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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
1:04:10 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Graphene based Electronics and Optoelectronics

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

Electronic Properties of Bilayer Graphene, from High to Low Energies

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

Raman Spectra of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes

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

Chiral Electrons and Zero-Mode Anomalies in Graphene

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

Recent Progress in Graphene Synthesis and Applications

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

Graphene Update

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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
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
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
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
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
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
02:52 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
04:31 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Higher subsoil carbon storage in species-rich than species-poor temperate forests

Forest soils contribute ca. 70% to the global soil organic carbon (SOC) pool and thus are an important element of the global carbon cycle. Forests also harbour a large part of the global terrestrial biodiversity. It is not clear, however, whether tree species diversity affects SOC. By measuring the carbon concentration of different soil particle size fractions separately, we were able to distinguish between effects of fine particle content and tree species composition on the SOC pool in old-growth broad-leaved forest plots along a tree diversity gradient (1-, 3- and 5-species). Variation in clay content explained part of the observed SOC increase from monospecific to mixed forests, but we show that the carbon concentration per unit clay or fine silt in the subsoil was by 30–35% higher in mixed than monospecific stands indicating a significant species identity or species diversity effect on C stabilization. Underlying causes may be differences in fine root biomass and turnover, in leaf litter decomposition rate among the tree species, and/or species-specific rhizosphere effects on soil. Our findings may have important implications for forestry offering management options through preference of mixed stands that could increase forest SOC pools and mitigate climate warming.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

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

We present a synthesis of the land-atmosphere carbon flux from land use and land cover change (LULCC) in Asia using multiple data sources and paying particular attention to deforestation and forest regrowth fluxes. The data sources are quasi-independent and include the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization-Forest Resource Assessment (FAO-FRA 2015; country-level inventory estimates), the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGARv4.3), the 'Houghton' bookkeeping model that incorporates FAO-FRA data, an ensemble of 8 state-of-the-art Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVM), and 2 recently published independent studies using primarily remote sensing techniques. The estimates are aggregated spatially to Southeast, East, and South Asia and temporally for three decades, 1980–1989, 1990–1999 and 2000–2009. Since 1980, net carbon emissions from LULCC in Asia were responsible for 20%–40% of global LULCC emissions, with emissions from Southeast Asia alone accounting for 15%–25% of global LULCC emissions during the same period. In the 2000s and for all Asia, three estimates (FAO-FRA, DGVM, Houghton) were in agreement of a net source of carbon to the atmosphere, with mean estimates ranging between 0.24 to 0.41 Pg C yr−1, whereas EDGARv4.3 suggested a net carbon sink of −0.17 Pg C yr−1. Three of 4 estimates suggest that LULCC carbon emissions declined by at least 34% in the preceding decade (1990–2000). Spread in the estimates is due to the inclusion of different flux components and their treatments, showing the importance to include emissions from carbon rich peatlands and land management, such as shifting cultivation and wood harvesting, which appear to be consistently underreported.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:06 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
03:47 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

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

The aims of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) are to provide a framework for the intercomparison of global and regional-scale risk models within and across multiple sectors and to enable coordinated multi-sectoral assessments of different risks and their aggregated effects. The overarching goal is to use the knowledge gained to support adaptation and mitigation decisions that require regional or global perspectives within the context of facilitating transformations to enable sustainable development, despite inevitable climate shifts and disruptions. ISIMIP uses community-agreed sets of scenarios with standardized climate variables and socio-economic projections as inputs for projecting future risks and associated uncertainties, within and across sectors. The results are consistent multi-model assessments of sectoral risks and opportunities that enable studies that integrate across sectors, providing support for implementation of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

