Constructed flood mitigation and drainage systems are integral to the development of many estuarine floodplains. These systems function throughout the tidal range, protecting from high water levels while draining excess catchment flows to the low water level. However, drainage can only be achieved under gravity when suitable water levels are available for discharge. Changes to the tidal range and symmetry that occur throughout estuarine waters mean that the window of opportunity for gravity discharge will vary dynamically within and between different catchments. It will also be affected by sea level rise (SLR). Concerns regarding the impacts of SLR have focussed on the acute effects of higher water levels, but SLR will affect the full tidal range and drainage systems will be particularly vulnerable to changes in the low tide. This study introduces the concept of the “drainage window”; to assess how the tidal regime may influence the drainage of estuarine floodplains, and particularly the potential impact of changing tidal regimes under SLR. The results of applying the drainage window to two different estuaries indicate that SLR may substantially reduce the opportunity for discharging many estuarine floodplain drainage systems. Additionally, measures proposed to mitigate flood risks may exacerbate drainage risks. Reduced drainage creates a host of chronic problems that may necessitate changes to existing land uses. A holistic assessment of future changes to all water levels (including low tide water levels) is required to inform strategic land use planning and management.
Urban overheating, driven by global climate change and urban development, is a major contemporary challenge which substantially impacts urban livability and sustainability. Overheating represents a multi-faceted threat to well-being, performance, and health of individuals as well as the energy efficiency and economy of cities, and it is influenced by complex interactions between building, city, and global scale climates. In recent decades, extensive discipline-specific research has characterized urban heat and assessed its implications on human life, including ongoing efforts to bridge neighboring disciplines. The research horizon now encompasses complex problems involving a wide range of disciplines, and therefore comprehensive and integrated assessments are needed that address such interdisciplinarity. Here, the objective is to go beyond a review of existing literature and provide a broad overview and future outlook for integrated assessments of urban overheating, defining holistic pathways for addressing the impacts on human life. We (i) detail the characterization of heat exposure across different scales and in various disciplines, (ii) identify individual sensitivities to urban overheating that increase vulnerability and cause adverse impacts in different populations, (iii) elaborate on adaptive capacities that individuals and cities can adopt, (iv) document the impacts of urban overheating on health and energy, and (v) discuss frontiers of theoretical and applied urban climatology, built environment design, and governance toward reduction of heat exposure and vulnerability at various scales. The most critical challenges in future research and application are identified, targeting both the gaps and the need for greater integration in overheating assessments.
Minerals are information-rich materials that offer researchers a glimpse into the evolution of planetary bodies. Thus it is important to extract, analyze, and interpret this abundance of information in order to improve our understanding of the planetary bodies in our solar system and the role our planet’s geosphere played in the origin and evolution of life. Over the past decades, data-driven efforts in mineralogy have seen a gradual increase. The development and application of data science and analytics methods to mineralogy, while extremely promising, has also been somewhat ad-hoc in nature. In order to systematize and synthesize the direction of these efforts, we introduce the concept of “Mineral Informatics”. Mineral Informatics is the next frontier for researchers working with mineral data. In this paper, we present our vision for Mineral Informatics, the X-Informatics underpinnings that led to its conception, the needs, challenges, opportunities, and future directions. The intention of this paper is not to create a new specific field or a sub-field as a separate silo, but to document the needs of researchers studying minerals in various contexts and fields of study, to demonstrate how the systemization and increased access to mineralogical data will increase cross- and interdisciplinary studies, and how data science and informatics methods are a key next step in integrative mineralogical studies.
The frequency, size, and intensity of wildfires in California have increased substantially in recent years, leading to widespread mandatory evacuations affecting millions of residents. However, because evacuation orders are implemented by local agencies, there is limited quantitative evidence on the scope of evacuations statewide. In order to improve the understanding of wildfire evacuations, we assembled information on historical evacuation orders for two distinct wildfire-prone regions --- Fresno and Sonoma county --- in California. This data was used to understand how the frequency and extent of evacuations have changed over time. We then combined this information with census data to characterize which populations have been most affected by evacuation orders. Ultimately, our work aims to quantify this important element of wildfire impacts in key regions around California. Collectively, it provides a starting point for a public database of evacuation orders that could be used by researchers and policymakers to better understand dynamics and improve decision-making around wildfire evacuations.
