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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
1:18:31 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
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
04:05 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
03:29 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

The Haber Bosch–harmful algal bloom (HB–HAB) link

Large-scale commercialization of the Haber–Bosch (HB) process is resulting in intensification of nitrogen (N) fertilizer use worldwide. Globally N fertilizer use is far outpacing that of phosphorus (P) fertilizer. Much of the increase in N fertilizers is also now in the form of urea, a reduced form of N. Incorporation of these fertilizers into agricultural products is inefficient leading to significant environmental pollution and aquatic eutrophication. Of particular concern is the increased occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in waters receiving nutrient enriched runoff. Many phytoplankton causing HABs have physiological adaptive strategies that make them favored under conditions of elevated N : P conditions and supply of chemically reduced N (ammonium, urea). We propose that the HB-HAB link is a function of (1) the inefficiency of incorporation of N fertilizers in the food supply chain, the leakiness of the N cycle from crop to table, and the fate of lost N relative to P to the environment; and (2) adaptive physiology of many HABs to thrive in environments in which there is excess N relative to classic nutrient stoichiometric proportions and where chemically reduced forms of N dominate. The rate of HAB expansion is particularly pronounced in China where N fertilizer use has escalated very rapidly, where soil retention is declining, and where blooms have had large economic and ecological impacts. There, in addition to increased use of urea and high N : P based fertilizers overall, escalating aquaculture production adds to the availability of reduced forms of N, as does atmospheric deposition of ammonia. HABs in both freshwaters and marginal seas in China are highly related to these overall changing N loads and ratios. Without more aggressive N control the future outlook in terms of HABs is likely to include more events, more often, and they may also be more toxic.
  • Published: 2014
  • 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
03:58 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
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
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
02:33 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Global warming induced hybrid rainy seasons in the Sahel

The small rainfall recovery observed over the Sahel, concomitant with a regional climate warming, conceals some drought features that exacerbate food security. The new rainfall features include false start and early cessation of rainy seasons, increased frequency of intense daily rainfall, increasing number of hot nights and warm days and a decreasing trend in diurnal temperature range. Here, we explain these mixed dry/wet seasonal rainfall features which are called hybrid rainy seasons by delving into observed data consensus on the reduction in rainfall amount, its spatial coverage, timing and erratic distribution of events, and other atmospheric variables crucial in agro-climatic monitoring and seasonal forecasting. Further composite investigations of seasonal droughts, oceans warming and the regional atmospheric circulation nexus reveal that the low-to-mid-level atmospheric winds pattern, often stationary relative to either strong or neutral El-Niño-Southern-Oscillations  drought patterns, associates to basin warmings in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea to trigger hybrid rainy seasons in the Sahel. More challenging to rain-fed farming systems, our results suggest that these new rainfall conditions will most likely be sustained by global warming, reshaping thereby our understanding of food insecurity in this region.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

The impact of synoptic weather on UK surface ozone and implications for premature mortality

Air pollutants, such as ozone, have adverse impacts on human health and cause, for example, respiratory and cardiovascular problems. In the United Kingdom (UK), peak surface ozone concentrations typically occur in the spring and summer and are controlled by emission of precursor gases, tropospheric chemistry and local meteorology which can be influenced by large-scale synoptic weather regimes. In this study we composite surface and satellite observations of summer-time (April to September) ozone under different UK atmospheric circulation patterns, as defined by the Lamb weather types. Anticyclonic conditions and easterly flows are shown to significantly enhance ozone concentrations over the UK relative to summer-time average values. Anticyclonic stability and light winds aid the trapping of ozone and its precursor gases near the surface. Easterly flows (NE, E, SE) transport ozone and precursor gases from polluted regions in continental Europe (e.g. the Benelux region) to the UK. Cyclonic conditions and westerly flows, associated with unstable weather, transport ozone from the UK mainland, replacing it with clean maritime (North Atlantic) air masses. Increased cloud cover also likely decrease ozone production rates. We show that the UK Met Office regional air quality model successfully reproduces UK summer-time ozone concentrations and ozone enhancements under anticyclonic and south-easterly conditions for the summer of 2006. By using established ozone exposure-health burden metrics, anticyclonic and easterly condition enhanced surface ozone concentrations pose the greatest public health risk.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:18 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Changes in meandering of the Northern Hemisphere circulation

