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  • richardmitnick 8:13 pm on August 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life", A return flow brings nutrients released from sunken organic matter back to the ocean’s surface where it fuels the growth of plankton - the basis of the food chain., , As the colder water at the surface sinks it transports oxygen pulled from Earth’s atmosphere down to the ocean floor., , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, , , New findings led by researchers based at UC Riverside have found this circulation of oxygen and nutrients can end quite suddenly., , , The positions of continents helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen., , This study used-for the first time-a model in which ocean currents were accounted for., When and if the ocean is primed even a seemingly tiny event could trigger the widespread death of marine life.   

    From The University of California-Riverside: “Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From The University of California-Riverside

    Jules L Bernstein
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-4580

    Deep sea medusa found in Alaska. Credit: “Hidden Ocean 2005.

    A previously overlooked factor — the position of continents — helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen. Continental movement could ultimately have the opposite effect, killing most deep ocean creatures.

    “Continental drift seems so slow, like nothing drastic could come from it, but when the ocean is primed, even a seemingly tiny event could trigger the widespread death of marine life,” said Andy Ridgwell, UC Riverside geologist and co-author of a new study on forces affecting oceanic oxygen.

    Fish on a deep reef at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, near Hawaii. (Greg McFall/NOAA)

    The water at the ocean’s surface becomes colder and denser as it approaches the north or south pole, then sinks. As the water sinks, it transports oxygen pulled from Earth’s atmosphere down to the ocean floor.

    Eventually, a return flow brings nutrients released from sunken organic matter back to the ocean’s surface where it fuels the growth of plankton. Both the uninterrupted supply of oxygen to lower depths and organic matter produced at the surface support an incredible diversity of fish and other animals in today’s ocean.

    New findings led by researchers based at UC Riverside have found this circulation of oxygen and nutrients can end quite suddenly. Using complex computer models, the researchers investigated whether the locations of continental plates affect how the ocean moves oxygen around. To their surprise, it does.

    This finding, published today, is detailed in the journal Nature [below].

    Resting balloonfish near the Florida Keys. (OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); University of Maine)

    “Many millions of years ago, not so long after animal life in the ocean got started, the entire global ocean circulation seemed to periodically shut down,” said Ridgwell. “We were not expecting to find that the movement of continents could cause surface waters and oxygen to stop sinking, and possibly dramatically affecting the way life evolved on Earth.”

    Until now, models used to study the evolution of marine oxygen over the last 540 million years were relatively simple and did not account for ocean circulation. In these models, ocean anoxia — times when oceanic oxygen disappeared — implied a drop in atmospheric oxygen concentrations.

    “Scientists previously assumed that changing oxygen levels in the ocean mostly reflected similar fluctuations in the atmosphere,” said Alexandre Pohl, first author of the study and former UCR paleoclimate modeler, now at Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté in France.

    This study used, for the first time, a model in which the ocean was represented in three dimensions, and in which ocean currents were accounted for. Results show that collapse in global water circulation lead to a stark separation between oxygen levels in the upper and lower depths.

    Diorama of ancient Ediacaran period sealife displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. (Smithsonian)

    That separation meant the entire seafloor, except for shallow places close to the coast, entirely lost oxygen for many tens of millions of years, until about 440 million years ago at the start of the Silurian period.

    “Circulation collapse would have been a death sentence for anything that could not swim closer to the surface and the life-giving oxygen still present in the atmosphere,” Ridgwell said. Creatures of the deep include bizarre-looking fish, giant worms and crustaceans, squid, sponges and more.

    The paper does not address if or when Earth might expect a similar event in the future, and it is difficult to identify when a collapse might occur, or what triggers it. However, existing climate models confirm that increasing global warming will weaken ocean circulation, and some models predict an eventual collapse of the branch of circulation that starts in the North Atlantic.

    “We’d need a higher resolution climate model to predict a mass extinction event,” Ridgwell said. “That said, we do already have concerns about water circulation in the North Atlantic today, and there is evidence that the flow of water to depth is declining.”

    In theory, Ridgwell said an unusually warm summer or the erosion of a cliff could trigger a cascade of processes that upends life as it appears today.

    “You’d think the surface of the ocean, the bit you might surf or sail on, is where all the action is. But underneath, the ocean is tirelessly working away, providing vital oxygen to animals in the dark depths,” Ridgwell said.

    “The ocean allows life to flourish, but it can take that life away again. Nothing rules that out as continental plates continue to move.”

    Science paper:

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of California-Riverside Campus

    The University of California-Riverside is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of The University of California system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to The University of California-Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    The University of California-Riverside ‘s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared The University of California-Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    The University of California-Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC-Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of The University of California-Riverside ‘s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked The University of California-Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks The University of California-Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all The University of California-Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. The University of California-Riverside ‘s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, The University of California-Riverside became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option. The University of California-Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The University of California-Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.


    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the University of California Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many University of California-Berkeley alumni, lobbied aggressively for a University of California -administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at The University of California-Los Angeles, became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    The University of California-Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. The University of California-Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. The University of California-Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at University of California-Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, The University of California-Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted The University of California-Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in The University of California system, and anticipated 19,900 students at The University of California-Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of The University of California-Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any University of California campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at The University of California-Riverside.

    With The University of California-Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move The University of California-Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at The University of California-Riverside, with The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, The University of California-Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved The University of California-Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.


    As a campus of The University of California system, The University of California-Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president University of California-Riverside ‘s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC-Riverside faculty members.

    The University of California-Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. The University of California-Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at The University of California-Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. The University of California-Riverside ‘s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and The University of California-Riverside School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The University of California-Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, The University of California-Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with The University of California-Los Angeles. The University of California-Riverside ‘s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and The University of California-Riverside ‘s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the University of California system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    The University of California-Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at The University of California-Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. The University of California-Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at The University of California-Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout The University of California-Riverside ‘s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, The University of California-Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, The University of California-Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC-Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. University of California-Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two-name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction.

  • richardmitnick 4:18 pm on August 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Irreversible declines in freshwater storage projected in parts of Asia by 2060", A serious threat to the water supply for central Asia: Afghanistan and Northern India and Kashmir and Pakistan by the middle of the century., , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, The impacts of climate change on past and future terrestrial water storage have largely been unexplored., , The Tibetan Plateau is known as the “water tower” of Asia., The Tibetan Plateau supplies a substantial portion of the water demand for almost 2 billion people., We can expect a nearly 100% loss of water availability to downstream regions of the Tibetan Plateau.   

    From The Pennsylvania State University: “Irreversible declines in freshwater storage projected in parts of Asia by 2060” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From The Pennsylvania State University

    Sara LaJeunesse

    Most comprehensive study to date on water storage in Tibetan Plateau projects dramatic losses of freshwater storage in parts of Asia by mid-century under modest climate policy scenario.

    Lakes, glaciers, and major river basins on the Tibetan Plateau. Endorheic basins are shown in light purple and exorheic basins in light yellow. Bar plots show TWS changes (TWSC) for each basin during 2002‒2017, estimated from the GRACE JPL-M solution. Blue bars represent mass gain in TWS, whereas red bars represent mass loss, and bar size represents the magnitude of TWS changes (Gt/yr). Specific values for TWS changes are shown in each basin. Credit: Penn State, Tsinghua University. All Rights Reserved.

    The Tibetan Plateau, known as the “water tower” of Asia, supplies freshwater for nearly 2 billion people who live downstream. New research led by scientists at Penn State, Tsinghua University and the University of Texas-Austin projects that climate change, under a scenario of weak climate policy, will cause irreversible declines in freshwater storage in the region, constituting a serious threat to the water supply for central Asia, Afghanistan, Northern India, Kashmir and Pakistan by the middle of the century.

    “The prognosis is not good,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State. “In a ‘business as usual’ scenario, where we fail to meaningfully curtail fossil fuel burning in the decades ahead, we can expect a nearly 100% loss of water availability to downstream regions of the Tibetan Plateau. I was surprised at just how large the predicted decrease is even under a scenario of modest climate policy.”

    According to the researchers, despite its importance, the impacts of climate change on past and future terrestrial water storage (TWS) — which includes all the above- and below-ground water — in the Tibetan Plateau have largely been underexplored.