The spatio-temporal variability of bedload transport processes poses considerable challenges for bedload monitoring systems. One such system, the Swiss plate geophone (SPG), has been calibrated in several gravel-bed streams using direct sampling techniques. The linear calibration coefficients linking the signal recorded by the SPG system to the transported bedload can vary between different monitoring stations by about a factor of six, for reasons that remain unclear. Recent controlled flume experiments allowed us to identify the grain-size distribution of the transported bedload as a further site-specific factor influencing the signal response of the SPG system, along with the flow velocity and the bed roughness. Additionally, impact tests performed at various field sites suggested that seismic waves generated by impacting particles can propagate over several plates of an SPG array, and thus potentially bias the bedload estimates. To gain an understanding of this phenomenon, we adapted a test flume by installing a partition wall to shield individual sensor plates from impacting particles. We show that the SPG system is sensitive to seismic waves that propagate from particle impacts on neighboring plates or on the concrete bed close to the sensors. Based on this knowledge, we designed a filter method that uses time-frequency information to identify and eliminate these “apparent” impacts. Finally, we apply the filter to four field calibration datasets and show that it significantly reduces site-to-site differences between calibration coefficients and enables the derivation of a single calibration curve for total bedload at all four sites.
Water management practices in cities around the world are faced with growing social and environmental pressures. Unfortunately, the linear “take-make-waste” approach, previously recognized as the most conclusive practice to address water-related issues, has been found to be unsustainable due to its dependence on the limited availability of energy and resources. It is, therefore, necessary to change the current linear approach dominant in most cities across the world to one that utilizes a high degree of reuse and recycling that is known as “One Water”. The goal of this study is to evaluate a series of expert interviews that were conducted with utilities across the US and Canada to gain insights into implementing One Water principles. Interpreting several interviews is the key step to provide water managers with an understanding of the perspective and required actions towards transitions in urban water management. The results indicated that although several pressures were described in the expert interviews responses, climate change was the most frequently described pressure, followed by water quality impairments and population growth. Moreover, it has been identified that the studied cities have implemented several strategies such as green infrastructure, recycled water, desalination, and stormwater management to achieve this holistic approach. The thematic analysis revealed that all cities demonstrated the importance of cultural change to break down silos and support various technological solutions. Further investigations revealed that cities encounter several barriers that inhibit the One Water transition. One of the most frequently discussed barriers was related to financial challenges in most cities, especially in light of the pandemic when substantial cities lost their revenue. In addition to the financial challenges, lack of regulatory process and framework, institutional barriers for expanding One Water strategies, short-term thinking, lack of collaboration, community resistance to change, lack of public support, and water rights were mentioned by participants as the top barriers.
Southern Hemisphere (SH) Stratospheric Warming Events (SWEs) are usually associated with a negative phase of the tropospheric Southern Annular Mode (SAM) during the following summer. In contrast, using ensemble climate model simulations we show that the anomalously high ozone concentrations typically occurring during SWEs can force periods of persistent positive tropospheric SAM in austral spring by increasing lower stratospheric static stability and changing troposphere-to-stratosphere wave propagation. Eventually, the tropospheric SAM switches sign to its negative phase in late spring/early summer, but this ‘downward propagation’ of the stratospheric signal does not occur in simulations without seasonal cycle. We find that the downward propagation is forced both dynamically by adiabatic heating and radiatively by increased shortwave absorption by ozone due to the seasonal cycle. Capturing this ozone forcing mechanism in models requires the inclusion of interactive ozone, which has important implications for the predictive skill of current seasonal forecasting systems.
