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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
1:01:25 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
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
04:05 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Internal variability of Earth's energy budget simulated by CMIP5 climate models

We analyse a large number of multi-century pre-industrial control simulations from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to investigate relationships between: net top-of-atmosphere radiation (TOA), globally averaged surface temperature (GST), and globally integrated ocean heat content (OHC) on decadal timescales. Consistent with previous studies, we find that large trends (~0.3 K dec−1) in GST can arise from internal climate variability and that these trends are generally an unreliable indicator of TOA over the same period. In contrast, trends in total OHC explain 95% or more of the variance in TOA for two-thirds of the models analysed; emphasizing the oceans' role as Earth's primary energy store. Correlation of trends in total system energy (TE ≡ time integrated TOA) against trends in OHC suggests that for most models the ocean becomes the dominant term in the planetary energy budget on a timescale of about 12 months. In the context of the recent pause in global surface temperature rise, we investigate the potential importance of internal climate variability in both TOA and ocean heat rearrangement. The model simulations suggest that both factors can account for O (0.1 W m−2) on decadal timescales and may play an important role in the recently observed trends in GST and 0–700 m (and 0–1800 m) ocean heat uptake.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Carbon tax effects on the poor: a SAM-based approach

A SAM-based price model for Mexico is developed in order to assess the effects of the carbon tax, which was part of the fiscal reform approved in 2014. The model is formulated based on a social accounting matrix (SAM) that distinguishes households by the official poverty condition and geographical area. The main results are that the sector that includes coke, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel shows the highest price increase due to the direct impact of the carbon tax; in addition, air transport and inland transport are the most affected sectors, in an indirect manner, because both employ inputs from the former sector. Also, it is found that welfare diminishes more in the rural strata than in the urban one. In the urban area, the carbon tax is regressive: the negative impact of carbon tax on family welfare is greater on the poorest families.
  • 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
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Changing the spatial location of electricity generation to increase water availability in areas with drought: a feasibility study and quantification of air quality impacts in Texas

The feasibility, cost, and air quality impacts of using electrical grids to shift water use from drought-stricken regions to areas with more water availability were examined. Power plant cooling represents a large portion of freshwater withdrawals in the United States, and shifting where electricity generation occurs can allow the grid to act as a virtual water pipeline, increasing water availability in regions with drought by reducing water consumption and withdrawals for power generation. During a 2006 drought, shifting electricity generation out of the most impacted areas of South Texas (~10% of base case generation) to other parts of the grid would have been feasible using transmission and power generation available at the time, and some areas would experience changes in air quality. Although expensive, drought-based electricity dispatch is a potential parallel strategy that can be faster to implement than other infrastructure changes, such as air cooling or water pipelines.
  • Published: 2013
  • 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
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
04:00 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

A shorter snowfall season associated with higher air temperatures over northern Eurasia

The temperature sensitivity of the snowfall season (start, end, duration) over northern Eurasia (the former USSR) is analyzed from synoptic records of 547 stations from 1966 to 2000. The results find significant correlations between temperature and snowfall season at approximately 56% of stations (61% for the starting date and 56% for the ending date) with a mean snowfall season duration temperature sensitivity of −6.2 days °C−1 split over the start (2.8 days) and end periods (−3.4 days). Temperature sensitivity was observed to increase with stations' mean seasonal air temperature, with the strongest relationships at locations of around 6 °C temperature. This implies that increasing air temperature in fall and spring will delay the onset and hasten the end of snowfall events, and reduces the snowfall season length by 6.2 days for each degree of increase. This study also clarifies that the increasing trend in snowfall season length during 1936/37–1994 over northern European Russia and central Siberia revealed in an earlier study is unlikely to be associated with warming in spring and fall seasons.
  • Published: 2013
  • 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
03:58 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Trends in stream nitrogen concentrations for forested reference catchments across the USA

To examine whether stream nitrogen concentrations in forested reference catchments have changed over time and if patterns were consistent across the USA, we synthesized up to 44 yr of data collected from 22 catchments at seven USDA Forest Service Experimental Forests. Trends in stream nitrogen presented high spatial variability both among catchments at a site and among sites across the USA. We found both increasing and decreasing trends in monthly flow-weighted stream nitrate and ammonium concentrations. At a subset of the catchments, we found that the length and period of analysis influenced whether trends were positive, negative or non-significant. Trends also differed among neighboring catchments within several Experimental Forests, suggesting the importance of catchment-specific factors in determining nutrient exports. Over the longest time periods, trends were more consistent among catchments within sites, although there are fewer long-term records for analysis. These findings highlight the critical value of long-term, uninterrupted stream chemistry monitoring at a network of sites across the USA to elucidate patterns of change in nutrient concentrations at minimally disturbed forested sites.
  • 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
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
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
02:24 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Global predictability of temperature extremes

