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04:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Energy for water and water for energy on Maui Island, Hawaii

Energy and water systems are interconnected. This work first characterizes 2010 primary energy demand for direct water services and local freshwater demand for energy on Maui Island, Hawaii, then investigates scenarios for future changes in these demands. The goal of this manuscript is to dissect the relationship and trends of energy–water connections to inform policymaking decisions related to water and energy planning. Analysis proceeds by inventorying water and energy flows and adjusting to a 2010 base year, then applying intensity factors for energy or water used at a given stage for a given sector to determine absolute energy and water demands for the isolated system of Maui Island. These bottom-up, intensity-based values are validated against published data where available. Maui consumes about 0.05% of its freshwater for energy (versus >6% for the US on average) and about 32% of its electricity (19% of its on-island primary energy) for direct water services (versus 8% of primary energy for the US on average). These values could change with policy choices like increased instream flows, higher wastewater treatment standards, electricity fuel mix changes, desalination, or increased biofuels production. This letter contributes a granular assessment of both energy for water and water for energy in a single isolated system, highlighting opportunities to address energy–water interdependencies in a context that could be relevant in other communities facing similar choices.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:21 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Potential increasing dominance of heterotrophy in the global ocean

Autotrophy is largely resource-limited in the modern ocean. Paleo evidence indicates this was not necessarily the case in warmer climates, and modern observations as well as standard metabolic theory suggest continued ocean warming could shift global ecology towards heterotrophy, thereby reducing autotrophic nutrient limitation. Such a shift would entail strong nutrient recycling in the upper ocean and high rates of net primary production (NPP), yet low carbon export to the deep ocean and sediments. We demonstrate transition towards such a state in the early 22nd century as a response to business-as-usual representative concentration pathway forcing (RCP8.5) in an intermediate complexity Earth system model in three configurations; with and without an explicit calcifier phytoplankton class and calcite ballast model. In all models nutrient regeneration in the near-surface becomes an increasingly important driver of primary production. The near-linear relationship between changes in NPP and global sea surface temperature (SST) found over the 21st century becomes exponential above a 2–4 global mean SST change. This transition to a more heterotrophic ocean agrees roughly with metabolic theory.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Ambient air pollution and congenital heart defects in Lanzhou, China

Congenital heart defects are the most prevalent type of birth defects. The association of air pollution with congenital heart defects is not well understood. We investigated a cohort of 8969 singleton live births in Lanzhou, China during 2010–2012. Using inverse distance weighting, maternal exposures to particulate matter with diameters ≤10 μm (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) were estimated as a combination of monitoring station levels for time spent at home and in a work location. We used logistic regression to estimate the associations, adjusting for maternal age, education, income, BMI, disease, folic acid intake and therapeutic drug use, and smoking; season of conception, fuel used for cooking and temperature. We found significant positive associations of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with PM10 during the 1st trimester, 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy (OR 1st trimester = 3.96, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.36, 11.53; OR 2nd trimester = 3.59, 95% CI: 1.57, 8.22; OR entire pregnancy = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.21, 3.62, per interquartile range (IQR) increment for PM10 (IQR = 71.2, 61.6, and 27.4 μg m−3, respectively)), and associations with NO2 during 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy (OR 2nd trimester = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.11, 3.34; OR entire pregnancy = 2.32, 95% Cl: 1.14, 4.71, per IQR increment for NO2 (IQR = 13.4 and 10.9 μg m−3, respectively)). The associations for congenital malformations of the great arteries and pooled cases showed consistent patterns. We also found positive associations for congenital malformations of cardiac septa with PM10 exposures in the 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy, and SO2 exposures in the entire pregnancy. Results indicate a health burden from maternal exposures to air pollution, with increased risk of congenital heart defects.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Focus on biodiversity, health and wellbeing: Synthesis and Review

In 2012 Environmental Research Letters (ERL) launched a focus series of research papers on the theme of biodiversity, health and well-being. It was the year of the second Rio Summit on Sustainable Development, a huge number of species had been made extinct and conservationists were making increasingly urgent calls for the protection of biodiversity. The situation is ever more critical. Since we started the issue more species have become extinct, and hundreds more have now become critically endangered. The focus issue highlighted the complexity of the links of biodiversity and health, and provides more evidence for the importance to human health of biodiversity on our planet. Research papers contrasted anthropocentric western scientific views of biodiversity and its ecosystem service to humans, with the more horizontal conceptions of indigenous communities in the Amazon—and as many cultures have recognized throughout history, they recognize that we are part of nature: nature does not exist for us.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:29 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Tipping point of a conifer forest ecosystem under severe drought

