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New Maps, Analyses Support Western Water Planning

July 16, 2014 - 11am

Researchers have developed cost analyses of potential water sources and maps of water availability and consumption in 1,200 watersheds in the western U.S. to support planning by water managers and energy producers. The results, published in Environmental Research Letters, show that a variety of water source options such as purchased and transferred water and treated municipal wastewater can satisfy increasing demand.

Distribution of Western Birds Influenced by Precipitation

July 16, 2014 - 11am

Changes in precipitation affect the long-term survival of many bird species in western North America, according to a new study published in Global Change Biology. The authors tested statistical models using observational data and found that the most important predictors of bird distribution and abundance for the majority of species in the region were the minimum temperature of the coldest month and precipitation during the breeding season, wettest month, and driest month. If climate change leads to less winter precipitation, bird species relying heavily on moisture may decline.

Plant Response to Carbon Dioxide Provides Tools for Adaptation

July 16, 2014 - 11am

The mechanisms by which plants respond to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may provide tools for biologists and climate change modelers when predicting how plants will react to changing conditions, according to a recent study published in Nature. The authors discovered how a test plant from the mustard species responds to increased carbon dioxide. Understanding the physiological responses of plants can eventually inform farmers about the best plants to sow in a future climate and can help researchers breed new strains that can adapt to new conditions.