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1:07:34 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Manipulating Graphene at the Atomic Scale

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
1:00:07 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Graphene and hexa-BN Heterostructures

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
1:04:10 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Graphene based Electronics and Optoelectronics

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
1:18:31 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Electronic Properties of Bilayer Graphene, from High to Low Energies

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
1:18:00 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Raman Spectra of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
51:23 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Chiral Electrons and Zero-Mode Anomalies in Graphene

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
54:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Recent Progress in Graphene Synthesis and Applications

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
1:01:25 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Graphene Update

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Bioenergy: how much can we expect for 2050?

Estimates of global primary bioenergy potentials in the literature span almost three orders of magnitude. We narrow that range by discussing biophysical constraints on bioenergy potentials resulting from plant growth (NPP) and its current human use. In the last 30 years, terrestrial NPP was almost constant near 54 PgC yr−1, despite massive efforts to increase yields in agriculture and forestry. The global human appropriation of terrestrial plant production has doubled in the last century. We estimate the maximum physical potential of the world's total land area outside croplands, infrastructure, wilderness and denser forests to deliver bioenergy at approximately 190 EJ yr−1. These pasture lands, sparser woodlands, savannas and tundras are already used heavily for grazing and store abundant carbon; they would have to be entirely converted to bioenergy and intensive forage production to provide that amount of energy. Such a high level of bioenergy supply would roughly double the global human biomass harvest, with far-reaching effects on biodiversity, ecosystems and food supply. Identifying sustainable levels of bioenergy and finding ways to integrate bioenergy with food supply and ecological conservation goals remains a huge and pressing scientific challenge.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Soil microbial respiration from observations and Earth System Models

Soil microbial respiration (Rh) is a large but uncertain component of the terrestrial carbon cycle. Carbon–climate feedbacks associated with changes to Rh are likely, but Rh parameterization in Earth System Models (ESMs) has not been rigorously evaluated largely due to a lack of appropriate measurements. Here we assess, for the first time, Rh estimates from eight ESMs and their environmental drivers across several biomes against a comprehensive soil respiration database (SRDB-V2). Climatic, vegetation, and edaphic factors exert strong controls on annual Rh in ESMs, but these simple controls are not as apparent in the observations. This raises questions regarding the robustness of ESM projections of Rh in response to future climate change. Since there are many more soil respiration (Rs) observations than Rh data, two 'reality checks' for ESMs are also created using the Rs data. Guidance is also provided on the Rh improvement in ESMs.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:17 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Feed conversion efficiency in aquaculture: do we measure it correctly?

Globally, demand for food animal products is rising. At the same time, we face mounting, related pressures including limited natural resources, negative environmental externalities, climate disruption, and population growth. Governments and other stakeholders are seeking strategies to boost food production efficiency and food system resiliency, and aquaculture (farmed seafood) is commonly viewed as having a major role in improving global food security based on longstanding measures of animal production efficiency. The most widely used measurement is called the 'feed conversion ratio' (FCR), which is the weight of feed administered over the lifetime of an animal divided by weight gained. By this measure, fed aquaculture and chickens are similarly efficient at converting feed into animal biomass, and both are more efficient compared to pigs and cattle. FCR does not account for differences in feed content, edible portion of an animal, or nutritional quality of the final product. Given these limitations, we searched the literature for alternative efficiency measures and identified 'nutrient retention', which can be used to compare protein and calories in feed (inputs) and edible portions of animals (outputs). Protein and calorie retention have not been calculated for most aquaculture species. Focusing on commercial production, we collected data on feed composition, feed conversion ratios, edible portions (i.e. yield), and nutritional content of edible flesh for nine aquatic and three terrestrial farmed animal species. We estimate that 19% of protein and 10% of calories in feed for aquatic species are ultimately made available in the human food supply, with significant variation between species. Comparing all terrestrial and aquatic animals in the study, chickens are most efficient using these measures, followed by Atlantic salmon. Despite lower FCRs in aquaculture, protein and calorie retention for aquaculture production is comparable to livestock production. This is, in part, due to farmed fish and shrimp requiring higher levels of protein and calories in feed compared to chickens, pigs, and cattle. Strategies to address global food security should consider these alternative efficiency measures.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:55 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Impact of cutting meat intake on hidden greenhouse gas emissions in an import-reliant city