    “The Tibetan Plateau supplies a substantial portion of the water demand for almost 2 billion people,” said Di Long, associate professor of hydrologic engineering at Tsinghua University. “Terrestrial water storage across this region is crucial in determining water availability, and it is highly sensitive to climate change.”

    Projected changes in TWS and associated climate drivers over the TP until the mid-21st century under SSP2-4.5. (a‒c) Spatial patterns of linear trends for DNN-reconstructed TWS on the TP during the (a) past two decades (2002‒2020), (b) the coming decade (2021‒2030), and (c) the mid-21st century (2031‒2060). Stippling in (a) and (b) marks regions that have a significant trend (the Mann-Kendall test at a 5% significance level). (d‒g) The difference between the 30-year averaged state for the 2031‒2060 period relative to the average for the 2002‒2021 period in (d) reconstructed TWS, (e) annual precipitation, (f) annual average temperature, and (g) solar radiation. All results were estimated from the ensemble mean of nine GCMs under the mid-range SSP2-4.5 scenario. Credit: Penn State, Tsinghua University. All Rights Reserved.

    Mann added that a solid benchmark for the TWS changes that have already occurred in the Tibetan Plateau has been lacking. In addition, he said, the absence of reliable future projections of TWS limits any guidance on policymaking, despite the fact that the Tibetan Plateau has long been considered a climate change hotspot.

    To fill these knowledge gaps, the team used ‘top-down’ — or satellite-based — and ‘bottom-up’ — or ground-based — measurements of water mass in glaciers, lakes and below-ground sources, combined with machine-learning techniques to provide a benchmark of observed TWS changes over the past two decades (2002 to 2020) and projections over the next four decades (2021 to 2060).

    Mann explained that advances in Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite missions have provided unprecedented opportunities to quantify TWS changes at large scales.

    Yet, previous studies have not explored the sensitivity of GRACE solutions using independent, ground-based data sources, leading to a lack of consensus regarding TWS changes in the region.

    “Compared to previous studies, establishing consistency between top-down and bottom-up approaches is what gives us confidence in this study that we can accurately measure the declines in TWS that have already occurred in this critical region,” he said.

    Next, the researchers used a novel neural net-based machine-learning technique to relate these observed changes in total water storage to key climate variables, including air temperature, precipitation, humidity, cloud cover and incoming sunlight. Once they ‘trained’ this artificial neural net model, they were able to look at how projected future changes in climate are likely to impact water storage in this region.

    Among their results, which published today (Aug. 15) in the journal Nature Climate Change [below], the team found that climate change in recent decades has led to severe depletion in TWS (-15.8 gigatons/year) in certain areas of the Tibetan Plateau and substantial increases in TWS (5.6 gigatons/year) in others, likely due to the competing effects of glacier retreat, degradation of seasonally frozen ground, and lake expansion.

    Science paper:
    Nature Climate Change

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Penn State Campus

    The The Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University, Oregon State University, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
    The Pennsylvania State University is a member of The Association of American Universities an organization of American research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.


    Penn State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the university’s graduate school (including the law and medical schools), and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922.

    Penn State’s research and development expenditure has been on the rise in recent years. For fiscal year 2013, according to institutional rankings of total research expenditures for science and engineering released by the National Science Foundation , Penn State stood second in the nation, behind only Johns Hopkins University and tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , in the number of fields in which it is ranked in the top ten. Overall, Penn State ranked 17th nationally in total research expenditures across the board. In 12 individual fields, however, the university achieved rankings in the top ten nationally. The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th). Moreover, in eleven of these fields, the university has repeated top-ten status every year since at least 2008. For fiscal year 2011, the National Science Foundation reported that Penn State had spent $794.846 million on R&D and ranked 15th among U.S. universities and colleges in R&D spending.

    For the 2008–2009 fiscal year, Penn State was ranked ninth among U.S. universities by the National Science Foundation, with $753 million in research and development spending for science and engineering. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, Penn State received $836 million in research expenditures.

    The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the Department of Defense since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State’s research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.

    The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s University Park campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university. Dr. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high-temperature materials. He pioneered high-temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high-temperature aerospace, industrial, and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high-temperature materials. His vision for Interdisciplinary research played a key role in creating the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research.

    The university was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.

    The Pennsylvania State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the 2003–2004 survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The university’s library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main. In 2009, its holdings had grown to 5.2 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 180,000 films and videos.

    The university’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is the home of CiteSeerX, an open-access repository and search engine for scholarly publications. The university is also the host to the Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor. Additionally, University Park houses the Graduate Program in Acoustics, the only freestanding acoustics program in the United States. The university also houses the Center for Medieval Studies, a program that was founded to research and study the European Middle Ages, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), one of the first centers established to research postsecondary education.

  • richardmitnick 12:36 pm on August 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Predicting the Future of Greenhouse Gas Emissions", , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, , Even if our economy were completely free of greenhouse gasses other nations must also decarbonize., I do not underestimate the fossil fuel industry’s potential for future harm., If the choice is between fossil fuel-based energy and no energy we will all use fossil fuels., It will take time and will require a partnership between the public and private sectors but the main locus of decarbonization activity will be in the private sector., No one really knows how to maintain our economic well-being while transitioning to a new energy system., Our addiction to energy is not going to be cured by government., The economic power of Google Apple Amazon and Microsoft must be mobilized behind the goal of less expensive more predictably priced more reliable and cleaner energy., We should assume that the technology of renewable energy will advance in the coming decades.   

    From Columbia University – State of the Planet: “Predicting the Future of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” 

    From Columbia University – State of the Planet


    Columbia U bloc
    Columbia University

    Steve Cohen

    ” With the U.S. federal government finally putting in place a major program to stimulate the decarbonization of our energy economy, news analysis has turned to the practical problems of the transition from fossil fuels. Some of us have been focused on those practical problems for a long time. Our economy and our households are addicted to fossil fuels. The transition away from that addiction will take a generation: it is a matter of decades, not days, weeks, months, or even years. The process began before last week’s “anti-inflation” bill and would have continued with or without the bill. But now, the process is accelerated by an act of the government of the world’s largest economy.

    Typical of the skeptical reporting on the federal climate bill was a story filed by Katherine Blunt and Phred Dvorak in the Wall Street Journal, where they observed that:

    “The landmark climate bill passed by Congress on Friday aims to reduce carbon emissions with subsidies for speeding the build-out of renewable-energy projects. Success in meeting its emissions goals will depend on how quickly that build-out happens. Despite the new financial support for renewable technologies, the industry faces supply-chain snarls, logjams in securing project approvals and challenges in constructing new high-voltage power lines and large-scale batteries to support an unprecedented build-out of wind and solar farms.”

    The assumptions in this piece are that technology will stand still and massive renewable energy projects will depend on the electric grid and foreign manufacturing. Perhaps, but this $370 billion must be added to the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill and the federal government’s pivot to green purchasing and operations. These are powerful incentives that will stimulate technological innovation and local government use of eminent domain powers. In addition, large-scale projects may be displaced by consumer products that enable households to decarbonize and partially or completely disconnect from the electrical grid.

    We should assume that the technology of renewable energy will advance in the coming decades, just as communication and computing advanced over the past half-century. What if solar cells become smaller, more efficient, and integrated into normal windows? What if a solar array costs $500 instead of $15,000 and includes the replacement of a few of your home’s windows? What if batteries are no longer the size of your big screen TV but the size of your laptop? What if they cost $300 instead of $3,000? Mainframe computers the size of a suburban living room once cost millions of dollars and had less computing power than your smartphone. A generation ago, we watched movies on video cassettes and cable TV. The technology of renewable energy is now being developed by some of the smartest people on the planet. Who knows what they may come up with?

    As for supply chains, President Biden recently signed the bipartisan Chip Act, and as reported by the New York Times’ Shira Ovide:

    ​​“The United States has authorized $280 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize rich computer chip companies and invest in technology research for the sake of keeping America strong and innovative. President Biden on Tuesday signed the law, officially known as the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, calling it “an investment in America itself.” If this law does what its many backers in government and private industry hope, the U.S. will have more control over the future of essential computer chips and have a hedge if China grows more hostile toward Taiwan, a U.S. ally. The law also aims to keep America on the cutting edge of technology by putting more government support into research.”

