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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
1:18:31 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
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
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

General framework for fluctuating dynamic density functional theory

We introduce a versatile bottom-up derivation of a formal theoretical framework to describe (passive) soft-matter systems out of equilibrium subject to fluctuations. We provide a unique connection between the constituent-particle dynamics of real systems and the time evolution equation of their measurable (coarse-grained) quantities, such as local density and velocity. The starting point is the full Hamiltonian description of a system of colloidal particles immersed in a fluid of identical bath particles. Then, we average out the bath via Zwanzig's projection-operator techniques and obtain the stochastic Langevin equations governing the colloidal-particle dynamics. Introducing the appropriate definition of the local number and momentum density fields yields a generalisation of the Dean–Kawasaki (DK) model, which resembles the stochastic Navier–Stokes description of a fluid. Nevertheless, the DK equation still contains all the microscopic information and, for that reason, does not represent the dynamical law of observable quantities. We address this controversial feature of the DK description by carrying out a nonequilibrium ensemble average. Adopting a natural decomposition into local-equilibrium and nonequilibrium contribution, where the former is related to a generalised version of the canonical distribution, we finally obtain the fluctuating-hydrodynamic equation governing the time-evolution of the mesoscopic density and momentum fields. Along the way, we outline the connection between the ad hoc energy functional introduced in previous DK derivations and the free-energy functional from classical density-functional theory. The resultant equation has the structure of a dynamical density-functional theory (DDFT) with an additional fluctuating force coming from the random interactions with the bath. We show that our fluctuating DDFT formalism corresponds to a particular version of the fluctuating Navier–Stokes equations, originally derived by Landau and Lifshitz. Our framework thus provides the formal apparatus for ab initio derivations of fluctuating DDFT equations capable of describing the dynamics of soft-matter systems in and out of equilibrium.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:38 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Alleviating inequality in climate policy costs: an integrated perspective on mitigation, damage and adaptation

Equity considerations play an important role in international climate negotiations. While policy analysis has often focused on equity as it relates to mitigation costs, there are large regional differences in adaptation costs and the level of residual damage. This paper illustrates the relevance of including adaptation and residual damage in equity considerations by determining how the allocation of emission allowances would change to counteract regional differences in total climate costs, defined as the costs of mitigation, adaptation, and residual damage. We compare emission levels resulting from a global carbon tax with two allocations of emission allowances under a global cap-and-trade system: one equating mitigation costs and one equating total climate costs as share of GDP. To account for uncertainties in both mitigation and adaptation, we use a model-comparison approach employing two alternative modeling frameworks with different damage, adaptation cost, and mitigation cost estimates, and look at two different climate goals. Despite the identified model uncertainties, we derive unambiguous results on the change in emission allowance allocation that could lessen the unequal distribution of adaptation costs and residual damages through the financial transfers associated with emission trading.
  • Published: 2016
  • 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
04:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Are global wind power resource estimates overstated?

Estimates of the global wind power resource over land range from 56 to 400 TW. Most estimates have implicitly assumed that extraction of wind energy does not alter large-scale winds enough to significantly limit wind power production. Estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbine drag on local winds have assumed that wind power production of 2–4 W m−2 can be sustained over large areas. New results from a mesoscale model suggest that wind power production is limited to about 1 W m−2 at wind farm scales larger than about 100 km2. We find that the mesoscale model results are quantitatively consistent with results from global models that simulated the climate response to much larger wind power capacities. Wind resource estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbines in slowing large-scale winds may therefore substantially overestimate the wind power resource.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
05:27 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

A comparative analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of wheat and beef in the United States