Greenhouse gas emissions embodied in trade is a growing concern for the international community. Multiple studies have highlighted drawbacks in the territorial and production-based accounting of greenhouse gas emissions because it neglects emissions from the consumption of goods in trade. This creates weak carbon leakage and complicates international agreements on emissions regulations. Therefore, we estimated consumption-based emissions using input-output analysis and life cycle assessment to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions hidden in meat and dairy products in Hong Kong, a city predominately reliant on imports. We found that emissions solely from meat and dairy consumption were higher than the city's total greenhouse gas emissions using conventional production-based calculation. This implies that government reports underestimate more than half of the emissions, as 62% of emissions are embodied in international trade. The discrepancy emphasizes the need of transitioning climate targets and policy to consumption-based accounting. Furthermore, we have shown that dietary change from a meat-heavy diet to a diet in accordance with governmental nutrition guidelines could achieve a 67% reduction in livestock-related emissions, allowing Hong Kong to achieve the Paris Agreement targets for 2030. Consequently, we concluded that consumption-based accounting for greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to target the areas where emissions reduction is realistically achievable, especially for import-reliant cities like Hong Kong.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:21 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

REDD+ readiness: early insights on monitoring, reporting and verification systems of project developers

A functional measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system is essential to assess the additionality and impact on forest carbon in REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) projects. This study assesses the MRV capacity and readiness of project developers at 20 REDD+ projects in Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia and Vietnam, using a questionnaire survey and field visits. Nineteen performance criteria with 76 indicators were formulated in three categories, and capacity was measured with respect to each category. Of the 20 projects, 11 were found to have very high or high overall MRV capacity and readiness. At the regional level, capacity and readiness tended to be highest in the projects in Brazil and Peru and somewhat lower in Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Although the MRV capacities of half the projects are high, there are capacity deficiencies in other projects that are a source of concern. These are not only due to limitations in technical expertise, but can also be attributed to the slowness of international REDD+ policy formulation and the unclear path of development of the forest carbon market. Based on the study results, priorities for MRV development and increased investment in readiness are proposed.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
01:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Saharan dust plume charging observed over the UK

A plume of Saharan dust and Iberian smoke was carried across the southern UK on 16th October 2017, entrained into an Atlantic cyclone which had originated as Hurricane Ophelia. The dust plume aloft was widely noticed as it was sufficiently dense to redden the visual appearance of the sun. Time series of backscatter from ceilometers at Reading and Chilbolton show two plumes: one carried upwards to 2.5 km, and another below 800 m into the boundary layer, with a clear slot between. Steady descent of particles at about 50 cm s−1 continued throughout the morning, and coarse mode particles reached the surface. Plumes containing dust are frequently observed to be strongly charged, often through frictional effects. This plume passed over atmospheric electric field sensors at Bristol, Chilbolton and Reading. Consistent measurements at these three sites indicated negative plume charge. The lower edge plume charge density was (−8.0 ± 3.3) nC m−2, which is several times greater than that typical for stratiform water clouds, implying an active in situ charge generation mechanism such as turbulent triboelectrification. A meteorological radiosonde measuring temperature and humidity was launched into the plume at 1412 UTC, specially instrumented with charge and turbulence sensors. This detected charge in the boundary layer and in the upper plume region, and strong turbulent mixing was observed throughout the atmosphere's lowest 4 km. The clear slot region, through which particles sedimented, was anomalously dry compared with modelled values, with water clouds forming intermittently in the air beneath. Electrical aspects of dust should be included in numerical models, particularly the charge-related effects on cloud microphysical properties, to accurately represent particle behaviour and transport.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Can shrubs help to reconstruct historical glacier retreats?

