This Week in Water™ airs on community and public radio stations nationwide and is available on podcast networks. Want environmental news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
It’s been half a century since the landmark Clean Water Act was signed into law with the purpose of making U.S. waters fishable and swimmable, but a new study finds that many rivers and lakes are still so contaminated that people can’t safely play in them.
River and stream miles classified as impaired for swimming and water contact recreation. States with asterisks reported useable data only for swimming and other primary water contact recreation impairments, not for secondary water contact recreation, such as kayaking. Ohio is not included because it does not count impairments like the other states. | Credit: Environmental Integrity Project
Ukraine has been called the breadbasket of Europe, supplying much of the world’s wheat and corn as well as sunflower oil. But Russia’s invasion is disrupting trade and that’s exacerbating a global hunger crisis already fueled by the pandemic, supply chain issues, and climate change. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said "The Sword of Damocles hangs over the global economy, especially in the developing world.” He added, “We must do everything possible to avert a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system."
Wheat fields in midsummer (August) in Ukraine, Oblast Lviv 2012 | Credit: Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
Heat waves in the ocean have been increasing. As Mongabay reports, they occur when water temperatures breach a certain threshold and last for at least five days. They can be triggered by various conditions, including human-caused climate change, which is making them more frequent and intense.
As the oceans warm, marine cold spells—a cold snap in the water—are becoming less frequent and less severe, according to a new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters. | Credit: Fengyou Wan/Unsplash
California's coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) trees are amazing. They can grow to nearly 400 feet tall and live for hundreds of years, thanks to tannin-rich heartwood, fire-resistant bark, and pest-resistant leaves. And new research is revealing even more secrets about the tree’s longevity. Redwoods have two different types of leaves that allow them to thrive in both wet and dry parts of their range in California without sacrificing water or food.
A study found that redwood trees have two different leaves that serve different functions. The peripheral leaf, left, focuses on photosynthesis while the axial leaf is devoted to absorbing water. | Credit: Alana Chin/UC Davis