Drought-induced tree mortality has recently received considerable attention. Questions have arisen over the necessary intensity and duration thresholds of droughts that are sufficient to trigger rapid forest declines. The values of such tipping points leading to forest declines due to drought are presently unknown. In this study, we have evaluated the potential relationship between the level of tree growth and concurrent drought conditions with data of the tree growth-related ring width index (RWI) of the two dominant conifer species (Pinus edulis and Pinus ponderosa) in the Southwestern United States (SWUS) and the meteorological drought-related standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI). In this effort, we determined the binned averages of RWI and the 11 month SPEI within the month of July within each bin of 30 of RWI in the range of 0–3000. We found a significant correlation between the binned averages of RWI and SPEI at the regional-scale under dryer conditions. The tipping point of forest declines to drought is predicted by the regression model as SPEItp = −1.64 and RWItp = 0, that is, persistence of the water deficit (11 month) with intensity of −1.64 leading to negligible growth for the conifer species. When climate conditions are wetter, the correlation between the binned averages of RWI and SPEI is weaker which we believe is most likely due to soil water and atmospheric moisture levels no longer being the dominant factor limiting tree growth. We also illustrate a potential application of the derived tipping point (SPEItp = −1.64) through an examination of the 2002 extreme drought event in the SWUS conifer forest regions. Distinguished differences in remote-sensing based NDVI anomalies were found between the two regions partitioned by the derived tipping point.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:04 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Modeling relationships between water table depth and peat soil carbon loss in Southeast Asian plantations

Plantation-associated drainage of Southeast Asian peatlands has accelerated in recent years. Draining exposes the upper peat layer to oxygen, leading to elevated decomposition rates and net soil carbon losses. Empirical studies indicate positive relationships between long-term water table (WT) depth and soil carbon loss rate in peatlands. These correlations potentially enable using WT depth as a proxy for soil carbon losses from peatland plantations. Here, we compile data from published research assessing WT depth and carbon balance in tropical plantations on peat. We model net carbon loss from subsidence studies, as well as soil respiration (heterotrophic and total) from closed chamber studies, as a function of WT depth. WT depth across all 12 studies and 59 sites is 67 ± 20 cm (mean ± standard deviation). Mean WT depth is positively related to net carbon loss, as well as soil respiration rate. Our models explain 45% of net carbon loss variation and 45–63% of soil respiration variation. At a 70 cm WT depth, the subsidence model suggests net carbon loss of 20 tC ha−1 yr−1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 18–22 tC ha−1 yr−1) for plantations drained for >2 yr. Closed chamber-measured total soil respiration at this depth is 20 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1 (CI 17–24 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1) while heterotrophic respiration is 17 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1 (CI 14–20 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1), ~82% of total respiration. While land use is not a significant predictor of soil respiration, WT depths are greater at acacia (75 ± 16 cm) than oil palm (59 ± 15 cm) sample sites. Improved spatio-temporal sampling of the full suite of peat soil carbon fluxes—including fluvial carbon export and organic fertilizer inputs—will clarify multiple mechanisms leading to carbon loss and gain, supporting refined assessments of the global warming potential of peatland drainage.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:10 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Response lags and environmental dynamics of restoration efforts for Lake Rotorua, New Zealand

Regulatory responses to degradation of freshwater ecosystems have been characterized by long response times and have often failed to prevent declining health or to implement successful restoration programs. We studied environmental and management dynamics of ecosystem restoration in Lake Rotorua, New Zealand, where land use intensification is the main driver of water quality decline. Water quality decline, invasions by exotic submerged plants and occurrences of algal blooms have led to a number of in-lake interventions such as herbicide spraying (to control submerged plants) and dosing of inflows with Alum to flocculate phosphorus (and reduce algal blooms). Management of land use to reduce nutrient run-off has also been initiated. Based on the drivers-pressures-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework, water quality changes and management responses were examined by studying research publications and data from 1922 to 2013. Multinomial regression analysis based on the generalized maximum entropy model was used to investigate the five categories of DPSIR and examine relationships of environmental dynamics and regulatory responses. We tested whether the visibility of ecosystem degradation in the public sphere, and social lag times to respond to them, were drivers of failures of these regulatory responses. Our study shows that management was reactive, and regulations often took effect only when ecosystem decline was already well advanced. There was a disconnect between land use intensification and its role in driving water quality change. Our results indicate that science can better inform management decision making by providing a holistic framework integrating ecological knowledge, economic interest and societal constraints.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
01:47 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

