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

Manipulating Graphene at the Atomic Scale

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

Graphene and hexa-BN Heterostructures

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

Graphene based Electronics and Optoelectronics

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

Electronic Properties of Bilayer Graphene, from High to Low Energies

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

Raman Spectra of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes

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

Chiral Electrons and Zero-Mode Anomalies in Graphene

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

Graphene Update

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:53 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Soil microbial respiration from observations and Earth System Models

Soil microbial respiration (Rh) is a large but uncertain component of the terrestrial carbon cycle. Carbon–climate feedbacks associated with changes to Rh are likely, but Rh parameterization in Earth System Models (ESMs) has not been rigorously evaluated largely due to a lack of appropriate measurements. Here we assess, for the first time, Rh estimates from eight ESMs and their environmental drivers across several biomes against a comprehensive soil respiration database (SRDB-V2). Climatic, vegetation, and edaphic factors exert strong controls on annual Rh in ESMs, but these simple controls are not as apparent in the observations. This raises questions regarding the robustness of ESM projections of Rh in response to future climate change. Since there are many more soil respiration (Rs) observations than Rh data, two 'reality checks' for ESMs are also created using the Rs data. Guidance is also provided on the Rh improvement in ESMs.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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
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
04:00 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

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

The temperature sensitivity of the snowfall season (start, end, duration) over northern Eurasia (the former USSR) is analyzed from synoptic records of 547 stations from 1966 to 2000. The results find significant correlations between temperature and snowfall season at approximately 56% of stations (61% for the starting date and 56% for the ending date) with a mean snowfall season duration temperature sensitivity of −6.2 days °C−1 split over the start (2.8 days) and end periods (−3.4 days). Temperature sensitivity was observed to increase with stations' mean seasonal air temperature, with the strongest relationships at locations of around 6 °C temperature. This implies that increasing air temperature in fall and spring will delay the onset and hasten the end of snowfall events, and reduces the snowfall season length by 6.2 days for each degree of increase. This study also clarifies that the increasing trend in snowfall season length during 1936/37–1994 over northern European Russia and central Siberia revealed in an earlier study is unlikely to be associated with warming in spring and fall seasons.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:58 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
05:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Land cover dynamics following a deforestation ban in northern Costa Rica

Forest protection policies potentially reduce deforestation and re-direct agricultural expansion to already-cleared areas. Using satellite imagery, we assessed whether deforestation for conversion to pasture and cropland decreased in the lowlands of northern Costa Rica following the 1996 ban on forest clearing, despite a tripling of area under pineapple cultivation in the last decade. We observed that following the ban, mature forest loss decreased from 2.2% to 1.2% per year, and the proportion of pineapple and other export-oriented cropland derived from mature forest declined from 16.4% to 1.9%. The post-ban expansion of pineapples and other crops largely replaced pasture, exotic and native tree plantations, and secondary forests. Overall, there was a small net gain in forest cover due to a shifting mosaic of regrowth and clearing in pastures, but cropland expansion decreased reforestation rates. We conclude that forest protection efforts in northern Costa Rica have likely slowed mature forest loss and succeeded in re-directing expansion of cropland to areas outside mature forest. Our results suggest that deforestation bans may protect mature forests better than older forest regrowth and may restrict clearing for large-scale crops more effectively than clearing for pasture.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:48 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