In the 21st century, most of the world's glaciers are expected to retreat due to further global warming. The range of this predicted retreat varies widely as a result of uncertainties in climate and glacier models. To calibrate and validate glacier models, past records of glacier mass balance are necessary, which often only span several decades. Long-term reconstructions of glacier mass balance could increase the precision of glacier models by providing the required calibration data. Here we show the possibility of applying shrub growth increments as an on-site proxy for glacier summer mass balance, exemplified by Salix shrubs in Finse, Norway. We further discuss the challenges which this method needs to meet and address the high potential of shrub growth increments for reconstructing glacier summer mass balance in remote areas.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:09 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Electrical signature in polar night cloud base variations

Layer clouds are globally extensive. Their lower edges are charged negatively by the fair weather atmospheric electricity current flowing vertically through them. Using polar winter surface meteorological data from Sodankylä (Finland) and Halley (Antarctica), we find that when meteorological diurnal variations are weak, an appreciable diurnal cycle, on average, persists in the cloud base heights, detected using a laser ceilometer. The diurnal cloud base heights from both sites correlate more closely with the Carnegie curve of global atmospheric electricity than with local meteorological measurements. The cloud base sensitivities are indistinguishable between the northern and southern hemispheres, averaging a (4.0 ± 0.5) m rise for a 1% change in the fair weather electric current density. This suggests that the global fair weather current, which is affected by space weather, cosmic rays and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, is linked with layer cloud properties.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:41 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Are forest disturbances amplifying or canceling out climate change-induced productivity changes in European forests?

Recent studies projecting future climate change impacts on forests mainly consider either the effects of climate change on productivity or on disturbances. However, productivity and disturbances are intrinsically linked because 1) disturbances directly affect forest productivity (e.g. via a reduction in leaf area, growing stock or resource-use efficiency), and 2) disturbance susceptibility is often coupled to a certain development phase of the forest with productivity determining the time a forest is in this specific phase of susceptibility. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of forest productivity changes in different forest regions in Europe under climate change, and partition these changes into effects induced by climate change alone and by climate change and disturbances. We present projections of climate change impacts on forest productivity from state-of-the-art forest models that dynamically simulate forest productivity and the effects of the main European disturbance agents (fire, storm, insects), driven by the same climate scenario in seven forest case studies along a large climatic gradient throughout Europe. Our study shows that, in most cases, including disturbances in the simulations exaggerate ongoing productivity declines or cancel out productivity gains in response to climate change. In fewer cases, disturbances also increase productivity or buffer climate-change induced productivity losses, e.g. because low severity fires can alleviate resource competition and increase fertilization. Even though our results cannot simply be extrapolated to other types of forests and disturbances, we argue that it is necessary to interpret climate change-induced productivity and disturbance changes jointly to capture the full range of climate change impacts on forests and to plan adaptation measures.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:50 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

The nitrogen legacy: emerging evidence of nitrogen accumulation in anthropogenic landscapes

Watershed and global-scale nitrogen (N) budgets indicate that the majority of the N surplus in anthropogenic landscapes does not reach the coastal oceans. While there is general consensus that this 'missing' N either exits the landscape via denitrification or is retained within watersheds as nitrate or organic N, the relative magnitudes of these pools and fluxes are subject to considerable uncertainty. Our study, for the first time, provides direct, large-scale evidence of N accumulation in the root zones of agricultural soils that may account for much of the 'missing N' identified in mass balance studies. We analyzed long-term soil data (1957–2010) from 2069 sites throughout the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) to reveal N accumulation in cropland of 25–70 kg ha−1 yr−1, a total of 3.8 ± 1.8 Mt yr−1 at the watershed scale. We then developed a simple modeling framework to capture N depletion and accumulation dynamics under intensive agriculture. Using the model, we show that the observed accumulation of soil organic N (SON) in the MRB over a 30 year period (142 Tg N) would lead to a biogeochemical lag time of 35 years for 99% of legacy SON, even with complete cessation of fertilizer application. By demonstrating that agricultural soils can act as a net N sink, the present work makes a critical contribution towards the closing of watershed N budgets.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

A new NDVI measure that overcomes data sparsity in cloud-covered regions predicts annual variation in ground-based estimates of high arctic plant productivity