    Since China subsidizes its high-tech businesses, these federal funds will level the competitive playing field and, as automation advances, will return some manufacturing to the United States. Supply chains are rapidly becoming supply webs as companies learn to navigate disruptions in the global economy. In sum, predicting the precise pace of decarbonization is impossible due to a rapidly changing and highly dynamic organizational and technological environment.

    It will take time and will require a partnership between the public and private sectors but the main locus of decarbonization activity will be in the private sector. This is because energy, while regulated and intertwined with lots of rules and subsidies, is a private business in most parts of the world. While climate activists supported the “inflation reduction” bill as the best climate bill they could obtain given the current political environment, they consider this new federal effort insufficient. Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport reported on this in the New York Times on August 12 and wrote that that:

    “For the septuagenarian lawmakers who wrote the historic climate bill that Congress passed on Friday, and the 79-year-old president who is about to sign it into law, the measure represents a “once in a generation” victory. But younger Democrats and climate activists crave more. They look at the bill as a down payment, and they worry a complacent electorate will believe Washington has at last solved climate change — when in fact scientists warn it has only taken the first necessary steps. “This bill is not the bill that my generation deserves and needs to fully avert climate catastrophe, but it is the one that we can pass, given how much power we have at this moment,” said Varshini Prakash, 29, who co-founded the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate activism group.”

    While I also would have preferred a larger-scale effort from the federal government, my preference is based on an analysis of the risks posed by climate change when compared to the risk of over-subsidizing the private sector. I think we need to create an atmosphere of certainty for the green economy to build on the tremendous and growing momentum that already exists for renewable energy. These funds, and the policy thrust they represent, reinforce a trend already in place and stimulate confidence in the transition to renewable energy. Three hundred and seventy billion dollars is real money that can’t be ignored. But government and public policy were never going to deliver a renewable resource-based economy—that action will take place in the private sector. This bill may be sufficient to stimulate the private actions needed. If it’s not, more can be added later.

    Our addiction to energy is not going to be cured by government. And if the choice is between fossil fuel-based energy and no energy we will all use fossil fuels. The fossil fuel interests know that and do their best to force us to contemplate that trade-off. They are not the only businesses that are good at manipulating consumers. Tobacco interests have long perfected taking advantage of consumer addiction. Despite well over half a century of settled science about the harm of smoking, there are one billion smokers in the world, and last year, seven million people died from this addiction. So, I do not underestimate the fossil fuel industry’s potential for future harm. It’s a shame because if they would redefine themselves as energy companies and deliver renewable energy, they could avoid bankruptcy. Unlike smoking, which is far from a necessity, our very economy and way of life depend on energy. Most of the GDP is not in the energy business, but nearly all businesses rely on energy. Therefore, the economic power of Google Apple Amazon and Microsoft must be mobilized behind the goal of less expensive more predictably priced more reliable and cleaner energy. Let them duke it out with ExxonMobil. The U.S. government is a small part of the total picture here, so let’s understand that a problem as massive as climate change requires much more than U.S. government policy and money to address. Our government must provide leadership, but even if our economy were completely free of greenhouse gasses other nations must also decarbonize.

    No one really knows how to maintain our economic well-being while transitioning to a new energy system. It is arrogance and folly to pretend that anyone knows how to do this. I’m reminded a little of a meeting I attended in EPA shortly after Superfund was enacted in December of 1980. Someone at the meeting was talking about how great it was that we had all this money and could now clean up America’s toxic waste sites. An engineer spoke up and mentioned that we really didn’t know how to clean up a contaminated site, we were uncertain about the costs of site clean-up, and we would need to determine when to stop cleaning and consider the job done. Someone else then said, “Yeah: How clean is clean?” A question many of us had never thought of until that moment. Greenhouse gas pollution is technically simpler than toxic waste but economically more difficult to attack. Modelling and predicting the impact of public policy on the pace of pollution reduction requires analysts to make a huge number of assumptions about the pace of economic, technological, and behavioral change. We should be skeptical about these predictions and humble about our ability to predict the future of greenhouse gas pollution on this planet.

    Humility does not seem to invade the mindset of the experts informing Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport’s reporting on reaction to the climate bill. According to their piece:

    “…scientists say the United States needs to do more. It must stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050, which the bill won’t achieve… [emphasis added] To reach his 2030 goal [of 50% emission cuts], Mr. Biden would still have to impose new regulations on emissions from power plants, vehicle tailpipes and methane leaks from oil and gas wells. State and local governments would have to set new standards to compel the rapid adoption of electric cars, wind and solar powered electricity, and energy efficient buildings to make up the last percentage points.”

    Maybe, but maybe not. I am always amazed by the confidence and certainty expressed by some climate “experts.” The scale and uncertainty of the problem and possible solutions need to be understood. As should the role of public policy itself. Public policy is not rational, it does not work like the scientific method. It is incremental: remedial, serial, and partial. It does not solve problems, but makes them less bad. The Clean Air Act of 1970 made America’s air far cleaner today than it was when the bill was passed. Air pollution is less bad, but not gone. The climate problem will never be solved, but I believe humanity will make it less bad and preserve the planet for future generations. I don’t know if we’ll achieve that goal by 2050. I base my belief on optimism and history, but it is not a prediction, and I could be very wrong.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Earth Institute is a research institute at Columbia University that was established in 1995. Its stated mission is to address complex issues facing the planet and its inhabitants, with a focus on sustainable development. With an interdisciplinary approach, this includes research in climate change, geology, global health, economics, management, agriculture, ecosystems, urbanization, energy, hazards, and water. The Earth Institute’s activities are guided by the idea that science and technological tools that already exist could be applied to greatly improve conditions for the world’s poor, while preserving the natural systems that support life on Earth.

    The Earth Institute supports pioneering projects in the biological, engineering, social, and health sciences, while actively encouraging interdisciplinary projects—often combining natural and social sciences—in pursuit of solutions to real world problems and a sustainable planet. In its work, the Earth Institute remains mindful of the staggering disparities between rich and poor nations, and the tremendous impact that global-scale problems—such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, climate change and extreme poverty—have on all nations.

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

  • richardmitnick 11:34 am on August 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Heat islands": densley packed urban areas, "Preventing heat islands is a priority for the future of our cities", "The albedo effect": the capacity for lighter colors to reflect heat, , , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, , , Mitigation strategies such as planting trees and other vegetation to create more green spaces can lower the ground-surface temperature by around 5°C in both neighborhoods.,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “Preventing heat islands is a priority for the future of our cities” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    Sarah Perrin

    Summer series – Master’s project (7). Two EPFL Master’s students carried out meticulous research on heat islands, or densely packed urban areas with features that can aggravate high temperatures during heat waves, posing a serious threat to vulnerable residents.

    The summer of 2022 was unprecedented: the series of heat waves between June and August provided a glimpse of how climate change will make cities increasingly arduous places to live in the summer months. That’s especially true in the most densely populated areas, where tightly packed buildings and ubiquitous concrete and asphalt surfaces can drive up temperatures and rapidly turn city blocks into furnaces. In addition, the darker colors used for urban structures tend to attract and absorb heat. These dense urban areas are known as heat islands, and they’re what two students at EPFL Faculty of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) – Clara Gualtieri and YueWanZhao Yuan – chose to study for their Master’s project in environmental engineering. They conducted important research on heat islands and what can be done to mitigate the effects.

    Heat islands will become an increasingly serious problem as the planet gets warmer. Most of the world’s population now lives in cities, and climate change means they’ll be faced with more and more of the direct consequences of extreme temperatures. These temperatures don’t just diminish people’s health and well-being: they can also be potentially fatal for certain at-risk categories, such as the elderly, chronically ill and homeless. And the methods most people use to cool off – like air conditioning and large fans – require a lot of power and generate even more greenhouse gas emissions, thus fueling the vicious circle of climate change.

    Between the city and the countryside, the temperature differences are on average 4 to 5 degrees.©2022 EPFL/A.Herzog.

    To conduct their research on heat islands, Gualtieri and Yuan analyzed surface temperatures in two Geneva neighborhoods (Les Vernets and Pointe-Nord), based on data collected on the ground, building facades and rooftops. These two neighborhoods are undergoing a large-scale transformation and have various urban development projects in the works as part of the PAV (Praille-Acacias-Vernets) program. The two students developed a set of intricate 3D computer models for each neighborhood that describe the neighborhood’s current temperature profile, the most likely temperature profile in 2050 if no changes are made, the temperature profile under the IPCC’s worst-case scenario (RCP 8.5, where greenhouse gas emissions continue at the same pace, leading to the maximum level of global warming), and the temperature profile if the urban landscape is adapted in order to reduce local temperatures.

