Droughts in Somalia. Water rationing in Rome. Flooding in Jakarta and Harvey-battered Houston. It doesn’t take a hydrologist to realize that there is a growing global water crisis.
Each August, water experts, industry innovators, and researchers gather in Stockholm for World Water Week to tackle the planet’s most pressing water issues. Read more
Many people point to renewable energy as the greatest threat facing fossil fuel power plants. New WRI research finds that the real threat may be water.
When we overlaid areas of current water scarcity with existing power plant infrastructure, we found that 47 percent of the world’s thermal power plant capacity—mostly coal, natural gas and nuclear—and 11 percent of hydroelectric capacity are located in highly water-stressed areas. That’s a problem because both thermal and hydroelectric power are highly dependent on water to produce electricity. Read more
Underneath the salty waters of the North Atlantic ocean, geologists have discovered a giant aquifer of freshwater, hidden from view just off the US coast.
While the vast size of this massive cache is surprising, it’s not entirely unexpected. Signals of the water first showed up in the 1970s, but until now, nobody suspected that this huge reservoir trapped in porous rock might run almost the entire length of the US Northeast.
“We knew there was freshwater down there in isolated places, but we did not know the extent or geometry,” says marine geologist Chloe Gustafson from Columbia University.
In 2015, some of Gustafson’s fellow researchers conducted a pilot study off the coast of New Jersey and the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard. Read more
It’s a textbook moment centuries in the making: more than 200 years after scientists started investigating how water molecules conduct electricity, a team has finally witnessed it happening first-hand.
It’s no surprise that most naturally ocurring water conducts electricity incredibly well – that’s a fact most of us have been taught since primary school. But despite how fundamental the process is, no one had been able to figure out how it actually happens on the atomic level.
“This fundamental process in chemistry and biology has eluded a firm explanation,” said one of the team, Anne McCoy from the University of Washington. “And now we have the missing piece that gives us the bigger picture: how protons essentially ‘move’ through water.” Read more
A team of researchers at the University of California says that there could be way more ice water on the surface of the Moon than previously believed – and that could be a huge deal for future missions to the Moon.
By comparing shaded areas that are protected from the Sun on the surface of Mercury with similar shadowed craters on the Moon, they concluded that ice deposits, sometimes several meters thick, could survive inside shadowed craters near the Moon’s south pole.
Since they’re shielded from the Sun and endure temperatures as low as -233 Celsius at night, the interiors of those craters could harbor plenty of ice, according to the researchers. Their research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Monday. Read more