Efforts to estimate plant productivity using satellite data can be frustrated by the presence of cloud cover. We developed a new method to overcome this problem, focussing on the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard where extensive cloud cover during the growing season can prevent plant productivity from being estimated over large areas. We used a field-based time-series (2000−2009) of live aboveground vascular plant biomass data and a recently processed cloud-free MODIS-Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data set (2000−2014) to estimate, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, the onset of plant growth. We then summed NDVI values from onset of spring to the average time of peak NDVI to give an estimate of annual plant productivity. This remotely sensed productivity measure was then compared, at two different spatial scales, with the peak plant biomass field data. At both the local scale, surrounding the field data site, and the larger regional scale, our NDVI measure was found to predict plant biomass (adjusted R 2 = 0.51 and 0.44, respectively). The commonly used 'maximum NDVI' plant productivity index showed no relationship with plant biomass, likely due to some years having very few cloud-free images available during the peak plant growing season. Thus, we propose this new summed NDVI from onset of spring to time of peak NDVI as a proxy of large-scale plant productivity for regions such as the Arctic where climatic conditions restrict the availability of cloud-free images.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:28 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions

Climate change poses challenges for decision makers across society, not just in preparing for the climate of the future but even when planning for the climate of the present day. When making climate sensitive decisions, policy makers and adaptation planners would benefit from information on local scales and for user-specific quantiles (e.g. the hottest/coldest 5% of days) and thresholds (e.g. days above 28 ° C), not just mean changes. Here, we translate observations of weather into observations of climate change, providing maps of the changing shape of climatic temperature distributions across Europe since 1950. The provision of such information from observations is valuable to support decisions designed to be robust in today's climate, while also providing data against which climate forecasting methods can be judged and interpreted. The general statement that the hottest summer days are warming faster than the coolest is made decision relevant by exposing how the regions of greatest warming are quantile and threshold dependent. In a band from Northern France to Denmark, where the response is greatest, the hottest days in the temperature distribution have seen changes of at least 2 ° C, over four times the global mean change over the same period. In winter the coldest nights are warming fastest, particularly in Scandinavia.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:57 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Climate extremes and grassland potential productivity

The considerable interannual variability (IAV) (~5 PgC yr−1) observed in atmospheric CO2 is dominated by variability in terrestrial productivity. Among terrestrial ecosystems, grassland productivity IAV is greatest. Relationships between grassland productivity IAV and climate drivers are poorly explained by traditional multiple-regression approaches. We propose a novel method, the perfect-deficit approach, to identify climate drivers of grassland IAV from observational data. The maximum daily value of each ecological or meteorological variable for each day of the year, over the period of record, defines the 'perfect' annual curve. Deficits of these variables can be identified by comparing daily observational data for a given year against the perfect curve. Links between large deficits of ecosystem activity and extreme climate events are readily identified. We applied this approach to five grassland sites with 26 site-years of observational data. Large deficits of canopy photosynthetic capacity and evapotranspiration derived from eddy-covariance measurements, and leaf area index derived from satellite data occur together and are driven by a local-dryness index during the growing season. This new method shows great promise in using observational evidence to demonstrate how extreme climate events alter yearly dynamics of ecosystem potential productivity and exchanges with atmosphere, and shine a new light on climate–carbon feedback mechanisms.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:07 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Quantifying long-term changes in carbon stocks and forest structure from Amazon forest degradation

