New York Times - Californians cut water use by more than 31 percent in July, the largest savings the state has logged since a drought emergency was declared last year. It was the second month of mandatory 25 percent statewide cutbacks, compared with July 2013, and residents again surpassed the target set by Gov. Jerry Brown, an indication that Californians understand the severity of the drought and that conservation tactics are working. One the whole, each resident used an average of 34.9 fewer gallons of water per day than in July 2014, when drought had already begun.
Washington Post - Only days before President Obama travels to the Alaskan Arctic on Monday to focus attention on climate change, one of the effects of global warming is again apparent: Hordes of walruses are scrambling into the Alaskan shoreline, because the Chukchi Sea ice floes they would normally have rested have melted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed to the Post Wednesday evening that a mass of walruses had "hauled out," or gathered on shore, near the remote community of Point Lay. The service did not estimate the number or provide images.
Wall Street Journal - A federal judge on Thursday blocked an Obama administration rule, set to go into effect Friday, that seeks to put more small bodies of water and wetlands under federal protection to ensure clean drinking supplies. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the regulation, saying a group of 13 states was likely to succeed in their lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency regulation as unlawful. The judge faulted several facets of the rule, both on its substance and the procedure the EPA followed in writing it.
Washington Post - With the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nearing - the storm made its Gulf Coast landfall on August 29 - attention is mounting. President Obama traveled to New Orleans Thursday to meet with mayor Mitch Landrieu and residents, and to underscore how successful the city's recovery has been. But when it comes to ensuring a better future not only for New Orleans, but other hurricane-prone coastal cities like Tampa and Miami, there's one critical thing to remember about Katrina. And that is this: Katrina wasn't the worst-case-scenario hurricane for New Orleans.
Times-Picayune - The Army Corps of Engineers must pay the full $3 billion cost of restoring wetlands destroyed the agency's improper construction and maintenance of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled Thursday (Aug. 27). In a major victory for Louisiana, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled the corps improperly tried to stick the state with 35 percent of the restoration cost. When the state declined to pay, the corps refused to begin the restoration program, all in violation of Congressional intent, Africk ruled.
Times-Picayune - Even as Louisiana embarks on a multi-billion-dollar program to begin rebuilding its coast, evidence continues to mount that new coastal land will have to contend with a more rapid rise in sea level than projected in present state plans. NASA officials Wednesday said the present rate of worldwide sea level rise has reached 3 millimeters a year (0.13 inch/year) and is increasing, the result of global warming. That compares to 1.7 millimeters a year for the entire 20th Century and 1.8 millimeters between 1961 to 2003, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change. NASA's scientists studying sea level change say that means an increase of at least 3 feet in sea level, though they are not certain whether that level will be reached within 100 years or longer.
Boston.com - It was a clear, hot day in mid August, and a group of teenagers sunbathed on the jetty that extends 3,000 feet into Cape Code Bay. A man fished off the side of the stone seawall as two motor boats buzzed past, their low drones echoing off the jetty's rock. The idyllic scene as a vary cry from New England's record-shattering winter, when Juno - one of the massive snowstorms that pummeled Massachusetts - sent waves crashing onto Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, a historic town that contains miles of coastal marshland. The sea swelled dunes, flooded the homes behind them, and drowned septic systems and boardwalks. After the storm, Sandwich authorities declared a state of emergency and condemned over a dozen houses on Town Neck Beach.
CBS News - The consequences of global sea level rise could be even scarier than the worst-case scenarios predicted by the dominant climate models, which don't fully account for the fast breakup of ice sheets and glaciers, NASA scientists said Wednesday at a press briefing. What's more, sea level is already occurring. The open question, NASA scientists say, is just how quickly seas will rise in the future.