    A 10°C increase

    The highest ground-surface temperature that the students found in the two neighborhoods was around 35°C, but their models predicted that this temperature could rise by an average of 10°C, and in some cases by even 15°C in July and August based on their different scenarios.

    The models also showed that mitigation strategies such as planting trees and other vegetation to create more green spaces can lower the ground-surface temperature by around 5°C in both neighborhoods. They discovered that plants in particular can be effective, since the shade they produce has more of an impact than grass simply planted in the ground. Gualtieri and Yuan also note two further measures worth studying: the albedo effect – the capacity for lighter colors to reflect heat – and resurfacing rivers or other bodies of water to significantly cool the ambient air are.

    The students’ findings are the result of a painstaking process whereby they very precisely mapped each neighborhood in order to generate the most complete 3D models possible. Their models incorporate a huge amount of information, including the local morphology and topography, the surface of all built structures (e.g., rooftops, building façades and roads, and smaller structures like ledges and guardrails) – including the structures’ size, slope and thermal properties – street furniture, the different materials used, green areas, shaded areas and more. “Our simulations ended up incorporating more than 100,000 surfaces,” says Gualtieri.

    One of the simulations of two districts of Geneva (Les Vernets and Pointe-Nord). ©2022 EPFL/LESO.

    “A major problem”

    Gualtieri and Yuan obtained their data from existing data sets including the Swiss Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings and weather databases. The students then ran different applications, namely Rhino, a piece of 3D-modeling software, and CitySim, a simulation program developed at EPFL specifically for urban planners. CitySim lets urban planners estimate the thermal and physical proprieties of buildings and their power requirements, which is valuable information for designing strategies to minimize the use of fossil fuels.

    “Gualtieri and Yuan’s research shows that heat islands will become a major problem by 2050 if we don’t start cutting back on fossil-fuel emissions,” says Kavan Javanroodi, a postdoc at EPFL’s Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory (LESO-PB). “Urban planners need to start addressing this issue early on in their projects. This research also highlights what certain strategies can achieve in terms of heat reduction, thus giving Geneva’s urban planners a starting point for combating temperature peaks and extreme microclimate conditions in the city’s developing neighborhoods.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles Polytechniques Fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École Spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices were located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganized and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’Ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich (CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.


    EPFL is organized into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences
    Institute of Mathematics
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering
    Institute of Physics
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations
    Bernoulli Center
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy
    MPG-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology
    Swiss Plasma Center
    Laboratory of Astrophysics

    School of Engineering

    Institute of Electrical Engineering
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering
    Institute of Materials
    Institute of Microengineering
    Institute of Bioengineering

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Institute of Architecture
    Civil Engineering Institute
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences
    Environmental Engineering Institute

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing

    School of Life Sciences

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies
    Brain Mind Institute
    Institute of Bioengineering
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research
    Global Health Institute
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases

    College of Management of Technology

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Section of Financial Engineering

    College of Humanities

    Human and social sciences teaching program

    EPFL Middle East

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on August 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Using nature and data to weather coastal storms", , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, ,   

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine : “Using nature and data to weather coastal storms” 

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine



    Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, sometimes with tragic consequences. Europe’s coastal cities are preparing to meet the challenges with help from nature and data from outer space.

    As the people of La Faute-Sur-Mer – a small French coastal town in the Vendée north of La Rochelle – tucked into bed on the night of 27 February 2010, a violent storm was raging out at sea.

    Swirling, cyclonic winds, high waves and heavy rain blown up across the Bay of Biscay combined with a high spring tide to wreak havoc as it battered the coastline of western France. Residents awoke to a scene of utter devastation.

    Perched perilously between the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the river Lay on the other, the town was completely inundated by flooding from the storm surge. Homes, property and businesses were ruined.

    Of the 53 people in France who died as a result of Storm Xynthia, 29 were from La Faute.

    In a town with a population of just 1000 people, it was a devastating tragedy.

    Extreme weather

    Such extreme weather events are becoming more common and seaside regions are particularly vulnerable, says Dr Clara Armaroli, a coastal geomorphologist who specializes in coastal dynamics (how coastlines evolve).

    In response, the University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS) in Pavia, Italy, is leading a pan-European project to develop an early-warning system to increase coastal resilience. Armaroli coordinates the project, called the European Copernicus Coastal Flood Awareness System (ECFAS).

    ‘Given climate change and sea-level rise, we know there will be an increase in the tendency and the magnitude of coastal storms,’ Dr Armaroli said.

    ‘What’s needed is an awareness system at a European level to inform decisions.’

    ECFAS has been set up to develop a proof-of-concept for an early-warning system for coastal flooding. It will develop a functional and operational design.

    It draws on data and uses tools from the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation satellites and from the Copernicus Services.

    Central to this is how data about storm surges, magnitude of flooding and potential impact could be incorporated into the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service (Copernicus EMS).

    Copernicus EMS is a space-based monitoring service for Europe and the globe that uses satellite data to spot signs of impending disaster, whether from forest fires, droughts or river flooding.

    Coastal flooding is not yet part of the Copernicus emergency management mix so ECFAS wants to ‘plug the gap’ says Armaroli.

    This will ensure that coastal flooding is monitored in future and that such vulnerabilities become part of its watching brief.

    In addition to charting the progression of storms that break on Europe’s coastlines, the ECFAS team is integrating data about the changes to shorelines caused by coastal erosion. It’s a growing concern as sea-levels rise across the globe.

    Boundary erosion

    ‘The vulnerability and exposure of our coastal areas are also increasing due to erosion, which is narrowing the boundary between the land and the sea,’ said Dr Armaroli.

    The early-warning system will gather data from an array of sources, all of which impact flood risk. This includes geographic factors such as land use and cover, soil type, tidal changes, wave components and sea levels.

    It is being designed to provide forecasts for coastal storm hazards up to five days out. Potentially, it could work in tandem with pre-existing regional and national systems to improve local defenses.

    Looking beyond the proof-of-concept stage, Armaroli hopes ECFAS-Warning for coastal awareness can play a critical role in helping areas better prepare for when disaster strikes.

    ‘Our work has started a process, but in the future, we hope this can really help increase the resilience of our coastal areas to the coming extreme weather events,’ she said.

    On the west coast of Ireland, in the Atlantic seaport town of Sligo, an environmental engineer named Dr Salem Gharbia is taking the challenges faced by coastal cities to the next level.

    With the project – SCORE – Smart Control of the Climate Resilience in European Cities – Dr Gharbia’s team is building a network of ‘living labs’ to rapidly and sustainably enhance local resilience to coastal damage.

    ‘Coastal cities face major challenges currently because they are so densely populated and because their location makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise and climate change,’ he said.

    With SCORE’s network of 10 coastal cities – from Sligo to Benidorm, Dublin to Gdańsk – Dr Gharbia intends to create an integrated solution that should help coastal centres to mitigate the risks.

    ‘The main idea behind the concept is that we have coastal cities learning from each other,’ he said.

    Co-created solutions

    ‘Each living lab faces different local challenges,’ he said, ‘But each has been established to include citizens, local stakeholders, engineers, and scientists to co-create solutions that can increase local resilience.’

    Through the network, SCORE wants to pioneer nature-based solutions such as the restoration of floodplains or wetlands that reduce the risk of flooding in coastal regions. It’s a model that is already proving effective.

    One example, a project to bio-engineer sand dunes in Sligo for stronger natural defenses, is also being tested in Portugal.

    The team is developing smart technologies to monitor and evaluate emerging coastal risks. In addition to using existing Earth observation data, this means the community can become involved through new citizen science projects aimed at expanding local data collection.

    In Sligo, locals are already getting involved in the monitoring of coastal erosion using what Dr Gharbia terms ‘DIY sensors’ – drone kites – equipped with cameras, to survey local topography.

    Elsewhere, citizens are helping to monitor and record water levels and quality, as well as wind speed and direction with a variety of other sensors.