Despite sustained declines in Amazon deforestation, forest degradation from logging and fire continues to threaten carbon stocks, habitat, and biodiversity in frontier forests along the Amazon arc of deforestation. Limited data on the magnitude of carbon losses and rates of carbon recovery following forest degradation have hindered carbon accounting efforts and contributed to incomplete national reporting to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). We combined annual time series of Landsat imagery and high-density airborne lidar data to characterize the variability, magnitude, and persistence of Amazon forest degradation impacts on aboveground carbon density (ACD) and canopy structure. On average, degraded forests contained 45.1% of the carbon stocks in intact forests, and differences persisted even after 15 years of regrowth. In comparison to logging, understory fires resulted in the largest and longest-lasting differences in ACD. Heterogeneity in burned forest structure varied by fire severity and frequency. Forests with a history of one, two, and three or more fires retained only 54.4%, 25.2%, and 7.6% of intact ACD, respectively, when measured after a year of regrowth. Unlike the additive impact of successive fires, selective logging before burning did not explain additional variability in modeled ACD loss and recovery of burned forests. Airborne lidar also provides quantitative measures of habitat structure that can aid the estimation of co-benefits of avoided degradation. Notably, forest carbon stocks recovered faster than attributes of canopy structure that are critical for biodiversity in tropical forests, including the abundance of tall trees. We provide the first comprehensive look-up table of emissions factors for specific degradation pathways at standard reporting intervals in the Amazon. Estimated carbon loss and recovery trajectories provide an important foundation for assessing the long-term contributions from forest degradation to regional carbon cycling and advance our understanding of the current state of frontier forests.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Global sea-level contribution from Arctic land ice: 1971–2017

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP 2017) report identifies the Arctic as the largest regional source of land ice to global sea-level rise in the 2003–2014 period. Yet, this contextualization ignores the longer perspective from in situ records of glacier mass balance. Here, using 17 (>55 °N latitude) glacier and ice cap mass balance series in the 1971–2017 period, we develop a semi-empirical estimate of annual sea-level contribution from seven Arctic regions by scaling the in situ records to GRACE averages. We contend that our estimate represents the most accurate Arctic land ice mass balance assessment so far available before the 1992 start of satellite altimetry. We estimate the 1971–2017 eustatic sea-level contribution from land ice north of ~55 °N to be 23.0 ± 12.3 mm sea-level equivalent (SLE). In all regions, the cumulative sea-level rise curves exhibit an acceleration, starting especially after 1988. Greenland is the source of 46% of the Arctic sea-level rise contribution (10.6 ± 7.3 mm), followed by Alaska (5.7 ± 2.2 mm), Arctic Canada (3.2 ± 0.7 mm) and the Russian High Arctic (1.5 ± 0.4 mm). Our annual results exhibit co-variability over a 43 year overlap (1971–2013) with the alternative dataset of Marzeion et al (2015 Cryosphere 9 2399–404) (M15). However, we find a 1.36× lower sea-level contribution, in agreement with satellite gravimetry. The IPCC Fifth Assessment report identified constraining the pre-satellite era sea-level budget as a topic of low scientific understanding that we address and specify sea-level contributions coinciding with IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) 'present day' (2005–2015) and 'recent past' (1986–2005) reference periods. We assess an Arctic land ice loss of 8.3 mm SLE during the recent past and 12.4 mm SLE during the present day. The seven regional sea-level rise contribution time series of this study are available from AMAP.no.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:48 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Snow season variability in a boreal-Arctic transition area monitored by MODIS data

The duration and extent of snow cover is expected to change rapidly with climate change. Therefore, there is a need for improved monitoring of snow for the benefit of forecasting, impact assessments and the population at large. Remotely sensed techniques prove useful for remote areas where there are few field-based monitoring stations. This paper reports on a study of snow season using snow cover area fraction data from the two northernmost counties in Norway, Troms and Finnmark. The data are derived from the daily 500 m standard snow product (MOD10A1) from the NASA Terra MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor for the 2000–2010 period. This dataset has been processed with multi-temporal interpolation to eliminate clouds. The resulting cloud-free daily time series of snow cover fraction maps, have subsequently been used to derive the first and last snow-free day for the entire study area. In spring, the correlation between the first snow-free day mapped by MODIS data and snow data from 40 meteorological stations was highly significant (p < 0.05) for 36 of the stations, and with a of bias of less than 10 days for 34 of the stations. In autumn, 31 of the stations show highly significant (p < 0.05) correlation with MODIS data, and the bias was less than 10 days for 27 of the stations. However, in some areas and some years, the start and end of the snow season could not be detected due to long overcast periods. In spring 2002 and 2004 the first snow-free day was early, but arrived late in 2000, 2005 and 2008. In autumn 2009 snowfall arrived more than 7 days earlier in 50% of the study area as compared to the 2000–2010 average. MODIS-based snow season products will be applicable for a wide range of sectors including hydrology, nature-based industries, climate change studies and ecology. Therefore refinement and further testing of this method should be encouraged.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