A probabilistic analysis of cumulative carbon emissions and long-term planetary warming

Efforts to mitigate and adapt to long-term climate change could benefit greatly from probabilistic estimates of cumulative carbon emissions due to fossil fuel burning and resulting CO2-induced planetary warming. Here we demonstrate the use of a reduced-form model to project these variables. We performed simulations using a large-ensemble framework with parametric uncertainty sampled to produce distributions of future cumulative emissions and consequent planetary warming. A hind-cast ensemble of simulations captured 1980–2012 historical CO2 emissions trends and an ensemble of future projection simulations generated a distribution of emission scenarios that qualitatively resembled the suite of Representative and Extended Concentration Pathways. The resulting cumulative carbon emission and temperature change distributions are characterized by 5–95th percentile ranges of 0.96–4.9 teratonnes C (Tt C) and 1.4 °C–8.5 °C, respectively, with 50th percentiles at 3.1 Tt C and 4.7 °C. Within the wide range of policy-related parameter combinations that produced these distributions, we found that low-emission simulations were characterized by both high carbon prices and low costs of non-fossil fuel energy sources, suggesting the importance of these two policy levers in particular for avoiding dangerous levels of climate warming. With this analysis we demonstrate a probabilistic approach to the challenge of identifying strategies for limiting cumulative carbon emissions and assessing likelihoods of surpassing dangerous temperature thresholds.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Intensity of heat stress in winter wheat—phenology compensates for the adverse effect of global warming

Higher temperatures during the growing season are likely to reduce crop yields with implications for crop production and food security. The negative impact of heat stress has also been predicted to increase even further for cereals such as wheat under climate change. Previous empirical modeling studies have focused on the magnitude and frequency of extreme events during the growth period but did not consider the effect of higher temperature on crop phenology. Based on an extensive set of climate and phenology observations for Germany and period 1951–2009, interpolated to 1 × 1 km resolution and provided as supplementary data to this article (available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/10/024012/mmedia), we demonstrate a strong relationship between the mean temperature in spring and the day of heading (DOH) of winter wheat. We show that the cooling effect due to the 14 days earlier DOH almost fully compensates for the adverse effect of global warming on frequency and magnitude of crop heat stress. Earlier heading caused by the warmer spring period can prevent exposure to extreme heat events around anthesis, which is the most sensitive growth stage to heat stress. Consequently, the intensity of heat stress around anthesis in winter crops cultivated in Germany may not increase under climate change even if the number and duration of extreme heat waves increase. However, this does not mean that global warning would not harm crop production because of other impacts, e.g. shortening of the grain filling period. Based on the trends for the last 34 years in Germany, heat stress (stress thermal time) around anthesis would be 59% higher in year 2009 if the effect of high temperatures on accelerating wheat phenology were ignored. We conclude that climate impact assessments need to consider both the effect of high temperature on grain set at anthesis but also on crop phenology.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Top ten European heatwaves since 1950 and their occurrence in the coming decades

The Russian heatwave in 2010 killed tens of thousands of people, and was by far the worst event in Europe since at least 1950, according to recent studies and a novel universal heatwave index capturing both the duration and magnitude of heatwaves. Here, by taking an improved version of this index, namely the heat wave magnitude index daily, we rank the top ten European heatwaves that occurred in the period 1950–2014, and show the spatial distribution of the magnitude of the most recent heatwave in summer 2015. We demonstrate that all these events had a strong impact reported in historical newspapers. We further reveal that the 1972 heatwave in Finland had a comparable spatial extent and magnitude as the European heatwave of 2003, considered the second strongest heatwave of the observational era. In the next two decades (2021–2040), regional climate projections suggest that Europe experiences an enhanced probability for heatwaves comparable to or greater than the magnitude, extent and duration of the Russian heatwave in 2010. We demonstrate that the probability of experiencing a major European heatwave in the coming decades is higher in RCP8.5 than RCP4.5 even though global mean temperature projections do not differ substantially. This calls for a proactive vulnerability assessment in Europe in support of formulating heatwave adaptation strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of heatwaves.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