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

Globally emitted contaminants accumulate in the Arctic and are stored in the frozen environments of the cryosphere. Climate change influences the release of these contaminants through elevated melt rates, resulting in increased contamination locally. Our understanding of how biological processes interact with contamination in the Arctic is limited. Through shotgun metagenomic data and binned genomes from metagenomes we show that microbial communities, sampled from multiple surface ice locations on the Greenland ice sheet, have the potential for resistance to and degradation of contaminants. The microbial potential to degrade anthropogenic contaminants, such as toxic and persistent polychlorinated biphenyls, was found to be spatially variable and not limited to regions close to human activities. Binned genomes showed close resemblance to microorganisms isolated from contaminated habitats. These results indicate that, from a microbiological perspective, the Greenland ice sheet cannot be seen as a pristine environment.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:37 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
02:19 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

The contribution of ecosystem services to place utility as a determinant of migration decision-making

Environment migration research has sought to provide an account of how environmental risks and resources affect migration and mobility. Part of that effort has focused on the role of the environment in providing secure livelihoods through provisioning ecosystem services. However, many of the models of environment migration linkages fail to acknowledge the importance of social and psychological factors in the decision to migrate. Here, we seek to provide a more comprehensive model of migration decision-making under environmental change by investigating the attachment people form to place, and the role of the environment in creating that attachment. We hypothesize that environmental factors enter the migration decision-making process through their contribution to place utility, defined as a function of both affective and instrumental bonds to location, and that ecosystem services, the aspects of ecosystems that create wellbeing, contribute to both components of place utility. We test these ideas in four rural highland settlements in Peru sampled along an altitudinal gradient. We find that non-economic ecosystem services are important in creating place attachment and that ecological place attachment exists independently of use of provisioning ecosystem services. Individuals' attitudes to ecosystem services vary with the type of ecosystem services available at a location and the degree of rurality. While social and economic factors are the dominant drivers of migration in these locations, a loss of non-provisioning ecosystem services leads to a decrease in place utility and commitment to place, determining factors in the decision to migrate. The findings suggest that policy interventions encouraging migration as an adaptation to environmental change will have limited success if they only focus on provisioning services. A much wider set of individuals will experience a decrease in place utility, and migration will be unable to alleviate that decrease since the factors that create it are specific to place.
  • Published: 2013
  • 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
03:04 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

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

Plantation-associated drainage of Southeast Asian peatlands has accelerated in recent years. Draining exposes the upper peat layer to oxygen, leading to elevated decomposition rates and net soil carbon losses. Empirical studies indicate positive relationships between long-term water table (WT) depth and soil carbon loss rate in peatlands. These correlations potentially enable using WT depth as a proxy for soil carbon losses from peatland plantations. Here, we compile data from published research assessing WT depth and carbon balance in tropical plantations on peat. We model net carbon loss from subsidence studies, as well as soil respiration (heterotrophic and total) from closed chamber studies, as a function of WT depth. WT depth across all 12 studies and 59 sites is 67 ± 20 cm (mean ± standard deviation). Mean WT depth is positively related to net carbon loss, as well as soil respiration rate. Our models explain 45% of net carbon loss variation and 45–63% of soil respiration variation. At a 70 cm WT depth, the subsidence model suggests net carbon loss of 20 tC ha−1 yr−1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 18–22 tC ha−1 yr−1) for plantations drained for >2 yr. Closed chamber-measured total soil respiration at this depth is 20 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1 (CI 17–24 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1) while heterotrophic respiration is 17 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1 (CI 14–20 tC-CO2 ha−1 yr−1), ~82% of total respiration. While land use is not a significant predictor of soil respiration, WT depths are greater at acacia (75 ± 16 cm) than oil palm (59 ± 15 cm) sample sites. Improved spatio-temporal sampling of the full suite of peat soil carbon fluxes—including fluvial carbon export and organic fertilizer inputs—will clarify multiple mechanisms leading to carbon loss and gain, supporting refined assessments of the global warming potential of peatland drainage.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:39 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Attributing human mortality during extreme heat waves to anthropogenic climate change