    Sustaining local citizen involvement in this way is crucial to SCORE’s success, said Gharbia.

    ‘It’s essential that this is two-way for citizens,’ he said.

    Without engaging them fully in the process of co-design and co-creation of ideas to mitigate risks, you will never get them committed to the types of solution proposed.’

    Data sources

    All of this, of course, is creating a wealth of new data from a multitude of sources. But Dr Gharbia is adamant that an integrated approach is critical.

    ‘The main reason we’re developing this system is,’ he said, ‘We’ve realised that to increase climate resilience we have to utilise all the information coming in from different sources.’

    Ultimately, the goal behind the work is for a real-time, early warning system that could be used by local and regional policy makers to test a range of ‘what if’ scenarios.

    Currently, the team are categorising the data and optimising the systems and models. In time, they hope other regions can learn from the approach and develop similar living labs.

    Dr Gharbia said the impact of his research project should be ‘to create an integrated solution that can be used in multiple different locations and can make a big impact in increasing local coastal resilience.’

    Resilience like it should spread far and wide. ‘The main purpose is a solution that can be replicated and scaled up,’ said Dr Gharbia. The tragic consequences of more frequent and more intense coastal storms must be averted.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:47 am on August 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study shows past century of climate warming reverses 900 years of cooling in the Gulf of Maine", , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology,   

    From The University of Maine: “Study shows past century of climate warming reverses 900 years of cooling in the Gulf of Maine” 

    From The University of Maine

    Sam Schipani

    Arctica islandica shells. Photo by Karl Kreutz.

    The rapid warming of the 20th century has reversed 900 years of cooling in the Gulf of Maine, according to a new study [Communications Earth & Environment (below)] led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, co-authored by the University of Maine and funded by the National Science Foundation.

    The Gulf of Maine has undergone recent, rapid ocean warming, but the lack of long-term instrument records has made it difficult for scientists to put this warming into historical context. The longest continuous instrumental record available for the Gulf of Maine is a sea surface temperature record from Boothbay Harbor that extends back to 1905, and little is known about the Gulf’s water properties before that station was installed.

    To gain greater insight about what warming and cooling patterns were like for the Gulf of Maine in the past, scientists developed a 300-year-long geochemical record from shells of a clam known as the ocean quahog, Arctica islandica, in the western Gulf of Maine. The shells have been proven in previous studies to be valuable proxies because they are long-lived and faithfully record environmental conditions as they precipitate their shells in annual increments, gathering isotopes with valuable data along the way.

    Each of the isotopes collected from the shells served as a proxy for a property of the water in the region at a given time. For example, oxygen isotopes can be used as a proxy for seawater temperature and salinity, while nitrogen isotopes can be used as a proxy for water mass source. The scientists compared the records from the shells with 1,000-year-long climate model simulations known as the Community Earth System Model-Last Millennium Ensemble, a global climate model developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which considers orbital, solar, volcanic, greenhouse gas, aerosol and land use changes over the last millennium.

    “Combining precisely dated geochemical data from the clam shells with state-of-the-art climate models provides a powerful method for understanding climate change in the Gulf of Maine. We can see how local conditions are influenced by large-scale patterns through time,” says Karl Kreutz, co-author of the study, director of the School of Earth and Climate Sciences and professor in the Climate Change Institute.

    The results suggest that the Gulf of Maine underwent a long-term cooling over the last 1,000 years driven mainly by volcanic forcing. However, this trend was significantly reversed by warming that began in the late 1800s, around the time of the Industrial Revolution began adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere while the behavior and position of the Gulf Stream shifted.

    The simulations suggest that the warming in the most recent century has been more rapid than any other 100-year period in the region’s last 1,000 years.

    “The climate changes that ecosystems and coastal communities are now being forced to adapt to are different from what has occurred in the recent past. That’s important to know when developing policies and decision support tools,” Kreutz says.

    Science paper:
    Communications Earth & Environment

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Maine is a public land-grant research university in Orono, Maine. It was established in 1865 as the land-grant college of Maine and is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. The University of Maine is one of only a few land, sea and space grant institutions in the nation. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    With an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students, The University of Maine is the state’s largest college or university. The University of Maine’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Black Bears, are Maine’s only Division I athletics program. Maine’s men’s ice hockey team has won two national championships.

    The University of Maine was founded in 1862 as a function of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1865 as the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the college opened on September 21, 1868 and changed its name to the University of Maine in 1897.

    By 1871, curricula had been organized in Agriculture, Engineering, and electives. The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station was founded as a division of the university in 1887. Gradually the university developed the Colleges of Life Sciences and Agriculture (later to include the School of Forest Resources and the School of Human Development), Engineering and Science, and Arts and Sciences. In 1912 the Maine Cooperative Extension, which offers field educational programs for both adults and youths, was initiated. The School of Education was established in 1930 and received college status in 1958. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1958 and was granted college status in 1965. Women have been admitted into all curricula since 1872. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1881; the first doctor’s degree in 1960. Since 1923 there has been a separate graduate school.

    Near the end of the 19th century, the university expanded its curriculum to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. As a result of this shift, faculty hired during the early 20th century included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department and the nation’s first woman to head a major university department.

    In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”

    On April 16, 1925, 80 women met in Balentine Hall — faculty, alumnae, and undergraduate representatives — to plan a pledging of members to an inaugural honorary organization. This organization was called “The All Maine Women” because only those women closely connected with the University of Maine were elected as members. On April 22, 1925, the new members were inducted into the honor society.

    When the University of Maine System was incorporated, in 1968, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono. This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986.

  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on August 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hypoxic shoaling events", "Short-Term Events Can Shrink the Habitable Zone in Oceans", "THREEs": transient habitat reduction extreme events, , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, Could short-term events provide a window into the long-term health of oceans?, , Habitat reduction during low-oxygen events, La Niña events appear to precondition the waters for THREEs.,   

    From “Eos” : “Short-Term Events Can Shrink the Habitable Zone in Oceans” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    Sarah Derouin

    A new study looks at habitat reduction during low-oxygen events, spurring the question, Could short-term events provide a window into the long-term health of oceans?

    Credit: Max Gotts/Unsplash.

    Climate change is driving the oceans to lose oxygen. Marine organisms that need oxygen to survive live in a gradually shoaling, or shallowing, zone of water above a hypoxic, low-oxygen layer. Researchers have studied the long-term deoxygenation trend in marine ecosystems, but investigations on how shorter, transient events can affect ecosystems on weeks- to months-long timescales are lacking.

    Now, a new study Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [below] looks at when and where these “hypoxic shoaling events” occur. These so-called transient habitat reduction extreme events (THREEs) can change biogeochemical processes or alter entire ocean ecosystems. To find THREEs, which are rare because their detection requires data on changes in the hypoxic layer, the researchers used a simulation model to look at data from the eastern Pacific Ocean because it features a vast area of horizontal hypoxic waters that are driven by physical and biogeochemical processes. They detected THREEs by applying a fixed threshold depth for the hypoxic layer. Each event was also characterized in time and space, and drivers were identified.

    They found that THREEs compress the oxygenated zone by up to 50%–70% in subtropical and tropical regions. La Niña events appear to precondition the waters for THREEs. As a result, in subtropical regions, THREEs occur primarily during boreal winter (December–February) and spring. In the subtropical eastern Pacific, THREEs appear to be associated with mesoscale eddies, which are known as hot spots for low-oxygen conditions, and occur independently of season. The team also noted that 71% of THREEs go along with cold, low-pH, shoaling waters. These events—low oxygen and low pH—can compound the stressors on fish and other marine organisms.

    These findings show how THREEs could be detected in other open-ocean locations to better understand water column biogeochemistry and ocean ecosystems. The authors note that THREEs can also foreshadow long-term changes and shifts in ocean habitats.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 10:36 pm on August 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Cost of Climate Change", , Climate change impacts economic growth in about 22% percent of the countries analyzed., Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, From crop damage to cooling failures at cloud-based data centers climate change affects a wide variety of economic sectors., The research uses an empirical approach to revisit the effect of rising global temperatures and climate change on gross domestic product., The study found that economies are sensitive to persistent temperature shocks over at least a 10-year time frame.,   

    From The University of California-Davis: “The Cost of Climate Change” 

    UC Davis bloc

    From The University of California-Davis

    Media Contacts:

    Bernardo Bastien-Olvera
    UC Davis Geography
    (Bastien-Olvera is based in Mexico City, Mexico. Available for interviews in English and Spanish.)

