Snowfall shift threatens water supply for billions

Climate change-induced changes in snowfall patterns could imperil two billion people who rely on melting snow for their water supply — and developing countries must work to protect citizens from these variations, researchers say.

Out of 421 drainage basins studied in the northern hemisphere, a study published on 12 November identified 32, serving nearly 1.45 billion people, which are most sensitive to these changes because of their high reliance on snowmelt. In these regions, precipitation falling as rain instead of snow due to climate change is likely to decrease the volume of snowpacks, which are natural reservoirs of freshwater.

These snow-sensitive basins include for example the Indus river basin, which is shared between Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan, says the paper published in Environmental Research Letters. Read more

What’s Really in the Well?

YOU’VE found the perfect summer cottage in the country. You can bicycle into town. There are a couple of good restaurants. The shops are cute, and your friends are eager to visit. The house passed the usual presale inspection, the closing was a snap, and now you’re moving in and reaching for the kitchen tap to get a glass of water. Read more

When Water Balloons Hit a Bed of Nails and Don’t Pop

Is it possible to bounce a water balloon off a bed of nails? Surprisingly, yes.

In a study published this month in The European Journal of Physics, scientists dropped water balloons on a grid of 256 nails and filmed them bouncing off in slow motion.

What’s the point, you ask? In this GIF science lesson, we learn about the pancake bounce effect and how making tiny things giant can sometimes make them easier to comprehend.

Researchers demonstrated in a slow-motion recording how a water balloon hitting a bed of nails responded with a “pancake bounce.” The video pauses at the moment the balloon achieves the pancake-like state. Moevius, et al.

Tina Hecksher, a physicist at Roskilde University in Denmark assigned this task as a project for some of her students after learning how water droplets bounced off super-water-repelling surfaces in a 2014 study by Julia Yeomans, a physicist at the University of Oxford, and her colleagues. Read more

Surface Water

Goulburn-Murray Water is responsible for all Victorian water ways and bodies in its region north of the Great Divide covering approximately 68,000 square kilometres. The surface water managed includes an extensive network of streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, weirs and reservoirs, and also irrigation canals. Surface water is managed in two ways, in unregulated systems and regulated systems.  Read more

Warm Ocean Water Takes Toll on Antarctica’s Glaciers

It has become increasingly clear in recent years that ocean waters are eating away at the undersides of the ice shelves that fringe Antarctica and buttress its many glaciers. A new study released Tuesday has found that hundreds of feet of ice have been lost from the bottoms of a few of these ice shelves and glaciers in a region of the continent that is contributing the most to sea level rise.

The glacier that saw the most melt, Smith, lost about 1,000 feet of ice between 2002 and 2009, a stunning amount. The authors think this melt is “a strong piece of evidence” that these glaciers, along with the larger Amundsen region, were subjected to a large influx of warm ocean water during that period.

That influx could be due to changes in ocean circulation related to other changes wrought by climate change, but is still something scientists are avidly investigating. Read more