I propose that metropolises are the best ‘golden spike’ for the Anthropocene. Based on six selection principles with three ideas, I have identified seven metropolises in seven countries as sites for the Anthropocene’s ‘golden spike’ symbols and museums. I hope that the United Nations will artificially design and build identical Anthropocene’s ‘golden spike’ and museums in these seven metropolises as permanent stratigraphic markers of the Anthropocene.
Access to reliable and sustainable electricity is essential for meeting the needs of society, such as communications, clean water, healthcare, and heating and cooling, both today and into the future. Shifts in extreme weather and a changing climate are challenging traditional and renewable power grids, as evidenced by widespread outages from events like hurricanes and heat waves, which are increasing in intensity and frequency and have the propensity to harm infrastructure and diminish generation capacity. Understanding the changing climate allows utilities to be more resilient in proactively producing or distributing energy. Earth observations (EOs) provide actionable data for monitoring such change, but better collaboration between scientists and end users is needed to ensure data is accessible and relevant to decision-making. Utilizing a capacity building approach, this NASA-funded initiative aims to promote broader utilization of NASA EOs within the energy sector by transferring knowledge and bridging the gap between scientists and end users. To the untrained user, satellite data can be onerous to find and challenging to apply. To address these concerns, we engaged the U.S. Department of Energy and stakeholders across the sector to solicit input on the greatest challenges and opportunities utilities face relevant to resiliency and the usage of EOs. In response, and through an iterative process with end users, we compiled relevant NASA EOs into a user-friendly Esri StoryMap® and developed the first energy-focused NASA ARSET training, both publicly available, followed by broad outreach. The StoryMap® aims to reduce the burden of accessing and using EOs by including only the most applicable data with a focus on terrestrial variables, such as soil moisture and land surface temperature, along with tutorials and use cases. The ARSET training provides an in-depth look at using NASA products to support a more climate resilient energy sector and presents real-world, illustrative examples of the ways in which EOs can be used to better understand the impact of extreme events. This talk will report on the successes and challenges of this capacity building initiative, highlight components of the StoryMap® and ARSET training, and share lessons learned in facilitating increased uptake and use of EOs by the energy sector.
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) appear frequently in science fiction and other public depictions of extraterrestrial technology. Recent interest in understanding UFOs, also known as Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP), has increased due to a recent report published by the U.S. Department of Defense that confirmed the detection of several UAP. However, actually identifying such objects remains challenging because “sociocultural stigmas and sensor limitations remain obstacles to collecting data on UAP” according to the report. In this presentation, we discuss the challenges posed by popular conceptions of UAP to genuine scientific inquiry using examples from Carl Sagan’s archives. This discussion is intended to engage astrobiologists in thinking critically about the differences between scientific inquiry of a genuinely unknown phenomenon and non-scientific popular speculations about the identity of UAP.
Underground hydrogen storage is a potential long-duration energy storage option for a low-carbon economy. While research into the technical feasibility of hydrogen storage in various geologic formations is ongoing, existing underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are appealing candidates because of their demonstrated ability to store and deliver gas. We estimate that transitioning U.S. UGS facilities from natural gas to pure hydrogen storage would reduce their collective working-gas energy by 75%, from 1,282 TWh to 327 TWh. However, withdrawals from most (73%) UGS facilities could be increased to maintain current energy demands with a 20% hydrogen-natural gas blend. Hydrogen demand projections for the U.S. suggest that hundreds of new underground hydrogen storage facilities may be needed by 2050. Storing pure hydrogen or 20-60% hydrogen blends in UGS facilities can sufficiently buffer this demand demonstrating that partial transitions of UGS infrastructure to hydrogen storage could substantially reduce the need for new facilities.
High seasonality and interannual climate patterns drive the western U.S.’s water supply and demand variability. While the mean and variance of supply and demand drivers are changing with climate and urbanization, the metrics of reliability, resilience, and vulnerability (RRV) that guide urban water systems (UWS) seasonal management and operations tend to be built on assumptions of stationarity. In this research, we use documented performance of a real-world UWS as a testbed to investigate how RRV metrics – and therefore UWS planning and operations guidance – change in response to demands modeled with and without assumptions of stationarity during dry, average, and wet hydroclimate conditions. The results indicate an assumption of stationary demands leads to large differences between simulated and observed RRV metrics for all supply scenarios, especially in supply-limiting conditions when the peak severity is 129% from the observed. The management implications of relying on stationary demands are severe: if seasonal operational decisions were made on these model results, managers might over-estimate seasonal out-of-district water requests by 50%. In contrast, when using non-stationary demands, one can expect system performance error reduction between 30% to 60% for average and dry climate conditions, respectively, and accurate RRV metrics. Our results further indicate that this UWS is more sensitive to percent changes in per-capita demand relative to percent changes in supply, but because the supply variability is so much greater (158% vs. demand range of 28%), we suggest further work to examine the combined (and coupled) influence of both factors in overall system performance.