Extreme temperatures are one of the leading causes of death and disease in both developed and developing countries, and heat extremes are projected to rise in many regions. To reduce risk, heatwave plans and cold weather plans have been effectively implemented around the world. However, much of the world's population is not yet protected by such systems, including many data-scarce but also highly vulnerable regions. In this study, we assess at a global level where such systems have the potential to be effective at reducing risk from temperature extremes, characterizing (1) long-term average occurrence of heatwaves and coldwaves, (2) seasonality of these extremes, and (3) short-term predictability of these extreme events three to ten days in advance. Using both the NOAA and ECMWF weather forecast models, we develop global maps indicating a first approximation of the locations that are likely to benefit from the development of seasonal preparedness plans and/or short-term early warning systems for extreme temperature. The extratropics generally show both short-term skill as well as strong seasonality; in the tropics, most locations do also demonstrate one or both. In fact, almost 5 billion people live in regions that have seasonality and predictability of heatwaves and/or coldwaves. Climate adaptation investments in these regions can take advantage of seasonality and predictability to reduce risks to vulnerable populations.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:48 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

A decade of remotely sensed observations highlight complex processes linked to coastal permafrost bluff erosion in the Arctic

Eroding permafrost coasts are likely indicators and integrators of changes in the Arctic System as they are susceptible to the combined effects of declining sea ice extent, increases in open water duration, more frequent and impactful storms, sea-level rise, and warming permafrost. However, few observation sites in the Arctic have yet to link decadal-scale erosion rates with changing environmental conditions due to temporal data gaps. This study increases the temporal fidelity of coastal permafrost bluff observations using near-annual high spatial resolution (<1 m) satellite imagery acquired between 2008–2017 for a 9 km segment of coastline at Drew Point, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. Our results show that mean annual erosion for the 2007–2016 decade was 17.2 m yr−1, which is 2.5 times faster than historic rates, indicating that bluff erosion at this site is likely responding to changes in the Arctic System. In spite of a sustained increase in decadal-scale mean annual erosion rates, mean open water season erosion varied from 6.7 m yr−1 in 2010 to more than 22.0 m yr−1 in 2007, 2012, and 2016. This variability provided a range of coastal responses through which we explored the different roles of potential environmental drivers. The lack of significant correlations between mean open water season erosion and the environmental variables compiled in this study indicates that we may not be adequately capturing the environmental forcing factors, that the system is conditioned by long-term transient effects or extreme weather events rather than annual variability, or that other not yet considered factors may be responsible for the increased erosion occurring at Drew Point. Our results highlight an increase in erosion at Drew Point in the 21st century as well as the complexities associated with unraveling the factors responsible for changing coastal permafrost bluffs in the Arctic.
  • Published: 2018
  • 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
03:18 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Effective information channels for reducing costs of environmentally- friendly technologies: evidence from residential PV markets

Realizing the environmental benefits of solar photovoltaics (PV) will require reducing costs associated with perception, informational gaps and technological uncertainties. To identify opportunities to decrease costs associated with residential PV adoption, in this letter we use multivariate regression models to analyze a unique, household-level dataset of PV adopters in Texas (USA) to systematically quantify the effect of different information channels on aspiring PV adopters' decision-making. We find that the length of the decision period depends on the business model, such as whether the system was bought or leased, and on special opportunities to learn, such as the influence of other PV owners in the neighborhood. This influence accrues passively through merely witnessing PV systems in the neighborhood, increasing confidence and motivation, as well as actively through peer-to-peer communications. Using these insights we propose a new framework to provide public information on PV that could drastically reduce barriers to PV adoption, thereby accelerating its market penetration and environmental benefits. This framework could also serve as a model for other distributed generation technologies.
  • 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
02:28 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Attribution of atmospheric CO2 and temperature increases to regions: importance of preindustrial land use change