The effectiveness of policy on consumer choices for private road passenger transport emissions reductions in six major economies

The effectiveness of fiscal policy to influence vehicle purchases for emissions reductions in private passenger road transport depends on its ability to incentivise consumers to make choices oriented towards lower emissions vehicles. However, car purchase choices are known to be strongly socially determined, and this sector is highly diverse due to significant socio-economic differences between consumer groups. Here, we present a comprehensive dataset and analysis of the structure of the 2012 private passenger vehicle fleet-years in six major economies across the World (UK, USA, China, India, Japan and Brazil) in terms of price, engine size and emissions distributions. We argue that choices and aggregate elasticities of substitution can be predicted using this data, enabling us to evaluate the effectiveness of potential fiscal and technological change policies on fleet-year emissions reductions. We provide tools to do so based on the distributive structure of prices and emissions in segments of a diverse market, both for conventional as well as unconventional engine technologies. We find that markets differ significantly between nations, and that correlations between engine sizes, emissions and prices exist strongly in some markets and not strongly in others. We furthermore find that markets for unconventional engine technologies have patchy coverages of varying levels. These findings are interpreted in terms of policy strategy.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Spring–summer albedo variations of Antarctic sea ice from 1982 to 2009

This study examined the spring–summer (November, December, January and February) albedo averages and trends using a dataset consisting of 28 years of homogenized satellite data for the entire Antarctic sea ice region and for five longitudinal sectors around Antarctica: the Weddell Sea (WS), the Indian Ocean sector (IO), the Pacific Ocean sector (PO), the Ross Sea (RS) and the Bellingshausen–Amundsen Sea (BS). Time series data of the sea ice concentrations and sea surface temperatures were used to analyse their relations to the albedo. The results indicated that the sea ice albedo increased slightly during the study period, at a rate of 0.314% per decade, over the Antarctic sea ice region. The sea ice albedos in the PO, the IO and the WS increased at rates of 2.599% per decade (confidence level 99.86%), 0.824% per decade and 0.413% per decade, respectively, and the steepest increase occurred in the PO. However, the sea ice albedo in the BS decreased at a rate of −1.617% per decade (confidence level 95.05%) and was near zero in the RS. The spring–summer average albedo over the Antarctic sea ice region was 50.24%. The highest albedo values were mainly found on the continental coast and in the WS; in contrast, the lowest albedo values were found on the outer edge of the sea ice, the RS and the Amery Ice Shelf. The average albedo in the western Antarctic sea ice region was distinctly higher than that in the east. The albedo was significantly positively correlated with sea ice concentration (SIC) and was significantly negatively correlated with sea surface temperature (SST); these scenarios held true for all five longitudinal sectors. Spatially, the higher surface albedos follow the higher SICs and lower SST patterns. The increasing albedo means that Antarctic sea ice region reflects more solar radiation and absorbs less, leading to a decrease in temperature and much snowfall on sea ice, and further resulted in an increase in albedo. Conversely, the decreasing albedo leads to more solar radiation absorbing and sea ice melting, thus resulting in a decrease in albedo.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:50 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Focus on extreme events and the carbon cycle

Climate physics indicates that warming climate is a likely cause of extreme weather and more frequent and intense climate events. These extreme events can disrupt terrestrial carbon dynamics dramatically by triggering ecological disturbances and potentially forcing climate–carbon feedbacks. In this paper we synthesize the findings of 26 papers that focus on collecting evidence and developing knowledge of how extreme events disturb terrestrial carbon dynamics.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Remote sensing of interannual boreal forest NDVI in relation to climatic conditions in interior Alaska

Climate has warmed substantially in interior Alaska and several remote sensing studies have documented a decadal-scale decline in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) termed a 'browning trend'. Reduced summer soil moisture due to changing climatic factors such as earlier springs, less snowpack, and summer drought may reduce boreal productivity and NDVI. However, the relative importance of these climatic factors is poorly understood in boreal interior Alaska. In this study, I used the remotely sensed peak summer NDVI as an index of boreal productivity at 250 m pixel size from 2000 to 2014. Maximum summer NDVI was related to last day of spring snow, early spring snow water equivalent (SWE), and a summer moisture index. There was no significant correlation between early spring SWE and peak summer NDVI. There was a significant correlation between the last day of spring snow and peak summer NDVI, but only for a few higher elevation stations. This was likely due to snowmelt occurring later at higher elevations, thus having a greater effect on summer soil moisture relative to lower elevation sites. For most of boreal interior Alaska, summer drought was likely the dominant control on peak summer NDVI and this effect may persist for several years. Peak summer NDVI declined at all 26 stations after the 2004 drought, and the decline persisted for 2 years at all stations. Due to the shallow rooting zone of most boreal plants, even cool and moist sites at lower elevations are likely vulnerable to drought. For example the peak summer NDVI response following the 2004 drought was similar for adjacent cold and warm watershed basins. Thus, if frequent and severe summer droughts continue, moisture stress effects are likely to be widespread and prolonged throughout most of interior boreal Alaska, including relatively cool, moist sites regardless of spring snowpack conditions or spring phenology.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:10 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Mapping dynamics of deforestation and forest degradation in tropical forests using radar satellite data

Mapping anthropogenic forest disturbances has largely been focused on distinct delineations of events of deforestation using optical satellite images. In the tropics, frequent cloud cover and the challenge of quantifying forest degradation remain problematic. In this study, we detect processes of deforestation, forest degradation and successional dynamics, using long-wavelength radar (L-band from ALOS PALSAR) backscatter. We present a detection algorithm that allows for repeated disturbances on the same land, and identifies areas with slow- and fast-recovering changes in backscatter in close spatial and temporal proximity. In the study area in Madre de Dios, Peru, 2.3% of land was found to be disturbed over three years, with a false positive rate of 0.3% of area. A low, but significant, detection rate of degradation from sparse and small-scale selective logging was achieved. Disturbances were most common along the tri-national Interoceanic Highway, as well as in mining areas and areas under no land use allocation. A continuous spatial gradient of disturbance was observed, highlighting artefacts arising from imposing discrete boundaries on deforestation events. The magnitude of initial radar backscatter, and backscatter decrease, suggested that large-scale deforestation was likely in areas with initially low biomass, either naturally or since already under anthropogenic use. Further, backscatter increases following disturbance suggested that radar can be used to characterize successional disturbance dynamics, such as biomass accumulation in lands post-abandonment. The presented radar-based detection algorithm is spatially and temporally scalable, and can support monitoring degradation and deforestation in tropical rainforests with the use of products from ALOS-2 and the future SAOCOM and BIOMASS missions.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:16 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Atmospheric consequences of disruption of the ocean thermocline

Technologies utilizing vertical ocean pipes have been proposed as a means to avoid global warming, either by providing a source of clean energy, increasing ocean carbon uptake, or storing thermal energy in the deep ocean. However, increased vertical transport of water has the capacity to drastically alter the ocean thermocline. To help bound potential climate consequences of these activities, we perform a set of simulations involving idealized disruption of the ocean thermocline by greatly increasing vertical mixing in the upper ocean. We use an Earth System Model (ESM) to evaluate the likely thermal and hydrological response of the atmosphere to this scenario. In our model, increased vertical transport in the upper ocean decreases upward shortwave and longwave radiation at the top-of-the-atmosphere due primarily to loss of clouds and sea-ice over the ocean. This extreme scenario causes an effective radiative forcing of ≈15.5–15.9 W m−2, with simulations behaving on multi-decadal time scales as if they are approaching an equilibrium temperature ≈8.6–8.8 °C higher than controls. Within a century, this produces higher global mean surface temperatures than would have occurred in the absence of increased vertical ocean transport. In our simulations, disruption of the thermocline strongly cools the lower atmosphere over the ocean, resulting in high pressure anomalies. The greater land-sea pressure contrast is found to increase water vapour transport from ocean to land in the lower atmosphere and therefore increase global mean precipitation minus evaporation (P–E) over land; however, many high latitude regions and some low latitude regions experience decreased P–E. Any real implementation of ocean pipe technologies would damage the thermal structure of the ocean to a lesser extent than simulated here; nevertheless, our simulations indicate the likely sign and character of unintended atmospheric consequences of such ocean technologies. Prolonged application of ocean pipe technologies, rather than avoiding global warming, could exacerbate long-term warming of the climate system.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:31 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