The US food system utilizes large quantities of liquid fuels, electricity, and chemicals yielding significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are not considered in current retail prices, especially when the contribution of biogenic emissions is considered. However, because GHG emissions might be assigned a price in prospective climate policy frameworks, it would be useful to know the extent to which those policies would increase the incremental production costs to food within the US food system. This analysis uses lifecycle assessment (LCA) to (1) estimate the magnitude of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions from typical US food production practices, using wheat and beef as examples, and (2) quantify the cost of those emissions in the context of a GHG-pricing regime over a range of policy constructs. Wheat and beef were chosen as benchmark staples to provide a representative range of less intensive and more intensive agricultural goods, respectively. Results suggest that 1.1 ± 0.13 and 31 ± 8.1 kg of lifecycle CO2e emissions are embedded in 1 kg of wheat and beef production, respectively. Consequently, the cost of lifecycle CO2e emissions for wheat (i.e. cultivation, processing, transportation, storage, and end-use preparation) over an emissions price range of 10 and 85 per tonne CO2e is estimated to be between 0.01 and 0.09 per kg of wheat, respectively, which would increase total wheat production costs by approximately 0.3–2% per kg. By comparison, the estimated lifecycle CO2e price of beef over the same range of CO2e prices is between 0.31 and 2.60 per kg of beef, representing a total production cost increase of approximately 5–40% per kg based on average 2010 food prices. This range indicates that the incremental cost to total US food production might be anywhere between 0.63–5.4 Billion per year for grain and 3.70 and 32 Billion per year for beef based on CO2e emissions assuming that total production volumes stay the same.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
05:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Land cover dynamics following a deforestation ban in northern Costa Rica

Forest protection policies potentially reduce deforestation and re-direct agricultural expansion to already-cleared areas. Using satellite imagery, we assessed whether deforestation for conversion to pasture and cropland decreased in the lowlands of northern Costa Rica following the 1996 ban on forest clearing, despite a tripling of area under pineapple cultivation in the last decade. We observed that following the ban, mature forest loss decreased from 2.2% to 1.2% per year, and the proportion of pineapple and other export-oriented cropland derived from mature forest declined from 16.4% to 1.9%. The post-ban expansion of pineapples and other crops largely replaced pasture, exotic and native tree plantations, and secondary forests. Overall, there was a small net gain in forest cover due to a shifting mosaic of regrowth and clearing in pastures, but cropland expansion decreased reforestation rates. We conclude that forest protection efforts in northern Costa Rica have likely slowed mature forest loss and succeeded in re-directing expansion of cropland to areas outside mature forest. Our results suggest that deforestation bans may protect mature forests better than older forest regrowth and may restrict clearing for large-scale crops more effectively than clearing for pasture.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:00 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Irrigation offsets wheat yield reductions from warming temperatures

Temperature increases due to climate change are expected to cause substantial reductions in global wheat yields. However, uncertainty remains regarding the potential role for irrigation as an adaptation strategy to offset heat impacts. Here we utilize over 7000 observations spanning eleven Kansas field-trial locations, 180 varieties, and 29 years to show that irrigation significantly reduces the negative impact of warming temperatures on winter wheat yields. Dryland wheat yields are estimated to decrease about eight percent for every one-degree Celsius increase in temperature, yet irrigation completely offsets this negative impact in our sample. As in previous studies, we find that important interactions exist between heat stress and precipitation for dryland production. Here, uniquely, we observe both dryland and irrigated trials side-by-side at the same locations and find that precipitation does not provide the same reduction in heat stress as irrigation. This is likely to be because the timing, intensity, and volume of water applications influence wheat yields, so the ability to irrigate—rather than relying on rainfall alone—has a stronger influence on heat stress. We find evidence of extensive differences of water-deficit stress impacts across varieties. This provides some evidence of the potential for adapting to hotter and drier climate conditions using optimal variety selection. Overall, our results highlight the critical role of water management for future global food security. Water scarcity not only reduces crop yields through water-deficit stress, but also amplifies the negative effects of warming temperatures.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:59 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Explicit feedback and the management of uncertainty in meeting climate objectives with solar geoengineering

Solar geoengineering has been proposed as a method of meeting climate objectives, such as reduced globally averaged surface temperatures. However, because of incomplete understanding of the effects of geoengineering on the climate system, its implementation would be in the presence of substantial uncertainties. In our study, we use two fully coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models: one in which the geoengineering strategy is designed, and one in which geoengineering is implemented (a real-world proxy). We show that regularly adjusting the amount of solar geoengineering in response to departures of the observed global mean climate state from the predetermined objective (sequential decision making; an explicit feedback approach) can manage uncertainties and result in achievement of the climate objective in both the design model and the real-world proxy. This approach results in substantially less error in meeting global climate objectives than using a predetermined time series of how much geoengineering to use, especially if the estimated sensitivity to geoengineering is inaccurate.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors

Misinformation can have significant societal consequences. For example, misinformation about climate change has confused the public and stalled support for mitigation policies. When people lack the expertise and skill to evaluate the science behind a claim, they typically rely on heuristics such as substituting judgment about something complex (i.e. climate science) with judgment about something simple (i.e. the character of people who speak about climate science) and are therefore vulnerable to misleading information. Inoculation theory offers one approach to effectively neutralize the influence of misinformation. Typically, inoculations convey resistance by providing people with information that counters misinformation. In contrast, we propose inoculating against misinformation by explaining the fallacious reasoning within misleading denialist claims. We offer a strategy based on critical thinking methods to analyse and detect poor reasoning within denialist claims. This strategy includes detailing argument structure, determining the truth of the premises, and checking for validity, hidden premises, or ambiguous language. Focusing on argument structure also facilitates the identification of reasoning fallacies by locating them in the reasoning process. Because this reason-based form of inoculation is based on general critical thinking methods, it offers the distinct advantage of being accessible to those who lack expertise in climate science. We applied this approach to 42 common denialist claims and find that they all demonstrate fallacious reasoning and fail to refute the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic global warming. This comprehensive deconstruction and refutation of the most common denialist claims about climate change is designed to act as a resource for communicators and educators who teach climate science and/or critical thinking.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Human impacts on terrestrial hydrology: climate change versus pumping and irrigation

Global climate change is altering terrestrial water and energy budgets, with subsequent impacts on surface and groundwater resources; recent studies have shown that local water management practices such as groundwater pumping and irrigation similarly alter terrestrial water and energy budgets over many agricultural regions, with potential feedbacks on weather and climate. Here we use a fully-integrated hydrologic model to directly compare effects of climate change and water management on terrestrial water and energy budgets of a representative agricultural watershed in the semi-arid Southern Great Plains, USA. At local scales, we find that the impacts of pumping and irrigation on latent heat flux, potential recharge and water table depth are similar in magnitude to the impacts of changing temperature and precipitation; however, the spatial distributions of climate and management impacts are substantially different. At the basin scale, the impacts on stream discharge and groundwater storage are remarkably similar. Notably, for the watershed and scenarios studied here, the changes in groundwater storage and stream discharge in response to a 2.5 °C temperature increase are nearly equivalent to those from groundwater-fed irrigation. Our results imply that many semi-arid basins worldwide that practice groundwater pumping and irrigation may already be experiencing similar impacts on surface water and groundwater resources to a warming climate. These results demonstrate that accurate assessment of climate change impacts and development of effective adaptation and mitigation strategies must account for local water management practices.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Assessing ExxonMobil's climate change communications (1977–2014)

This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change. We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements ('advertorials') in The New York Times. We examine whether these communications sent consistent messages about the state of climate science and its implications—specifically, we compare their positions on climate change as real, human-caused, serious, and solvable. In all four cases, we find that as documents become more publicly accessible, they increasingly communicate doubt. This discrepancy is most pronounced between advertorials and all other documents. For example, accounting for expressions of reasonable doubt, 83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists' academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public. Our content analysis also examines ExxonMobil's discussion of the risks of stranded fossil fuel assets. We find the topic discussed and sometimes quantified in 24 documents of various types, but absent from advertorials. Finally, based on the available documents, we outline ExxonMobil's strategic approach to climate change research and communication, which helps to contextualize our findings.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Cost-effectiveness of reducing emissions from tropical deforestation, 2016–2050

Reducing tropical deforestation is potentially a large-scale and low-cost strategy for mitigating climate change. Yet previous efforts to project the cost-effectiveness of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from future deforestation across the tropics were hampered by crude available data on historical forest loss. Here we use recently available satellite-based maps of annual forest loss between 2001–2012, along with information on topography, accessibility, protected status, potential agricultural revenue, and an observed inverted-U-shaped relationship between forest cover loss and forest cover, to project tropical deforestation from 2016–2050 under alternative policy scenarios and to construct new marginal abatement cost curves for reducing emissions from tropical deforestation. We project that without new forest conservation policies 289 million hectares of tropical forest will be cleared from 2016–2050, releasing 169 GtCO2. A carbon price of US20/tCO2 (50/tCO2) across tropical countries would avoid 41 GtCO2 (77 GtCO2) from 2016–2050. By comparison, we estimate that Brazil's restrictive policies in the Amazon between 2004–2012 successfully decoupled potential agricultural revenue from deforestation and reduced deforestation by 47% below what would have otherwise occurred, preventing the emission of 5.2 GtCO2. All tropical countries enacting restrictive anti-deforestation policies as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon between 2004–2012 would avoid 58 GtCO2 from 2016–2050.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Biomass burning, land-cover change, and the hydrological cycle in Northern sub-Saharan Africa