The historical contribution of each country to today's observed atmospheric CO2 excess and higher temperatures has become a basis for discussions around burden-sharing of greenhouse gas reduction commitments in political negotiations. However, the accounting methods have considered greenhouse gas emissions only during the industrial era, neglecting the fact that land use changes (LUC) have caused emissions long before the Industrial Revolution. Here, we hypothesize that considering preindustrial LUC affects the attribution because the geographic pattern of preindustrial LUC emissions differs significantly from that of industrial-era emissions and because preindustrial emissions have legacy effects on today's atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures. We test this hypothesis by estimating CO2 and temperature increases based on carbon cycle simulations of the last millennium. We find that accounting for preindustrial LUC emissions results in a shift of attribution of global temperature increase from the industrialized countries to less industrialized countries, in particular South Asia and China, by up to 2–3%, a level that may be relevant for political discussions. While further studies are needed to span the range of plausible quantifications, our study demonstrates the importance of including preindustrial emissions for the most scientifically defensible attribution.
  • Published: 2012
  • 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
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

How big is the energy efficiency resource?

Most economic theorists assume that energy efficiency—the biggest global provider of energy services—is a limited and dwindling resource whose price- and policy-driven adoption will inevitably deplete its potential and raise its cost. Influenced by that theoretical construct, most traditional analysts and deployers of energy efficiency see and exploit only a modest fraction of the worthwhile efficiency resource, saving less and paying more than they should. Yet empirically, modern energy efficiency is, and shows every sign of durably remaining, an expanding-quantity, declining-cost resource. Its adoption is constrained by major but correctable market failures and increasingly motivated by positive externalities. Most importantly, in both newbuild and retrofit applications, its quantity is severalfold larger and its cost lower than most in the energy and climate communities realize. The efficiency resource far exceeds the sum of savings by individual technologies because artfully choosing, combining, sequencing, and timing fewer and simpler technologies can save more energy at lower cost than deploying more and fancier but dis-integrated and randomly timed technologies. Such 'integrative design' is not yet widely known or applied, and can seem difficult because it is simple, but is well proven, rapidly evolving, and gradually spreading. Yet the same economic models that could not predict the renewable energy revolution also ignore integrative design and hence cannot recognize most of the efficiency resource or reserves. This analytic gap makes climate-change mitigation look harder and costlier than it really is, diverting attention and investment to inferior options. With energy efficiency as its cornerstone and needing its pace redoubled, climate protection depends critically on seeing and deploying the entire efficiency resource. This requires focusing less on individual technologies than on whole systems (buildings, factories, vehicles, and the larger systems embedding them), and replacing theoretical assumptions about efficiency's diminishing returns with practitioners' empirical evidence of expanding returns.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

The role of diet in phosphorus demand

Over the past 50 years, there have been major changes in human diets, including a global average increase in meat consumption and total calorie intake. We quantified how changes in annual per capita national average diets affected requirements for mined P between 1961 and 2007, starting with the per capita availability of a food crop or animal product and then determining the P needed to grow the product. The global per capita P footprint increased 38% over the 46 yr time period, but there was considerable variability among countries. Phosphorus footprints varied between 0.35 kg P capita−1 yr−1 (DPR Congo, 2007) and 7.64 kg P capita−1 yr−1 (Luxembourg, 2007). Temporal trends also differed among countries; for example, while China's P footprint increased almost 400% between 1961 and 2007, the footprints of other countries, such as Canada, decreased. Meat consumption was the most important factor affecting P footprints; it accounted for 72% of the global average P footprint. Our results show that dietary shifts are an important component of the human amplification of the global P cycle. These dietary trends present an important challenge for sustainable P management.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:42 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Regional climate change and national responsibilities

Global warming over the past several decades is now large enough that regional climate change is emerging above the noise of natural variability, especially in the summer at middle latitudes and year-round at low latitudes. Despite the small magnitude of warming relative to weather fluctuations, effects of the warming already have notable social and economic impacts. Global warming of 2 °C relative to preindustrial would shift the 'bell curve' defining temperature anomalies a factor of three larger than observed changes since the middle of the 20th century, with highly deleterious consequences. There is striking incongruity between the global distribution of nations principally responsible for fossil fuel CO2 emissions, known to be the main cause of climate change, and the regions suffering the greatest consequences from the warming, a fact with substantial implications for global energy and climate policies.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:20 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Limiting climate change: what's most worth doing?