Strong waves in the mid-latitude circulation have been linked to extreme surface weather and thus changes in waviness could have serious consequences for society. Several theories have been proposed which could alter waviness, including tropical sea surface temperature anomalies or rapid climate change in the Arctic. However, so far it remains unclear whether any changes in waviness have actually occurred. Here we propose a novel meandering index which captures the maximum waviness in geopotential height contours at any given day, using all information of the full spatial position of each contour. Data are analysed on different time scale (from daily to 11 day running means) and both on hemispheric and regional scales. Using quantile regressions, we analyse how seasonal distributions of this index have changed over 1979–2015. The most robust changes are detected for autumn which has seen a pronounced increase in strongly meandering patterns at the hemispheric level as well as over the Eurasian sector. In summer for both the hemisphere and the Eurasian sector, significant downward trends in meandering are detected on daily timescales which is consistent with the recently reported decrease in summer storm track activity. The American sector shows the strongest increase in meandering in the warm season: in particular for 11 day running mean data, indicating enhanced amplitudes of quasi-stationary waves. Our findings have implications for both the occurrence of recent cold spells and persistent heat waves in the mid-latitudes.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
01:23 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Transatlantic flight times and climate change

Aircraft do not fly through a vacuum, but through an atmosphere whose meteorological characteristics are changing because of global warming. The impacts of aviation on climate change have long been recognised, but the impacts of climate change on aviation have only recently begun to emerge. These impacts include intensified turbulence and increased take-off weight restrictions. Here we investigate the influence of climate change on flight routes and journey times. We feed synthetic atmospheric wind fields generated from climate model simulations into a routing algorithm of the type used operationally by flight planners. We focus on transatlantic flights between London and New York, and how they change when the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is doubled. We find that a strengthening of the prevailing jet-stream winds causes eastbound flights to significantly shorten and westbound flights to significantly lengthen in all seasons. Eastbound and westbound crossings in winter become approximately twice as likely to take under 5 h 20 min and over 7 h 00 min, respectively. For reasons that are explained using a conceptual model, the eastbound shortening and westbound lengthening do not cancel out, causing round-trip journey times to increase. Even assuming no future growth in aviation, the extrapolation of our results to all transatlantic traffic suggests that aircraft will collectively be airborne for an extra 2000 h each year, burning an extra 7.2 million gallons of jet fuel at a cost of US 22 million, and emitting an extra 70 million kg of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 7100 average British homes. Our results provide further evidence of the two-way interaction between aviation and climate change.
  • Published: 2016
  • 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
03:58 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
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Are Scots pine forest edges particularly prone to drought-induced mortality?

Climate change is expected to exacerbate the frequency of drought-induced tree mortality world-wide. To better predict the associated change of species composition and forest dynamics on various scales and develop adequate adaptation strategies, more information on the mechanisms driving the often observed patchiness of tree die-back is needed. Although forest-edge effects may play an important role within the given context, only few corresponding studies exist. Here, we investigate the regional die-back of Scots pine in Franconia, Germany, after a hot and dry summer in 2015, thereby emphasizing possible differences in mortality between forest edge and interior. By means of dendroecological investigations and close-range remote sensing, we assess long-term growth performance and current tree vitality along five different forest-edge distance gradients. Our results clearly indicate a differing growth performance between edge and interior trees, associated with a higher vulnerability to drought, increased mortality rates, and lower tree vitality at the forest edge. Prior long-lasting growth decline of dead trees compared to live trees suggests depletion of carbon reserves in course of a long-term drought persisting since the 1990s to be the cause of regional Scots pine die-back. These findings highlight the forest edge as a potential focal point of forest management adaptation strategies in the context of drought-induced mortality.
  • Published: 2018
  • 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
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Ambient air pollution and congenital heart defects in Lanzhou, China