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

Eroding permafrost coasts are likely indicators and integrators of changes in the Arctic System as they are susceptible to the combined effects of declining sea ice extent, increases in open water duration, more frequent and impactful storms, sea-level rise, and warming permafrost. However, few observation sites in the Arctic have yet to link decadal-scale erosion rates with changing environmental conditions due to temporal data gaps. This study increases the temporal fidelity of coastal permafrost bluff observations using near-annual high spatial resolution (<1 m) satellite imagery acquired between 2008–2017 for a 9 km segment of coastline at Drew Point, Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. Our results show that mean annual erosion for the 2007–2016 decade was 17.2 m yr−1, which is 2.5 times faster than historic rates, indicating that bluff erosion at this site is likely responding to changes in the Arctic System. In spite of a sustained increase in decadal-scale mean annual erosion rates, mean open water season erosion varied from 6.7 m yr−1 in 2010 to more than 22.0 m yr−1 in 2007, 2012, and 2016. This variability provided a range of coastal responses through which we explored the different roles of potential environmental drivers. The lack of significant correlations between mean open water season erosion and the environmental variables compiled in this study indicates that we may not be adequately capturing the environmental forcing factors, that the system is conditioned by long-term transient effects or extreme weather events rather than annual variability, or that other not yet considered factors may be responsible for the increased erosion occurring at Drew Point. Our results highlight an increase in erosion at Drew Point in the 21st century as well as the complexities associated with unraveling the factors responsible for changing coastal permafrost bluffs in the Arctic.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:21 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Potential increasing dominance of heterotrophy in the global ocean

Autotrophy is largely resource-limited in the modern ocean. Paleo evidence indicates this was not necessarily the case in warmer climates, and modern observations as well as standard metabolic theory suggest continued ocean warming could shift global ecology towards heterotrophy, thereby reducing autotrophic nutrient limitation. Such a shift would entail strong nutrient recycling in the upper ocean and high rates of net primary production (NPP), yet low carbon export to the deep ocean and sediments. We demonstrate transition towards such a state in the early 22nd century as a response to business-as-usual representative concentration pathway forcing (RCP8.5) in an intermediate complexity Earth system model in three configurations; with and without an explicit calcifier phytoplankton class and calcite ballast model. In all models nutrient regeneration in the near-surface becomes an increasingly important driver of primary production. The near-linear relationship between changes in NPP and global sea surface temperature (SST) found over the 21st century becomes exponential above a 2–4 global mean SST change. This transition to a more heterotrophic ocean agrees roughly with metabolic theory.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:18 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

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

Realizing the environmental benefits of solar photovoltaics (PV) will require reducing costs associated with perception, informational gaps and technological uncertainties. To identify opportunities to decrease costs associated with residential PV adoption, in this letter we use multivariate regression models to analyze a unique, household-level dataset of PV adopters in Texas (USA) to systematically quantify the effect of different information channels on aspiring PV adopters' decision-making. We find that the length of the decision period depends on the business model, such as whether the system was bought or leased, and on special opportunities to learn, such as the influence of other PV owners in the neighborhood. This influence accrues passively through merely witnessing PV systems in the neighborhood, increasing confidence and motivation, as well as actively through peer-to-peer communications. Using these insights we propose a new framework to provide public information on PV that could drastically reduce barriers to PV adoption, thereby accelerating its market penetration and environmental benefits. This framework could also serve as a model for other distributed generation technologies.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

The role of diet in phosphorus demand

Over the past 50 years, there have been major changes in human diets, including a global average increase in meat consumption and total calorie intake. We quantified how changes in annual per capita national average diets affected requirements for mined P between 1961 and 2007, starting with the per capita availability of a food crop or animal product and then determining the P needed to grow the product. The global per capita P footprint increased 38% over the 46 yr time period, but there was considerable variability among countries. Phosphorus footprints varied between 0.35 kg P capita−1 yr−1 (DPR Congo, 2007) and 7.64 kg P capita−1 yr−1 (Luxembourg, 2007). Temporal trends also differed among countries; for example, while China's P footprint increased almost 400% between 1961 and 2007, the footprints of other countries, such as Canada, decreased. Meat consumption was the most important factor affecting P footprints; it accounted for 72% of the global average P footprint. Our results show that dietary shifts are an important component of the human amplification of the global P cycle. These dietary trends present an important challenge for sustainable P management.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Can shrubs help to reconstruct historical glacier retreats?