The impact of European legislative and technology measures to reduce air pollutants on air quality, human health and climate

European air quality legislation has reduced emissions of air pollutants across Europe since the 1970s, affecting air quality, human health and regional climate. We used a coupled composition-climate model to simulate the impacts of European air quality legislation and technology measures implemented between 1970 and 2010. We contrast simulations using two emission scenarios; one with actual emissions in 2010 and the other with emissions that would have occurred in 2010 in the absence of technological improvements and end-of-pipe treatment measures in the energy, industrial and road transport sectors. European emissions of sulphur dioxide, black carbon (BC) and organic carbon in 2010 are 53%, 59% and 32% lower respectively compared to emissions that would have occurred in 2010 in the absence of legislative and technology measures. These emission reductions decreased simulated European annual mean concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 35%, sulphate by 44%, BC by 56% and particulate organic matter by 23%. The reduction in PM2.5 concentrations is calculated to have prevented 80 000 (37 000–116 000, at 95% confidence intervals) premature deaths annually across the European Union, resulting in a perceived financial benefit to society of US232 billion annually (1.4% of 2010 EU GDP). The reduction in aerosol concentrations due to legislative and technology measures caused a positive change in the aerosol radiative effect at the top of atmosphere, reduced atmospheric absorption and also increased the amount of solar radiation incident at the surface over Europe. We used an energy budget approximation to estimate that these changes in the radiative balance have increased European annual mean surface temperatures and precipitation by 0.45 ± 0.11 °C and by 13 ± 0.8 mm yr−1 respectively. Our results show that the implementation of European legislation and technological improvements to reduce the emission of air pollutants has improved air quality and human health over Europe, as well as having an unintended impact on the regional radiative balance and climate.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Competition for shrinking window of low salinity groundwater

Groundwater resources are being stressed from the top down and bottom up. Declining water tables and near-surface contamination are driving groundwater users to construct deeper wells in many US aquifer systems. This has been a successful short-term mitigation measure where deep groundwater is fresh and free of contaminants. Nevertheless, vertical salinity profiles are not well-constrained at continental-scales. In many regions, oil and gas activities use pore spaces for energy production and waste disposal. Here we quantify depths that aquifer systems transition from fresh-to-brackish and where oil and gas activities are widespread in sedimentary basins across the United States. Fresh-brackish transitions occur at relatively shallow depths of just a few hundred meters, particularly in eastern US basins. We conclude that fresh groundwater is less abundant in several key US basins than previously thought; therefore drilling deeper wells to access fresh groundwater resources is not feasible extensively across the continent. Our findings illustrate that groundwater stores are being depleted not only by excessive withdrawals, but due to injection, and potentially contamination, from the oil and gas industry in areas of deep fresh and brackish groundwater.
  • Published: 2018
  • 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
03:19 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Implications of a decrease in the precipitation area for the past and the future

The total area with 24 hrs precipitation has shrunk by 7% between 50°S–50°N over the period 1998–2016, according to the satellite-based Tropical Rain Measurement Mission data. A decrease in the daily precipitation area is an indication of profound changes in the hydrological cycle, where the global rate of precipitation is balanced by the global rate of evaporation. This decrease was accompanied by increases in total precipitation, evaporation, and wet-day mean precipitation. If these trends are real, then they suggest increased drought frequencies and more intense rainfall. Satellite records, however, may be inhomogeneous because they are synthesised from a number of individual missions with improved technology over time. A linear dependency was also found between the global mean temperature and the 50°S–50°N daily precipitation area with a slope value of −17 × 106 km 2∕°C. This dependency was used with climate model simulations to make future projections which suggested a continued decrease that will strengthen in the future. The precipitation area evolves differently when the precipitation is accumulated over short and long time scales, however, and there has been a slight increase in the monthly precipitation area while the daily precipitation area decreased. An increase on monthly scale may indicate more pronounced variations in the rainfall patterns due to migrating rain-producing phenomena.
  • Published: 2018
  • 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
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