Environment & Science

How do I...? An FAQ on environment and science resources in So. Cal.

 A ladybug crawls on new honey mesquite leaves as recovery from a wildfire continues at Big Morongo Wildlife Preserve.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A ladybug crawls on new honey mesquite leaves as recovery from a wildfire continues at Big Morongo Wildlife Preserve. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images


Maybe you want to install a "gray water" system or you just want to know what that smell in your neighborhood is. No matter your interest in issues of the environment and science, we've complied resources to help answer your questions. You can search by topic below:

 

Air quality:

What's the air quality in my city today?

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has a map of California's daily air quality, sorted by location. See it here.

What's that smell?

Do you smell something odd in your neighborhood? Let the South Coast Air Quality Management District know. Fill out a form online or call 1 (800) CUT-SMOG (288-7664).

I'd like to use my fire place tonight. How do I know if a no-burn order is in effect?

The South Coast Air Quality Management District lets you check the air quality in your area before lighting your fire place. Check here for current no-burn restrictions.

 

Water and drought:

What's going on with the drought in California?

Stay up to date on California's drought by visiting the State of California's drought website, or by checking out KPCC's drought coverage.

What are our current water resources?

The U.S. Geological Survey provides daily, monthly, yearly and other data on water resources near you. See the map here.

Are there any water restrictions in my neighborhood today?

KPCC has compiled a list of water restrictions across Southern California. Check them here.

What is gray water, and how can I use it in my home?

Gray water is recycled water from showers, bathroom sinks and clothes washers. Two local resources can teach you more about gray water practices and help you install a gray water system in your home. Visit Greywater Action and Greywater Corps to learn more.

 

Beaches:

How clean is my beach?

Heal the Bay releases a weekly report card for beaches in Southern California. Find the grade for your beach here

How does California's water quality rank?

The Natural Resources Defense Council monitors water quality for beaches around the country. See how California's water ranks here.

 

Earthquakes:

Did we just have an earthquake?

Think you just felt an earthquake? Check the USGS's database of recent earthquakes.

How can I best prepare for an earthquake?

The American Red Cross is a great source on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. Learn more here.

What kinds of things should I keep in an earthquake kit?

See a list from the American Red Cross of suggested items to keep in an earthquake kit.

 

Wildfires:

Are there wildfires currently burning in Southern California?

Get current information on fires burning in California from the CAL FIRE website.

How can I make my home more fire safe?

See tips from CAL FIRE on how to make your home and property fire safe.

How can I best prepare for a fire?

Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a major wildfire from the CAL FIRE website.

 

Space and astronomy:

How can I watch the latest NASA launch?

You can watch coverage of NASA events here.

What's going on in the sky tonight?

See a weekly rundown of what's happening in the skies above Southern California, complied by the Griffith Observatory.

When is the next meteor shower, eclipse, or other cool astronomical event?

Check out NASA’s SkyCal to see a calendar of the year's astronomical events.

Is anyone tracking asteroids and comets?

Yes. Through the combined efforts of NASA and JPL, asteroids and comets are being tracked. You can get the latest information on their findings here.

 

Electricity and power:

Is my neighborhood experiencing a black out?

Southern California Edison customers can check a map of current power outages here, while LADWP customers can check a map of  current power outages here.

What is a Flex Alert and is one in effect right now?

You can learn more about California Flex Alerts, check the Flex Alert status and learn more about energy conservation here.

How does California's power grid work?

Learn more about California's power grid on California ISO's website.

 

Heat waves:

Are we expecting a heat wave soon?

You can check the National Weather Service forecast here.

Where can I go for tips on staying safe in extreme heat?

The American Red Cross has great tips to beat the heat. See them here.

 

Cold snaps:

Are we expecting a cold snap soon?

You can check the National Weather Service forecast here.

Where can I go for tips on staying safe in the cold weather?

The American Red Cross has great tips to being safe in cold conditions. See them here.

 

Wind events:

Are expecting a major wind event soon?

See a wind forecast for Southern California from the National Weather Service here.

Where did the name "Santa Ana Winds" come from?

Why do we call those hot offshore winds "Santa Ana Winds" anyway? This UCLA link explains. You can also learn more about SoCal's famous winds from UC San Diego here.