This wasp nest housed a kingdom of killers
A 12-year-old Australian found a 220-pound wasp nest and lived to tell about it. The nest was home to 100,000 of the stinging insects and haunted a household for months. The nest was 30 cubic feet huge.
California’s drought: Heat compounds a changing climate and the outlook is nothing but bleak
Wasps can sting and irritate, but that’s nothing like what four years of drought are doing to make life in parts of California seem almost like a hell hole.
You’ve seen the images: empty reservoirs, parched and cracked land, fried forests and dried up streams. If a resident were to paint an image symbolizing what was, what is and what the Golden State might become because of drought, the art probably would contain a truly brown and ugly palette.
The news in Cali is downright scary.
California’s governor has implemented the first mandatory water cuts in the state’s history. Many of the state’s 38 million thirsty residents say it’s about time. Severe drought began in 2012.
Gov. Jerry Brown made the announcement at Tahoe in the tinder dry Sierra Nevada mountains, where officials measure snowfall each spring to help gauge water availability. The state gets 70 percent of its precipitation from snow. This week, the snowpack is 6 percent of normal and 40 percent less than last year’s frozen precip total.
The conservation rule orders residents and businesses to cut back consumption 25 percent. The restrictions don’t cover the richest farmers who use 80 percent of the state’s water nor does it include oil companies who used 70 million gallons of water in fracking last year. Farmers are depleting underground aquifers water to grow fruit and nuts.
In Southern California, half of residential water use goes to maintaining lawns and gardens. In Orange County, residents continue tapping 500 gallons per person per day. But now, citizens will be fined for watering yards, washing cars and in general, not conserving. The swimming pool industry however says the conservation order will hurt business and exceptions should be made because, well, they’re special and because the rich need pools.
The outlook indeed in the Great State of California is dire.
Here are links to stories that attempt to explain what’s happening weather and climate wise; how today’s Western drought could become a very long mega drought; a satirical piece by The Onion; and more.
* The governor’s announcement and what it means:
* National Geographic takes a scientific look about the state’s penchant for producing mega-droughts through time. The 2015 scenario could be just a glimpse preview of what’s to come. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150402-california-snowpack-drought-water-science/
* The Washington Post captures the best look at how temperatures and climate have conspired to turn California dry, brown and ripe for wild fire. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/04/02/hot-hands-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-over-california-drought/
* A look at farming and why our food prices might not rise as much as we might think.
* In 2014, big oil used 70 million gallons of water to produce gas and oil in California, yet Gov. Brown didn’t include the oil industry in Wednesday’s conservation measure.
* The Onion’s satire explains how California conserving water. For example: residents must be 30 percent less glistening when emerging from pool; plastic surgeons across the state ordered to wash hands half as often.
* The U.S. House majority leader, a good looking, suave Republican who wants to be president in 2020, says the drought, of course!, is all President Obama’s fault.