It has been argued that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. The extreme high temperatures of the summer of 2003 were associated with up to seventy thousand excess deaths across Europe. Previous studies have attributed the meteorological event to the human influence on climate, or examined the role of heat waves on human health. Here, for the first time, we explicitly quantify the role of human activity on climate and heat-related mortality in an event attribution framework, analysing both the Europe-wide temperature response in 2003, and localised responses over London and Paris. Using publicly-donated computing, we perform many thousands of climate simulations of a high-resolution regional climate model. This allows generation of a comprehensive statistical description of the 2003 event and the role of human influence within it, using the results as input to a health impact assessment model of human mortality. We find large-scale dynamical modes of atmospheric variability remain largely unchanged under anthropogenic climate change, and hence the direct thermodynamical response is mainly responsible for the increased mortality. In summer 2003, anthropogenic climate change increased the risk of heat-related mortality in Central Paris by ~70% and by ~20% in London, which experienced lower extreme heat. Out of the estimated ~315 and ~735 summer deaths attributed to the heatwave event in Greater London and Central Paris, respectively, 64 (±3) deaths were attributable to anthropogenic climate change in London, and 506 (±51) in Paris. Such an ability to robustly attribute specific damages to anthropogenic drivers of increased extreme heat can inform societal responses to, and responsibilities for, climate change.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:28 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Mapping climate change in European temperature distributions

Climate change poses challenges for decision makers across society, not just in preparing for the climate of the future but even when planning for the climate of the present day. When making climate sensitive decisions, policy makers and adaptation planners would benefit from information on local scales and for user-specific quantiles (e.g. the hottest/coldest 5% of days) and thresholds (e.g. days above 28 ° C), not just mean changes. Here, we translate observations of weather into observations of climate change, providing maps of the changing shape of climatic temperature distributions across Europe since 1950. The provision of such information from observations is valuable to support decisions designed to be robust in today's climate, while also providing data against which climate forecasting methods can be judged and interpreted. The general statement that the hottest summer days are warming faster than the coolest is made decision relevant by exposing how the regions of greatest warming are quantile and threshold dependent. In a band from Northern France to Denmark, where the response is greatest, the hottest days in the temperature distribution have seen changes of at least 2 ° C, over four times the global mean change over the same period. In winter the coldest nights are warming fastest, particularly in Scandinavia.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

The system-wide economics of a carbon dioxide capture, utilization, and storage network: Texas Gulf Coast with pure CO2-EOR flood

This letter compares several bounding cases for understanding the economic viability of capturing large quantities of anthropogenic CO2 from coal-fired power generators within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas electric grid and using it for pure CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the onshore coastal region of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. All captured CO2 in excess of that needed for EOR is sequestered in saline formations at the same geographic locations as the oil reservoirs but at a different depth. We analyze the extraction of oil from the same set of ten reservoirs within 20- and five-year time frames to describe how the scale of the carbon dioxide capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) network changes to meet the rate of CO2 demand for oil recovery. Our analysis shows that there is a negative system-wide net present value (NPV) for all modeled scenarios. The system comes close to breakeven economics when capturing CO2 from three coal-fired power plants to produce oil via CO2-EOR over 20 years and assuming no CO2 emissions penalty. The NPV drops when we consider a larger network to produce oil more quickly (21 coal-fired generators with CO2 capture to produce 80% of the oil within five years). Upon applying a CO2 emissions penalty of 602009/tCO2 to fossil fuel emissions to ensure that coal-fired power plants with CO2 capture remain in baseload operation, the system economics drop significantly. We show near profitability for the cash flow of the EOR operations only; however, this situation requires relatively cheap electricity prices during operation.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:58 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Risks to coral reefs from ocean carbonate chemistry changes in recent earth system model projections

Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Today they are threatened by numerous stressors, including warming ocean waters and coastal pollution. Here we focus on the implications of ocean acidification for the open ocean chemistry surrounding coral reefs, as estimated from earth system models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5). We project risks to reefs in the context of three potential aragonite saturation (Ωa) thresholds. We find that in preindustrial times, 99.9% of reefs adjacent to open ocean in the CMIP5 ensemble were located in regions with Ωa > 3.5. Under a business-as-usual scenario (RCP 8.5), every coral reef considered will be surrounded by water with Ωa < 3 by the end of the 21st century and the reefs' long-term fate is independent of their specific saturation threshold. However, under scenarios with significant CO2 emissions abatement, the Ωa threshold for reefs is critical to projecting their fate. Our results indicate that to maintain a majority of reefs surrounded by waters with Ωa > 3.5 to the end of the century, very aggressive reductions in emissions are required. The spread of Ωa projections across models in the CMIP5 ensemble is narrow, justifying a high level of confidence in these results.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Not carbon neutral: Assessing the net emissions impact of residues burned for bioenergy