Over half of the global population experiences water scarcity for at least one month during the year. Such situations of household water insecurity (HWI), where household water provisioning is reduced in such a way that affordability, adequacy, reliability, or safety is compromised to threaten human well-being, can be the result of complex interactions between humans and the water systems in which they live. To advance understanding regarding the cause-and-effect relationships between variable hydrological conditions and how humans experience domestic water provisioning, we conduct a systematic literature review to synthesize existing research and identify knowledge gaps of seasonal climate and hydrological influence on HWI. We incorporate a socio-ecological framework of drinking water services as well as process-based hydrological information to interpret results. Following the PRISMA 2020 systematic review guidelines, we retained 67 studies for final analysis. Examining studies by country as well as Major Freshwater Habitat, we find most study sites have been in sub-Saharan Africa (n=61, 89.7%) and in areas characterized by Tropical and Subtropical Coastal Rivers (n=37, 54.4%). Discussion of seasonality has centered on bimodal rainy/dry seasons; pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon seasons; seasonal droughts and floods; winter snow and ice conditions; and seasonal migration. Water infrastructure, household characteristics, institutional factors, and water sharing practices mediate seasonal influences, either ameliorating or exacerbating its effects. To date, there have been few HWI seasonality studies in East Asia and the Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, North America, and Europe and Central Asia, and no studies in areas of Temperate Floodplain Rivers and Wetlands and Temperate Upland Rivers. Additionally, despite efforts to incorporate seasonality, most studies are cross-sectional, demonstrating an urgent need for more longitudinal studies to better characterize HWI within and between years. With climate change expected to disproportionately affect the portion of the global population that relies on seasonally varying environmental resources, it is critical to address these research gaps to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all.
Iran is suffering from a state of water bankruptcy. Several factors have contributed to the current water resources bankruptcy, ranging from anthropogenic impacts, such as an inefficient agricultural sector and aggressive withdrawal of groundwater, to climatological impacts. This presentation suggests that water resources mismanagement in Iran should be evaluated beyond the policy-makers decisions, as it recognizes that the bankruptcy has been intensified due to the structural and institutional form of the political system in Iran. This study discusses the roots of the water bankruptcy and identifies four major shortcomings caused by the political system: (1) the absence of public engagement due to the lack of a democratic and decentralized structure; (2) adopting ideological policies in domestic and foreign affairs; (3) conflicts of interest and the multiplicity of governmental policy-makers and sectors; and (4) a state-controlled, resource-dependent economy. Through the development of a generic causal model, this study recommends a systematic transition towards a democratic, decentralized, non-ideological, and economically diverse political governance as the necessary–but not necessarily sufficient–adaptive and sustainable solution for mitigating the impacts of water resources bankruptcy in Iran. The insights highlighted in this presentation could be employed to inform water resources decision-makers and political actors in other non-democratic and ideological political structures struggling with a water resources crisis or bankruptcy.
A robust multi-functional decision support system for widespread planning of nature-based solutions (NBSs) must incorporate components of social equity. NBS systems advance social well-being through enhanced levels of greenspace, which have been shown to improve physical health (e.g., heart disease, diabetes), mental health (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, depression), and socio-economics (e.g., property values, aesthetics, recreation). However, current optimization frameworks for NBSs rely on stormwater quantity abatement and, to a lesser extent, economic costs and environmental pollutant mitigation. Therefore, the objective of this study is to explore how strategic management strategies associated with NBS planning may be improved, while considering the tripartite interactions between hydrological, environmental, and societal conditions. Here, a large-scale NBS watershed was calibrated to local conditions using standard hydro-environmental modeling (i.e., EPA’s SWMM) and optimized on the basis of stormwater abatement, pollutant load reduction, and economic efficiency. The spatial allocation of possible NBS features was integrated with properties of social equity through a novel framework involving the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) and a composite Gini coefficient. By embedding social equity into the fabric of the NBS planning process, we provide an opportunity for improving social justice and spurring further community buy-in toward a balanced system. This study demonstrates how the optimal spatial placement of NBSs is location-dependent according to both the physical and human properties of the watershed.
We describe a sampling of over two-dozen sociohydrology case studies that advance our understanding of two-way human-water phenomena. These case studies span broad geographic regions, including over 20 countries, and cover cross-cutting themes such as human behavior, social equity, water security, migration, water resources management, and ecological and environmental phenomena. Collectively, the cases reflect progress within the Panta Rhei decade and suggest new pathways for exciting research in the coming era, in particular by showing how socio-hydrologic modes of study transcend many geographical bounds. We synthesize these insights and describe approaches toward innovative modeling and predictive frameworks that promise to assist in real-world decision-making. We further describe how understanding of diverse and pertinent socio-hydrological phenomena relate to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) and Environment Programme (UNEP) for addressing climate action in a manner that manifests social well-being and resilient communities.
Following the establishment of the first STEM school in Egypt (in 2011), the Egyptian Ministry of Education and the USAID-funded Egypt’s STEM School Project began joint work creating a public STEM high school model, supported by US STEM education experts, that addresses 11 major Grand Challenges (GCs) identified by Egyptians. In 2018, the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and US STEM faculty, coordinated by 21PSTEM, began creating 4-year undergraduate and 1-year post-Bachelor programs to prepare teachers for these schools, under the USAID-funded STEM Teacher Education and School Strengthening Activity (STESSA), also based on the GCs. Traditional Earth science alone was not sufficient to prepare students to meet these transdisciplinary GCs. Instead, the STEM high schools, as well as the graduate and undergraduate programs, use a transdisciplinary curriculum, with biology, chemistry, physics, Earth science, and math taught every semester. The content is further integrated every semester in capstone project experiences. These curricula were jointly developed by US and Egyptian STEM content experts who also did teacher training. These STEM schools have been a major success, catapulting Egyptian youth into wins at international STEM competitions and earning them admission to elite universities around the world. As the schools developed, the Ministry of Education and 21PSTEM (which implements STESSA) found that US-Egyptian professional development helped ease teachers’ transition to the integrated curriculum. But a growing number of STEM high schools made a new teacher pipeline imperative. US and Egyptian faculty are developing new 4-year undergraduate programs to prepare teachers in 5 STEM disciplines. These programs echo the high school curriculum and the GCs, but are more explicitly transdisciplinary, beginning with 6 integrated STEM courses in the first two years. Earth science plays a prominent role in these integrated courses and Earth science faculty from the US and Egypt have played a significant role in course development. We will report on the development and progress of the first two of these transdisciplinary courses, and the potential of truly transdisciplinary course work to develop stronger Earth scientists, ready to meet grand challenges in any nation on Earth.
This paper discusses a project aimed at detecting whether protected areas (PAs) influence the socioeconomic well-being of adjacent communities. The Belmont Forum funded PARSEC project is using satellite images and deep learning algorithms to predict socioeconomic conditions. In this paper we show our ongoing work for the selection of PAs, development of methodology using deep learning to detect socioeconomic indicators from remote sources, facilitation in data management and the approach used to handle a complex inter-disciplinary and trans-national team. We note the challenges in selecting case studies with examples from Australia, Brazil, Japan and the USA, and meshing remote sensed data with census data. We discuss the advantages of good data management for the individual and for the project and some simple steps to make this easy.
The enormous groundwater demand globally have possessed a threat to groundwater security. Rajasthan being one of the water deficit states of India is pivotal to determine its groundwater potential zone for sustainability. Diverse thematic layers such as drainage density, landuse, rainfall, geology, geomorphology was prepared. The geomorphology, landuse, drainage and soil map was prepared using IRS-1D LISSІІІ satellite image. Through, appointing the relative weightage to the thematic maps the final groundwater potential map was prepared. A comparative analysis for the groundwater potential map and the groundwater level data was done for confirmation. The groundwater potential zone can be classified as high, medium or low. The positions of various existing wells along with the contour map of groundwater table can be draped with groundwater potential map. The groundwater table usually found flat over the regions of higher groundwater potential zones. Thus, with the increasing demography along with rising demand the wells should be laid over the area with higher potential. The remote sensing and GIS can be efficiently and smoothly used to determine the groundwater potential zones with suitable sites for well construction. Keywords: Groundwater sustainability, Remote Sensing, Geographic Information System, Thematic layers, Groundwater potential map.