In the 21st century, most of the world's glaciers are expected to retreat due to further global warming. The range of this predicted retreat varies widely as a result of uncertainties in climate and glacier models. To calibrate and validate glacier models, past records of glacier mass balance are necessary, which often only span several decades. Long-term reconstructions of glacier mass balance could increase the precision of glacier models by providing the required calibration data. Here we show the possibility of applying shrub growth increments as an on-site proxy for glacier summer mass balance, exemplified by Salix shrubs in Finse, Norway. We further discuss the challenges which this method needs to meet and address the high potential of shrub growth increments for reconstructing glacier summer mass balance in remote areas.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

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

We assessed the effects of nutrient enrichment on three stream ecosystems running through distinct biomes (Mediterranean, Pampean and Andean). We increased the concentrations of N and P in the stream water 1.6–4-fold following a before–after control–impact paired series (BACIPS) design in each stream, and evaluated changes in the biomass of bacteria, primary producers, invertebrates and fish in the enriched (E) versus control (C) reaches after nutrient addition through a predictive-BACIPS approach. The treatment produced variable biomass responses (2–77% of explained variance) among biological communities and streams. The greatest biomass response was observed for algae in the Andean stream (77% of the variance), although fish also showed important biomass responses (about 9–48%). The strongest biomass response to enrichment (77% in all biological compartments) was found in the Andean stream. The magnitude and seasonality of biomass responses to enrichment were highly site specific, often depending on the basal nutrient concentration and on windows of ecological opportunity (periods when environmental constraints other than nutrients do not limit biomass growth). The Pampean stream, with high basal nutrient concentrations, showed a weak response to enrichment (except for invertebrates), whereas the greater responses of Andean stream communities were presumably favored by wider windows of ecological opportunity in comparison to those from the Mediterranean stream. Despite variation among sites, enrichment globally stimulated the algal-based food webs (algae and invertebrate grazers) but not the detritus-based food webs (bacteria and invertebrate shredders). This study shows that nutrient enrichment tends to globally enhance the biomass of stream biological assemblages, but that its magnitude and extent within the food web are complex and are strongly determined by environmental factors and ecosystem structure.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:33 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
04:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

On predicting climate under climate change

Can today's global climate model ensembles characterize the 21st century climate in their own 'model-worlds'? This question is at the heart of how we design and interpret climate model experiments for both science and policy support. Using a low-dimensional nonlinear system that exhibits behaviour similar to that of the atmosphere and ocean, we explore the implications of ensemble size and two methods of constructing climatic distributions, for the quantification of a model's climate. Small ensembles are shown to be misleading in non-stationary conditions analogous to externally forced climate change, and sometimes also in stationary conditions which reflect the case of an unforced climate. These results show that ensembles of several hundred members may be required to characterize a model's climate and inform robust statements about the relative roles of different sources of climate prediction uncertainty.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

The FAOSTAT database of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

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

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

Extreme cold winter weather events over Eurasia have occurred more frequently in recent years in spite of a warming global climate. To gain further insight into this regional mismatch with the global mean warming trend, we analyzed winter cyclone and anticyclone activities, and their interplay with the regional atmospheric circulation pattern characterized by the semi-permanent Siberian high. We found a persistent weakening of both cyclones and anticyclones between the 1990s and early 2000s, and a pronounced intensification of anticyclone activity afterwards. It is suggested that this intensified anticyclone activity drives the substantially strengthening and northwestward shifting/expanding Siberian high, and explains the decreased midlatitude Eurasian surface air temperature and the increased frequency of cold weather events. The weakened tropospheric midlatitude westerlies in the context of the intensified anticyclones would reduce the eastward propagation speed of Rossby waves, favoring persistence and further intensification of surface anticyclone systems.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 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
04:01 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
04:01 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Focus on biodiversity, health and wellbeing: Synthesis and Review