Climate mitigation requires emissions to peak then decline within two decades, but many mitigation models include 100 EJ or more of bioenergy, ignoring emissions from biomass oxidation. Treatment of bioenergy as 'low carbon' or carbon neutral often assumes fuels are agricultural or forestry residues that will decompose and emit CO2 if not burned for energy. However, for 'low carbon' assumptions about residues to be reasonable, two conditions must be met: biomass must genuinely be material left over from some other process; and cumulative net emissions, the additional CO2 emitted by burning biomass compared to its alternative fate, must be low or negligible in a timeframe meaningful for climate mitigation. This study assesses biomass use and net emissions from the US bioenergy and wood pellet manufacturing sectors. It defines the ratio of cumulative net emissions to combustion, manufacturing and transport emissions as the net emissions impact (NEI), and evaluates the NEI at year 10 and beyond for a variety of scenarios. The analysis indicates the US industrial bioenergy sector mostly burns black liquor and has an NEI of 20% at year 10, while the NEI for plants burning forest residues ranges from 41%–95%. Wood pellets have a NEI of 55%–79% at year 10, with net CO2 emissions of 14–20 tonnes for every tonne of pellets; by year 40, the NEI is 26%–54%. Net emissions may be ten times higher at year 40 if whole trees are harvested for feedstock. Projected global pellet use would generate around 1% of world bioenergy with cumulative net emissions of 2 Gt of CO2 by 2050. Using the NEI to weight biogenic CO2 for inclusion in carbon trading programs and to qualify bioenergy for renewable energy subsidies would reduce emissions more effectively than the current assumption of carbon neutrality.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:04 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

2 °C and SDGs: united they stand, divided they fall?

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the new international climate treaty could put 2015 into the history books as a defining year for setting human development on a more sustainable pathway. The global climate policy and SDG agendas are highly interconnected: the way that the climate problem is addressed strongly affects the prospects of meeting numerous other SDGs and vice versa. Drawing on existing scenario results from a recent energy-economy-climate model inter-comparison project, this letter analyses these synergies and (risk) trade-offs of alternative 2 °C pathways across indicators relevant for energy-related SDGs and sustainable energy objectives. We find that limiting the availability of key mitigation technologies yields some co-benefits and decreases risks specific to these technologies but greatly increases many others. Fewer synergies and substantial trade-offs across SDGs are locked into the system for weak short-term climate policies that are broadly in line with current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), particularly when combined with constraints on technologies. Lowering energy demand growth is key to managing these trade-offs and creating synergies across multiple energy-related SD dimensions. We argue that SD considerations are central for choosing socially acceptable 2 °C pathways: the prospects of meeting other SDGs need not dwindle and can even be enhanced for some goals if appropriate climate policy choices are made. Progress on the climate policy and SDG agendas should therefore be tracked within a unified framework.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:59 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Health benefits, ecological threats of low-carbon electricity

Stabilizing global temperature will require a shift to renewable or nuclear power from fossil power and the large-scale deployment of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) for remaining fossil fuel use. Non-climate co-benefits of low-carbon energy technologies, especially reduced mortalities from air pollution and decreased ecosystem damage, have been important arguments for policies to reduce CO2 emissions. Taking into account a wide range of environmental mechanisms and the complex interactions of the supply chains of different technologies, we conducted the first life cycle assessment of potential human health and ecological impacts of a global low-carbon electricity scenario. Our assessment indicates strong human health benefits of low-carbon electricity. For ecosystem quality, there is a significant trade-off between reduced pollution and climate impacts and potentially significant ecological impacts from land use associated with increased biopower utilization. Other renewables, nuclear power and CCS show clear ecological benefits, so that the climate mitigation scenario with a relatively low share of biopower has lower ecosystem impacts than the baseline scenario. Energy policy can maximize co-benefits by supporting other renewable and nuclear power and developing biomass supply from sources with low biodiversity impact.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Implications of a shrinking Great Salt Lake for dust on snow deposition in the Wasatch Mountains, UT, as informed by a source to sink case study from the 13–14 April 2017 dust event