The Northern Sub-Saharan African (NSSA) region, which accounts for 20%–25% of the global carbon emissions from biomass burning, also suffers from frequent drought episodes and other disruptions to the hydrological cycle whose adverse societal impacts have been widely reported during the last several decades. This paper presents a conceptual framework of the NSSA regional climate system components that may be linked to biomass burning, as well as detailed analyses of a variety of satellite data for 2001–2014 in conjunction with relevant model-assimilated variables. Satellite fire detections in NSSA show that the vast majority (>75%) occurs in the savanna and woody savanna land-cover types. Starting in the 2006–2007 burning season through the end of the analyzed data in 2014, peak burning activity showed a net decrease of 2–7%/yr in different parts of NSSA, especially in the savanna regions. However, fire distribution shows appreciable coincidence with land-cover change. Although there is variable mutual exchange of different land cover types, during 2003–2013, cropland increased at an estimated rate of 0.28%/yr of the total NSSA land area, with most of it (0.18%/yr) coming from savanna. During the last decade, conversion to croplands increased in some areas classified as forests and wetlands, posing a threat to these vital and vulnerable ecosystems. Seasonal peak burning is anti-correlated with annual water-cycle indicators such as precipitation, soil moisture, vegetation greenness, and evapotranspiration, except in humid West Africa (5°–10° latitude), where this anti-correlation occurs exclusively in the dry season and burning virtually stops when monthly mean precipitation reaches 4 mm d−1. These results provide observational evidence of changes in land-cover and hydrological variables that are consistent with feedbacks from biomass burning in NSSA, and encourage more synergistic modeling and observational studies that can elaborate this feedback mechanism.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:50 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Health and climate benefits of offshore wind facilities in the Mid-Atlantic United States

Electricity from fossil fuels contributes substantially to both climate change and the health burden of air pollution. Renewable energy sources are capable of displacing electricity from fossil fuels, but the quantity of health and climate benefits depend on site-specific attributes that are not often included in quantitative models. Here, we link an electrical grid simulation model to an air pollution health impact assessment model and US regulatory estimates of the impacts of carbon to estimate the health and climate benefits of offshore wind facilities of different sizes in two different locations. We find that offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic is capable of producing health and climate benefits of between 54 and 120 per MWh of generation, with the largest simulated facility (3000 MW off the coast of New Jersey) producing approximately 690 million in benefits in 2017. The variability in benefits per unit generation is a function of differences in locations (Maryland versus New Jersey), simulated years (2012 versus 2017), and facility generation capacity, given complexities of the electrical grid and differences in which power plants are offset. This work demonstrates health and climate benefits of offshore wind, provides further evidence of the utility of geographically-refined modeling frameworks, and yields quantitative insights that would allow for inclusion of both climate and public health in benefits assessments of renewable energy.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:58 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Reliability of regional climate model trends

A necessary condition for a good probabilistic forecast is that the forecast system is shown to be reliable: forecast probabilities should equal observed probabilities verified over a large number of cases. As climate change trends are now emerging from the natural variability, we can apply this concept to climate predictions and compute the reliability of simulated local and regional temperature and precipitation trends (1950–2011) in a recent multi-model ensemble of climate model simulations prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report (AR5). With only a single verification time, the verification is over the spatial dimension. The local temperature trends appear to be reliable. However, when the global mean climate response is factored out, the ensemble is overconfident: the observed trend is outside the range of modelled trends in many more regions than would be expected by the model estimate of natural variability and model spread. Precipitation trends are overconfident for all trend definitions. This implies that for near-term local climate forecasts the CMIP5 ensemble cannot simply be used as a reliable probabilistic forecast.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:57 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

How does the SST variability over the western North Atlantic Ocean control Arctic warming over the Barents–Kara Seas?