Among the most complex activities in water companies is extracting accurate operational data of Urban Water Infrastructure (UWI). Hence, the use of data-based methods would be faced limitations for asset management of the UWI. This shortcoming could be improved using knowledge-based decisions. In this study, using this method, Maintenance-Rehabilitation Planning (MRP) of urban water pipes is assessed. Hence, the criteria effective on the MRP of the pipes were firstly determined. Then, two groups of experts in Iran and Brazil were invited to rank the determined criteria. For this purpose, a Multi-Criteria Group Decision-Making (MCGDM) method was developed based on the nominal group technique. This MCGDM method was implemented based on two approaches; first, the viewpoints of non-weighted decision-makers were considered; and second, the experts were weighted to rank the criteria. Finally, the results of these approaches in the two countries were pairwise compared. This comparison led to improving the literature and management in water companies of Iran and Brazil by identifying the effective criteria for the MRP of the pipes based on knowledge-based decisions. Further in this field, it was found that weighting the experts have no decisive effect on the results; and this is only effective in groups where the decision-makers weights are identically distributed. Moreover, it was found that there is a relation between the similarity of results and the similarity of experts’ profiles in knowledge-based decision groups of various countries such as Iran and Brazil.
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is pleased to submit this RFI response to 2021-13640 on improving federal scientific integrity policies. AGU is the largest global organization covering the Earth sciences with a mission “to support and inspire a global community of individuals and organizations interested in advancing discovery in Earth and space sciences and its benefit for humanity and the environment.” Fostering integrity is a key part of our new strategic plan and past activities and we are engaged in supporting integrity broadly, including with federal agencies. Although not a focus of these recommendations, AGU has often spoken up through position statements and letters related to scientific integrity. Several examples are listed in the references. With this perspective, we urge OSTP to consider two points that we elaborate below: • Fostering integrity–and in turn public trust in science and science policy–requires a broad, holistic view of practices that extend beyond the typical focus on transparency and ethics to include ensuring deeper public engagement, addressing diversity and inclusivity in science and supporting the backbone infrastructure that enables all of these. • The way science is supported, practiced and conducted is changing significantly, as is its dissemination and communication, and these changes have important implications for fostering integrity in the 21st century. Specifically, parts of the culture and reward system of science need improvement to align with these changes, and OSTP and federal policy can be a strong proactive force in enabling this change. This is particularly the case if these policies and practices provide leading examples and extend to federal grants. Many other organizations would then align.
Accurate models of water withdrawal are crucial in anticipating the potential water use impacts of drought and climate change. Machine-learning methods are increasingly used in water withdrawal prediction due to their ability to model the complex, nonlinear relationship between water use and potential explanatory factors. However, most machine learning methods do not explicitly address the hierarchical nature of water use data, where multiple observations are typically available for multiple facilities, and these facilities can be grouped an organized in a variety of different ways. This work presents a novel approach for prediction of water withdrawals across multiple usage sectors using an ensemble of models fit at different hierarchical levels. A dataset of over 300,000 records of water withdrawal was used to fit models at the facility and sectoral grouping levels, as well as across facility clusters defined by temporal water use characteristics. Using repeated holdout cross validation, it demonstrates that ensemble predictions based on models learned from different data groupings improve withdrawal predictions for 63% of facilities relative to facility-level models. The relative improvement gained by ensemble modeling was greatest for facilities with fewer observations and higher variance, indicating its potential value in predicting withdrawal for facilities with relatively short data records or data quality issues. Inspection of the ensemble weights indicated that cluster level weights were often higher than sector level weights, pointing towards the value of learning from the behavior of facilities with similar water use patterns, even if they are in a different sector.
Management of used nuclear fuel is a major technical challenge faced by nuclear energy producing nations worldwide. In Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization is responsible for the design and implementation of a deep geological repository (DGR), which will be placed ~500 m below ground surface in a stable host rock to safely contain and isolate used fuel. Within a DGR, used nuclear fuel will be placed in used fuel containers (UFCs) that are encased in copper because of copper’s corrosion resistance. The UFCs will be surrounded by highly compacted bentonite to suppress the transport of corrosive agents to the UFC and limit the movement of radionuclides out of a DGR in the unlikely case of a breach. Over the design lifespan of one million years for the DGR, it is possible that sulfate-reducing bacteria near the bentonite-host rock interface can produce bisulfide (HS-) that can be transported to the UFC surface and potentially corrode the outer copper barrier. Therefore, it is crucial to understand HS- transport mechanisms through bentonite to assess the long-term performance of a DGR. This study aims to quantify HS- transport through bentonite using through-diffusion experiments under a range of anticipated DGR and bentonite conditions (e.g., temperature, ionic concentration, bentonite densities). In addition, as geochemical reactions/sorption are expected to affect HS- transport, batch experiments are being conducted to understand these processes independent of transport. The preliminary batch of experimental results show that ~85% of HS- was partitioned from the aqueous to solid phase within first hour and ~97% after 24 hours. However, this partitioning efficiency decreased with increased liquid-to-solid ratio because of the reduction in available reaction/sorption sites on the bentonite. This presentation shows the results from both transport and batch experiments performed on the bentonite under relevant DGR conditions.