The deposition of dust on snow accelerates melt by perturbing snow albedo, directly by darkening the snow surface and indirectly by enhancing snow grain growth. The snow darkening process impacts hydrology by shifting runoff timing and magnitude. Dust on snow deposition has been documented in the Wasatch Mountains, snowmelt from which accounts for up to 80% of surface water supply for Salt Lake City, UT, but the impact on snow melt has not yet been investigated. Here, we present a case study of a dust event observed in the Wasatch (13–14th April, 2017), sampled coincidentally in the air and at the snow surface at an instrumented high elevation site (Atwater Study Plot, Alta, UT). Atmospheric backtrajectory modeling, the results of which were supported by measurements, showed that dust originated predominantly from the west: the Great Salt Lake Desert and the Great Salt Lake (GSL) dry lake bed. The deposited dust mass accounted for ~50% of the season total dust loading in snow, and daily mean radiative forcing of 20–50 W m−2 accelerated snow melt by approximately 25%. This has important implications for The Greatest Snow on Earth®, and snow water resources; the water level of the GSL has been declining, exposing dry lake beds, and there are no legal water rights or protections to maintain lake levels or mitigate dust emission.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:16 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Atmospheric consequences of disruption of the ocean thermocline

Technologies utilizing vertical ocean pipes have been proposed as a means to avoid global warming, either by providing a source of clean energy, increasing ocean carbon uptake, or storing thermal energy in the deep ocean. However, increased vertical transport of water has the capacity to drastically alter the ocean thermocline. To help bound potential climate consequences of these activities, we perform a set of simulations involving idealized disruption of the ocean thermocline by greatly increasing vertical mixing in the upper ocean. We use an Earth System Model (ESM) to evaluate the likely thermal and hydrological response of the atmosphere to this scenario. In our model, increased vertical transport in the upper ocean decreases upward shortwave and longwave radiation at the top-of-the-atmosphere due primarily to loss of clouds and sea-ice over the ocean. This extreme scenario causes an effective radiative forcing of ≈15.5–15.9 W m−2, with simulations behaving on multi-decadal time scales as if they are approaching an equilibrium temperature ≈8.6–8.8 °C higher than controls. Within a century, this produces higher global mean surface temperatures than would have occurred in the absence of increased vertical ocean transport. In our simulations, disruption of the thermocline strongly cools the lower atmosphere over the ocean, resulting in high pressure anomalies. The greater land-sea pressure contrast is found to increase water vapour transport from ocean to land in the lower atmosphere and therefore increase global mean precipitation minus evaporation (P–E) over land; however, many high latitude regions and some low latitude regions experience decreased P–E. Any real implementation of ocean pipe technologies would damage the thermal structure of the ocean to a lesser extent than simulated here; nevertheless, our simulations indicate the likely sign and character of unintended atmospheric consequences of such ocean technologies. Prolonged application of ocean pipe technologies, rather than avoiding global warming, could exacerbate long-term warming of the climate system.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:24 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Global impacts of the meat trade on in-stream organic river pollution: the importance of spatially distributed hydrological conditions

