It’s mosquito season, and that means that West Nile virus is back. The Midwest outbreak this summer is the worst in U.S. history, with 50 deaths so far in Texas alone. Fewer people have gotten sick in California, but the disease showed up here earlier than usual. And scientists are concerned that as the climate warms, West Nile and other mosquito-borne illnesses will gain a stronger foothold here.
Despite the state’s push toward renewable energy, most Californians can’t choose solar power at home — perhaps they rent, don’t have roofs with good exposure to the sun, or can’t afford solar panels. But a bill moving through the state legislature may soon provide a way for more people to jump on board the clean energy bandwagon.
Rising seas from warming oceans are generally seen as a threat to the future. But archaeologists are realizing that they also threaten the past. Coastal erosion is destroying Native American sites, including graves and places where people once cooked and camped.
There are more than 1,400 dams in California. When the earliest of them was built, the goals were clear: store water, control floods and generate electricity. Since then, new priorities have been added, such as protecting endangered species, which makes relicensing the dams a very pricey and lengthy process.
This story aired on The California Report on June 19, 2012, the last of a four-part series about the connection between water and energy in California. I also co-wrote two graphic illustrations explaining how they’re connected, and oversaw the production of the multimedia and interactive features for the series.
State and local officials are under increasing pressure to plan for the changes that California will see in the decades ahead with its shifting climate. They need answers about what those changes will look like and mean for the state. Scientists are searching for those answers on several fronts, from marshes to mountaintops, to the bottom of California’s oldest lake.
When Congress created the National Park Service nearly 100 years ago, the goal was to protect places with historic or natural value for future generations. But climate change is throwing a wrench into those plans. Sequoia National Park could be heading toward a future without its signature gigantic trees.
Scientists often wish they had a crystal ball when it comes to climate predictions. But there’s a place to get a sneak peek of changes on the way: on high mountain peaks. There, the climate is shifting faster than it is closer to sea level. We join a team of botanists determined to get to the bottom of issue by going to the top.
This aired on The California Report on 9/16/11. There are more pictures and a post about the GLORIA Survey on the Climate Watch blog.