impact of climate change on heatwaves in lakes around the world.
  • Flood warnings continue across the United Kingdom after Storm Christoph brings heavy rain.
  • Heavy rains in northwest Syria threaten the lives and homes of thousands living in displacement camps.
  • Indigenous leaders and environmentalists in the United States urge President Joe Biden to take further action against fossil fuel projects.

A ruling on the Jordan Cove pipeline project receives praise from environmental groups in Oregon.

“Thousands of southern Oregonians have raised their voices to stop this project for years and will continue to until the threat of Jordan Cove LNG is gone for good.” – Hannah Sohl, executive director of Rogue Climate. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that energy company Pembina could not move forward with its proposal for a natural gas pipeline and export terminal. The commission cited the Canadian company’s inability to secure a water permit from the state of Oregon as its reason for the ruling, the Associated Press reports. The ruling received praise from groups who have opposed the Jordan Cove project for almost 15 years.


At Dawn of Biden Administration, Opportunities for Water System

President Joe Biden has made his priorities clear: subduing the pandemic, economic recovery, climate action, and racial equity. Now comes the hard part — converting rhetoric into policy and policy into practice.

Climate has received top-billing within the president’s environmental agenda, but water infrastructure and water systems could also see their status lifted. Some observers are hopeful that the new administration and the Democratic Congress will uncork federal water spending that has been steady but flat in recent years. Before the inauguration, a coalition of more than 200 western irrigation districts and farming groups asked the incoming administration to prioritize water storage, conservation, habitat restoration, reuse, and expanded financing options for water infrastructure.

But others, wary of unfulfilled promises, are more cautious in their pronouncements about a big infrastructure package that would increase federal water spending several times over.

In Case You Missed It:

California Households Owe $1 Billion in Water-Bill Debt – A statewide survey indicates that low-income households and communities of color are most affected by overdue water bills that have climbed during the pandemic, further hurting those who were already in financial stress.

Flint Residents Unimpressed by Snyder Charges Linked to Lead Poisoning – While Flint residents said they’re glad to see criminal charges after years of waiting, anger was the prevailing sentiment Thursday morning as they learned former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

Lake Heatwaves To Become More Frequent, Intense As Climate Change Worsens

A new study in Nature found that periods of extreme warm surface water temperature in lakes may become hotter and longer by the end of the 21st century, reports. For the first time, the study found that heatwaves occur frequently in lakes, which are sensitive to variations in climate. As global warming worsens, lake heatwave periods will only be prolonged. Lake heatwaves could be less intense in deeper lakes, although the authors wrote that some lakes could eventually reach a permanent heatwave state. 

In context: Record Heat in 2016 Broke Lake Temperature Records Too



Five severe flood warnings were still in place in the U.K. on Thursday afternoon after Storm Christoph poured heavy rain across the country. The Guardian reports that many properties were evacuated and around 2,000 properties were affected in Greater Manchester. In Wales, emergency services worked to stop flood water from damaging an industrial estate that plays a major role in manufacturing the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. 


Heavy rains in northwest Syria have caused flooding at displacement camps throughout the region, Al Jazeera reports. One child has been confirmed dead, while the tents of thousands of families have been destroyed or damaged.  The aid group Save the Children has reported that at least 41,200 people were affected by the storm and forecasts are predicting snow and freezing temperatures in the coming days.


After President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists are urging Biden to cancel the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In addition to DAPL, the groups are urging the president to put an end to other fossil fuel projects in order to meet his own climate action goals. The Guardian reports that many of the projects in question were sanctioned without conducting legally mandatory consultations with Native communities and threaten to pollute land and water, contributing to climate change.

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