Fire regimes are influenced by both exogenous drivers (e.g., increases in atmospheric CO2; and climate change) and endogenous drivers (e.g., vegetation and soil/litter moisture), which constrain fuel loads and fuel aridity. Herein, we identified how exogenous and endogenous drivers can interact to affect fuels and fire regimes in a semiarid watershed in the inland northwestern U.S. throughout the 21st century. We used a coupled ecohydrologic and fire regime model to examine how climate change and CO2 scenarios influence fire regimes over space and time. In this semiarid watershed we found that, in the mid-21st century (2040s), the CO2 fertilization effect on vegetation productivity outstripped the effects of climate change-induced fuel decreases, resulting in greater fuel loading and, thus, a net increase in fire size and burn probability; however, by the late-21st century (2070s), climatic warming dominated over CO2 fertilization, thus reducing fuel loading and fire activity. We also found that, under future climate change scenarios, fire regimes will shift progressively from being flammability to fuel-limited, and we identified a metric to quantify this shift: the ratio of the change in fuel loading to the change in its aridity. The threshold value for which this metric indicates a flammability versus fuel-limited regime differed between grasses and woody species but remained stationary over time. Our results suggest that identifying these thresholds in other systems requires narrowing uncertainty in exogenous drivers, such as future precipitation patterns and CO2 effects on vegetation.
Melt ponds have a strong impact on the Arctic surface energy balance and the ice-associated ecosystem because they transmit more solar radiation compared to bare ice. In the existing literature, melt ponds are considered as bright windows to the ocean, even during freeze-up in autumn. In the central Arctic during the summer-autumn transition in 2018, we encountered a situation where more snow accumulated on refrozen melt ponds compared to the adjacent bare ice, leading to a reduction in light transmittance of the ponds even below that of bare ice. Supporting results from a radiative transfer model suggest that melt ponds with a snow cover >0.04 m lead to lower light transmittance than adjacent bare ice. This scenario has not been described in the literature before, but has potentially strong implications for example on autumn ecosystem activity, oceanic heat budget and thermodynamic ice growth.
The difference between precipitation and evaporation has been extensively used to characterize the water cycle’s response to global warming. However, when it comes to the global scale, the information provided by this metric is inconclusive. Herein, we discuss how the sum of precipitation and evaporation could complement the assessment of global water cycle intensification. To support our argument, we present a brief yet robust correlation analysis of both metrics in four reanalysis data sets (20CR v3, ERA-20C, ERA5, and NCEP/NCAR R1). Additionally, by combining the two metrics, we investigate how well the global water cycle fluxes are represented in the four reanalyses. Among them, we observe four different responses to the temperature increase between 1950-2010, with ERA5 showing the best agreement with the intensification hypothesis. We argue that these discrepancies would remain elusive with the traditional approach, which makes the utilization of the sum of precipitation and evaporation a valuable addition to our methodological toolbox for the assessment of the global water cycle intensification.
We investigate if the commonly neglected riverine detrital carbonate fluxes might balance several chemical mass balances of the global ocean. Particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) concentrations in riverine suspended sediments, i.e., carbon contained by these detrital carbonate minerals, was quantified at the basin and global scale. Our approach is based on globally representative datasets of riverine suspended sediment composition, catchment properties and a two-step regression procedure. The present day global riverine PIC flux is estimated at 3.1 ± 0.3 Tmol C/y (13% of total inorganic carbon export and 4 % of total carbon export), with a flux-weighted mean concentration of 0.26 ± 0.03 wt%. The flux prior to damming was 4.1 ± 0.5 Tmol C/y. PIC fluxes are concentrated in limestone-rich, rather dry and mountainous catchments of large rivers in Arabia, South East Asia and Europe with 2.2 Tmol C/y (67.6 %) discharged between 15 °N and 45 °N. Greenlandic and Antarctic meltwater discharge and ice-rafting additionally contribute 0.8 ± 0.3 Tmol C/y. This amount of detrital carbonate minerals annually discharged into the ocean implies a significant contribution of calcium (~ 4.75 Tmol Ca/y) and alkalinity fluxes (~ 10 Tmol(eq)/y) to marine mass balances and moderate inputs of strontium (~ 5 Gmol Sr/y), based on undisturbed riverine and cryospheric inputs and a dolomite/calcite ratio of 0.1. Magnesium fluxes (~ 0.25 Tmol Mg/y), mostly hosted by less-soluble dolomite, are rather negligible. These unaccounted fluxes help elucidating respective marine mass balances and potentially alter conclusions based on these budgets.
Iran (Persian: ایران Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (About this soundlisten)), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran,[a] is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan,[b] to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan, to the southeast by Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Iran covers an area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), with a population of 85 million. It is the second-largest country in the Middle East (after Saudi Arabia), the sixth-largest entirely in Asia, and its capital and largest city is Tehran.
Iodine-initiated new particle formation (I-NPF) has long been recognized in coastal hotspot regions. However, no prior work has studied the exact chemical composition of organic compounds and their role in the coastal I-NPF. Here we present an important complementary study to the ongoing laboratory and field researches of iodine nucleation in coastal atmosphere. Oxidation and NPF experiments with vapor emissions from real-world coastal macroalgae were simulated in a bag reactor. On the basis of comprehensive mass spectrometry measurements, we reported for the first time a series of volatile precursors and their oxidation products in gas and particle phases in such a highly complex system. Organic compounds overwhelmingly dominated over iodine in the new particle growth initiated by iodine species. The identity and transformation mechanisms of organic compounds were identified in this study to provide a more complete story of coastal NPF from low-tide macroalgal emission.
Lead (Pb) is a neurotoxicant that particularly harms young children. Urban environments are often plagued with elevated Pb in soils and dusts, posing a health exposure risk from inhalation and ingestion of these contaminated media. Thus, a better understanding of where to prioritize risk screening and intervention is paramount from a public health perspective. We have synthesized a large national dataset of Pb concentrations in household dusts from across the United States (U.S.), part of a community science initiative called “DustSafe.” Using these results, we have developed a straightforward logistic regression model that correctly predicts whether Pb is elevated (> 80 ppm) or low (< 80 ppm) in household dusts 75% of the time. Additionally, our model estimated 18% false negatives for elevated Pb, displaying that there was a low probability of elevated Pb in homes being misclassified. Our model uses only variables of approximate housing age and whether there is peeling paint in the interior of the home, illustrating how a simple and successful Pb predictive model can be generated if researchers ask the right screening questions. Scanning electron microscopy supports a common presence of Pb paint in several dust samples with elevated bulk Pb concentrations, which explains the predictive power of housing age and peeling paint in the model. This model was also implemented into an interactive mobile app that aims to increase community-wide participation with Pb household screening. The app will hopefully provide greater awareness of Pb risks and a highly efficient way to begin mitigation.
Agricultural emissions of ammonia (NH3) impact air quality, human health, and the vitality of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In the UK, there are few direct policies regulating anthropogenic NH3 emissions and development of sustainable mitigation measures necessitates reliable emissions estimates. Here we use observations of column densities of NH3 from two space-based sensors (IASI and CrIS) with the GEOS-Chem model to derive top-down NH3 emissions for the UK at fine spatial (~10 km) and time (monthly) scales. We focus on March-September when there is adequate spectral signal to reliably retrieve NH3. We estimate total emissions of 272 Gg from IASI and 389 Gg from CrIS. Bottom-up emissions are 27% less than IASI and 49% less than CrIS. There are also differences in seasonality. Top-down and bottom-up emissions agree on a spring April peak due to fertilizer and manure application, but there is also a comparable summer July peak in the top-down emissions that is not in the bottom-up emissions and appears to be associated with dairy cattle farming. We estimate relative errors in the top-down emissions of 11-36% for IASI and 9-27% for CrIS, dominated by column density retrieval errors. The bottom-up versus top-down emissions discrepancies estimated in this work impact model predictions of the environmental damage caused by NH3 emissions and warrant further investigation.
Climate mitigation can bring health co-benefits by improving air quality. Yet, whether mitigation will widen or narrow current health disparities remains unclear. Here we use a coupled climate-energy-health model to assess the effects of a global carbon price on the distribution of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure and associated health risks across an ensemble of nearly 30,000 future scenarios. We find that pricing carbon consistently lowers the PM2.5-attributable death rates in lower-income countries by reducing fossil fuel burning (e.g., China and India). Since these countries are projected to have large ageing populations, the greatest reduction in global average PM2.5-attributable death rate is found in elderly populations, which are more vulnerable to air pollution than the other age groups. In contrast, the health effects in higher-income countries are more complex, because pricing carbon can increase the emissions from bioenergy use and land-use changes, counteracting the mortality decrease from reduced fossil fuel burning. Mitigation technology choices and complex interactions between age structures, energy use, and land use all influence the distribution of health effects. Our results highlight the importance of an improved understanding of regional characteristics and cross-sector dynamics for addressing the interconnected challenges of climate, health, and social inequalities.
This article is composed of three independent commentaries about the state of ICON principles (Goldman et al. 2021) in the AGU Biogeosciences section and discussion on the opportunities and challenges of adopting them. Each commentary focuses on a different topic: Global collaboration, technology transfer and application (Section 2), Community engagement, citizen science, education, and stakeholder involvement (Section 3), and Field, experimental, remote sensing, and real-time data research and application (Section 4). We discuss needs and strategies for implementing ICON and outline short- and long-term goals. The inclusion of global data and international community engagement are key to tackle grand challenges in biogeosciences. Although recent technological advances and growing open-access information across the world have enabled global collaborations to some extent, several barriers ranging from technical to organizational to cultural have remained in advancing interoperability and tangible scientific progress in biogeosciences. Overcoming these hurdles is necessary to address pressing large-scale research questions and applications in the biogeosciences, where ICON principles are essential. Here, we list several opportunities for ICON, including coordinated experimentation and field observations across global sites, that are ripe for implementation in biogeosciences as a means to scientific advancements and social progress.
Floods are convincingly the most frequent and widespread natural hazard across the world. With an ample amount of literature forecasting increase in its frequency and magnitude further in the future, highly credible and efficient algorithms and tools are crucial for real-time flood monitoring. In this study, a highly efficient tool, Multi-Mission Flood Mapper, has been developed to delineate flood inundation extent without any human intervention from SAR images captured by multiple microwave SAR satellite missions, including ALOS PALSAR CEOS, ALOS 2 CEOS, COSMO-SkyMed, ENVISAT ASAR, ERS 1/2 CEOS, ERS 1/2 SAR(.E1, .E2), ICEYE, JERS CEOS, KOMPSAT-5, PAZ, RADARSAT-1 & -2, RCM, SAOCOM, SeaSat, Sentinel-1, TerraSAR-X, and TanDEM-X. The efficacy of the developed tool is assessed by performing a test on a significant number of flood events in India having diverse flooding patterns and landforms. To manifest the performance of the tool, the step-by-step processing at the backend of the tool is discussed in detail in this study by taking a flood event along the Ganga River in India as a case study. The algorithm of the tool includes various processing steps: pre-processing that incorporate applying orbit file, calibrate to sigma naught, speckle filtering, terrain correction and linear to decibel conversion; thematic analysis that involves multi-segmentation and Otsu’s thresholding techniques; post-processing that consists of the elimination of hill shadows, applying majority filter, and masking out permanent water bodies. Thus derived flood inundation layer is observed to be highly accurate compared to the master image. The total time taken by the tool for processing is about 4 minutes for the given image. The developed tool would be beneficial for rapid flood inundation map generation on a timely basis for flood monitoring and relief management during a disaster. In addition, the flood inundation layers can also be used for calibration/validation of hydrological/hydraulic models, geospatial planning, and generating flood hazard maps. Also, the Multi-Mission Flood Mapper tool is facilitated with a user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI), making it look simple and easy to use.