EARTH Magazine: Protracted Drought Threatens California Levees

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine, 03/18/2016  --  We're most accustomed to flooding causing levees to fail, like they did in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So although the El Nino-induced floods are making the most news in California right now, it's not actually the floods that are threatening some California levees the most. Instead it's the severe drought over the last four years that has taken its toll on thousands of kilometers of century-old earthen levees. 

While it seems counterintuitive to have drought causing levee failure, a new study suggests that the changing climatic conditions affect the shear strength of the soil. A similarly extreme drought in Australia caused levee failures during the late 1990s and 2000s. Explore this study and the challenges drought poses to levees in EARTH Magazine:

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