Wynes and Nicholas (2017 Environ. Res. Lett. 12 074024) claim that some of the most important actions individuals can take to mitigate climate change have been overlooked, particularly in educational messages for adolescents, and estimate the potential impact of some of these, including having fewer children and living car free. These estimates raise questions that deserve serious analysis, but they are based only on the technical potential of the actions and do not consider the plasticity of the behaviors and the feasibility of policies to support them. The actions identified as having the greatest potential are lifestyle changes that accrue benefits over a lifetime or longer, so are not realistic alternatives to actions that can be enacted immediately. But presenting lifestyle choices and the relative impacts of different actions as discussion starters for adolescents could be promising, especially if the discussions highlight issues of behavioral plasticity, policy plasticity, and time scale. Research has identified design principles for interventions to achieve the strongest emissions reductions at time scales up to the decadal. Design principles for achieving longer-lasting changes deserve careful analytic attention, as well as a stronger focus in adolescent textbooks and messages to the general population. Both adolescents and researchers would do well to think carefully about what could promote the generational changes needed to reach a climate change target such as 'well below 2 °C'.
  • Published: 2017
  • 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
03:48 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall

In drylands, convective rainstorms typically control runoff, streamflow, water supply and flood risk to human populations, and ecological water availability at multiple spatial scales. Since drainage basin water balance is sensitive to climate, it is important to improve characterization of convective rainstorms in a manner that enables statistical assessment of rainfall at high spatial and temporal resolution, and the prediction of plausible manifestations of climate change. Here we present a simple rainstorm generator, STORM, for convective storm simulation. It was created using data from a rain gauge network in one dryland drainage basin, but is applicable anywhere. We employ STORM to assess watershed rainfall under climate change simulations that reflect differences in wetness/storminess, and thus provide insight into observed or projected regional hydrologic trends. Our analysis documents historical, regional climate change manifesting as a multidecadal decline in rainfall intensity, which we suggest has negatively impacted ephemeral runoff in the Lower Colorado River basin, but has not contributed substantially to regional negative streamflow trends.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Global pressures, specific responses: effects of nutrient enrichment in streams from different biomes

We assessed the effects of nutrient enrichment on three stream ecosystems running through distinct biomes (Mediterranean, Pampean and Andean). We increased the concentrations of N and P in the stream water 1.6–4-fold following a before–after control–impact paired series (BACIPS) design in each stream, and evaluated changes in the biomass of bacteria, primary producers, invertebrates and fish in the enriched (E) versus control (C) reaches after nutrient addition through a predictive-BACIPS approach. The treatment produced variable biomass responses (2–77% of explained variance) among biological communities and streams. The greatest biomass response was observed for algae in the Andean stream (77% of the variance), although fish also showed important biomass responses (about 9–48%). The strongest biomass response to enrichment (77% in all biological compartments) was found in the Andean stream. The magnitude and seasonality of biomass responses to enrichment were highly site specific, often depending on the basal nutrient concentration and on windows of ecological opportunity (periods when environmental constraints other than nutrients do not limit biomass growth). The Pampean stream, with high basal nutrient concentrations, showed a weak response to enrichment (except for invertebrates), whereas the greater responses of Andean stream communities were presumably favored by wider windows of ecological opportunity in comparison to those from the Mediterranean stream. Despite variation among sites, enrichment globally stimulated the algal-based food webs (algae and invertebrate grazers) but not the detritus-based food webs (bacteria and invertebrate shredders). This study shows that nutrient enrichment tends to globally enhance the biomass of stream biological assemblages, but that its magnitude and extent within the food web are complex and are strongly determined by environmental factors and ecosystem structure.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Farm-scale costs and returns for second generation bioenergy cropping systems in the US Corn Belt

While grain crops are meeting much of the initial need for biofuels in the US, cellulosic or second generation (2G) materials are mandated to provide a growing portion of biofuel feedstocks. We sought to inform development of a 2G crop portfolio by assessing the profitability of novel cropping systems that potentially mitigate the negative effects of grain-based biofuel crops on food supply and environmental quality. We analyzed farm-gate costs and returns of five systems from an ongoing experiment in central Iowa, USA. The continuous corn cropping system was most profitable under current market conditions, followed by a corn–soybean rotation that incorporated triticale as a 2G cover crop every third year, and a corn–switchgrass system. A novel triticale–hybrid aspen intercropping system had the highest yields over the long term, but could only surpass the profitability of the continuous corn system when biomass prices exceeded foreseeable market values. A triticale/sorghum double cropping system was deemed unviable. We perceive three ways 2G crops could become more cost competitive with grain crops: by (1) boosting yields through substantially greater investment in research and development, (2) increasing demand through substantially greater and sustained investment in new markets, and (3) developing new schemes to compensate farmers for environmental benefits associated with 2G crops.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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