Stanford University
coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

Get Stanford Earth Matters stories delivered to your inbox each month.

Subscribe

About Stanford Earth Matters

Hoover Dam

Hydropower dams threaten fish habitats worldwide

New research maps the impacts of past and future hydropower development on fish habitats – and points to where restoration efforts may do the most good.

Rust offers a cheap way to filter arsenic-poisoned water

In regions that lack the resources to treat the contaminated water, it can lead to disease, cancer and even death.

Water flowing from eroded spillway of dam

More rain and less snow means increased flood risk

By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.

River and tree

Q&A: How wildfires threaten water quality

Stanford hydrologist Newsha Ajami, an appointee to California’s regional water quality board, discusses how wildfires affect water quality, and how we can better prepare for and react to the challenges.

Water

Q&A: Deveoping new sources for usable water

A five-year project led by a Stanford professor will research and develop cost-competitive and energy-efficient technologies to desalinate nontraditional water sources for diverse end uses from agriculture to municipal drinking water.

Water

Making California’s water supply resilient

Stanford researchers examine effective strategies to rising water scarcity concerns in the context of climate change.

water drop

Stanford researchers find smart faucets could aid in water conservation

An experiment with a water-saving “smart” faucet shows potential for reducing water use. The catch? Unbeknownst to study participants, the faucet’s smarts came from its human controller.

Recharge

Can California better use winter storms to refill its aquifers?

With new rules for groundwater management coming into effect, engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy source of water: the torrential storms that sometimes soak California.

Dry landscape

Domino droughts: How droughts travel across continents

New research finds one drought can amplify or trigger another. Decreased moisture recycling and transport impacts how droughts form and move across continents.

Reservoir

Toward safe and reliable drinking water for all Californians

Stanford scientists and water experts discuss how California can secure a safe and reliable water supply.

San Francisco Bay

Can a drone reveal the murky secrets of San Francisco Bay?

Measurements of suspended sediment concentrations reveal a lot about the health of a waterway, but until now such data has been difficult to obtain.

Water

Understanding saltwater intrusion through remote sensing

New research provides insight on a common cause of drinking water contamination in coastal areas: intrusion of ocean saltwater into freshwater aquifers.

Tulare

Where will flooded fields best replenish groundwater?

Overpumping in California has depleted groundwater storage capacity and caused the land to sink. A new model could help water managers zero in on where to replenish aquifers by flooding fields.

Chickens

Big livestock operations can be big polluters. But where are they?

An algorithm that reads satellite images can help environmental regulators identify potentially hazardous agricultural facilities more efficiently than traditional approaches.

Jordan

The effects of climate change on water shortages

If global temperatures continue to rise, rainfall will increasingly become a beast of extremes. As a way of exploring the future risk of water shortage in a complex environment, scientists have made a case study of Jordan, one of the most water-poor nations in the world.

Vegetation

Know Your Planet: How do plants affect weather?

A major component of climate change unknowns stems from interactions between changes in climate and changes in ecosystems. Stanford hydrologist Alexandra Konings explains how plants shape weather patterns and influence climate.

Van Arsdale

As relicensing looms, aging dams face a reckoning

Green power source or fish killer? As older dams around the West come up for relicensing, their owners know that they’ll have to spend heavily to fix problems, while new energy sources are getting cheaper.

Jamaica Bay

Can we recover valuable chemicals from sewage?

A chemical engineer wants to make the term ‘wastewater’ obsolete by extracting usable chemicals to create fertilizers, disinfectants and more.

Clarksburg

Downsizing the Delta tunnel plan: What it means for water and ecosystems

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a plan to downsize a project aimed at diverting water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the Central Valley and Southern California. Stanford experts discuss likely impacts.

IconsList of icons used on the sitemaillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock