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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
54:08 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2011

Recent Progress in Graphene Synthesis and Applications

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

Graphene Update

  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Bioenergy: how much can we expect for 2050?

Estimates of global primary bioenergy potentials in the literature span almost three orders of magnitude. We narrow that range by discussing biophysical constraints on bioenergy potentials resulting from plant growth (NPP) and its current human use. In the last 30 years, terrestrial NPP was almost constant near 54 PgC yr−1, despite massive efforts to increase yields in agriculture and forestry. The global human appropriation of terrestrial plant production has doubled in the last century. We estimate the maximum physical potential of the world's total land area outside croplands, infrastructure, wilderness and denser forests to deliver bioenergy at approximately 190 EJ yr−1. These pasture lands, sparser woodlands, savannas and tundras are already used heavily for grazing and store abundant carbon; they would have to be entirely converted to bioenergy and intensive forage production to provide that amount of energy. Such a high level of bioenergy supply would roughly double the global human biomass harvest, with far-reaching effects on biodiversity, ecosystems and food supply. Identifying sustainable levels of bioenergy and finding ways to integrate bioenergy with food supply and ecological conservation goals remains a huge and pressing scientific challenge.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:20 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Climate effects of non-compliant Volkswagen diesel cars

On-road operations of Volkswagen light-duty diesel vehicles equipped with defeat devices cause emissions of NOx up to 40 times above emission standards. Higher on-road NOx emissions are a widespread problem not limited to Volkswagen vehicles, but the Volkswagen violations brought this issue under the spotlight. While several studies investigated the health impacts of high NOx emissions, the climatic impacts have not been quantified. Here we show that such diesel cars generate a larger warming on the time scale of several years but a smaller warming on the decadal time scale during actual on-road operations than in vehicle certification tests. The difference in longer-term warming levels, however, depends on underlying driving conditions. Furthermore, in the presence of defeat devices, the climatic advantage of 'clean diesel' cars over gasoline cars, in terms of global-mean temperature change, is in our view not necessarily the case.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:03 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

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

A SAM-based price model for Mexico is developed in order to assess the effects of the carbon tax, which was part of the fiscal reform approved in 2014. The model is formulated based on a social accounting matrix (SAM) that distinguishes households by the official poverty condition and geographical area. The main results are that the sector that includes coke, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel shows the highest price increase due to the direct impact of the carbon tax; in addition, air transport and inland transport are the most affected sectors, in an indirect manner, because both employ inputs from the former sector. Also, it is found that welfare diminishes more in the rural strata than in the urban one. In the urban area, the carbon tax is regressive: the negative impact of carbon tax on family welfare is greater on the poorest families.
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Are global wind power resource estimates overstated?

Estimates of the global wind power resource over land range from 56 to 400 TW. Most estimates have implicitly assumed that extraction of wind energy does not alter large-scale winds enough to significantly limit wind power production. Estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbine drag on local winds have assumed that wind power production of 2–4 W m−2 can be sustained over large areas. New results from a mesoscale model suggest that wind power production is limited to about 1 W m−2 at wind farm scales larger than about 100 km2. We find that the mesoscale model results are quantitatively consistent with results from global models that simulated the climate response to much larger wind power capacities. Wind resource estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbines in slowing large-scale winds may therefore substantially overestimate the wind power resource.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
01:26 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