Arctic warming over the Barents–Kara Seas and its impacts on the mid-latitude circulations have been widely discussed. However, the specific mechanism that brings the warming still remains unclear. In this study, a possible cause of the regional Arctic warming over the Barents–Kara Seas during early winter (October–December) is suggested. We found that warmer sea surface temperature anomalies over the western North Atlantic Ocean (WNAO) modulate the transient eddies overlying the oceanic frontal region. The altered transient eddy vorticity flux acts as a source for the Rossby wave straddling the western North Atlantic and the Barents–Kara Seas (Scandinavian pattern), and induces a significant warm advection, increasing surface and lower-level temperature over the Eurasian sector of the Arctic Ocean. The importance of the sea surface temperature anomalies over the WNAO and subsequent transient eddy forcing over the WNAO was also supported by both specially designed simple model experiments and general circulation model experiments.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States

Past attempts to estimate rainfall-driven flood risk across the US either have incomplete coverage, coarse resolution or use overly simplified models of the flooding process. In this paper, we use a new 30 m resolution model of the entire conterminous US with a 2D representation of flood physics to produce estimates of flood hazard, which match to within 90% accuracy the skill of local models built with detailed data. These flood depths are combined with exposure datasets of commensurate resolution to calculate current and future flood risk. Our data show that the total US population exposed to serious flooding is 2.6–3.1 times higher than previous estimates, and that nearly 41 million Americans live within the 1% annual exceedance probability floodplain (compared to only 13 million when calculated using FEMA flood maps). We find that population and GDP growth alone are expected to lead to significant future increases in exposure, and this change may be exacerbated in the future by climate change.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

On predicting climate under climate change

Can today's global climate model ensembles characterize the 21st century climate in their own 'model-worlds'? This question is at the heart of how we design and interpret climate model experiments for both science and policy support. Using a low-dimensional nonlinear system that exhibits behaviour similar to that of the atmosphere and ocean, we explore the implications of ensemble size and two methods of constructing climatic distributions, for the quantification of a model's climate. Small ensembles are shown to be misleading in non-stationary conditions analogous to externally forced climate change, and sometimes also in stationary conditions which reflect the case of an unforced climate. These results show that ensembles of several hundred members may be required to characterize a model's climate and inform robust statements about the relative roles of different sources of climate prediction uncertainty.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
05:12 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Climate change mitigation policies and poverty in developing countries

Mitigation of the potential impacts of climate change is one of the leading policy concerns of the 21st century. However, there continues to be heated debate about the nature, the content and, most importantly, the impact of the policy actions needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. One contributing factor is the lack of systematic evidence on the impact of mitigation policy on the welfare of the poor in developing countries. In this letter we consider two alternative policy scenarios, one in which only the Annex I countries take action, and the second in which the first policy is accompanied by a forest carbon sequestration policy in the non-Annex regions. Using an economic climate policy analysis framework, we assess the poverty impacts of the above policy scenarios on seven socio-economic groups in 14 developing countries. We find that the Annex-I-only policy is poverty friendly, since it enhances the competitiveness of non-Annex countries—particularly in agricultural production. However, once forest carbon sequestration incentives in the non-Annex regions are added to the policy package, the overall effect is to raise poverty in the majority of our sample countries. The reason for this outcome is that the dominant impacts of this policy are to raise returns to land, reduce agricultural output and raise food prices. Since poor households rely primarily on their own labor for income, and generally own little land, and since they also spend a large share of their income on food, they are generally hurt on both the earning and the spending fronts. This result is troubling, since forest carbon sequestration—particularly through avoided deforestation—is a promising, low cost option for climate change mitigation.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

The FAOSTAT database of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, including crop and livestock production, forestry and associated land use changes, are responsible for a significant fraction of anthropogenic emissions, up to 30% according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Yet while emissions from fossil fuels are updated yearly and by multiple sources—including national-level statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA)—no comparable efforts for reporting global statistics for agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) emissions exist: the latest complete assessment was the 2007 IPCC report, based on 2005 emission data. This gap is critical for several reasons. First, potentially large climate funding could be linked in coming decades to more precise estimates of emissions and mitigation potentials. For many developing countries, and especially the least developed ones, this requires improved assessments of AFOLU emissions. Second, growth in global emissions from fossil fuels has outpaced that from AFOLU during every decade of the period 1961–2010, so the relative contribution of the latter to total climate forcing has diminished over time, with a need for regular updates. We present results from a new GHG database developed at FAO, providing a complete and coherent time series of emission statistics over a reference period 1961–2010, at country level, based on FAOSTAT activity data and IPCC Tier 1 methodology. We discuss results at global and regional level, focusing on trends in the agriculture sector and net deforestation. Our results complement those available from the IPCC, extending trend analysis to a longer historical period and, critically, beyond 2005 to more recent years. In particular, from 2000 to 2010, we find that agricultural emissions increased by 1.1% annually, reaching 4.6 Gt CO2 yr−1 in 2010 (up to 5.4–5.8 Gt CO2 yr−1 with emissions from biomass burning and organic soils included). Over the same decade 2000–2010, the ratio of agriculture to fossil fuel emissions has decreased, from 17.2% to 13.7%, and the decrease is even greater for the ratio of net deforestation to fossil fuel emissions: from 19.1% to 10.1%. In fact, in the year 2000, emissions from agriculture have been consistently larger—about 1.2 Gt CO2 yr−1 in 2010—than those from net deforestation.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:33 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Weakened cyclones, intensified anticyclones and recent extreme cold winter weather events in Eurasia