In 2012 Environmental Research Letters (ERL) launched a focus series of research papers on the theme of biodiversity, health and well-being. It was the year of the second Rio Summit on Sustainable Development, a huge number of species had been made extinct and conservationists were making increasingly urgent calls for the protection of biodiversity. The situation is ever more critical. Since we started the issue more species have become extinct, and hundreds more have now become critically endangered. The focus issue highlighted the complexity of the links of biodiversity and health, and provides more evidence for the importance to human health of biodiversity on our planet. Research papers contrasted anthropocentric western scientific views of biodiversity and its ecosystem service to humans, with the more horizontal conceptions of indigenous communities in the Amazon—and as many cultures have recognized throughout history, they recognize that we are part of nature: nature does not exist for us.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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
03:50 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

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

Watershed and global-scale nitrogen (N) budgets indicate that the majority of the N surplus in anthropogenic landscapes does not reach the coastal oceans. While there is general consensus that this 'missing' N either exits the landscape via denitrification or is retained within watersheds as nitrate or organic N, the relative magnitudes of these pools and fluxes are subject to considerable uncertainty. Our study, for the first time, provides direct, large-scale evidence of N accumulation in the root zones of agricultural soils that may account for much of the 'missing N' identified in mass balance studies. We analyzed long-term soil data (1957–2010) from 2069 sites throughout the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) to reveal N accumulation in cropland of 25–70 kg ha−1 yr−1, a total of 3.8 ± 1.8 Mt yr−1 at the watershed scale. We then developed a simple modeling framework to capture N depletion and accumulation dynamics under intensive agriculture. Using the model, we show that the observed accumulation of soil organic N (SON) in the MRB over a 30 year period (142 Tg N) would lead to a biogeochemical lag time of 35 years for 99% of legacy SON, even with complete cessation of fertilizer application. By demonstrating that agricultural soils can act as a net N sink, the present work makes a critical contribution towards the closing of watershed N budgets.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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
04:01 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
03:32 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2015

Top ten European heatwaves since 1950 and their occurrence in the coming decades

The Russian heatwave in 2010 killed tens of thousands of people, and was by far the worst event in Europe since at least 1950, according to recent studies and a novel universal heatwave index capturing both the duration and magnitude of heatwaves. Here, by taking an improved version of this index, namely the heat wave magnitude index daily, we rank the top ten European heatwaves that occurred in the period 1950–2014, and show the spatial distribution of the magnitude of the most recent heatwave in summer 2015. We demonstrate that all these events had a strong impact reported in historical newspapers. We further reveal that the 1972 heatwave in Finland had a comparable spatial extent and magnitude as the European heatwave of 2003, considered the second strongest heatwave of the observational era. In the next two decades (2021–2040), regional climate projections suggest that Europe experiences an enhanced probability for heatwaves comparable to or greater than the magnitude, extent and duration of the Russian heatwave in 2010. We demonstrate that the probability of experiencing a major European heatwave in the coming decades is higher in RCP8.5 than RCP4.5 even though global mean temperature projections do not differ substantially. This calls for a proactive vulnerability assessment in Europe in support of formulating heatwave adaptation strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of heatwaves.
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:57 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Observed and simulated temperature extremes during the recent warming hiatus

The discrepancy between recent observed and simulated trends in global mean surface temperature has provoked a debate about possible causes and implications for future climate change projections. However, little has been said in this discussion about observed and simulated trends in global temperature extremes. Here we assess trend patterns in temperature extremes and evaluate the consistency between observed and simulated temperature extremes over the past four decades (1971–2010) in comparison to the recent 15 years (1996–2010). We consider the coldest night and warmest day in a year in the observational dataset HadEX2 and in the current generation of global climate models (CMIP5). In general, the observed trends fall within the simulated range of trends, with better consistency for the longer period. Spatial trend patterns differ for the warm and cold extremes, with the warm extremes showing continuous positive trends across the globe and the cold extremes exhibiting a coherent cooling pattern across the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes that has emerged in the recent 15 years and is not reproduced by the models. This regional inconsistency between models and observations might be a key to understanding the recent hiatus in global mean temperature warming.
  • Published: 2014
  • 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
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