Tagged: Earth Observation Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 10:37 am on February 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The University of Maine leads study of Ugandan glaciers that unravels 20000-year-old geological mystery", , Earth Observation, , ,   

    From The University of Maine: “The University of Maine leads study of Ugandan glaciers that unravels 20000-year-old geological mystery” 

    From The University of Maine

    Sam Schipani

    A glacier on Mount Speke in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Photo by Alice Doughty.

    Ancient geological discrepancies can not only puzzle scientists, but can also lead to revelations about our present climate once they are solved. An international team led by a University of Maine researcher has uncovered a 20,000-year-old geological mystery in Uganda that will inform how scientists understand the relationship between glaciers, sea level temperatures and precipitation during this time and in this location.

    A team of scientists led by Alice Doughty, an instructor at UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Sciences, conducted a study to determine why, during the last ice age 20,000 years ago, the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda experienced cold temperatures despite mild sea surface temperatures in the area. Glaciers in general are sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. During the last ice age, glaciers in the East African tropics were dry and cold — between 5 degrees C and 9 degrees C — while sea surface temperatures changed relatively little, only between 1 degrees C and 3 degrees C.

    Scientists had different theories about this discrepancy. One potential explanation was that the rate of cooling with elevation — also known as the lapse rate — was steeper during the drier conditions of the ice age, leading the glaciers high up in the mountains to be colder than they would have been otherwise.

    “The lapse rate is one of Earth’s few negative feedbacks in the climate system, and it helps to regulate Earth’s temperature like a thermostat. It is hugely important to understand how lapse rates changed in the past and how they are changing today,” says Doughty.

    The scientists used a 2D ice-flow model with a range of temperature, precipitation and lapse rate estimates to show how the glaciers would grow toward their moraines, the deposit points that mark their known extent at the last ice age.

    The results indicated that glaciers can reach these moraines even with the modest sea surface temperature change if there is, indeed, a steeper lapse rate. Moreover, that rate is supported by the available biogeochemical analysis in this area. The model also showed that a large change in temperature and no lapse rate change could achieve the same results, but that is not supported by sea surface temperature estimates.

    The findings not only help piece together the geological puzzle of this region’s ice age, but in general, they contribute to the understanding of how the lapse rate can change with time and location, which is vital for informing climate change models on a global scale.

    “Tropical glaciers are rare and spectacular. Their deposits can tell us about how climate changed in the middle atmosphere — that is, at around 15,000 feet elevation — over thousands of years. The tropics are basically the heat engine of the world, and what happens to climate in the tropics has global impacts,” says Doughty.

    The study was published Jan. 10, 2023, in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    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 1:57 pm on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Critical zone": the term scientists use to refer to the area of Earth's land surface responsible for sustaining life., "Microbes are 'active engineers' in Earth's rock-to-life cycle", A strong relationship between the rate at which the rock was weathering to form soil and the activities of the microbiome in the subsurface, An open-air living laboratory that spans parts of Arizona and New Mexico breaks down rock and minerals over timea nd feeds into Earth's intricate life-support system., , , , Chemical and mineral weathering drives the evolution of everything from the soil microbiome to the carbon cycle., Earth Observation, , , Minerals and microorganisms and organics interact with each other constantly to provide all terrestrial life with nutrients energy and suitable living environments.", National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory program,   

    From The University of Arizona: “Microbes are ‘active engineers’ in Earth’s rock-to-life cycle” 

    From The University of Arizona

    Jake Kerr and Rosemary Brandt | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

    An open-air, living laboratory that spans parts of Arizona and New Mexico is helping researchers better understand how mineral weathering – the breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals over time – feeds into Earth’s intricate life-support system.

    An eddy covariance tower helps researchers measure forest-atmosphere exchanges of gas and water in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. Courtesy of The University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science.

    The name “critical zone” may give off 1980s action thriller vibes, but it’s the term scientists use to refer to the area of Earth’s land surface responsible for sustaining life. A relatively small portion of the planetary structure, it spans from the bedrock below groundwater all the way up to the lower atmosphere.

    “Think of it as Earth’s skin,” said Jon Chorover, head of the Department of Environmental Science in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It’s sometimes termed the zone where rock meets life.”

    Most people – even geologists – don’t typically think about rock as the foundation of life or the way life may alter rock, but that cuts to the heart of critical zone science, Chorover said.

    A relatively new framework for approaching Earth sciences, the critical zone aligns researchers across disciplines to better understand how the delicate web of physical, chemical and biological processes come together to form Earth’s life-support system.

    As a biogeochemist, the whole-system approach is a way of thinking that comes naturally to Chorover, who has spent much of his career working to unravel the ways in which chemical and mineral weathering drives the evolution of everything from the soil microbiome to the carbon cycle.

    Together with Qian Fang, a postdoctoral researcher from Peking University in Beijing, Chorover recently published the results [Nature Communications (below)] of nearly 10 years of data collected at the Santa Catalina-Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory – which spans a gradient of elevation and climates on rock basins in northern New Mexico and Southern Arizona.
    Fig. 1: A conceptual model showing the relationship of weathering congruency to the priming effect.
    Mineral breakdown at high and low weathering congruencies results in different proportions of dissolved vs. solid-phase products (Table 1). High weathering congruency yields more dissolved cations and fewer solids relative to low congruency. Low congruency generates more short-range-order minerals that can bond with and protect organic matter (including dissolved organic matter-DOM) through formation of mineral-organic associations, which are inaccessible to microorganisms and, thus, influence the priming effect. The more limited production of solid phases at high congruency limits bonding and precipitation of dissolved organic matter, thus facilitating the priming of soil organic matter.

    Their findings, according to Chorover, provide a “smoking gun” link between the activities of carbon-consuming microbes and the transformation of rock to life-sustaining soil in the critical zone.

    An open-air, living laboratory

    In the past, measuring something like mineral weathering often wasn’t that exciting — imagine researchers breaking off chunks of rock and watching it dissolve in beakers back at the lab. But viewing that process in a natural ecological system is a different story.

    At the Santa Catalina-Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory, towers that measure the exchange of water between the forest and atmosphere, soil probes that read the transfer of energy and gases, and a host of other in-environment instrumentation offer scientists a firsthand view of the complex systems within the critical zone.

    The site is part of a larger National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory program, which unlike traditional brick-and-mortar observatories provides a network of regional ecological environments rigged with scientific instrumentation across the United States.

    Temperature, moisture and gas sensors at the site collect measurements every 15 minutes, and after compiling and correlating the data, “What we found was a strong relationship between the rate at which the rock was weathering to form soil and the activities of the microbiome in the subsurface,” said Chorover, a principal investigator at the Catalina-Jemez observatory.

    Breaking down the rock-to-life cycle

    “Minerals, microorganisms and organics are among the most important components in Earth’s surface,” Fang said. “They interact with each other constantly to provide all terrestrial life with nutrients, energy and suitable living environments.”

    These minerals in the critical zone are continuously attacked by microorganisms, organic acids and water, Fang explained. As the minerals break down, microbes in the soil consume the new organic matter and transform it into material that feeds plants and other microorganisms, while releasing carbon dioxide.

    Previous studies suggest that microbial decomposition of soil organic matter can be fueled when more “fresh” organics – such as plant matter – are introduced to the soil system. This process is called the “priming effect” by soil scientists. However, the relationship between mineral weathering and microbial priming remains unclear.

    “Our study shows, for the first time, how these essential soil processes are coupled, and these two processes continuously influence soil formation, CO2 emission and global climate,” Fang said. “The linkages may even be associated with long-term elemental cycling and rapid turnover of soil carbon and nutrients on Earth.”

    While it is easy to perceive the success of plants and microorganisms as lucky environmental circumstance, Chorover said this study proves even the smallest parts of the critical zone have a substantial role to play.

    “It shows that life is not simply a passive passenger on the trajectory of critical zone evolution, but actually an active engineer in determining the direction and path of how the Earth’s skin evolves,” Chorover said.

    Nature Communications

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, The University of Arizona enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association . The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university. (Arizona State University was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by the time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.


    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    U Arizona NASA Mars Reconnaisance HiRISE Camera.

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    NASA – GRAIL Flying in Formation (Artist’s Concept). Credit: NASA.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Juno at Jupiter.

    NASA/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wise /NEOWISE Telescope.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy , a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory just outside Tucson.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft), annotated.

    Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope (CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s NOIRLab NOAO Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory , a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory , operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    University of Arizona Radio Observatory at NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory, AZ USA, U Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory at altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    The National Science Foundation funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why The University of Arizona is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

  • richardmitnick 11:32 am on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What Is Blue Carbon and How Can It Help Fight Climate Change?", , Blue carbon is simply the term for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems., , Carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems, , Earth Observation,   

    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory At Columbia University: “What Is Blue Carbon and How Can It Help Fight Climate Change?” 


    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


    The Earth Institute


    Columbia U bloc

    Columbia University

    Olga Rukovets

    Researchers at Columbia Climate School discuss the benefits and challenges of working with carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems.

    Blue carbon is becoming an increasingly popular term, but what exactly does it mean? The answer may vary slightly depending on who you ask. But broadly speaking, according to the National Ocean Service, “blue carbon is simply the term for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems.”