    Andy Fell
    UC Davis News and Media Relations

    Kat Kerlin
    UC Davis News and Media Relations

    UC Davis Ph.D. candidate Bernardo Bastien-Olvera, sitting in the UC Davis Arboretum, looks at climate change’s impacts to the global economy in his study in the journal Environmental Research Letters. (Brian GG)

    From crop damage to cooling failures at cloud-based data centers climate change affects a wide variety of economic sectors. It’s unclear whether a country’s economy can bounce back each year from these impacts or if global temperature increases cause permanent and cumulative impacts on the market economy.

    A study from the University of California, Davis, published today by IOP Publishing in the journal Environmental Research Letters [below], addresses this fundamental question, which underlies the costs and benefits of climate change policy. The research uses an empirical approach to revisit the effect of rising global temperatures and climate change on gross domestic product, or GDP.

    The study found that economies are sensitive to persistent temperature shocks over at least a 10-year time frame. It also found that climate change impacts economic growth in about 22% percent of the countries analyzed.

    “Our results suggest that many countries are likely experiencing persistent temperature effects,” said lead author Bernardo Bastien-Olvera, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis. “This contradicts models that calculate metrics like the social cost of carbon, which mostly assume temporary temperature impacts on GDP. Our research adds to the evidence suggesting that impacts are far more uncertain and potentially larger than previously thought.”

    A dry creek bed in California’s Central Valley during the 2014 drought. The region is again experiencing intense drought. A UC Davis study shows that economic impacts of global temperature shocks can have lasting impacts on the market. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

    Persistent and cumulative

    Previous research examined the question by estimating the delayed effect of temperature on GDP in subsequent years, but the results were inconclusive. With this study, UC Davis scientists and co-authors from the European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Italy used a novel method to isolate the persistent temperature effects on the economy by analyzing lower modes of oscillation of the climate system.

    For example, El Niño Southern Oscillation, is a three to seven-year temperature fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that affects temperature and rainfall in many parts of the world.

    “By looking at the GDP effects of these types of lower-frequency oscillations, we’re able to distinguish whether countries are experiencing temporary or persistent and cumulative effects,” Bastien-Olvera said.

    The team used a mathematical procedure called filtering to remove higher frequency yearly changes in temperature.

    Enormous task

    The researchers note that characterizing temperature impacts on the economy is an enormous task not likely to be answered by a single research group.

    “Data availability and the current magnitude of climate impacts limit what can be done globally at the country level,” said co-author Frances Moore, an assistant professor of environmental science and policy at UC Davis and the study’s principal investigator, “However, our research constitutes a new piece of evidence in this puzzle and provides a novel tool to answer this still unresolved question.”

    Additional co-authors include Francesco Granella of the European Institute on Economics and the Environment.

    The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions program.

    Science paper:
    Environmental Research Letters

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Davis Campus

    The University of California-Davis is a public land-grant research university near Davis, California. Named a Public Ivy, it is the northernmost of the ten campuses of The University of California system. The institution was first founded as an agricultural branch of the system in 1905 and became the seventh campus of the University of California in 1959.

    The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of California-Davis faculty includes 23 members of The National Academy of Sciences, 30 members of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 17 members of the American Law Institute, 14 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 14 members of the National Academy of Engineering. Among other honours that university faculty, alumni, and researchers have won are two Nobel Prizes, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, three Pulitzer Prizes, three MacArthur Fellowships, and a National Medal of Science.
    Founded as a primarily agricultural campus, the university has expanded over the past century to include graduate and professional programs in medicine (which includes the University of California-Davis Medical Centre), law, veterinary medicine, education, nursing, and business management, in addition to 90 research programs offered by University of California-Davis Graduate Studies. The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is the largest veterinary school in the United States and has been ranked first in the world for five consecutive years (2015–19). The University of California-Davis also offers certificates and courses, including online classes, for adults and non-traditional learners through its Division of Continuing and Professional Education.

    The University of California-Davis Aggies athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I, primarily as members of the Big West Conference with additional sports in the Big Sky Conference (football only) and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

    Seventh UC campus

    In 1959, the campus was designated by the Regents of The University of California as the seventh general campus in the University of California system.

    University of California-Davis’s Graduate Division was established in 1961, followed by the creation of the College of Engineering in 1962. The law school opened for classes in fall 1966, and the School of Medicine began instruction in fall 1968. In a period of increasing activism, a Native American studies program was started in 1969, one of the first at a major university; it was later developed into a full department within the university.

    Graduate Studies

    The University of California-Davis Graduate Programs of Study consist of over 90 post-graduate programs, offering masters and doctoral degrees and post-doctoral courses. The programs educate over 4,000 students from around the world.

    UC Davis has the following graduate and professional schools, the most in the entire University of California system:

    UC Davis Graduate Studies
    Graduate School of Management
    School of Education
    School of Law
    School of Medicine
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing


    University of California-Davis is one of 62 members in The Association of American Universities, an organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

    Research centers and laboratories

    The campus supports a number of research centers and laboratories including:

    Advanced Highway Maintenance Construction Technology Research Laboratory
    BGI at UC Davis Joint Genome Center (in planning process)
    Bodega Marine Reserve
    C-STEM Center
    CalEPR Center
    California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System
    California International Law Center
    California National Primate Research Center
    California Raptor Center
    Center for Health and the Environment
    Center for Mind and Brain
    Center for Poverty Research
    Center for Regional Change
    Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas
    Center for Visual Sciences
    Contained Research Facility
    Crocker Nuclear Laboratory
    Davis Millimeter Wave Research Center (A joint effort of Agilent Technologies Inc. and UC Davis) (in planning process)
    Information Center for the Environment
    John Muir Institute of the Environment (the largest research unit at UC Davis, spanning all Colleges and Professional Schools)
    McLaughlin Natural Reserve
    MIND Institute
    Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center
    Quail Ridge Reserve
    Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve
    Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) (a collaborative effort with Sierra Nevada University)
    UC Center Sacramento
    UC Davis Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
    University of California Pavement Research Center
    University of California Solar Energy Center (UC Solar)
    Energy Efficiency Center (the very first university run energy efficiency center in the Nation).
    Western Institute for Food Safety and Security

    The Crocker Nuclear Laboratory on campus has had a nuclear accelerator since 1966. The laboratory is used by scientists and engineers from private industry, universities and government to research topics including nuclear physics, applied solid state physics, radiation effects, air quality, planetary geology and cosmogenics. University of California-Davis is the only University of California campus, besides The University of California-Berkeley, that has a nuclear laboratory.

    Agilent Technologies will also work with the university in establishing a Davis Millimeter Wave Research Center to conduct research into millimeter wave and THz systems.

  • richardmitnick 4:49 pm on August 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Small window of opportunity left to preserve Antarctica's 'sleeping giant'", , Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, , , Study finds The future of the world’s largest ice sheet and rising sea levels depend on urgent action on global warming.,   

    From The University of New South Wales (AU) : “Small window of opportunity left to preserve Antarctica’s ‘sleeping giant'” 

    U NSW bloc

    From The University of New South Wales (AU)


    Jesse Hawley

    Study finds The future of the world’s largest ice sheet and rising sea levels depend on urgent action on global warming.

    Iceberg towers from the vast, but largely overlooked, ice sheets of East Antarctica. Photo: N. Abram.

    A new study suggests the worst effects of global warming on Earth’s largest ice sheet can be avoided if the world meets the climate targets outlined in the Paris Agreement – but if we fail, then the melting of the ice sheet will have a drastic impact on sea level rise.

    The research was published today in Nature [below] by an international team of climate scientists including experts from the Australian Research Centre (ARC) Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS), at UNSW Sydney, the University of Tasmania (UTas) and the Australian National University (ANU).

    The authors say we risk awakening a ‘sleeping giant’ if global temperatures go beyond two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) could remain mostly stable over coming centuries, adding less than half a metre to sea-level rise by the year 2500, if urgent action is taken now to limit global warming, the study finds.