Saharan dust plume charging observed over the UK

A plume of Saharan dust and Iberian smoke was carried across the southern UK on 16th October 2017, entrained into an Atlantic cyclone which had originated as Hurricane Ophelia. The dust plume aloft was widely noticed as it was sufficiently dense to redden the visual appearance of the sun. Time series of backscatter from ceilometers at Reading and Chilbolton show two plumes: one carried upwards to 2.5 km, and another below 800 m into the boundary layer, with a clear slot between. Steady descent of particles at about 50 cm s−1 continued throughout the morning, and coarse mode particles reached the surface. Plumes containing dust are frequently observed to be strongly charged, often through frictional effects. This plume passed over atmospheric electric field sensors at Bristol, Chilbolton and Reading. Consistent measurements at these three sites indicated negative plume charge. The lower edge plume charge density was (−8.0 ± 3.3) nC m−2, which is several times greater than that typical for stratiform water clouds, implying an active in situ charge generation mechanism such as turbulent triboelectrification. A meteorological radiosonde measuring temperature and humidity was launched into the plume at 1412 UTC, specially instrumented with charge and turbulence sensors. This detected charge in the boundary layer and in the upper plume region, and strong turbulent mixing was observed throughout the atmosphere's lowest 4 km. The clear slot region, through which particles sedimented, was anomalously dry compared with modelled values, with water clouds forming intermittently in the air beneath. Electrical aspects of dust should be included in numerical models, particularly the charge-related effects on cloud microphysical properties, to accurately represent particle behaviour and transport.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:24 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Strategic incentives for climate geoengineering coalitions to exclude broad participation

Solar geoengineering is the deliberate reduction in the absorption of incoming solar radiation by the Earth's climate system with the aim of reducing impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Climate model simulations project a diversity of regional outcomes that vary with the amount of solar geoengineering deployed. It is unlikely that a single small actor could implement and sustain global-scale geoengineering that harms much of the world without intervention from harmed world powers. However, a sufficiently powerful international coalition might be able to deploy solar geoengineering. Here, we show that regional differences in climate outcomes create strategic incentives to form coalitions that are as small as possible, while still powerful enough to deploy solar geoengineering. The characteristics of coalitions to geoengineer climate are modeled using a 'global thermostat setting game' based on climate model results. Coalition members have incentives to exclude non-members that would prevent implementation of solar geoengineering at a level that is optimal for the existing coalition. These incentives differ markedly from those that dominate international politics of greenhouse-gas emissions reduction, where the central challenge is to compel free riders to participate.
  • 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
03:18 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

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

Realizing the environmental benefits of solar photovoltaics (PV) will require reducing costs associated with perception, informational gaps and technological uncertainties. To identify opportunities to decrease costs associated with residential PV adoption, in this letter we use multivariate regression models to analyze a unique, household-level dataset of PV adopters in Texas (USA) to systematically quantify the effect of different information channels on aspiring PV adopters' decision-making. We find that the length of the decision period depends on the business model, such as whether the system was bought or leased, and on special opportunities to learn, such as the influence of other PV owners in the neighborhood. This influence accrues passively through merely witnessing PV systems in the neighborhood, increasing confidence and motivation, as well as actively through peer-to-peer communications. Using these insights we propose a new framework to provide public information on PV that could drastically reduce barriers to PV adoption, thereby accelerating its market penetration and environmental benefits. This framework could also serve as a model for other distributed generation technologies.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:00 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

Irrigation offsets wheat yield reductions from warming temperatures

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

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

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

Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors

Misinformation can have significant societal consequences. For example, misinformation about climate change has confused the public and stalled support for mitigation policies. When people lack the expertise and skill to evaluate the science behind a claim, they typically rely on heuristics such as substituting judgment about something complex (i.e. climate science) with judgment about something simple (i.e. the character of people who speak about climate science) and are therefore vulnerable to misleading information. Inoculation theory offers one approach to effectively neutralize the influence of misinformation. Typically, inoculations convey resistance by providing people with information that counters misinformation. In contrast, we propose inoculating against misinformation by explaining the fallacious reasoning within misleading denialist claims. We offer a strategy based on critical thinking methods to analyse and detect poor reasoning within denialist claims. This strategy includes detailing argument structure, determining the truth of the premises, and checking for validity, hidden premises, or ambiguous language. Focusing on argument structure also facilitates the identification of reasoning fallacies by locating them in the reasoning process. Because this reason-based form of inoculation is based on general critical thinking methods, it offers the distinct advantage of being accessible to those who lack expertise in climate science. We applied this approach to 42 common denialist claims and find that they all demonstrate fallacious reasoning and fail to refute the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic global warming. This comprehensive deconstruction and refutation of the most common denialist claims about climate change is designed to act as a resource for communicators and educators who teach climate science and/or critical thinking.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:28 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