    So why is it important? And what role can it play in addressing climate change? To find out, we talked to Columbia Climate School researchers Dorothy Peteet, Ajit Subramaniam, and Romany Webb about just some of the opportunities and challenges to working with carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems.

    Protecting and Leveraging Blue Carbon

    Scientists are exploring blue carbon in two main ways. First, they want to measure and preserve the carbon that’s already stored in the oceans and coastal wetlands, such as marshes and mangrove forests. Second, they want to know how we might leverage these ecosystems to mitigate climate change.

    Dorothy Peteet, a senior research scientist at NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, is trying to solve the first riddle. She and her colleagues at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are measuring the carbon content in the sediments of local marshes.

    “Salt marshes store about 50 times more carbon than terrestrial forests, despite their relatively small area,” she said. “This carbon is at risk with sea level rise, and will contribute to atmospheric greenhouse gas heating if the marshes are flooded.”

    Looking above the sediments, Subramaniam, a research professor and oceanographer at Columbia Climate School’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, focuses on the organisms living in these ecosystems and their ability to store carbon. “There is a lot of carbon stored in the stocks, seagrasses, and microalgae in the ocean and growing along the coast. So you want to make sure that any coastal development or building or human activities, such as shrimp farming or aquaculture, don’t end up releasing this carbon,” he said.

    Studies [Nature Communications (below)] have shown that wetlands store [Science (below)] between 20 and 30% of the world’s carbon, which is particularly impressive compared with the relatively small land surface they cover.

    Carbon storage in biogeomorphic wetlands.
    Organic carbon (A) stocks, (B) densities, and (C) sequestration rates in the world’s major carbon-storing ecosystems. Oceans hold the largest stock, peatlands (boreal, temperate, and tropical aggregated) store the largest amount per unit area, and coastal ecosystems (mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses aggregated) support the highest sequestration rates. (D and E) Biogeomorphic feedbacks, indicated with arrows, can be classified as productivity stimulating or decomposition limiting. Productivity-stimulating feedbacks increase resource availability and thus stimulate vegetation growth and organic matter production. Although production is lower in wetlands with decomposition-limiting feedbacks, decomposition is more strongly limited, resulting in net accumulation of organic matter. (D) In fens, organic matter accumulation from vascular plants is amplified by productivity-stimulating feedbacks. Once the peat rises above the groundwater and is large enough to remain waterlogged by retaining rainwater, the resulting bog maintains being waterlogged and acidic, resulting in strong decomposition-limiting feedbacks. (E) Vegetated coastal ecosystems generate productivity-stimulating feedbacks that enhance local production and trapping of external organic matter.

    Figure 1: Map of the distribution of wetland probability sites.
    Sites (black points) were sampled as part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) and were analysed by five regions, Tidal Saline (blue area), Coastal Plains (green area), Eastern Mountains and Upper Midwest (purple area), Interior Plains (orange area) and West (red area).

    Figure 2: Mean soil organic carbon density to a depth of 120 cm by National Wetland Condition Assessment Wetland Type for wetlands of the conterminous United States.
    Carbon densities are reported as tC ha−1. National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) Wetland Types include estuarine emergent (EH), estuarine woody (EW), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine emergent (PRL-EM), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine shrub (PRL-SS), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine forested (PRL-FO), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine farmed (PRL-f), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine unconsolidated bottom and aquatic bed (PRL-UBAB). The grey hatch within the bars represents the top 10 cm of the soil profile (within the 0–30 cm depth increment), followed by progressively lighter shading to represent 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm soil depths from the surface. Error bars (both white and black) represent s.e.m. Numerical values for this figure are presented in Supplementary Table 5 [in the science paper].

    Figure 3: Mean soil organic carbon density to a depth of 120 cm for different subpopulations.
    Carbon densities (tC ha−1) are shown for (a) the nation and in five regions, (b) tidal saline wetlands (blue) and freshwater inland (teal) wetlands and (c) least (green), intermediately (yellow) and most disturbed (red) wetlands. Wetland geographic regions include Tidal Saline (TS; coastal and estuarine), Coastal Plains (CPL), Eastern Mountains and Upper Midwest (EMU), Interior Plains (IPL) and West (W). The grey hatch within the bars represents the top 10 cm of the soil profile (within the 0–30 cm depth increment), followed by progressively lighter shading to represent 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm soil depths from the surface. Note the data shown in b,c are calculated using the data shown in a. For 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively, the number of samples (n) for each subpopulation (identified in subscript after the n) were as follows: nnational=856, 853, 785, 590 and 435, nts=282, 282, 270, 191 and 127, ncpl=212, 211, 181, 139 and 110, nemu=137, 135, 125, 99 and 71, nipl=109, 109, 97, 71 and 57 and nw=116, 116, 112, 90 and 70. For tidal saline wetlands, n=282, 282, 270, 191 and 127 and for freshwater inland wetlands, n=574, 571, 515, 399 and 308, for 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively. nleast disturbed=173, 172, 164, 105 and 69, nintermediately disturbed=404, 404, 363, 278 and 193 and nmost disturbed=279, 277, 258, 207 and 173 for 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively. Error bars (both white and black) represent s.e.m. Numerical values for this figure are presented in Supplementary Table 5 [in the science paper].

    Protecting the wetlands with captured carbon is vital, but we can’t stop there, Subramaniam continued, noting that the arguably more important way we think of blue carbon is with the goal of drawing carbon out of the atmosphere.

    “As you go offshore, many of the proposed plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere start with growing kelp—which draws down carbon dioxide during photosynthesis—and then harvesting it. And here again, you have divergent pathways you can take: You can consume or repurpose the kelp. Or you can sink and bury it in a durable way,” he said.

    Subramaniam believes repurposing kelp—in the form of food or biofuel—is not a sufficient approach to address the urgency of climate change, since the carbon would return to the atmosphere once the kelp is consumed or burned. “If you think of green biodiesel, it’s great and one more way to bend the emissions curve downward. But it’s not going to actually reduce the rate of emission or the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.” This is a first step, but “replacing diesel with biodiesel” can’t be the end goal, he said.

    The other option, then, is to sink the kelp deep in the ocean for at least 100 years so that the carbon captured by photosynthesis does not go back into circulation in the atmosphere, Subramaniam said. Ideally, over the course of that century, you’ve also bought scientists and engineers time to come up with new and better technologies.

    “We already have models that help us figure out how deep we need to sink the carbon and for how long it’ll stay there. But when you do this, you’re impacting a different ecosystem, which needs to be considered, too,” he said.

    ‘A Nature-Based Solution’

    For one of his current projects, Subramaniam is proposing what he calls “a nature-based solution” for carbon removal that takes Sargassum macroalgae and sinks it down to 2,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Sargassum is a pelagic macroalgae, which means it spends its entire lifecycle on the surface of the ocean and is visible to the eye. “It’s never attached to land and doesn’t come onshore unless it’s washed up and beached.”

    Close up view of Sargassum seaweed on Crane Beach, Barbados. Photo: Clump via Creative Commons.

    While this macroalgae has been recognized for centuries, in just over the last 10 or 20 years, there’s a new population growing much closer to the equator, Subramaniam said. “They call it the ‘Great Sargassum Belt,’ essentially extending from the West African coast all the way to the Mexican coast through the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean. It’s a major nuisance.”

    This kelp is piling up on beaches in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean and devastating their economy, which is largely dependent on tourism, he added. “How do you get rid of it? You can’t bury it. You can’t take it off the beaches and put it anywhere on land because the islands are too small.”

    Instead, Subramaniam and his colleagues are hoping to use advanced technology including remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and marine robotics “to drive a series of platforms that are pulling nets behind them about 15 or 20 miles offshore to capture the Sargassum before it comes to the beach.”

    Once a net is full of this macroalgae, it is built to break, he explained, and when this happens, there is a fastener on the net designed to close it off. The fastener has a weight attached, which will then sink this Sargassum down to 2,000 meters, meaning “we’d be taking this carbon out of circulation completely,” he said.

    “There are about 1 million metric tons of Carbon in this ‘new’ Sargassum population,” Subramaniam said. As a conservative estimate, he believes they can sink at least 10% of this carbon using the proposed technology, or about 100,000 metric tons a year. “For context, the Orca facility in Iceland, the largest carbon capture plant, has the capacity to pull 4000 metric tons per year from the atmosphere.”

    Of course, one of the important points to consider when proposing a method like this one is the carbon life-cycle analysis. “You can’t expend 100 kilograms of carbon to sink 10 kilograms of carbon, for example. We need to make sure the amount of carbon we expend in sinking it is not more than the carbon we sink,” he said. They hope the use of remote sensing and robotic and artificial intelligence will maximize efficiency.

    Subramaniam noted that he is personally “deeply suspicious of geoengineering,” but because the Sargassum population in question is new—and thus likely already connected to human activity and climate change—he feels comfortable with its removal.

    He is also working with Webb, associate research scholar at Columbia Law School and deputy director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, to look into the legal aspects of this process, since it falls within gray areas of existing environmental laws.

    Legal and Social Considerations


    Romany Webb researches legal issues associated with the development and deployment of negative emissions technologies on land and in the ocean.

    “I think there are a lot of unanswered scientific questions about the role of blue carbon in mitigating climate change,” said Webb, who spends a lot of her time considering the techniques that remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and the frameworks meant to ensure they occur in a safe and responsible way.