Congenital heart defects are the most prevalent type of birth defects. The association of air pollution with congenital heart defects is not well understood. We investigated a cohort of 8969 singleton live births in Lanzhou, China during 2010–2012. Using inverse distance weighting, maternal exposures to particulate matter with diameters ≤10 μm (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) were estimated as a combination of monitoring station levels for time spent at home and in a work location. We used logistic regression to estimate the associations, adjusting for maternal age, education, income, BMI, disease, folic acid intake and therapeutic drug use, and smoking; season of conception, fuel used for cooking and temperature. We found significant positive associations of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with PM10 during the 1st trimester, 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy (OR 1st trimester = 3.96, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.36, 11.53; OR 2nd trimester = 3.59, 95% CI: 1.57, 8.22; OR entire pregnancy = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.21, 3.62, per interquartile range (IQR) increment for PM10 (IQR = 71.2, 61.6, and 27.4 μg m−3, respectively)), and associations with NO2 during 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy (OR 2nd trimester = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.11, 3.34; OR entire pregnancy = 2.32, 95% Cl: 1.14, 4.71, per IQR increment for NO2 (IQR = 13.4 and 10.9 μg m−3, respectively)). The associations for congenital malformations of the great arteries and pooled cases showed consistent patterns. We also found positive associations for congenital malformations of cardiac septa with PM10 exposures in the 2nd trimester and the entire pregnancy, and SO2 exposures in the entire pregnancy. Results indicate a health burden from maternal exposures to air pollution, with increased risk of congenital heart defects.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

100 years of California's water rights system: patterns, trends and uncertainty

For 100 years, California's State Water Resources Control Board and its predecessors have been responsible for allocating available water supplies to beneficial uses, but inaccurate and incomplete accounting of water rights has made the state ill-equipped to satisfy growing societal demands for water supply reliability and healthy ecosystems. Here, we present the first comprehensive evaluation of appropriative water rights to identify where, and to what extent, water has been dedicated to human uses relative to natural supplies. The results show that water right allocations total 400 billion cubic meters, approximately five times the state's mean annual runoff. In the state's major river basins, water rights account for up to 1000% of natural surface water supplies, with the greatest degree of appropriation observed in tributaries to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and in coastal streams in southern California. Comparisons with water supplies and estimates of actual use indicate substantial uncertainty in how water rights are exercised. In arid regions such as California, over-allocation of surface water coupled with trends of decreasing supply suggest that new water demands will be met by re-allocation from existing uses. Without improvements to the water rights system, growing human and environmental demands portend an intensification of regional water scarcity and social conflict. California's legal framework for managing its water resources is largely compatible with needed reforms, but additional public investment is required to enhance the capacity of the state's water management institutions to effectively track and regulate water rights.
  • Published: 2014
  • 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
04:06 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Adoption and use of a semi-gasifier cooking and water heating stove and fuel intervention in the Tibetan Plateau, China

Improved cookstoves and fuels, such as advanced gasifier stoves, carry the promise of improving health outcomes, preserving local environments, and reducing climate-forcing air pollutants. However, low adoption and use of these stoves in many settings has limited their benefits. We aimed to improve the understanding of improved stove use by describing the patterns and predictors of adoption of a semi-gasifier stove and processed biomass fuel intervention in southwestern China. Of 113 intervention homes interviewed, 79% of homes tried the stove, and the majority of these (92%) continued using it 5–10 months later. One to five months after intervention, the average proportion of days that the semi-gasifier stove was in use was modest (40.4% [95% CI 34.3–46.6]), and further declined over 13 months. Homes that received the stove in the first batch used it more frequently (67.2% [95% CI 42.1−92.3] days in use) than homes that received it in the second batch (29.3% [95% CI 13.8−44.5] days in use), likely because of stove quality and user training. Household stove use was positively associated with reported cooking needs and negatively associated with age of the main cook, household socioeconomic status, and the availability of substitute cleaner-burning stoves. Our results show that even a carefully engineered, multi-purpose semi-gasifier stove and fuel intervention contributed modestly to overall household energy use in rural China.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Potential influence of the late Holocene climate on settled farming versus nomadic cattle herding in the Minusinsk Hollow, south-central Siberia

