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California's Drought: why, when and how long?

Caltech Earth Week Speaker Series: California's Drought - why, when and how long?

After three consecutive years of below-normal rainfall, California faces its most severe drought emergency in decades. Dr. William (Bill) Patzert, a JPL scientist and often called the "Prophet of California climate", will discuss just what's behind our current drought -- the why, when and how long.

The current reality: Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. Mandatory rationing could be ordered soon so that homes, businesses and farms don't run dry over the summer. Wildfire danger is unusually high. How did we get into this drought? In part, blame it on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or "PDO", a slowly oscillating pattern of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. At the moment, the PDO is in its negative phase—a condition historically linked to extreme high-pressure ridges that block West Coast storms and give the Midwest and East Coast punishing winters. "California's history is written in great droughts," Patzert says. To find out how long this drought will last, attend his talk!

All members of the community are welcome to attend. Lunch provided.

When: Monday, April 22, 2014 12:00pm-1:00pm
Where: Noyes 153

For more information on the event, click here.

Sponsored by Sustainability Programs


Caltech Earth Week Speaker Series: The Epicenter of California's Water Challenge

Join us for a riveting discussion on the complexity of the proposed changes to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the hub of California's water system. The Delta presents what is arguably California's most important test of successfully managing change in order to address the needs of the environment, economy and local communities simultaneously.

Curt Schmutte, civil engineer, consultant to the Metropolitan Water District and senior authority on California's water supply, will take us through the region's unique ecosystem and diverse recreational and agricultural economy. The challenges of the region range from declining health of fish species, island subsidence, potential levee failure, predicted sea level rise, water quality degradation and urbanization.

All members of the community are welcome to attend.

When: Monday, April 21, 2014 4:30pm-6:00pm

Where: Ramo Auditorium

For more information on the event, click here.

Sponsored by Sustainability Programs


Free Public Discussion with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Join us for an inspiring look into the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Doulaye Kone, Senior Program Officer for Sanitation Technologies and Tools, will discuss the Foundation's focus area and types of projects, with details on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs he oversees. This discussion will address the interconnection between public health and environmental quality challenges the developing world faces as a direct result of poor sanitation facilities. Question and answer session following the presentation.

Monday, April 22nd, 5:30pm-8:00pm (parking free after 5pm)
Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill Center
Keynote Speaker: Doulaye Kone, Senior Program Officer for Sanitation Technologies and Tools at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Refreshments, 5:30pm
Keynote Speaker, 6:10pm
Discussion, Q & A, 7:10 pm

Click here for the event flyer.

RSVP to or for planning purposes.


The Inside Story of Climate Science: Thin Ice - Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Join us on 4/24/13 for a film screening of Thin Ice, a film that explores the mulitdisciplinary fields of climate change study through the eyes of the scientists seeking to better understand our planet's changing climate. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Erik Conway, author of Merchants of Doubt
  • Jess Adkins, Caltech Professor in Paleoclimate & Oceanography
  • Annmarie Eldering, JPL scientist, Deputy Project Scientist for Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)
  • Eric Rignot, JPL & UCIrvine Professor in Glaciology

The screening and panel discussion will be held at the Cahill Hameetman Auditorium starting at 6:45pm 4/24/13. Free food and drinks!

Click here for the event flyer.

RSVP to or for planning purposes.

Event sponsored by ESE and the Graduate Student Council


September Vanpool Promotions don't miss out

Check out the great vanpool Promotions going on for the month September 2012 that is being offered by vRide/VPSI. Might be a great time to start that vanpool you always wanted:

VRide Tell a Friend Credit Promotion $400.00 cash or credit

When someones referral leads to a new vRide vanpool group, the person will receive $400 in cash or credit to their vRide account.

VRide Partner Promotion 50% off

Groups that start new vanpool groups in September will receive 50% off their first months fare.

vRide Quick Start Promotion $100/empty seat

Any potential groups that do not have sufficient riders to start will receive three fixed payments at $100 per empty seat for three consecutive months. The following minimum paying riders would be required by vehicle type; 7 passenger needs to have 3 paying riders and 12 passenger needs to have 8 paying riders.

Welcome Back to vRide Promotion 50% off

Any vRide vanpool group that terminated during 2011 or 2012 and returns in September would receive 50% off their first monthメs fare.

Contact Kristina Valenzuela Caltech Employee Transportation Coordinator if you are interested,


Carmageddon II coming Soon

The second 10-mile closure of the I-405, popularly known as "Carmagedden" is scheduled for Sept. 29-30, when contractors will demolish the remaining side of the Mulholland Bridge. To avoid potential gridlock in the greater Los Angeles region, motorists are urged to plan ahead, avoid the area, use Metrolink or Metro Rail, or eat,shop, or play locally. On Friday, Sept. 28, ramps between the I-10 and US 101 will begin to shut down as early as 7 p.m. Closure of individual freeway lanes will begin to 10 p.m. The closure is scheduled to continue until 5 a.m. Monday morning Oct. 1 (which also just happens to be the first day of California Rideshare Week). According to Metro, the potential for gridlock during the Carmageddon is greater than in 2011 because 1) last year's campaign to stay off the freeways was such a success that motorist may not take the closures seriously, and 2) the contractor has more demolition work to perform within the same 53 hour period, so an early reopening (as happened previously) is not likely. "Last year, we proved that Angelenos far and wide could rise to the occasion to turn Carmageddon into 'Carmaheaven' free of apocalyptic traffic congestion," said LA City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "We are again calling on the public to do its civic duty. Do not beome complacent." The I-405 is the nation's busiest freeway. Half a million motorists drive this portion of the freeway over a typical weekend. For the latest updates, go to


Caltech Bike to Work Day on May 17

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sustainability Park on Wilson Ave., the Caltech Bike Fair will include snacks, backpack giveaways, a folding-bike relay race, and a bike scavenger hunt. Prizes will include a $50 gift card and a chance to win a year-long membership at Caltech BikeCage (worth $50). For more information, go to


Open Seats in Glendora II Vanpool—Try It Out Three Days for Free

Would you like to commute to work without the stress and cost of driving alone? Join a vanpool! Glendora II has an open seat. Not sure if it will work for you? Try vanpooling for three days for free! The Glendora II group meets at Walmart in Glendora. Work hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Estimated cost per month is $115/6 riders. Contact Kristina Valenzuela for additional details at 626-395-4729 or

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