    But along with the scientific questions, there are also social and governance issues that could affect whether we can make effective use of any proposed strategies, she added. “We may have social or public opposition to projects because they’re seen as being unnatural or as interfering with the ocean ecosystem, which many view as the last untouched part of the Earth, or because they’re seen as affecting other ocean-based activities. Some groups have also expressed concern that, because projects would take place in the ocean, which is part of the global commons, they may be subject to limited oversight and control by national governments.”

    While a large body of international law applies to ocean-based activities, there is no comprehensive international legal framework that deals specifically with ocean carbon removal techniques, she said, leading to a lot of uncertainty. For example, ocean fertilization and ocean alkalinity enhancement, where you’re adding substances to the water, could be viewed as a form of ocean dumping, which has an established international legal framework.

    “That framework, however, was developed to address things like dumping oil into oceans,” she said. Plus, as Subramaniam points out for his project, “in this case you’re taking what’s already in the ocean and moving it to a different place.”

    Another challenge, Webb added, is that the closer you get to shore, the more likely there are to be domestic laws, creating potentially overlapping frameworks. “In the U.S. specifically, domestic laws can include multiple layers of government because you might have federal, state, and even local laws. So there’s a lot of complexity and uncertainty about how different activities will be treated and how they will fit into existing frameworks that were not really developed for carbon removal.”

    Next Steps

    Webb and her colleagues at the Sabin Center are currently working on a book that examines these existing international and national legal frameworks, and how they apply to different ocean-based carbon removal activities. In addition to studying U.S. laws, they are also working with legal academics from six other countries (China, Canada, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and the U.K.). The book—titled Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal for Climate Mitigation: The Legal Framework—will be published this spring.

    At the same time, Webb and her colleagues at the Sabin Center are also writing a set of model laws for ocean carbon dioxide removal projects. “We want to draft model legislation that could be enacted by Congress to create a comprehensive legal framework specific for ocean carbon dioxide removal research,” she said. The areas covered by this document would include: the scope of federal jurisdiction over ocean carbon dioxide removal projects, whether responsibility to oversee this research is entirely federal or if the states will have a role to play, which agencies should issue permissions and what factors they will need to consider in doing so, as well as what the environmental review and public consultation process should look like for research projects.

    “We expect to publish a draft of the model legislation early in 2023,” Webb said.

    Through initiatives like these, experts hope to bring more clarity to the growing field of blue carbon research—for scientists, lawmakers, and the general public.

    Nature Communications
    Science 2022

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory is the scientific research center of the Columbia Climate School, and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

    It focuses on climate and earth sciences and is located on a 189-acre (64 ha) campus in Palisades, New York, 18 miles (29 km) north of Manhattan on the Hudson River.

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory was established in 1949 as the Lamont Geological Observatory on the weekend estate of Thomas W. and Florence Haskell Corliss Lamont, which was donated to the university for that purpose. The Observatory’s founder and first director was Maurice “Doc” Ewing, a seismologist who is credited with advancing efforts to study the solid Earth, particularly in areas related to using sound waves to image rock and sediments beneath the ocean floor. He was also the first to collect sediment core samples from the bottom of the ocean, a common practice today that helps scientists study changes in the planet’s climate and the ocean’s thermohaline circulation.

    In 1969, the Observatory was renamed Lamont–Doherty in honor of a major gift from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation; in 1993, it was renamed the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in recognition of its expertise in the broad range of Earth sciences. Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory is Columbia University’s Earth sciences research center and is a core component of the Earth Institute, a collection of academic and research units within the university that together address complex environmental issues facing the planet and its inhabitants, with particular focus on advancing scientific research to support sustainable development and the needs of the world’s poor.

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University is one of the world’s leading research centers developing fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. More than 300 research scientists and students study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, nonrenewable resources, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humankind in the planet’s stewardship.

    To support its research and the work of the broader scientific community, Lamont–Doherty operates the 235-foot (72 m) research vessel, the R/V Marcus Langseth, which is equipped to undertake a wide range of geological, seismological, oceanographic and biological studies.

    The Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory R/V Marcus Langseth.

    Lamont–Doherty also houses the world’s largest collection of deep-sea and ocean-sediment cores as well as many specialized research laboratories.

    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 3:01 pm on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Buoys play pivotal role to improve coastal weather forecasting", , Earth Observation, The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric and Earth Science,   

    From The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric and Earth Science At The University of Miami: “Buoys play pivotal role to improve coastal weather forecasting” 


    From The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric and Earth Science


    The University of Miami

    Robert C. Jones Jr.

    During a research expedition in Monterey Bay, California, scientists prepare to launch one of eight ASIS buoys that collect data on coastal land, air, and sea interactions. Photo: Courtesy of Brian Haus.

    Researchers from the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science are spearheading an experiment that will help forecasters better understand how coastal land, air, and sea interactions influence weather events. The study recently completed its final deployment of buoys in Gulf of Mexico waters near the Florida Panhandle.

    From the deck of the R/V Neil Armstrong, oceanographic researchers deployed the massive air-sea interaction spar (ASIS) buoys off the coast of Santa Rosa Beach in late January, watching as the instrument-laden devices began to float upright in Florida’s northern Gulf of Mexico waters.

    There, the buoys will remain for the next several weeks collecting valuable information on land, air, and sea interactions that affect storm surges, wind fields, and other weather events.

    It is all part of a nearly $7 million study led by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science that will help the U.S. Navy improve its high-resolution weather forecast model—the Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System.

    “Waves and winds behave quite differently in coastal areas than in the open ocean. But unfortunately, there’s a paucity of research data on those complex interactions,” said Brian Haus, professor and chair of ocean sciences and the lead investigator of the $6.74 million Coastal Land-Air-Sea Interaction Experiment.

    As part of the five-year experiment, which is funded by the Office of Naval Research, researchers deployed a multitude of buoys offshore in Monterey Bay, California, and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Sampling from a network of land-based flux towers, aircraft, radars, drones, and satellites is augmenting the data recorded by the buoys. The goal, according to Haus, is to better understand the dynamics of winds and waves in the critical zone about four miles from sandy, rocky, urban, and mountainous shorelines.

    “It’s been known for quite some time that operational wind forecasts for various models have been deficient at the coastal boundary,” he said.

    The 40-foot-long ASIS buoys, which are equipped with special monitoring instruments, play a pivotal role in the experiment, remaining at sea for weeks to collect crucial data.

    Eight of the buoys were shipped in pieces from Miami to Alameda, California, then assembled onshore and transferred to the R/V Sally Ride and R/V Roger Revelle, both operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography out of San Diego, for ocean deployment during a series of expeditions to Monterey Bay, California, in June 2021 and October 2022. Those buoys have already been recovered, and the data they compiled has been downloaded and is being analyzed.

    Meanwhile, the buoys placed offshore near Santa Rosa Beach by the R/V Neil Armstrong, operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, will be retrieved in March.

    Aided by funding from the Navy, Hans Graber, professor of ocean sciences and director of the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing, built the spar buoys used during the research cruises, outfitting them with additional instrumentation to measure lower atmosphere boundary layer variations of humidity, moisture, heat, and turbulence.

    Before the cruises, the special instruments attached to the buoys were tested in the Rosenstiel School’s 75-foot-long, 38,000-gallon, wind-wave tank at the Rosenstiel School’s SUSTAIN (SUrge-STructure-Atmosphere INteraction) laboratory, which Haus directs. He and Graber have served as chief scientists on the deployment and recovery cruises.

    Weather and oceanic conditions sometimes threatened to delay certain phases of the expeditions, most notably deployment of the buoys. “But from the liftoff of buoys from the ship’s deck, then putting them over the side into the water and bringing them around to the stern and testing the instruments, we have overcome a myriad of challenges,” Graber said. “It took everyone working in sync. So, kudos to those who made it happen.”

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is an academic and research institution for the study of oceanography and the atmospheric sciences within the University of Miami. It is located on a 16-acre (65,000 m^²) campus on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida. It is the only subtropical applied and basic marine and atmospheric research institute in the continental United States.

    Up until 2008, RSMAS was solely a graduate school within the University of Miami, while it jointly administrated an undergraduate program with UM’s College of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, the Rosenstiel School has taken over administrative responsibilities for the undergraduate program, granting Bachelor of Science in Marine and Atmospheric Science (BSMAS) and Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs (BAMA) baccalaureate degree. Master’s, including a Master of Professional Science degree, and doctorates are also awarded to RSMAS students by the UM Graduate School.

    The Rosenstiel School’s research includes the study of marine life, particularly Aplysia and coral; climate change; air-sea interactions; coastal ecology; and admiralty law. The school operates a marine research laboratory ship, and has a research site at an inland sinkhole. Research also includes the use of data from weather satellites and the school operates its own satellite downlink facility. The school is home to the world’s largest hurricane simulation tank.

    The University of Miami is a private research university in Coral Gables, Florida. As of 2020, the university enrolled approximately 18,000 students in 12 separate colleges and schools, including the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami’s Health District, a law school on the main campus, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences on Virginia Key, with research facilities at the Richmond Facility in southern Miami-Dade County.

    The university offers 132 undergraduate, 148 master’s, and 67 doctoral degree programs, of which 63 are research/scholarship and 4 are professional areas of study. Over the years, the university’s students have represented all 50 states and close to 150 foreign countries. With more than 16,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff, The University of Miami is a top 10 employer in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami’s main campus in Coral Gables has 239 acres and over 5.7 million square feet of buildings.

    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of Miami research expenditure in FY 2019 was $358.9 million. The University of Miami offers a large library system with over 3.9 million volumes and exceptional holdings in Cuban heritage and music.

    The University of Miami also offers a wide range of student activities, including fraternities and sororities, and hundreds of student organizations. The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper, and WVUM, the student-run radio station, have won multiple collegiate awards. The University of Miami’s intercollegiate athletic teams, collectively known as the Miami Hurricanes, compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The University of Miami’s football team has won five national championships since 1983 and its baseball team has won four national championships since 1982.


    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. In fiscal year 2016, The University of Miami received $195 million in federal research funding, including $131.3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services and $14.1 million from the National Science Foundation. Of the $8.2 billion appropriated by Congress in 2009 as a part of the stimulus bill for research priorities of The National Institutes of Health, the Miller School received $40.5 million. In addition to research conducted in the individual academic schools and departments, Miami has the following university-wide research centers:

    The Center for Computational Science
    The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS)
    Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
    The Miami European Union Center: This group is a consortium with Florida International University (FIU) established in fall 2001 with a grant from the European Commission through its delegation in Washington, D.C., intended to research economic, social, and political issues of interest to the European Union.
    The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies
    John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics – studies possible causes of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.
    Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE)
    Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research

    The Miller School of Medicine receives more than $200 million per year in external grants and contracts to fund 1,500 ongoing projects. The medical campus includes more than 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m^2) of research space and the The University of Miami Life Science Park, which has an additional 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m^2) of space adjacent to the medical campus. The University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute seeks to understand the biology of stem cells and translate basic research into new regenerative therapies.

    As of 2008, The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science receives $50 million in annual external research funding. Their laboratories include a salt-water wave tank, a five-tank Conditioning and Spawning System, multi-tank Aplysia Culture Laboratory, Controlled Corals Climate Tanks, and DNA analysis equipment. The campus also houses an invertebrate museum with 400,000 specimens and operates the Bimini Biological Field Station, an array of oceanographic high-frequency radar along the US east coast, and the Bermuda aerosol observatory. The University of Miami also owns the Little Salt Spring, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, in North Port, Florida, where RSMAS performs archaeological and paleontological research.

    The University of Miami built a brain imaging annex to the James M. Cox Jr. Science Center within the College of Arts and Sciences. The building includes a human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) laboratory, where scientists, clinicians, and engineers can study fundamental aspects of brain function. Construction of the lab was funded in part by a $14.8 million in stimulus money grant from the National Institutes of Health.

    In 2016 the university received $161 million in science and engineering funding from the U.S. federal government, the largest Hispanic-serving recipient and 56th overall. $117 million of the funding was through the Department of Health and Human Services and was used largely for the medical campus.

    The University of Miami maintains one of the largest centralized academic cyber infrastructures in the country with numerous assets. The Center for Computational Science High Performance Computing group has been in continuous operation since 2007. Over that time the core has grown from a zero HPC cyberinfrastructure to a regional high-performance computing environment that currently supports more than 1,200 users, 220 TFlops of computational power, and more than 3 Petabytes of disk storage.

  • richardmitnick 10:47 am on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Climate change may cut US forest inventory by a fifth this century", , , Earth Observation, ,   

    From The North Carolina State University Via “phys.org” : “Climate change may cut US forest inventory by a fifth this century” 

    NC State bloc

    From The North Carolina State University




    Mountain forests. Credit: Alek Kalinowski on Unsplash.

    A study led by a North Carolina State University researcher found that under more severe climate warming scenarios, the inventory of trees used for timber in the continental United States could decline by as much as 23% by 2100. The largest inventory losses would occur in two of the leading timber regions in the U.S., which are both in the South.

    Researchers say their findings show modest impacts on forest product prices through the end of the century, but suggest bigger impacts in terms of storing carbon in U.S. forests. Two-thirds of U.S. forests are classified as timberlands.

    “We already see some inventory decline at baseline in our analysis, but relative to that, you could lose, additionally, as much as 23% of the U.S. forest inventory,” said the study’s lead author Justin Baker, associate professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University. “That’s a pretty dramatic change in standing forests.”

    In the study, which is published in Forest Policy and Economics [below], researchers used computer modeling to project how 94 individual tree species in the continental United States will grow under six climate warming scenarios through 2100. They also considered the impact of two different economic scenarios on demand growth for forestry products. The researchers compared their outcomes for forest inventory, harvest, prices and carbon sequestration to scenarios with no climate change. Researchers said their methods could provide a more nuanced picture of the future forest sector under high-impact climate change scenarios compared to other models.

    “Many past studies show a pretty optimistic picture for forests under climate change because they see a big boost in forest growth from additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Baker said. “The effect that carbon dioxide has on photosynthesis in some of those models tends to outweigh the losses you see from precipitation and temperature induced changes in forest productivity and tree mortality. We have a model that is specific to individual tree species, and that allows us to better understand how climate factors influence growth rates and mortality.”

    Researchers found that in certain regions trees would grow more slowly in higher temperatures, and die faster. Combined with increasing harvest levels and greater development pressures, that led to declines in the total tree inventory. They projected the largest losses would be in the Southeast and South-Central regions, which are two of the three most productive timber supply regions in the U.S. Those regions could see tree inventories shrink by as much as 40% by 2095 compared to one of their baseline scenarios. Due to declines in pine products, the researchers projected softwood lumber prices could increase as much as 32% by 2050.

    “We found pretty high levels of sensitivity to warming and precipitation changes for productive pine species in the South, especially when climate change is combined with high forest product demand growth,” Baker said.

    However, the researchers projected gains in tree supplies in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Southwest regions, driven by higher rates of death of certain trees that lead to larger harvests initially, followed by the growth of more heat-tolerant species.

    “These are regions losing a lot of inventory right now due to pests and fire disturbance,” Baker said. “What you’re seeing is a higher level of replacement with climate adaptive species like juniper, which are more tolerant to future growing conditions.”

    Combining the effects from all the regions, researchers projected total losses of U.S. tree inventory of 3 to 23% compared to baseline. They projected losses in carbon sequestration in most scenarios, and estimated the value of lost carbon stored in U.S. forests up to $5.5 billion per year.

    They found the economic impact of climate change on the overall U.S. forest products industry value could range from a loss of as much as $2.6 billion per year—representing 2.5% of the value of the industry—or a gain in value of more than $200 million per year.

    “We saw that the markets could be more resilient than the forests themselves,” Baker said. “Your market effects may seem modest in terms of the effect it has on the consumers and producers, but those impacts are small compared to the carbon sequestration value that forests provide on an annual basis.”

    Researchers say more studies are needed to bring the future of U.S. forestry into sharper focus.

    “We don’t know a lot about how disturbance-related mortality or loss in tree productivity is going to bear out across the landscape as temperatures get warmer,” Baker said. “We did our best to address a couple pieces of the puzzle with temperature and precipitation changes, and interactions between climate and market demand, but a lot more work needs to be done to get a good handle on climate change and forestry.”

    Forest Policy and Economics

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NC State campus

    The North Carolina State University was founded with a purpose: to create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and the country. We began as a land-grant institution teaching the agricultural and mechanical arts. Today, we’re a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels in science, technology, engineering, math, design, the humanities and social sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine.

    North Carolina State University students, faculty and staff take problems in hand and work with industry, government and nonprofit partners to solve them. Our 34,000-plus high-performing students apply what they learn in the real world by conducting research, working in internships and co-ops, and performing acts of world-changing service. That experiential education ensures they leave here ready to lead the workforce, confident in the knowledge that NC State consistently rates as one of the best values in higher education.

    North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university in Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1887 and part of the University of North Carolina system, it is the largest university in the Carolinas. The university forms one of the corners of the “Research Triangle” together with Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    The North Carolina General Assembly established the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now North Carolina State University, on March 7, 1887, originally as a land-grant college. The college underwent several name changes and officially became North Carolina State University at Raleigh in 1965, and by longstanding convention, the “at Raleigh” portion was omitted. Today, North Carolina State University has an enrollment of more than 35,000 students, making it among the largest in the country. North Carolina State University has historical strengths in engineering, statistics, agriculture, life sciences, textiles, and design and offers bachelor’s degrees in 106 fields of study. The graduate school offers master’s degrees in 104 fields, doctoral degrees in 61 fields, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

    North Carolina State University athletic teams are known as the Wolfpack. The name was adopted in 1922 when a disgruntled fan described the behavior of the student body at athletic events as being “like a wolf pack.” They compete in NCAA Division I and have won eight national championships: two NCAA championships, two AIAW championships, and four titles under other sanctioning bodies.