    But, if temperatures rise above two degrees Celsius, sustained by high greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, we lose our chance to keep that ice sheet dormant.

    The researchers found that melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet could contribute around one to three metres to sea levels by 2300 and around two to five metres by 2500.

    Co-author Scientia Professor Matthew England at UNSW Science and Deputy Director of ACEAS at UNSW Sydney, says that this is on top of the sea-level rise caused by the thermal expansion of the ocean and the melting of ice elsewhere.

    Prof. England led the analysis of recent and predicted ocean warming around East Antarctica. He says the waters in this part of the world are difficult to observe, so not a lot is known about them.

    “Earth’s largest ice sheet, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), contains the equivalent of 52 metres of sea level,” said co-author Professor Nerilie Abram, Deputy Director of ACEAS at ANU. Graphic: Guy Paxman.

    “There are very few repeat measurements of ocean temperatures around East Antarctica. But we already have evidence that relatively warm waters interact with the ice shelves there in key locations, including places where the base of the ice sheet is sitting on ground well below sea level. This makes the ice sheet vulnerable to rapid destabilization.

    “Already, from satellite observations, we can see signs of thinning ice and its retreat – and our models show that the rate of ocean warming will only increase dramatically if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

    The EAIS isn’t as stable as once thought

    The Australian Antarctic Territory covers about 42 per cent of Antarctica and is located on the EAIS. The area is nearly 80 per cent of the size of Australia itself. The EAIS has always been considered less vulnerable to climate change than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and is typically overlooked as a potential source of sea level rise.

    The researchers examined how the EAIS responded to warm periods in Earth’s past and analysed projections made by existing studies to determine the impact of varying levels of future greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures on the ice sheet by the years 2100, 2300 and 2500.

    Contribution of sea-level rise from the EAIS under different forecasts. Graphic: Richard Jones.

    “A key lesson from the past is that the EAIS is highly sensitive to even relatively modest warming scenarios. It isn’t as stable and protected as we once thought,” says co-author Professor Nerilie Abram, Deputy Director of ACEAS at ANU.

    “Achieving and strengthening our commitments to the Paris Agreement would not only protect the world’s largest ice sheet but also slow the melting of other major ice sheets, such as Greenland and West Antarctica, which are more vulnerable and at higher risk than the EAIS to global warming.”

    Co-author Professor Matt King, Director of ACEAS at UTas, as the study highlights how much work is needed to find out more about East Antarctica.

    “We understand the Moon better than East Antarctica. So, we don’t yet fully understand the climate risks that will emerge from this area,” he says.

    “Our research at ACEAS focuses on getting ahead of the changes and surprises that keep emerging in our part of the world so communities, industries and governments around the world can make informed decisions on mitigating and adapting to climate change.”

    With global mean temperatures already at 1.1 degrees Celsius above average since pre-industrial times, the ACEAS authors say our window of opportunity to shield the EAIS from the impacts of climate change is quickly closing.

    “Strengthening worldwide commitments to the Paris Agreement would better protect and slow the melting of all ice sheets,” Prof. England says.

    Science paper:

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    The The University of New South Wales is an Australian public university with its largest campus in the Sydney suburb of Kensington.

    Established in 1949, UNSW is a research university, ranked 44th in the world in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and 67th in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UNSW is one of the founding members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, and of Universitas 21, a global network of research universities. It has international exchange and research partnerships with over 200 universities around the world.

    According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UNSW is ranked top 20 in the world for Law, Accounting and Finance, and 1st in Australia for Mathematics, Engineering and Technology. UNSW also leads Australia in Medicine, where the median ATAR (Australian university entrance examination results) of its Medical School students is higher than any other Australian medical school. UNSW enrolls the highest number of Australia’s top 500 high school students academically, and produces more millionaire graduates than any other Australian university.

    The university comprises seven faculties, through which it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The main campus is in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Sydney CBD. The creative arts faculty, UNSW Art & Design, is located in Paddington, and subcampuses are located in the Sydney CBD as well as several other suburbs, including Randwick and Coogee. Research stations are located throughout the state of New South Wales.

    The university’s second largest campus, known as UNSW Canberra at ADFA (formerly known as UNSW at ADFA), is situated in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ADFA is the military academy of the Australian Defense Force, and UNSW Canberra is the only national academic institution with a defense focus.

    Research centres

    The university has a number of purpose-built research facilities, including:

    UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is Australia’s first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers, as well as one of the country’s largest cancer-research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.

    The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre is a centre for the faculties of science, medicine, and engineering. It is used to study the structure and composition of biological, chemical, and physical materials.

    UNSW Canberra Cyber is a cyber-security research and teaching centre.

    The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management (SARCCM) has a multidisciplinary focus, and works collaboratively with the Ocean University of China [中國海洋大學](CN) in coastal management research.

    University rankings

    In the 2022 QS World University Rankings, UNSW is ranked 43rd globally (4th in Australia and 2nd in New South Wales). In addition, UNSW is ranked 13th in the World for Civil and Structural Engineering (1st in Australia), 20th in the World for Accounting and Finance (1st in Australia), 14th in the World for Law (2nd in Australia), and 23rd in the World for Engineering and Technology (1st in Australia), According to the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

    In the 2022 SCImago Institutions Rankings UNSW is ranked 56th in the world overall and 47th in the world for research. Subject-wise, it is ranked 11th in the world for Business, Management and Accounting, 11th in the World for Law and 33rd in the world for Economics, Econometrics and Finance etc.

    In The 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking UNSW is ranked 41st best university in the world and 45th globally in Economics and Business.

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 placed UNSW 70th in the world, and 46th in the world (1st in Australia) for Engineering, 55th in the world for Business and Economics (4th in Australia), and 24th in the world (2nd in Australia) for Law according to the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject.

    In the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities, UNSW is ranked 65th globally, 3rd in Australia and 1st in New South Wales. Also in 2021, UNSW had more subjects ranked in the Academic Ranking of World Universities than any other Australian university, with 19 subjects in the top 50 and 2 subjects in the top 10 in the world. UNSW had 12 subjects ranked first in Australia, including Water Resources (8th in the world), Civil Engineering (12th in the world), Library and Information Science (11th in the world), Remote Sensing (12th in the world), and Finance (21st in the world).

    In the 2021 University Ranking by Academic Performance Field Rankings, UNSW is ranked 12th in the world for Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services and 21st Globally for Business. In the 2021 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, UNSW is ranked 51st Globally and is also ranked 39th in the world in the Economics/Business category. According to the 2021 U-Multirank World University Rankings, UNSW is ranked 28th in the world for Research and also ranked 2nd in Australia across Teaching, Research, Knowledge Transfer, International Orientation and Regional Engagement.

    In the 2021 Korea University Business School Worldwide Business Research Rankings UNSW is ranked 1st worldwide for Finance, 11th in the world for Accounting and 27th globally for management. According to the 2021 Washington University Olin Business School’s CFAR Rankings, UNSW is ranked 16th in the world for Finance and 9th in the world for Business, by total outcome indicator of research excellence.

    Study abroad

    The university has overseas exchange programs with over 250 overseas partner institutions. These include Princeton University, McGill University [Université McGill] (CA), University of Pennsylvania (inc. Wharton), Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Brown University, Columbia University (summer law students only), The University of California-Berkeley, The University of California-Santa Cruz (inc. Baskin), The University of California-Los Angeles, The University of Michigan (inc. Ross), New York University (inc. Stern), The University of Virginia, The Mississippi State University, Cornell University, The University of Connecticut, The University of Texas-Austin (inc. McCombs), Maastricht University [Universiteit Maastricht](NL), The University of Padua [Università degli Studi di Padova](IT), The University College London (law students only), The University of Nottingham (UK), Imperial College London (UK), The London School of Economics (UK) and The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH).

    In 2017, UNSW enrolled the highest number of Australia’s top 500 high school students academically.

    UNSW has produced more millionaires than any other Australian university, according to the Spear’s Wealth Management Survey in 2016.

    The Australian Good Universities Guide 2014 scored UNSW 5-star ratings across 10 categories, more than any other Australian university. Monash University ranked second with seven five stars, followed by The Australian National University (AU), Melbourne University (AU) and The University of Western Australia (AU) with six each.