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

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

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

Global climate change is altering terrestrial water and energy budgets, with subsequent impacts on surface and groundwater resources; recent studies have shown that local water management practices such as groundwater pumping and irrigation similarly alter terrestrial water and energy budgets over many agricultural regions, with potential feedbacks on weather and climate. Here we use a fully-integrated hydrologic model to directly compare effects of climate change and water management on terrestrial water and energy budgets of a representative agricultural watershed in the semi-arid Southern Great Plains, USA. At local scales, we find that the impacts of pumping and irrigation on latent heat flux, potential recharge and water table depth are similar in magnitude to the impacts of changing temperature and precipitation; however, the spatial distributions of climate and management impacts are substantially different. At the basin scale, the impacts on stream discharge and groundwater storage are remarkably similar. Notably, for the watershed and scenarios studied here, the changes in groundwater storage and stream discharge in response to a 2.5 °C temperature increase are nearly equivalent to those from groundwater-fed irrigation. Our results imply that many semi-arid basins worldwide that practice groundwater pumping and irrigation may already be experiencing similar impacts on surface water and groundwater resources to a warming climate. These results demonstrate that accurate assessment of climate change impacts and development of effective adaptation and mitigation strategies must account for local water management practices.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:35 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

The role of diet in phosphorus demand

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

Regional climate change and national responsibilities

Global warming over the past several decades is now large enough that regional climate change is emerging above the noise of natural variability, especially in the summer at middle latitudes and year-round at low latitudes. Despite the small magnitude of warming relative to weather fluctuations, effects of the warming already have notable social and economic impacts. Global warming of 2 °C relative to preindustrial would shift the 'bell curve' defining temperature anomalies a factor of three larger than observed changes since the middle of the 20th century, with highly deleterious consequences. There is striking incongruity between the global distribution of nations principally responsible for fossil fuel CO2 emissions, known to be the main cause of climate change, and the regions suffering the greatest consequences from the warming, a fact with substantial implications for global energy and climate policies.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:48 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

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

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

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

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

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

While grain crops are meeting much of the initial need for biofuels in the US, cellulosic or second generation (2G) materials are mandated to provide a growing portion of biofuel feedstocks. We sought to inform development of a 2G crop portfolio by assessing the profitability of novel cropping systems that potentially mitigate the negative effects of grain-based biofuel crops on food supply and environmental quality. We analyzed farm-gate costs and returns of five systems from an ongoing experiment in central Iowa, USA. The continuous corn cropping system was most profitable under current market conditions, followed by a corn–soybean rotation that incorporated triticale as a 2G cover crop every third year, and a corn–switchgrass system. A novel triticale–hybrid aspen intercropping system had the highest yields over the long term, but could only surpass the profitability of the continuous corn system when biomass prices exceeded foreseeable market values. A triticale/sorghum double cropping system was deemed unviable. We perceive three ways 2G crops could become more cost competitive with grain crops: by (1) boosting yields through substantially greater investment in research and development, (2) increasing demand through substantially greater and sustained investment in new markets, and (3) developing new schemes to compensate farmers for environmental benefits associated with 2G crops.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:18 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2016