Prehistoric and early historic human cultures are known to be closely connected to and dependent on their natural environments. We test the hypothesis that climate change influenced the means of subsistence of ancient tribes and favored agricultural or cattle herding economic strategies. Our study area is the Khakass–Minusinsk Hollow, located in the foothills of the Sayan Mountains, south-central Siberia, which was, for a few millennia, a buffer zone for human migrations across the Great Eurasian Steppe. Three different methods (the Montane BioClimatic Model, MontBCliM; the biomization method; and the actualizm method) are employed to reconstruct vegetation taken from the fossil pollen of sediment cores in two mountain lakes at eleven time slices related to successive human cultures back to the mid-Holocene. MontBCliM model is used inversely to convert site paleo-vegetation into site paleo-climates. Climate-based regression models are developed and applied to reconstructed climates to evaluate possible pasture and grain crops for these time slices. Pollen-based reconstructions of the climate fluctuations uncovered several dry periods with steppe and forest-steppe and wetter periods with forests since 6000 BP. Grasslands increased by an order of magnitude during the dry periods and provided extensive open space suitable for pastoralism; however, both grain and pasture yields decreased during these dry periods. During wetter climates, both grain and pasture yields increased twofold and supported more fixed human settlements centered around farming and cattle herding. Thus, the dry periods favored pastoralist rather than farming activities. Conversely, tribes that practiced agriculture had some advantage in the wet periods.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Flared natural gas-based onsite atmospheric water harvesting (AWH) for oilfield operations

Natural gas worth tens of billions of dollars is flared annually, which leads to resource waste and environmental issues. This work introduces and analyzes a novel concept for flared gas utilization, wherein the gas that would have been flared is instead used to condense atmospheric moisture. Natural gas, which is currently being flared, can alternatively power refrigeration systems to generate the cooling capacity for large scale atmospheric water harvesting (AWH). This approach solves two pressing issues faced by the oil–gas industry, namely gas flaring, and sourcing water for oilfield operations like hydraulic fracturing, drilling and water flooding. Multiple technical pathways to harvest atmospheric moisture by using the energy of natural gas are analyzed. A modeling framework is developed to quantify the dependence of water harvest rates on flared gas volumes and ambient weather. Flaring patterns in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota are analyzed to quantify the benefits of AWH. Overall, the gas currently flared annually in Texas and North Dakota can harvest enough water to meet 11% and 65% of the water consumption in the Eagle Ford and the Bakken, respectively. Daily harvests of upto 30 000 and 18 000 gallons water can be achieved using the gas currently flared per well in Texas and North Dakota, respectively. In fifty Bakken sites, the water required for fracturing or drilling a new well can be met via onsite flared gas-based AWH in only 3 weeks, and 3 days, respectively. The benefits of this concept are quantified for the Eagle Ford and Bakken Shales. Assessments of the global potential of this concept are presented using data from countries with high flaring activity. It is seen that this waste-to-value conversion concept offers significant economic benefits while addressing critical environmental issues pertaining to oil–gas production.
  • Published: 2016
  • 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
02:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Air pollution impacts on avian species via inhalation exposure and associated outcomes

Despite the well-established links between air pollution and human health, vegetation, and aquatic ecosystems, less attention has been paid to the potential impact of reactive atmospheric gases and aerosols on avian species. In this literature review, we summarize findings published since 1950 regarding avian responses to air pollution and discuss knowledge gaps that could be addressed in future studies. We find consistent evidence for adverse health impacts on birds attributable to exposure to gas-phase and particulate air pollutants, including carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), smoke, and heavy metals, as well as mixtures of urban and industrial emissions. Avian responses to air pollution include respiratory distress and illness, increased detoxification effort, elevated stress levels, immunosuppression, behavioral changes, and impaired reproductive success. Exposure to air pollution may furthermore reduce population density, species diversity, and species richness in bird communities.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:37 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions

Current anthropogenic climate change is the result of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere, which records the aggregation of billions of individual decisions. Here we consider a broad range of individual lifestyle choices and calculate their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, based on 148 scenarios from 39 sources. We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year). These actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (four times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (eight times less). Though adolescents poised to establish lifelong patterns are an important target group for promoting high-impact actions, we find that ten high school science textbooks from Canada largely fail to mention these actions (they account for 4% of their recommended actions), instead focusing on incremental changes with much smaller potential emissions reductions. Government resources on climate change from the EU, USA, Canada, and Australia also focus recommendations on lower-impact actions. We conclude that there are opportunities to improve existing educational and communication structures to promote the most effective emission-reduction strategies and close this mitigation gap.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:13 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions

The world not only continues to build new coal-fired power plants, but built more new coal plants in the past decade than in any previous decade. Worldwide, an average of 89 gigawatts per year (GW yr–1) of new coal generating capacity was added between 2010 and 2012, 23 GW yr–1 more than in the 2000–2009 time period and 56 GW yr–1 more than in the 1990–1999 time period. Natural gas plants show a similar pattern. Assuming these plants operate for 40 years, the fossil-fuel burning plants built in 2012 will emit approximately 19 billion tons of CO2 (Gt CO2) over their lifetimes, versus 14 Gt CO2 actually emitted by all operating fossil fuel power plants in 2012. We find that total committed emissions related to the power sector are growing at a rate of about 4% per year, and reached 307 (with an estimated uncertainty of 192–439) Gt CO2 in 2012. These facts are not well known in the energy policy community, where annual emissions receive far more attention than future emissions related to new capital investments. This paper demonstrates the potential for 'commitment accounting' to inform public policy by quantifying future emissions implied by current investments.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:44 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima

A sequence of global ocean circulation models, with horizontal mesh sizes of 0.5°, 0.25° and 0.1°, are used to estimate the long-term dispersion by ocean currents and mesoscale eddies of a slowly decaying tracer (half-life of 30 years, comparable to that of 137Cs) from the local waters off the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plants. The tracer was continuously injected into the coastal waters over some weeks; its subsequent spreading and dilution in the Pacific Ocean was then simulated for 10 years. The simulations do not include any data assimilation, and thus, do not account for the actual state of the local ocean currents during the release of highly contaminated water from the damaged plants in March–April 2011. An ensemble differing in initial current distributions illustrates their importance for the tracer patterns evolving during the first months, but suggests a minor relevance for the large-scale tracer distributions after 2–3 years. By then the tracer cloud has penetrated to depths of more than 400 m, spanning the western and central North Pacific between 25°N and 55°N, leading to a rapid dilution of concentrations. The rate of dilution declines in the following years, while the main tracer patch propagates eastward across the Pacific Ocean, reaching the coastal waters of North America after about 5–6 years. Tentatively assuming a value of 10 PBq for the net 137Cs input during the first weeks after the Fukushima incident, the simulation suggests a rapid dilution of peak radioactivity values to about 10 Bq m−3 during the first two years, followed by a gradual decline to 1–2 Bq m−3 over the next 4–7 years. The total peak radioactivity levels would then still be about twice the pre-Fukushima values.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

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

Efforts to estimate plant productivity using satellite data can be frustrated by the presence of cloud cover. We developed a new method to overcome this problem, focussing on the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard where extensive cloud cover during the growing season can prevent plant productivity from being estimated over large areas. We used a field-based time-series (2000−2009) of live aboveground vascular plant biomass data and a recently processed cloud-free MODIS-Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data set (2000−2014) to estimate, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, the onset of plant growth. We then summed NDVI values from onset of spring to the average time of peak NDVI to give an estimate of annual plant productivity. This remotely sensed productivity measure was then compared, at two different spatial scales, with the peak plant biomass field data. At both the local scale, surrounding the field data site, and the larger regional scale, our NDVI measure was found to predict plant biomass (adjusted R 2 = 0.51 and 0.44, respectively). The commonly used 'maximum NDVI' plant productivity index showed no relationship with plant biomass, likely due to some years having very few cloud-free images available during the peak plant growing season. Thus, we propose this new summed NDVI from onset of spring to time of peak NDVI as a proxy of large-scale plant productivity for regions such as the Arctic where climatic conditions restrict the availability of cloud-free images.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