    The North Carolina General Assembly founded North Carolina State University on March 7, 1887 as a land-grant college under the name “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts,” or “North Carolina A&M” for short. In the segregated system, it was open only to white students. As a land-grant college, North Carolina A&M would provide a liberal and practical education while focusing on military tactics, agriculture, and the mechanical arts without excluding classical studies. Since its founding, the university has maintained these objectives while building on them. After opening in 1889, North Carolina A&M saw its enrollment fluctuate and its mandate expand. In 1917, it changed its name to “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering”—or “North Carolina State” for short. During the Great Depression, the North Carolina state government, under Governor O. Max Gardner, administratively combined the University of North Carolina, the Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina-Greensboro), and North Carolina State University. This conglomeration became the University of North Carolina in 1931. In 1937 Blake R Van Leer joined as Dean and started the graduate program for engineering. Following World War II, the university grew and developed. The G.I. Bill enabled thousands of veterans to attend college, and enrollment shot past the 5,000 mark in 1947.

    State College created new academic programs, including the School of Architecture and Landscape Design in 1947 (renamed as the School of Design in 1948), the School of Education in 1948, and the School of Forestry in 1950. In the summer of 1956, following the US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated public education was unconstitutional, North Carolina State College enrolled its first African-American undergraduates, Ed Carson, Manuel Crockett, Irwin Holmes, and Walter Holmes.

    In 1962, State College officials desired to change the institution’s name to North Carolina State University. Consolidated university administrators approved a change to the University of North Carolina at Raleigh, frustrating many students and alumni who protested the change with letter writing campaigns. In 1963, State College officially became North Carolina State of the University of North Carolina. Students, faculty, and alumni continued to express dissatisfaction with this name, however, and after two additional years of protest, the name was changed to the current North Carolina State University at Raleigh. However, by longstanding convention, the “at Raleigh” portion is omitted, and the shorter names “North Carolina State University” and “NC State University” are accepted on first reference in news stories. Indeed, school officials discourage using “at Raleigh” except when absolutely necessary, as the full name implies that there is another branch of the university elsewhere in the state.

    In 1966, single-year enrollment reached 10,000. In the 1970s enrollment surpassed 19,000 and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences was added.

    Celebrating its centennial in 1987, North Carolina State University reorganized its internal structure, renaming all its schools to colleges (e.g. School of Engineering to the College of Engineering). Also in this year, it gained 700 acres (2.8 km^2) of land that was developed as Centennial Campus. Since then, North Carolina State University has focused on developing its new Centennial Campus. It has invested more than $620 million in facilities and infrastructure at the new campus, with 62 acres (0.3 km^2) of space being constructed. Sixty-one private and government agency partners are located on Centennial Campus.

    North Carolina State University has almost 8,000 employees, nearly 35,000 students, a $1.495 billion annual budget, and a $1.4 billion endowment. It is the largest university in the state and one of the anchors of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, together with Duke University and the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.

    In 2009, North Carolina State University canceled a planned appearance by the Dalai Lama to speak on its Raleigh campus, citing concerns about a Chinese backlash and a shortage of time and resources.

    North Carolina State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center, located in D.H. Hill Library, maintains a website devoted to NC State history entitled Historical State.

    North Carolina State University is one of 17 institutions that constitute the University of North Carolina system. Each campus has a high degree of independence, but each submits to the policies of the UNC system Board of Governors. The 32 voting members of the Board of Governors are elected by the North Carolina General Assembly for four-year terms. President Thomas W. Ross heads the system.

    The Board of Trustees of North Carolina State University has thirteen members and sets all policies for the university. The UNC system Board of Governors elects eight of the trustees and the Governor of North Carolina appoints four. The student body president serves on the Board of Trustees as a voting member. The UNC system also elects the Chancellor of North Carolina State University.

    The Board of Trustees administers North Carolina State University’s eleven academic colleges. Each college grants its own degrees with the exception of the First Year College which provides incoming freshmen the opportunity to experience several disciplines before selecting a major. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the only college to offer associate’s degrees and the College of Veterinary Medicine does not grant undergraduate degrees. Each college is composed of numerous departments that focus on a particular discipline or degree program, for example Food Science, Civil Engineering, Genetics or Accounting. There are a total of 66 departments administered by all eleven NC State colleges.

    In total, North Carolina State University offers nine associate’s degrees in agriculture, bachelor’s degrees in 102 areas of study, master’s degrees in 108 areas and doctorate degrees in 60 areas. North Carolina State University is known for its programs in agriculture, engineering, textiles, and design. The textile and paper engineering programs are notable, given the uniqueness of the subject area.

    As of the 2018-2019 school year, North Carolina State University has the following colleges and academic departments:

    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    College of Design
    College of Education
    College of Engineering
    College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    College of Natural Resources
    Poole College of Management
    College of Sciences
    Wilson College of Textiles
    College of Veterinary Medicine
    The Graduate School
    University College

    In 2014 – 2015 North Carolina State University became part of only fifty-four institutions in the U.S. to have earned the “Innovation and Economic Prosperity University” designation by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

    For 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranks North Carolina State University tied for 84th out of all national universities and tied for 34th out of public universities in the U.S., tied at 31st for “most innovative” and 69th for “best value” schools.

    North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering was tied for 24th by U.S. News & World Report, with many of its programs ranking in the top 30 nationally. North Carolina State University’s Nuclear Engineering program is considered to be one of the best in the world and in 2020, was ranked 3rd in the country (behind The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor ). The biological and agricultural engineering programs are also widely recognized and were ranked 4th nationally. In 2019 North Carolina State University’s manufacturing and industrial engineering program was ranking 13th in the nation, and material science at 15th. Other notable programs included civil engineering at 20th, environmental engineering tied at 21st, chemical engineering tied for 22nd, computer engineering at 28th, and biomedical engineering ranking 28th nationally in 2019. In 2019, the Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked NC State’s electrical engineering program 9th internationally and chemical engineering 20th. In 2020, The Princeton Review ranked NC State 36th for game design.

    North Carolina State University is also home to the only college dedicated to textiles in the country, the Wilson College of Textiles, which is a partner of the National Council of Textile Organizations and is widely regarded as one of the best textiles programs in the world. In 2020 the textile engineering program was ranked 1st nationally by College Factual. In 2017, Business of Fashion Magazine ranked the college’s fashion and apparel design program 8th in the country and 30th in the world. In 2018, Fashion Schools ranked the college’s fashion and textile management program 11th in the nation.

    North Carolina State University’s Masters program in Data Analytics was the first in the United States. Launched in 2007, it is part of the Institute for Advanced Analytics and was created as a university-wide multidisciplinary initiative to meet the rapidly growing demand in the labor market for analytics professionals. In 2012, Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil highlighted the MSA program in Harvard Business Review as one of only a few sources of talent with proven strengths in data science.

    North Carolina State University is known for its College of Veterinary Medicine and in 2020 it was ranked 4th nationally, by U.S. News & World Report, 25th internationally by NTU Ranking and 36th internationally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

    In 2020, North Carolina State University’s College of Design was ranked 25th by College Factual. In 2018, the Animation Career Review ranked North Carolina State University’s Graphic Design program 4th in the country and best among public universities.

    In 2020, the College of Education tied for 45th in the U.S. and the Poole College of Management is tied for 52nd among business schools. North Carolina State University’s Entrepreneurship program is ranked 10th internationally among undergraduate programs by The Princeton Review in 2020. For 2010 the Wall Street Journal surveyed recruiters and ranked NC State number 19 among the top 25 recruiter picks. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Department of Statistics 16th (tied) in the nation.

    In fiscal year 2019, North Carolina State University received 95 awards and $29,381,782 in National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funds for Research. For fiscal year 2017, NC State was ranked 45th in total research expenditure by the National Science Foundation.

    Kiplinger’s Personal Finance placed North Carolina State University 9th in its 2018 ranking of best value public colleges in the United States.

  • richardmitnick 9:45 am on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NC coast a perfect lab for whale researcher Andy Read", , CoastalReview.org, , Earth Observation, , Marine Fauna   

    From Duke University Via CoastalReview.org: “NC coast a perfect lab for whale researcher Andy Read” 

    From Duke University




    Cassie Freund

    Andy Read attaches a digital acoustic tag to a short-finned pilot whale about 35 miles east of Cape Hatteras to study the behavior and ecology of the deep-diving whales. Photo courtesy of Andy Read.

    Dr. Andy Read’s first encounter with a whale was, in his words, “the most gross, disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”

    He was a college student who had just landed a job with the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, putting together the skeleton of a beached fin whale that couldn’t be saved.

    The catch? The center’s team hadn’t been able to fully clean the skeleton before they brought it back from Nova Scotia, and it was buried somewhere in Toronto until they had the time to finish the process – that was Read’s job. “I almost quit the first day,” he said.

    Andy Read

    It’s a good thing he didn’t. Read’s close encounter with that whale skeleton fascinated him and was the beginning of a prolific career. Now the Stephen A. Toth Professor of marine biology at Duke University and director of the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, Read studies the ecology and conservation of whales and other marine mammals.

    Read’s move to North Carolina was a geographic stroke of luck. After completing his doctorate at the University of Guelph in Ontario, where he studied harbor porpoises in the Bay of Fundy, he took a postdoctoral position at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

    During that time, he met his wife, Kim Urian, who was working at the Mote Marine Lab in Florida. The distance was a challenge, and the pair agreed to settle down somewhere in the middle. Read started at Duke in 1995.

    North Carolina has been the perfect place for Read to pursue his research and conservation work. “It’s just a great place to do what I do. We have lots of access to marine mammals and sea turtles here,” he explained.

    The diversity of animals he encounters in his research is a big perk, and another geographic stroke of luck: North Carolina sits at the confluence of the tropical Gulf Stream and the boreal Labrador Current. This brings a huge diversity of animals to our waters, which host 36 species of marine mammals and five of the six species of sea turtles found in the United States.

    A Cuvier’s beaked whale, or goose-beaked whale, a species found year-round in the waters off Cape Hatteras. Photo courtesy of Andy Read.

    Navy sonar study

    Read is currently leading U.S. Navy-funded research on one of these 36 marine mammal species, the Cuvier’s beaked whale, also known as the goose-beaked whale, off the coast of Cape Hatteras. His team is working to understand how and why the midfrequency active sonar the Navy uses to detect small submarines affects the behavior of these whales. Cape Hatteras is a great place for this study because it has a high density of beaked whales and a relatively low level of Navy training activity.

    Cuvier’s beaked whales are both the deepest-diving mammal in the world and the mammal capable of staying underwater the longest. They use their exceptional abilities for hunting — according to Read, they forage at an average depth of about 1,500 meters, or close to a mile, but they can descend to depths twice that.

    In 2020, a team of researchers including Read recorded a Cuvier’s beaked whale dive that lasted 222 minutes – over three and a half hours. “It’s like running a 5K, taking a breath when the starting gun goes off, and you don’t take another breath until the end of the race,” said Read. “Which is just … How does a mammal do that? They shouldn’t be able to!”

    Unfortunately, midfrequency active sonar alters these impressive diving behaviors. Cuvier’s beaked whales that hear the sonar tend to surface very quickly, interrupting their hunting and putting them in physiological danger from decompression sickness. Read and his team think this is because the sonar sounds like killer whale calls. Killer whales are the only natural predators of Cuvier’s beaked whales. They don’t usually dive very deep, which must make hearing their calls thousands of meters below the surface extra disconcerting for the Cuvier’s beaked whales.

    “When they’re foraging … where they should be safe from killer whales, all of the sudden they hear the sounds of their predators, and they panic,” Read said. The team’s most recent experiment took place with the help of the USS Farragut, a Navy destroyer, in August 2022. They hope to continue their work until at least 2025.

    Read and his students are also studying the ecology of short-fin pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins off Cape Hatteras. He’s also been involved in marine mammal studies all over the world, including a project on humpback whales in Antarctica. “But now that I’m director of the (Duke Marine) lab here, it’s hard to get away for a couple months every winter” to do that research, he said.

    Andy Read on Duke Marine Lab research vessel the R/V Richard T. Barber. Photo courtesy of Andy Read

    It’s not just the director’s job that keeps him busy. Read has also recently been appointed by President Biden as one of three commissioners of the federal Marine Mammal Commission.

    The commission was established in 1972 as part of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is charged with oversight of all marine mammal research and conservation initiatives in the country, most of which are performed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

    While Read had previously served on the commission’s committee of scientific advisers from 2003-2008, this is the first time he has been confirmed by the Senate as commissioner. He was also nominated by President Obama, but never confirmed.

    One of the commission’s species of concern – and a personal one for Read as well – is the North Atlantic right whale. “The population is declining, we have fewer than 400 whales left, fewer than 70 adult female whales,” he said.

    North Carolina is an important migratory corridor for the species. North Atlantic right whales travel yearly between their feeding grounds in New England and Canada and their breeding grounds off the coast of Georgia and eastern Florida.

    One major threat to right whales is entanglement in fishing gear. Ship strikes are another, and are particularly relevant in North Carolina. There are already seasonal restrictions on large ships coming into North Carolina ports in Morehead City and Wilmington. Those restrictions may soon affect smaller ships as well, if changes proposed by NOAA Fisheries to the existing right whale vessel speed rule go through.

    “It’s seasonal, so it’s only from November through April. But we have a big bluefin tuna fishery here in some years … We’re very interested to see what NOAA Fisheries decides to do with that rule. That’ll have an impact here locally,” Read explained.

    A necessary challenge

    Balancing conservation and industry is a necessary challenge, and one Read readily takes on.

    Early in his career he helped develop and test small pinging alarms to warn dolphins and porpoises away from gillnets. These pingers are now used by fishers around the world, and when used properly they can reduce bycatch of porpoises by about 90%.

    “I think that’s the thing, probably, I’m most proud of, and working directly with fishermen has been challenging, but it can also be very rewarding,” Read, who speaks admirably about the ingenuity of the fishers he has worked with throughout the years. said.

    Fisheries and coastal management can be a complex but critical undertaking, particularly when there are endangered species like right whales plying the waters. After decades in the field, Read remains hopeful that society can figure out some of these pressing conservation issues.

    “We are industrializing the coastal ocean. But we have so many resources in this country and such good legislative frameworks through the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act,” he explained. However, simply having those frameworks is not enough – we also need the political will to find a way to coexist with marine mammals, he stressed.

    So how can the average North Carolinian help on a daily basis? According to Read, figure out where the shrimp, tuna and other seafood you eat comes from, and seek out seafood that’s harvested in a way that has a “gentle, light touch on the environment.”

    Despite our state’s abundant marine resources, much of the seafood we eat still isn’t locally or sustainably harvested. Consumers’ small changes could make a big difference for marine ecosystems and local fishers alike. “It’s worth a little investment. We should all think about where our food comes from,” said Read.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Younger than most other prestigious U.S. research universities, Duke University consistently ranks among the very best. Duke’s graduate and professional schools — in business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, medicine, nursing and public policy — are among the leaders in their fields. Duke’s home campus is situated on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham, N.C, a city of more than 200,000 people. Duke also is active internationally through the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, Duke Kunshan University in China and numerous research and education programs across the globe. More than 75 percent of Duke students pursue service-learning opportunities in Durham and around the world through DukeEngage and other programs that advance the university’s mission of “knowledge in service to society.”

    Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

    The campus spans over 8,600 acres (3,500 hectares) on three contiguous sub-campuses in Durham, and a marine lab in Beaufort. The West Campus—designed largely by architect Julian Abele, an African American architect who graduated first in his class at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64-meter) Duke Chapel at the campus’ center and highest point of elevation, is adjacent to the Medical Center. East Campus, 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away, home to all first-years, contains Georgian-style architecture. The university administers two concurrent schools in Asia, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore (established in 2005) and Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China (established in 2013).

    Duke is ranked among the top universities in the United States. The undergraduate admissions are among the most selective in the country, with an overall acceptance rate of 5.7% for the class of 2025. Duke spends more than $1 billion per year on research, making it one of the ten largest research universities in the United States. More than a dozen faculty regularly appear on annual lists of the world’s most-cited researchers. As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alumni also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, 25 Churchill Scholars, 13 Schwarzman Scholars, and 8 Mitchell Scholars. The university has produced the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton University and Harvard University) and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. Duke is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Richard Nixon) and 14 living billionaires.

    Duke is the second-largest private employer in North Carolina, with more than 39,000 employees. The university has been ranked as an excellent employer by several publications.


    Duke’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.168 billion, the tenth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Duke received $571 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. Duke is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    Throughout the school’s history, Duke researchers have made breakthroughs, including the biomedical engineering department’s development of the world’s first real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic system and the first engineered blood vessels and stents. In 2015, Paul Modrich shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2012, Robert Lefkowitz along with Brian Kobilka, who is also a former affiliate, shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on cell surface receptors. Duke has pioneered studies involving nonlinear dynamics, chaos, and complex systems in physics.

    In May 2006 Duke researchers mapped the final human chromosome, which made world news as it marked the completion of the Human Genome Project. Reports of Duke researchers’ involvement in new AIDS vaccine research surfaced in June 2006. The biology department combines two historically strong programs in botany and zoology, while one of the divinity school’s leading theologians is Stanley Hauerwas, whom Time named “America’s Best Theologian” in 2001. The graduate program in literature boasts several internationally renowned figures, including Fredric Jameson, Michael Hardt, and Rey Chow, while philosophers Robert Brandon and Lakatos Award-winner Alexander Rosenberg contribute to Duke’s ranking as the nation’s best program in philosophy of biology, according to the Philosophical Gourmet Report.

  • richardmitnick 9:19 am on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Understanding the UN report on ozone layer recovery", , Assistant professor Scot Miller offers insight on the United Nations' most recent assessment of the Montreal Protocol, , , Earth Observation, Good news on the restoration of the ozone layer, ,   

    From The “HUB” At The Johns Hopkins University: “Understanding the UN report on ozone layer recovery” 

    From The “HUB”


    The Johns Hopkins University

    Danielle Underferth

    Getty Images

    Assistant professor Scot Miller offers insight on the United Nations’ most recent assessment of the Montreal Protocol, which offers good news on the restoration of the ozone layer.

    The ozone layer is slowly restoring itself and is expected to be on par with 1980 levels by 2066, according to a United Nations assessment of the goals set forth in the Montreal Protocol released this month.

    Ozone is a naturally occurring gas comprising three oxygen atoms. The stratospheric ozone layer is essential in protecting humans and the environment from the harmful ultraviolet light from the sun.

    “Gases like chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, destroy stratospheric ozone and are responsible for the ozone hole over Antarctica,” says Scot Miller, assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. “The report found that emissions of ozone-depleting substances, or ODS, like CFCs have dramatically declined over the past 30 years, which spells good news for the recovery of stratospheric ozone.”