Extreme cold winter weather events over Eurasia have occurred more frequently in recent years in spite of a warming global climate. To gain further insight into this regional mismatch with the global mean warming trend, we analyzed winter cyclone and anticyclone activities, and their interplay with the regional atmospheric circulation pattern characterized by the semi-permanent Siberian high. We found a persistent weakening of both cyclones and anticyclones between the 1990s and early 2000s, and a pronounced intensification of anticyclone activity afterwards. It is suggested that this intensified anticyclone activity drives the substantially strengthening and northwestward shifting/expanding Siberian high, and explains the decreased midlatitude Eurasian surface air temperature and the increased frequency of cold weather events. The weakened tropospheric midlatitude westerlies in the context of the intensified anticyclones would reduce the eastward propagation speed of Rossby waves, favoring persistence and further intensification of surface anticyclone systems.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Regional carbon fluxes from land use and land cover change in Asia, 1980–2009

We present a synthesis of the land-atmosphere carbon flux from land use and land cover change (LULCC) in Asia using multiple data sources and paying particular attention to deforestation and forest regrowth fluxes. The data sources are quasi-independent and include the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization-Forest Resource Assessment (FAO-FRA 2015; country-level inventory estimates), the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGARv4.3), the 'Houghton' bookkeeping model that incorporates FAO-FRA data, an ensemble of 8 state-of-the-art Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVM), and 2 recently published independent studies using primarily remote sensing techniques. The estimates are aggregated spatially to Southeast, East, and South Asia and temporally for three decades, 1980–1989, 1990–1999 and 2000–2009. Since 1980, net carbon emissions from LULCC in Asia were responsible for 20%–40% of global LULCC emissions, with emissions from Southeast Asia alone accounting for 15%–25% of global LULCC emissions during the same period. In the 2000s and for all Asia, three estimates (FAO-FRA, DGVM, Houghton) were in agreement of a net source of carbon to the atmosphere, with mean estimates ranging between 0.24 to 0.41 Pg C yr−1, whereas EDGARv4.3 suggested a net carbon sink of −0.17 Pg C yr−1. Three of 4 estimates suggest that LULCC carbon emissions declined by at least 34% in the preceding decade (1990–2000). Spread in the estimates is due to the inclusion of different flux components and their treatments, showing the importance to include emissions from carbon rich peatlands and land management, such as shifting cultivation and wood harvesting, which appear to be consistently underreported.
  • Published: 2016
  • 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
03:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Phenological mismatch in coastal western Alaska may increase summer season greenhouse gas uptake

High latitude ecosystems are prone to phenological mismatches due to climate change- driven advances in the growing season and changing arrival times of migratory herbivores. These changes have the potential to alter biogeochemical cycling and contribute to feedbacks on climate change by altering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) through large regions of the Arctic. Yet the effects of phenological mismatches on gas fluxes are currently unexplored. We used a three-year field experiment that altered the start of the growing season and timing of grazing to investigate how phenological mismatch affects GHG exchange. We found early grazing increased mean GHG emission to the atmosphere despite lower CH4 emissions due to grazing-induced changes in vegetation structure that increased uptake of CO2. In contrast, late grazing reduced GHG emissions because greater plant productivity led to an increase in CO2 uptake that overcame the increase in CH4 emission. Timing of grazing was an important control on both CO2 and CH4 emissions, and net GHG exchange was the result of opposing fluxes of CO2 and CH4. N2O played a negligible role in GHG flux. Advancing the growing season had a smaller effect on GHG emissions than changes to timing of grazing in this study. Our results suggest that a phenological mismatch that delays timing of grazing relative to the growing season, a change which is already developing along in western coastal Alaska, will reduce GHG emissions to the atmosphere through increased CO2 uptake despite greater CH4 emissions.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:06 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare

Worldwide demand for crops is increasing rapidly due to global population growth, increased biofuel production, and changing dietary preferences. Meeting these growing demands will be a substantial challenge that will tax the capability of our food system and prompt calls to dramatically boost global crop production. However, to increase food availability, we may also consider how the world's crops are allocated to different uses and whether it is possible to feed more people with current levels of crop production. Of particular interest are the uses of crops as animal feed and as biofuel feedstocks. Currently, 36% of the calories produced by the world's crops are being used for animal feed, and only 12% of those feed calories ultimately contribute to the human diet (as meat and other animal products). Additionally, human-edible calories used for biofuel production increased fourfold between the years 2000 and 2010, from 1% to 4%, representing a net reduction of available food globally. In this study, we re-examine agricultural productivity, going from using the standard definition of yield (in tonnes per hectare, or similar units) to using the number of people actually fed per hectare of cropland. We find that, given the current mix of crop uses, growing food exclusively for direct human consumption could, in principle, increase available food calories by as much as 70%, which could feed an additional 4 billion people (more than the projected 2–3 billion people arriving through population growth). Even small shifts in our allocation of crops to animal feed and biofuels could significantly increase global food availability, and could be an instrumental tool in meeting the challenges of ensuring global food security.
  • Published: 2013
  • 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
03:47 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Assessing inter-sectoral climate change risks: the role of Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP)

The aims of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) are to provide a framework for the intercomparison of global and regional-scale risk models within and across multiple sectors and to enable coordinated multi-sectoral assessments of different risks and their aggregated effects. The overarching goal is to use the knowledge gained to support adaptation and mitigation decisions that require regional or global perspectives within the context of facilitating transformations to enable sustainable development, despite inevitable climate shifts and disruptions. ISIMIP uses community-agreed sets of scenarios with standardized climate variables and socio-economic projections as inputs for projecting future risks and associated uncertainties, within and across sectors. The results are consistent multi-model assessments of sectoral risks and opportunities that enable studies that integrate across sectors, providing support for implementation of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Recent ice cap snowmelt in Russian High Arctic and anti-correlation with late summer sea ice extent

Glacier surface melt dynamics throughout Novaya Zemlya (NovZ) and Severnaya Zemlya (SevZ) serve as a good indicator of ice mass ablation and regional climate change in the Russian High Arctic. Here we report trends of surface melt onset date (MOD) and total melt days (TMD) by combining multiple resolution-enhanced active and passive microwave satellite datasets and analyze the TMD correlations with local temperature and regional sea ice extent. The glacier surface snowpack on SevZ melted significantly earlier (−7.3 days/decade) from 1992 to 2012 and significantly longer (7.7 days/decade) from 1995 to 2011. NovZ experienced large interannual variability in MOD, but its annual mean TMD increased. The snowpack melt on NovZ is more sensitive to temperature fluctuations than SevZ in recent decades. After ruling out the regional temperature influence using partial correlation analysis, the TMD on both archipelagoes is statistically anti-correlated with regional late summer sea ice extent, linking land ice snowmelt dynamics to regional sea ice extent variations.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Contamination of the Arctic reflected in microbial metagenomes from the Greenland ice sheet

Globally emitted contaminants accumulate in the Arctic and are stored in the frozen environments of the cryosphere. Climate change influences the release of these contaminants through elevated melt rates, resulting in increased contamination locally. Our understanding of how biological processes interact with contamination in the Arctic is limited. Through shotgun metagenomic data and binned genomes from metagenomes we show that microbial communities, sampled from multiple surface ice locations on the Greenland ice sheet, have the potential for resistance to and degradation of contaminants. The microbial potential to degrade anthropogenic contaminants, such as toxic and persistent polychlorinated biphenyls, was found to be spatially variable and not limited to regions close to human activities. Binned genomes showed close resemblance to microorganisms isolated from contaminated habitats. These results indicate that, from a microbiological perspective, the Greenland ice sheet cannot be seen as a pristine environment.
  • Published: 2017
  • 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
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