    Engineers Australia ranked UNSW as having the highest number of graduates in Australia’s Top 100 Influential Engineers 2013″ list at 23%, followed by Monash University at 8%, the University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney (AU) and The University of Queensland (AU) at 7%.

  • richardmitnick 2:32 pm on August 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cultivating Super Corals Alone Is Unlikely to Protect Coral Reefs From Climate Change", Climate Change; Global warming; Ecology, Coral reef restoration techniques are widely applied throughout the world as a way to repopulate degraded coral reef areas., , , Restoration efforts need to be conducted at much greater spatial and temporal scales to have long-term benefits., Restoration practices carry a hefty price tag and require a lot of resources., Selectively breeding corals to be more heat tolerant only will lead to benefits if conducted at a very large scale over the course of centuries., The best chance of adapting to the effects of climate change-like warming ocean temperatures-if there is high genetic diversity and if habitat is protected from other local stressors., The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences   

    From The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences: “Cultivating Super Corals Alone Is Unlikely to Protect Coral Reefs From Climate Change” 

    From The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences


    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    Rutgers University



    Restoration efforts need to be conducted at much greater spatial and temporal scales to have long-term benefits.

    A popular coral restoration technique is unlikely to protect coral reefs from climate change and is based on the assumption that local threats to reefs are managed effectively, according to a study co-authored by Rutgers, Coral Research Alliance and researchers at other institutions.

    The research, published in the journal Ecological Applications [below], explored the response of coral reefs to restoration projects that propagate corals and outplant them into the wild. Additionally, researchers evaluated the effects of outplanting corals genetically adapted to warmer temperatures, sometimes called “super corals,” to reefs experiencing climate change as a way to build resilience to warming.

    The study found neither approach was successful at preventing a decline in coral coverage in the next several hundred years because of climate change and that selectively breeding corals to be more heat tolerant only will lead to benefits if conducted at a very large scale over the course of centuries.

    Even then, the researchers said, the benefits won’t be realized for 200 years.

    Restoring areas with corals that haven’t been selected to be more heat tolerant was ineffective at helping corals survive climate change except at the largest supplementation levels.

    “Our previous research shows that corals have the best chance of adapting to the effects of climate change-like warming ocean temperatures-if there is high genetic diversity and if habitat is protected from other local stressors.” said Lisa McManus, who co-led the research and conducted the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University and is now faculty at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology. “Repopulating a coral reef with corals that have similar genetic makeups could reduce an area’s natural genetic diversity, and therefore make it harder for all corals to adapt to climate change.”

    Coral reef restoration techniques are widely applied throughout the world as a way to repopulate degraded coral reef areas. Although the practice has some benefits, such as engaging and educating communities about reef ecosystems or replenishing a coral reef population after an area has been hit by a storm or suffered direct physical damage, more scientists are speaking up about the limitations of conservation approaches that focus solely on restoration.

    The authors said focusing solely on coral restoration and genetically engineering corals to be more tolerant of high temperatures is risky. Understanding of the genes that determine heat resistance remains limited and focusing on reproducing just one single trait could undermine a coral’s resilience to other stressors or its natural ability to adapt, they said.

    Restoration practices also carry a hefty price tag and require a lot of resources. The median cost of restoring just one hectare (or about 2.5 acres) of coral reef has been estimated at more than $350,000, which doesn’t factor in high mortality rates that often come with such projects and the cost of genetically modifying corals.

    “Coral restoration can be an important tool for conserving coral reefs, but restoration is expensive and hard. We can’t use restoration to replace the basics, like improving water quality, avoiding overfishing, and addressing climate change,” said Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

    The study was co-authored by Rutgers professor Malin Pinsky, and researchers from Coral Reef Alliance, University of Washington, Stanford University, University of Queensland, University of Hawai’i and The Nature Conservancy. The research was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

    Science paper:
    Ecological Applications

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The basis for what is today The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences was formed in 1864 from an effort led by professor George H. Cook to designate Rutgers as New Jersey’s land-grant college, two years after Congress passed the 1862 Morrill Act creating public, land-grant institutions across the nation. The Rutgers Scientific School was the distinct unit established to carry out the land-grant mission.In 1880 the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES)—the 3rd oldest in the U.S.—was set up to conduct applied agricultural research for the public interest. The school’s affiliation with NJAES reflected the nation and the state’s mission to extend knowledge to the predominant agricultural sector of the time. This was further facilitated by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 that established the national Cooperative Extension system at each land-grant institution to disseminate information for the public good and the agricultural emphasis was reflected in 1917 when Rutgers Scientific School was renamed the College of Agriculture.

    As New Jersey grew into a more urban and suburban state indicating changing demands, in 1965 the College of Agriculture was re-titled the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES), the first land-grant institution to add a focus on the environment to its name. In 1971 the CAES changed its name to Cook College in honor of George H. Cook. Cook College was renamed the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) in 2007, as part of a university-wide reorganization of undergraduate education at Rutgers that also saw the adoption of the term “school” to designate all degree-granting units of the university.

    Throughout its long history, the school has been home to many firsts and historical innovations, with worldwide impact: In 1934 the world-renowned Rutgers tomato was released, serving as the leading commercial variety for decades; in 1938 Enos Perry established the first dairy cow artificial insemination program in the US; in 1943 Albert Schatz and Selman Waksman discovered the life-saving tuberculosis drug streptomycin; in 1965 William Roberts innovated the first air-inflated, double-layer polyethylene greenhouse, revolutionizing a worldwide industry; in 2016 the Rutgers Slocum Electric Underwater Glider completed the first crossing of the South Atlantic by an autonomous underwater vehicle.

    Today SEBS supports vibrant academic departments, research and outreach centers, and institutes addressing the scientific foundation of the pressing needs of the 21st century in the environment, climate, marine and coastal, agriculture, nutrition, plant biology, landscape design, food systems, and more.


    Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers University is a public land-grant research university based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College, and today it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States, the second-oldest in New Jersey (after Princeton University), and one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that were chartered before the American War of Independence. In 1825, Queen’s College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose substantial gift to the school had stabilized its finances during a period of uncertainty. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it has evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated The State University of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature via laws enacted in 1945 and 1956.

    Rutgers today has three distinct campuses, located in New Brunswick (including grounds in adjacent Piscataway), Newark, and Camden. The university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state, including oceanographic research facilities at the New Jersey shore. Rutgers is also a land-grant university, a sea-grant university, and the largest university in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students. The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities and the Universities Research Association. Over the years, Rutgers has been considered a Public Ivy.


    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, also known as RUCCS. This research center hosts researchers in psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, electrical engineering, and anthropology.

    It was at Rutgers that Selman Waksman (1888–1973) discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others. Waksman, along with graduate student Albert Schatz (1920–2005), discovered streptomycin—a versatile antibiotic that was to be the first applied to cure tuberculosis. For this discovery, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952.

    Rutgers developed water-soluble sustained release polymers, tetraploids, robotic hands, artificial bovine insemination, and the ceramic tiles for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. In health related field, Rutgers has the Environmental & Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).

    Rutgers is also home to the RCSB Protein Data bank, “…an information portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures’ cohosted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center. This database is the authoritative research tool for bioinformaticists using protein primary, secondary and tertiary structures worldwide….”

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension office, which is run by the Agricultural and Experiment Station with the support of local government. The institution provides research & education to the local farming and agro industrial community in 19 of the 21 counties of the state and educational outreach programs offered through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Office of Continuing Professional Education.

    Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is the largest university based repository in the world and has received awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health. One will fund genetic studies of mental disorders and the other will support investigations into the causes of digestive, liver and kidney diseases, and diabetes. RUCDR activities will enable gene discovery leading to diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR assists researchers throughout the world by providing the highest quality biomaterials, technical consultation, and logistical support.

    Rutgers–Camden is home to the nation’s PhD granting Department of Childhood Studies. This department, in conjunction with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies, also on the Camden campus, conducts interdisciplinary research which combines methodologies and research practices of sociology, psychology, literature, anthropology and other disciplines into the study of childhoods internationally.

    Rutgers is home to several National Science Foundation IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

    Rutgers also maintains the Office of Research Alliances that focuses on working with companies to increase engagement with the university’s faculty members, staff and extensive resources on the four campuses.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

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