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Water levels at the Great Salt Lake have dropped dramatically in the last 170 years

The Great Salt Lake is half the size it was in 1847. Scientists previously thought the lake was shrinking due to a shifting climate, but a study published last week in Nature Geoscience says it's getting smaller because humans are using water before it can reach the lake, writes Sarah Derouin for Science Magazine.

Why it matters: The Great Salt Lake is an important refuge for migratory birds and rare aquatic species. As the metropolitan area around the Great Salt Lake grows, the impact on water supply will need to be considered. Study author Wayne Wurtsbaugh tells Derouin water inflows into the lake will need to increase by at least 24% for it to stay healthy. Other salt lakes are shrinking, as well, likely for related reasons.

What they did: The researchers re-created 170 years of climate data using climate records, tree ring data, and stream level records. Precipitation changed little over time but the amount of water flowing into the lake declined greatly.

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.