Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Hot enough for you? Apparently not, if you live in California

Happy Thursday, Southern California. One day to the weekend, so no time to lose getting to the green news.

If you live in the one million square miles of the United States currently under a heat dome, odds are you are reading this from a bunker filled with reclaimed ice cubes. reports that 141 million Americans were under a heat alert on Wednesday, as a giant heat wave made its way across the country. “It's just draining, physically draining,” Chris Vaccaro, a Weather Service spokesman, told As of this morning, said heat wave has its temperatures trained on the east coast with a bit of relief for the upper Midwest. 

So it’s hot. But not in California. While the rest of the country sizzles, California is keeping relatively cool this summer. Is this climate change or just wacky weather? Phil Duffy is a visiting scholar at Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science and chief scientist for Climate Central. As he told KQED, “We know increased greenhouse gases cause warming overall, changes in precipitation, and an increased frequency in certain types of extreme weather events…It’s frustrating that we can’t explain every weather variation, but the point is that when humans emit greenhouse gases, it does push things in a certain direction.” 

Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks might be popular retreats, but the excessive snow melt this season from our wild winter is make their waterways quite dangerous. As the Los Angeles Times writes, “The Kaweah, Merced, Kern, Lemoore, and Tuolomne rivers in Central California are swollen with water rushing from the Sierra Nevada's melting snowpack.” Just this week three Yosemite hikers were presumed dead after they climbed over a barricade at the top of the park's Vernal Falls and were swept over the side. Park officials are out in full force warning hikers to stay out of the waterways. Click here for video.

Our own Molly Peterson reports that the Department of Water and Power had sought a 15 year delay of a Clean Water Act Provision. Instead, the state Water Resources Control Board has struck a compromise by giving them 9 more years. The process, called “once-through cooling,” violates the Clean Water Act because it is destructive to mammals, small sea life and larva in the water. 

Good news for Los Angeles bikers – Laist shares that the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance passed with a unanimous 12-0 vote at City Council on Wednesday. As Laist writes, “Prohibited activities towards bicyclists, per the ordinance, include physical assault or attempted physical assault, threats of physical injury, intentional distraction and forceful removal from street, among others.” Violators face stiff fines if they go against the ordinance.

Image: euphro/Flickr