More frequent moments in the climate change debate as emissions continue

Recent years have witnessed unprecedented interest in how the burning of fossil fuels may impact on the global climate system. Such visibility of this issue is in part due to the increasing frequency of key international summits to debate emissions levels, including the 2015 21st Conference of Parties meeting in Paris. In this perspective we plot a timeline of significant climate meetings and reports, and against metrics of atmospheric greenhouse gas changes and global temperature. One powerful metric is cumulative CO2 emissions that can be related to past and future warming levels. That quantity is analysed in detail through a set of papers in this ERL focus issue. We suggest it is an open question as to whether our timeline implies a lack of progress in constraining climate change despite multiple recent keynote meetings—or alternatively—that the increasing level of debate is encouragement that solutions will be found to prevent any dangerous warming levels?
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:14 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Climate change effects on the worst-case storm surge: a case study of Typhoon Haiyan

Effects of climate change on the worst case scenario of a storm surge induced by a super typhoon in the present climate are investigated through the case study of Typhoon Haiyan. We present the results of our investigation on super-typhoon Haiyan by using a super high resolution (1 km grid) regional model that explicitly handles cloud microphysical processes. As the parent model, we adopted the operational weekly ensemble experiments (60 km grid) of the Japan Meteorological Agency, and compared experiments using sea surface temperatures and atmospheric environmental parameters from before the beginning of anthropogenic climate change (150 years ago) with those using observed values throughout the typhoon. We were able not only to represent the typhoon's intensity but also to evaluate the influences of climate change on worst case storm surges in the Gulf of Leyte due to a typhoon with high robustness. In 15 of 16 ensemble experiments, the intensity of the simulated worst case storm in the actual conditions was stronger than that in a hypothetical natural condition without historical anthropogenic forcing during the past 150 years. The intensity of the typhoon is translated to a disaster metric by simulating the storm surge height by using a shallow-water long-wave model. The result indicates that the worst case scenario of a storm surge in the Gulf of Leyte may be worse by 20%, though changes in frequency of such events are not accounted for here.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:58 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Climate change as a migration driver from rural and urban Mexico

Studies investigating migration as a response to climate variability have largely focused on rural locations to the exclusion of urban areas. This lack of urban focus is unfortunate given the sheer numbers of urban residents and continuing high levels of urbanization. To begin filling this empirical gap, this study investigates climate change impacts on US-bound migration from rural and urban Mexico, 1986–1999. We employ geostatistical interpolation methods to construct two climate change indices, capturing warm and wet spell duration, based on daily temperature and precipitation readings for 214 weather stations across Mexico. In combination with detailed migration histories obtained from the Mexican Migration Project, we model the influence of climate change on household-level migration from 68 rural and 49 urban municipalities. Results from multilevel event-history models reveal that a temperature warming and excessive precipitation significantly increased international migration during the study period. However, climate change impacts on international migration is only observed for rural areas. Interactions reveal a causal pathway in which temperature (but not precipitation) influences migration patterns through employment in the agricultural sector. As such, climate-related international migration may decline with continued urbanization and the resulting reductions in direct dependence of households on rural agriculture.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Vulnerabilities—bibliometric analysis and literature review of evolving concepts

In this work we analyse the evolution of the vulnerability concept in the research streams of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). We combine a traditional literature review with data mining procedures applied to bibliographic databases to reconstruct the history of the concept within various research topics, showing its evolution and convergences over time. To do that, we integrate different methods combining machine learning algorithms with network and cluster analyses to examine a set of 3757 articles, analysing their distinctive features and similarities on the basis of their contents as well as co-authorships. Bibliometric analyses enable the identification of different communities of articles, pinpointing key papers and authors, while literature review makes it possible to assess the concept of vulnerability evolved within and beyond research communities and scientific networks. Moreover, this work examines the role played by documents published by UN institutions (UNDRO, UNISDR, IPCC) in contributing to the evolution of vulnerability and related concepts. Results show that signs of convergence are evident between the two research streams, and that the IPCC reports have played a major role in proposing solutions for unifying definitions of vulnerability. We observe that the phases of preparation of the IPCC reports are very rich in methodological and terminological developments, while after publication, the literature shows evident signs of propagation of the proposed concepts. The DRR research stream developed before the research stream on CCA, but the latter flourished rapidly and became much larger in terms of number of publications. Nevertheless, in terms of contents, adaptation studies and the IPCC have shown increasing adoption of the concepts developed within the disaster research stream, in particular with regard to the interpretation of vulnerability as one of the dimensions of risk.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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