Changes in meandering of the Northern Hemisphere circulation

Strong waves in the mid-latitude circulation have been linked to extreme surface weather and thus changes in waviness could have serious consequences for society. Several theories have been proposed which could alter waviness, including tropical sea surface temperature anomalies or rapid climate change in the Arctic. However, so far it remains unclear whether any changes in waviness have actually occurred. Here we propose a novel meandering index which captures the maximum waviness in geopotential height contours at any given day, using all information of the full spatial position of each contour. Data are analysed on different time scale (from daily to 11 day running means) and both on hemispheric and regional scales. Using quantile regressions, we analyse how seasonal distributions of this index have changed over 1979–2015. The most robust changes are detected for autumn which has seen a pronounced increase in strongly meandering patterns at the hemispheric level as well as over the Eurasian sector. In summer for both the hemisphere and the Eurasian sector, significant downward trends in meandering are detected on daily timescales which is consistent with the recently reported decrease in summer storm track activity. The American sector shows the strongest increase in meandering in the warm season: in particular for 11 day running mean data, indicating enhanced amplitudes of quasi-stationary waves. Our findings have implications for both the occurrence of recent cold spells and persistent heat waves in the mid-latitudes.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:15 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Electricity from fossil fuels contributes substantially to both climate change and the health burden of air pollution. Renewable energy sources are capable of displacing electricity from fossil fuels, but the quantity of health and climate benefits depend on site-specific attributes that are not often included in quantitative models. Here, we link an electrical grid simulation model to an air pollution health impact assessment model and US regulatory estimates of the impacts of carbon to estimate the health and climate benefits of offshore wind facilities of different sizes in two different locations. We find that offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic is capable of producing health and climate benefits of between 54 and 120 per MWh of generation, with the largest simulated facility (3000 MW off the coast of New Jersey) producing approximately 690 million in benefits in 2017. The variability in benefits per unit generation is a function of differences in locations (Maryland versus New Jersey), simulated years (2012 versus 2017), and facility generation capacity, given complexities of the electrical grid and differences in which power plants are offset. This work demonstrates health and climate benefits of offshore wind, provides further evidence of the utility of geographically-refined modeling frameworks, and yields quantitative insights that would allow for inclusion of both climate and public health in benefits assessments of renewable energy.
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
03:54 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2014

Air pollution is pushing wind speed into a regulator of surface solar irradiance in China

Analysis in 27 cities across China shows that surface solar irradiance (SSI) and wind speed track similar decadal trends in 1961–2011, suggesting wind speed as a possible regulator of SSI. This assumption is further confirmed by the continuously widening gap in annually averaged daily SSI between windy and windless clear-sky days with worsening air pollution. Wider gaps are noted for more polluted cities and seasons. The gap in SSI between windy and windless conditions could therefore serve as a good indicator for air quality. The regulatory effect of wind speed on SSI starts to be important when air pollution index exceeds the boundary of 125. A plausible mechanism of wind speed regulating SSI through interactions with aerosols is proposed. There are two cut-off points of 2.5 m s−1 and 3.5 m s−1 wind speeds. Winds <2.5 m s−1 noticeably disperse air pollutants and thereby enhance SSI. Above the 2.5 m s−1 threshold, air pollution and SSI become largely insensitive to changing wind speeds. Winds in excess of 3.5 m s−1 could enhance aerosol concentration probably by inducing dust-storms, which in turn attenuate SSI.
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:09 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

Electrical signature in polar night cloud base variations

Layer clouds are globally extensive. Their lower edges are charged negatively by the fair weather atmospheric electricity current flowing vertically through them. Using polar winter surface meteorological data from Sodankylä (Finland) and Halley (Antarctica), we find that when meteorological diurnal variations are weak, an appreciable diurnal cycle, on average, persists in the cloud base heights, detected using a laser ceilometer. The diurnal cloud base heights from both sites correlate more closely with the Carnegie curve of global atmospheric electricity than with local meteorological measurements. The cloud base sensitivities are indistinguishable between the northern and southern hemispheres, averaging a (4.0 ± 0.5) m rise for a 1% change in the fair weather electric current density. This suggests that the global fair weather current, which is affected by space weather, cosmic rays and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, is linked with layer cloud properties.
  • Published: 2013
  • 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
03:52 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

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

Past attempts to estimate rainfall-driven flood risk across the US either have incomplete coverage, coarse resolution or use overly simplified models of the flooding process. In this paper, we use a new 30 m resolution model of the entire conterminous US with a 2D representation of flood physics to produce estimates of flood hazard, which match to within 90% accuracy the skill of local models built with detailed data. These flood depths are combined with exposure datasets of commensurate resolution to calculate current and future flood risk. Our data show that the total US population exposed to serious flooding is 2.6–3.1 times higher than previous estimates, and that nearly 41 million Americans live within the 1% annual exceedance probability floodplain (compared to only 13 million when calculated using FEMA flood maps). We find that population and GDP growth alone are expected to lead to significant future increases in exposure, and this change may be exacerbated in the future by climate change.
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
04:02 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2018

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

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