    The U.N. report comes out every four years to assess progress on the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an agreement among United Nations member nations to reduce the consumption and production of man-made ODS and some hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

    Miller, who studies greenhouse gases and air pollutants, offers insight on the implications of this report.

    Do the U.N. findings mean the threat of global warming and its attendant harms are diminishing?

    Unfortunately, no.

    Many ozone-depleting substances are also greenhouse gases, so a reduction in ODS emissions is beneficial for climate. For example, the U.N. assessment states that global action to reduce ODS has prevented about 0.5–1 °C in global temperature rise.

    However, the overall climate impact (radiative forcing) of ozone-depleting substances is generally much less than that of other greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or methane. The climate impact of ODS could have been more severe if countries had not moved so swiftly to curb emissions starting in the 1990s. But we are still contending with a host of greenhouse gases that are heating up the planet.

    What is the time frame for the ozone layer to be restored?

    Although emissions of ODS have dramatically declined, it will still take many more years for the ozone layer to recover. Globally, the ozone layer is expected to return to average 1980 levels by 2040. The Antarctic ozone hole will persist until 2066 or so. Many ODS can remain in the stratosphere for a long time after they’re emitted by human activity. In addition, ODS can still be present in old refrigerators, fire extinguishers, and foam insulation. These “banks” of ODS can continue emitting well into the future, even though many of these chemicals have been completely phased out of newer appliances and materials. Hence, the ozone layer did not immediately recover as these chemicals were banned. Rather, emissions that occurred many years ago are still impacting stratospheric ozone and appliances that were manufactured decades ago are still leaking ODS.

    What impact does a depleted ozone layer have on human health and the environment?

    The ozone layer blocks harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching Earth’s surface. This harmful radiation can damage skin and lead to skin cancer and cataracts. It can also harm marine life and some crops.

    After years of no improvement, do we know why this reversal is happening now?

    Steve Montzka, a colleague of mine at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, published a scientific paper in 2018 [Nature (below)] showing that CFCs were not decreasing in the atmosphere as expected, and the authors hypothesized that this problem was due to illegal emissions from East Asia. A New York Times investigation later found that these emissions were likely from factories in eastern China making foam insulation. The Chinese government quickly cracked down on these emissions, and the emissions have disappeared. This new U.N. report finds that these rogue emissions only delayed recovery of the ozone layer by about a year.

    How is the ozone layer recovering now that it has been depleted?

    Ozone is produced in the stratosphere through natural chemical reactions, so the ozone layer can, in a sense, heal itself. These reactions are referred to by atmospheric scientists as the Chapman Cycle. By contrast, a single ODS molecule can lead to the destruction of many ozone molecules through repeated chemical reactions.

    Historically, ODS were used in refrigeration systems, in insulation, and in fire extinguishers, among other uses. Once ODS are emitted at the Earth’s surface, it can take many months for those ODS to make their way into the stratosphere, but once there, these compounds often persist for years.

    Emissions of ODS have dramatically declined over the past 30 years, and concentrations of ODS in the stratosphere are slowly declining. As ODS disappear, the natural chemical reactions in the stratosphere should be able to restore ozone levels to normal, historical levels.

    What should the average non-scientist take away from these findings?

    I think that the ozone layer is a remarkable story of global cooperation to successfully tackle an environmental problem. The Antarctic ozone hole appeared in satellite ozone measurements as far back as the late 1970s, but scientists initially thought the measurements were an error because they were so low. The first paper to report on the ozone hole was published in 1985, and by 1987 countries around the world had agreed on the Montreal Protocol. Emissions of ODS have plummeted since that time.

    By contrast, global action on climate change has been more complicated and fraught. Most countries signed on to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and subsequently to the 2015 Paris Agreement—treaties that target global reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. However, those emissions continue to climb year after year, except for a short-lived reduction during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Arguably, the ozone layer was an easier cause to rally around; ozone destruction was an immediate threat to global health, ODS were only being emitted by a limited number of industries, and there were chemical alternatives to many ODS. By contrast, climate change is arguably a more long-term, existential threat, and greenhouse gases are emitted by countless human activities.

    I think the most important aspect of this report is that it presents a cogent synthesis of current science around stratospheric ozone and it is critical for benchmarking how successful global efforts have been at reducing emissions of ODS.


    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About the The Johns Hopkins University “HUB”strong>

    We’ve been doing some thinking — quite a bit, actually — about all the things that go on at Johns Hopkins. Discovering the glue that holds the universe together, for example. Or unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease. Or studying butterflies in flight to fine-tune the construction of aerial surveillance robots. Heady stuff, and a lot of it.

    In fact, Johns Hopkins does so much, in so many places, that it’s hard to wrap your brain around it all. It’s too big, too disparate, too far-flung.

    We created the Hub to be the news center for all this diverse, decentralized activity, a place where you can see what’s new, what’s important, what Johns Hopkins is up to that’s worth sharing. It’s where smart people (like you) can learn about all the smart stuff going on here.

    At the Hub, you might read about cutting-edge cancer research or deep-trench diving vehicles or bionic arms. About the psychology of hoarders or the delicate work of restoring ancient manuscripts or the mad motor-skills brilliance of a guy who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under eight seconds.

    There’s no telling what you’ll find here because there’s no way of knowing what Johns Hopkins will do next. But when it happens, this is where you’ll find it.

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $147.5 million in today’s currency)—of which half financed the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s historic Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. The university has graduate campuses in Italy, China, and Washington, D.C., in addition to its main campus in Baltimore.

    Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., with international centers in Italy and China. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, nursing school, and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, Carey Business School, and various other facilities.

    Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.


    The opportunity to participate in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Hopkins’ undergraduate education. About 80 percent of undergraduates perform independent research, often alongside top researchers. In FY 2013, Johns Hopkins received $2.2 billion in federal research grants—more than any other U.S. university for the 35th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins has had seventy-seven members of the Institute of Medicine, forty-three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, seventeen members of the National Academy of Engineering, and sixty-two members of the National Academy of Sciences. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty members or researchers, with the most recent winners being Gregg Semenza and William G. Kaelin.

    Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name, ranking No. 3 globally [after Harvard University and the Max Planck Society (DE)] in the number of total citations published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over 22 fields in America.

    In FY 2000, Johns Hopkins received $95.4 million in research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, making it the leading recipient of NASA research and development funding. In FY 2002, Hopkins became the first university to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research. In FY 2008, Johns Hopkins University performed $1.68 billion in science, medical and engineering research, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total R&D spending for the 30th year in a row, according to a National Science Foundation ranking. These totals include grants and expenditures of JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    The Johns Hopkins University also offers the “Center for Talented Youth” program—a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of the most promising K-12 grade students worldwide. As part of the Johns Hopkins University, the “Center for Talented Youth” or CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to the world. The Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center (DMC) is a multimedia lab space as well as an equipment, technology and knowledge resource for students interested in exploring creative uses of emerging media and use of technology.

    In 2013, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program was established by a $250 million gift from Michael Bloomberg. This program enables the university to recruit fifty researchers from around the world to joint appointments throughout the nine divisions and research centers. For The American Academy of Arts and Sciences each professor must be a leader in interdisciplinary research and be active in undergraduate education. Directed by Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz, there are currently thirty-two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at the university, including three Nobel Laureates, eight fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ten members of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and thirteen members of The National Academies.

  • richardmitnick 4:56 pm on January 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Green hydrogen produced with near 100% efficiency using seawater", , , , , Earth Observation, , Electrolysis requires catalysts and uses electricity. So the process itself requires energy., Freshwater is the main source of green hydrogen. But freshwater is increasingly scarce., , Splitting seawater to produce hydrogen may be a scientific miracle that puts us on a path to replacing fossil fuels with the environmentally-friendly alternative.,   

    From The University of Adelaide (AU) Via “COSMOS (AU)” : “Green hydrogen produced with near 100% efficiency using seawater” 


    From The University of Adelaide (AU)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    “COSMOS (AU)”

    Evrim Yazgin

    Credit: Abstract Aerial Art / DigitalVision / Getty.

    It’s not quite splitting the Red Sea, but new research into splitting seawater to produce hydrogen may be a scientific miracle that puts us on a path to replacing fossil fuels with the environmentally-friendly alternative.

    “We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency, to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyzer,” says project leader Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao from the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.

    Electrolysis is the process of splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. So, the process itself requires energy.

    The process also requires catalysts. But not all catalysts are created equal. Catalysts used in electrolysis tend to be rare precious metals like iridium, ruthenium and platinum.

    Typical non-precious catalysts are transition metal oxide catalysts, for example cobalt oxide coated with chromium oxide.

    The new breakthrough in splitting seawater to produce green energy was achieved by adding a layer of Lewis acid (a specific type of acid, for example chromium(III) oxide, Cr2O3) on top of the transition metal oxide catalyst.

    While using cheaper materials, the process is shown to be very effective.

    “The performance of a commercial electrolyzer with our catalysts running in seawater is close to the performance of platinum/iridium catalysts running in a feedstock of highly purified deionized water,” explains the University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Yao Zheng.

    Another typical part of the electrolysis process is some form of treatment of the water. For that reason, freshwater is the main source of green hydrogen. But freshwater is increasingly scarce.

    So, scientists are looking to seawater, particularly in regions with long coastlines and abundant sunlight.