In many regions of the world, intensive livestock farming has become a significant source of organic river pollution. As the international meat trade is growing rapidly, the environmental impacts of meat production within one country can occur either domestically or internationally. The goal of this paper is to quantify the impacts of the international meat trade on global organic river pollution at multiple scales (national, regional and gridded). Using the biological oxygen demand (BOD) as an overall indicator of organic river pollution, we compute the spatially distributed organic pollution in global river networks with and without a meat trade, where the without-trade scenario assumes that meat imports are replaced by local production. Our analysis reveals a reduction in the livestock population and production of organic pollutants at the global scale as a result of the international meat trade. However, the actual environmental impact of trade, as quantified by in-stream BOD concentrations, is negative; i.e. we find a slight increase in polluted river segments. More importantly, our results show large spatial variability in local (grid-scale) impacts that do not correlate with local changes in BOD loading, which illustrates: (1) the significance of accounting for the spatial heterogeneity of hydrological processes along river networks, and (2) the limited value of looking at country-level or global averages when estimating the actual impacts of trade on the environment.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:05 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Numerical simulations of the spread of floating passive tracer released at the Old Harry prospect

The Gulf of St Lawrence is under immediate pressure for oil and gas exploration, particularly at the Old Harry prospect. A synthesis of the regulatory process that has taken place over the last few years indicates that important societal decisions soon to be made by various ministries and environmental groups are going to be based on numerous disagreements between the private sector and government agencies. The review also shows that the regulatory process has taken place with a complete lack of independent oceanographic research. Yet, the Gulf of St Lawrence is a complex environment that has never been specifically studied for oil and gas exploitation. Motivated by this knowledge gap, preliminary numerical experiments are carried out where the spreading of a passive floating tracer released at Old Harry is examined. Results indicate that the tracer released at Old Harry may follow preferentially two main paths. The first path is northward along the French Shore of Newfoundland, and the second path is along the main axis of the Laurentian Channel. The most probable coastlines to be touched by water flowing through Old Harry are Cape Breton and the southern portion of the French Shore, especially Cape Anguille and the Port au Port Peninsula. The Magdalen Islands are less susceptible to being affected than those regions but the probability is not negligible. These preliminary results provide guidance for future more in-depth and complete multidisciplinary studies from which informed decision-making scenarios could eventually be made regarding the exploration and development of oil and gas at the Old Harry prospect in particular and, more generally, in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Trapped between two tails: trading off scientific uncertainties via climate targets

Climate change policies must trade off uncertainties about future warming, about the social and ecological impacts of warming, and about the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We show that laxer carbon targets produce broader distributions for climate damages, skewed towards severe outcomes. However, if potential low-carbon technologies fill overlapping niches, then more stringent carbon targets produce broader distributions for the cost of reducing emissions, skewed towards high-cost outcomes. We use the technology-rich GCAM integrated assessment model to assess the robustness of 450 and 500 ppm carbon targets to each uncertain factor. The 500 ppm target provides net benefits across a broad range of futures. The 450 ppm target provides net benefits only when impacts are greater than conventionally assumed, when multiple technological breakthroughs lower the cost of abatement, or when evaluated with a low discount rate. Policy evaluations are more sensitive to uncertainty about abatement technology and impacts than to uncertainty about warming.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
External Website Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Groundwater-fed irrigation impacts spatially distributed temporal scaling behavior of the natural system: a spatio-temporal framework for understanding water management impacts

Regional scale water management analysis increasingly relies on integrated modeling tools. Much recent work has focused on groundwater–surface water interactions and feedbacks. However, to our knowledge, no study has explicitly considered impacts of management operations on the temporal dynamics of the natural system. Here, we simulate twenty years of hourly moisture dependent, groundwater-fed irrigation using a three-dimensional, fully integrated, hydrologic model (ParFlow-CLM). Results highlight interconnections between irrigation demand, groundwater oscillation frequency and latent heat flux variability not previously demonstrated. Additionally, the three-dimensional model used allows for novel consideration of spatial patterns in temporal dynamics. Latent heat flux and water table depth both display spatial organization in temporal scaling, an important finding given the spatial homogeneity and weak scaling observed in atmospheric forcings. Pumping and irrigation amplify high frequency (sub-annual) variability while attenuating low frequency (inter-annual) variability. Irrigation also intensifies scaling within irrigated areas, essentially increasing temporal memory in both the surface and the subsurface. These findings demonstrate management impacts that extend beyond traditional water balance considerations to the fundamental behavior of the system itself. This is an important step to better understanding groundwater's role as a buffer for natural variability and the impact that water management has on this capacity.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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