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

Higher temperatures during the growing season are likely to reduce crop yields with implications for crop production and food security. The negative impact of heat stress has also been predicted to increase even further for cereals such as wheat under climate change. Previous empirical modeling studies have focused on the magnitude and frequency of extreme events during the growth period but did not consider the effect of higher temperature on crop phenology. Based on an extensive set of climate and phenology observations for Germany and period 1951–2009, interpolated to 1 × 1 km resolution and provided as supplementary data to this article (available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/10/024012/mmedia), we demonstrate a strong relationship between the mean temperature in spring and the day of heading (DOH) of winter wheat. We show that the cooling effect due to the 14 days earlier DOH almost fully compensates for the adverse effect of global warming on frequency and magnitude of crop heat stress. Earlier heading caused by the warmer spring period can prevent exposure to extreme heat events around anthesis, which is the most sensitive growth stage to heat stress. Consequently, the intensity of heat stress around anthesis in winter crops cultivated in Germany may not increase under climate change even if the number and duration of extreme heat waves increase. However, this does not mean that global warning would not harm crop production because of other impacts, e.g. shortening of the grain filling period. Based on the trends for the last 34 years in Germany, heat stress (stress thermal time) around anthesis would be 59% higher in year 2009 if the effect of high temperatures on accelerating wheat phenology were ignored. We conclude that climate impact assessments need to consider both the effect of high temperature on grain set at anthesis but also on crop phenology.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

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

This study examined the spring–summer (November, December, January and February) albedo averages and trends using a dataset consisting of 28 years of homogenized satellite data for the entire Antarctic sea ice region and for five longitudinal sectors around Antarctica: the Weddell Sea (WS), the Indian Ocean sector (IO), the Pacific Ocean sector (PO), the Ross Sea (RS) and the Bellingshausen–Amundsen Sea (BS). Time series data of the sea ice concentrations and sea surface temperatures were used to analyse their relations to the albedo. The results indicated that the sea ice albedo increased slightly during the study period, at a rate of 0.314% per decade, over the Antarctic sea ice region. The sea ice albedos in the PO, the IO and the WS increased at rates of 2.599% per decade (confidence level 99.86%), 0.824% per decade and 0.413% per decade, respectively, and the steepest increase occurred in the PO. However, the sea ice albedo in the BS decreased at a rate of −1.617% per decade (confidence level 95.05%) and was near zero in the RS. The spring–summer average albedo over the Antarctic sea ice region was 50.24%. The highest albedo values were mainly found on the continental coast and in the WS; in contrast, the lowest albedo values were found on the outer edge of the sea ice, the RS and the Amery Ice Shelf. The average albedo in the western Antarctic sea ice region was distinctly higher than that in the east. The albedo was significantly positively correlated with sea ice concentration (SIC) and was significantly negatively correlated with sea surface temperature (SST); these scenarios held true for all five longitudinal sectors. Spatially, the higher surface albedos follow the higher SICs and lower SST patterns. The increasing albedo means that Antarctic sea ice region reflects more solar radiation and absorbs less, leading to a decrease in temperature and much snowfall on sea ice, and further resulted in an increase in albedo. Conversely, the decreasing albedo leads to more solar radiation absorbing and sea ice melting, thus resulting in a decrease in albedo.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:04 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

What caused the cool summer over northern Central Asia, East Asia and central North America during 2009?

Cool and wet weather conditions hit northern Central Asia, East Asia and central North America during the 2009 summer in concert with a strong jet stream and a prominent meandering upper-level circulation in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes despite the fact that the year 2009 is the fifth warmest year globally in the modern record. It is found that the conspicuous atmospheric variability in the entire Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes during the summer of 2009 was caused by a combination of teleconnections associated with significant tropical thermal forcings, strong polar forcing, and interaction between high-frequency weather events and climate anomalies. The strong negative circumglobal teleconnection pattern associated with the deficient Indian summer monsoon rainfall and developing El Niño condition was the major contributor to the cool and wet summer in June. On the other hand, the July weather conditions were attributable to the high-latitude impact of the unprecedented negative Arctic Oscillation, together with the Rossby wave response to the subtropical heating generated by convective activities over the Western North Pacific summer monsoon region. It is also noted that enhanced storm track activity and frequent cold surges from high-latitudes may have played a role in the cool and wet summer over the regions of interest.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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