Category: Agriculture

Saving irrigation water with superabsorbent polymers

Since its introduction in 1966, drip irrigation has dramatically reduced water usage in Israel. This jojoba farm relies on drip irrigation and rain for all of its water needs. Image Credit: Osha Gray Davidson

Soil conditioners called superabsorbent polymers have the potential to reduce irrigation needs for agricultural crops by storing water and nutrients and then releasing them in drought conditions, according to a recent article.

Blending wastewater may help California cope with drought


Researchers at UC Riverside have developed an economic model that demonstrates how flexible wastewater treatment processes which blend varying levels of treated effluent can create a water supply that benefits crops and is affordable.

Subduction zone earthquakes off Oregon, Washington more frequent than previous estimates

Image of an earthquake damaged building. Credit; Getty Images.

A new analysis suggests that massive earthquakes on northern sections of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, affecting areas of the Pacific Northwest that are more heavily populated, are somewhat more frequent than has been believed in the past.

NOAA scientists report mass die-off of invertebrates at East Flower Garden Bank in Gulf of Mexico


Sanctuary recommends public avoid diving, fishing, boating activities in affected area

Large carnivores under threat as prey they depend on decline


Up to 60 per cent of prey species of iconic predators, such as the clouded leopard, are threatened, which puts them at risk of extinction, too

The oceans are full of barriers for small organisms


Subtle and short-lived differences in ocean salinity or temperature function as physical barriers for phytoplankton, and result in a patchy distribution of the oceans’ most important food resource.

Lettuce towers and office block farms – is this the future?


Towers of lettuce and pak choi, or a three-story farm in an office building – could this be the future of farming?

Saharan dust: Reliable forecasts for photovoltaic output


A hazy sky and dirty cars are well-known consequences of Saharan dust carried to Europe by air currents. As part of the “PerduS” project, researchers are currently examining how dust – as haze in the atmosphere and deposited on solar panels – affects the output of photovoltaic systems. The aim is to provide a more reliable forecast for the output of photovoltaic systems through a better prediction of the spread of dust.

The Sand Fire in Santa Clarita Offers Omens of a Fiery Future


Southern California’s latest wildfire is a sign of things to come.

GOES-3: One of the Oldest Operating Satellites takes its Curtain Call


The GOES-3 satellite made history on June 16, 1978, when it became NOAA’s third Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) placed in orbit.