    “We used seawater as a feedstock without the need for any pre-treatment processes like reverse osmosis desolation, purification, or alkalisation,” Zheng adds. “Current electrolyzers are operated with highly purified water electrolyte. Increased demand for hydrogen to partially or totally replace energy generated by fossil fuels will significantly increase scarcity of increasingly limited freshwater resources.”

    Seawater electrolysis is relatively new compared to pure water electrolysis. Complications include side reactions on the electrodes, as well as corrosion.

    “It is always necessary to treat impure water to a level of water purity for conventional electrolyzers including desalination and deionization, which increases the operation and maintenance cost of the processes,” Zheng says. “Our work provides a solution to directly utilize seawater without pre-treatment systems and alkali addition, which shows similar performance as that of existing metal-based mature pure water electrolyzer.”

    The team hopes to scale their experiment up for commercial production in generating hydrogen fuel cells and ammonia synthesis.

    Their research is published in Nature Energy.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The University of Adelaide is a public research university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third-oldest university in Australia. The university’s main campus is located on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre, adjacent to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library of South Australia.

    The university has four campuses, three in South Australia: North Terrace campus in the city, Roseworthy campus at Roseworthy and Waite campus at Urrbrae, and one in Melbourne, Victoria. The university also operates out of other areas such as Thebarton, the National Wine Centre in the Adelaide Park Lands, and in Singapore through the Ngee Ann-Adelaide Education Centre.

    The University of Adelaide is composed of five faculties, with each containing constituent schools. These include the Faculty of Engineering, Computer, and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS), the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of the Professions, and the Faculty of Sciences. It is a member of The Group of Eight and The Association of Commonwealth Universities. The university is also a member of the Sandstone universities, which mostly consist of colonial-era universities within Australia.

    The university is associated with five Nobel laureates, constituting one-third of Australia’s total Nobel Laureates, and 110 Rhodes scholars. The university has had a considerable impact on the public life of South Australia, having educated many of the state’s leading business people, lawyers, medical professionals and politicians. The university has been associated with many notable achievements and discoveries, such as the discovery and development of penicillin, the development of space exploration, sunscreen, the military tank, Wi-Fi, polymer banknotes and X-ray crystallography, and the study of viticulture and oenology.


    The University of Adelaide is one of the most research-intensive universities in Australia, securing over $180 million in research funding annually. Its researchers are active in both basic and commercially oriented research across a broad range of fields including agriculture, psychology, health sciences, and engineering.

    Research strengths include engineering, mathematics, science, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, artificial intelligence, and the arts.

    The university is a member of Academic Consortium 21, an association of 20 research intensive universities, mainly in Oceania, though with members from the US and Europe. The university held the Presidency of AC 21 for the period 2011–2013 as host the biennial AC21 International Forum in June 2012.

    The Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), based at the University of Adelaide, was founded in 1973 as the Road Accident Research Unit and focuses on road safety and injury control.

  • richardmitnick 10:20 am on January 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "As the Colorado River Shrinks Washington Prepares to Spread the Pain", , , , Earth Observation,   

    From “The New York Times” : “As the Colorado River Shrinks Washington Prepares to Spread the Pain” 

    From “The New York Times”

    Christopher Flavelle
    Graphics by Mira Rojanasakul

    The shore of Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Along with Lake Mead, it provides water and electricity for Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

    The seven states that rely on water from the shrinking Colorado River are unlikely to agree to voluntarily make deep reductions in their water use, negotiators say, which would force the federal government to impose cuts for the first time in the water supply for 40 million Americans.

    The Interior Department had asked the states to voluntarily come up with a plan by Jan. 31 to collectively cut the amount of water they draw from the Colorado. The demand for those cuts, on a scale without parallel in American history, was prompted by precipitous declines in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which provide water and electricity for Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Drought, climate change and population growth have caused water levels in the lakes to plummet.

    “Think of the Colorado River Basin as a slow-motion disaster,” said Kevin Moran, who directs state and federal water policy advocacy at the Environmental Defense Fund. “We’re really at a moment of reckoning.”

    Negotiators say the odds of a voluntary agreement appear slim. It would be the second time in six months that the Colorado River states, which also include Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, have missed a deadline for consensus on cuts sought by the Biden administration to avoid a catastrophic failure of the river system.

    Without a deal, the Interior Department, which manages flows on the river, must impose the cuts. That would break from the century-long tradition of states determining how to share the river’s water. And it would all but ensure that the administration’s increasingly urgent efforts to save the Colorado get caught up in lengthy legal challenges.

    The crisis over the Colorado River is the latest example of how climate change is overwhelming the foundations of American life — not only physical infrastructure, like dams and reservoirs, but also the legal underpinnings that have made those systems work.

    A century’s worth of laws, which assign different priorities to Colorado River users based on how long they’ve used the water, is facing off against a competing philosophy that says, as the climate changes, water cuts should be apportioned based on what’s practical.

    The outcome of that dispute will shape the future of the southwestern United States.

    “We’re using more water than nature is going to provide,” said Eric Kuhn, who worked on previous water agreements as general manager for the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “Someone is going to have to cut back very significantly.”

    There’s not enough water (and probably never was)

    A spillway for the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Arizona, that was last full of water in the early 1980s. Credit: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

    The rules that determine who gets water from the Colorado River, and how much, were always based, to a degree, on magical thinking.

    In 1922, states along the river negotiated the Colorado River Compact, which apportioned the water among two groups of states. The so-called upper basin states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) would get 7.5 million acre-feet a year. The lower basin (Arizona, California and Nevada) got a total of 8.5 million acre-feet. A later treaty guaranteed Mexico, where the river reaches the sea, 1.5 million acre-feet.

    A Lifeline for the West
    Sources: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Department of Water Resources, California Department of Water Resources.

    (An acre-foot of water is enough water to cover an acre of land in a foot of water. That’s roughly as much water as two typical households use in a year.)

    But the premise that the river’s flow would average 17.5 million acre-feet each year turned out to be faulty. Over the past century, the river’s actual flow has averaged less than 15 million acre-feet each year.

    For decades, that gap was obscured by the fact that some of the river’s users, including Arizona and some Native American tribes, lacked the canals and other infrastructure to employ their full allotment. But as that infrastructure increased, so did the demand on the river.

    Then, the drought hit. From 2000 through 2022, the river’s annual flow averaged just over 12 million acre-feet; in each of the past three years, the total flow was less than 10 million.

    The Colorado River’s Declining Flow
    Water allocations are based on an assumed 17.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River flow, but the river’s actual flow has often been lower.

    Note: Colorado River natural flows are estimated from measurements at Lee’s Ferry, Ariz. Values for 2021 and 2022 are provisional.Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

    The Bureau of Reclamation, an office within the Interior Department that manages the river system, has sought to offset that water loss by getting states to reduce their consumption. In 2003, it pushed California, which had been exceeding its annual allotment, the largest in the basin, to abide by that limit. In 2007, and again in 2019, the department negotiated still deeper reductions among the states.

    It wasn’t enough. Last summer, the water level in Lake Mead sank to 1,040 feet above sea level, its lowest ever.

    If the water level falls below 950 feet, the Hoover Dam will no longer be able to generate hydroelectric power. At 895 feet, no water would be able to pass the dam at all — a condition called “deadpool.”

    In June, the commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Camille C. Touton, gave the states 60 days to come up with a plan to reduce their use of Colorado River water by two to four million acre-feet — about 20 to 40 percent of the river’s entire flow.

    Ms. Touton stressed that she preferred that the states develop a solution. But if they did not, she said, the bureau would act.

    “It is in our authorities to act unilaterally to protect the system,” Ms. Touton told lawmakers. “And we will protect the system.”

    The 60-day deadline came and went. The states produced no plan for the cuts the bureau demanded. And the bureau didn’t present a plan of its own.

    A spokesman for Ms. Touton said she was unavailable to comment.

    ‘You can’t take blood from a stone’

    A residential area southwest of Las Vegas. Credit: Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times

    In November, the Biden administration tried again. The Bureau of Reclamation said it would analyze the environmental impact of large cuts in water use from the Colorado — the first step toward making those cuts, potentially this summer. To meet that timeline, the bureau asked states to submit a proposal to include in the study. If states fail to agree, the administration will be left to analyze and ultimately impose its own plan for rationing water. The government hasn’t said publicly what its plan would be.

    The department’s latest request and new deadline, set for Jan. 31, has led to a new round of negotiations, and finger-pointing, among the states.

    Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming argue they are unable to significantly reduce their share of water. Those states get their water primarily from stream flow, rather than from giant reservoirs like in the lower basin states. As the drought reduces that flow, the amount of water they use has already declined to about half their allotment, officials said.

    “Clearly, the lion’s share of what needs to be done has to be done by the lower basin states,” said Estevan López, the negotiator for New Mexico who led the Bureau of Reclamation during the Obama administration.

    Drawing Down the Reserves
    Storage levels at Lake Mead are approaching critical levels, threatening Lower Basin states that depend on that water.

    Note: Elevation above mean sea level. Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

    Nor can much of the solution come from Nevada, which is allotted just 300,000 acre-feet from the Colorado. Even if the state’s water deliveries were stopped entirely, rendering Las Vegas effectively uninhabitable, the government would get barely closer to its goal.

    And Nevada has already imposed some of the basin’s most aggressive water-conservation strategies, according to John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The state has even outlawed some types of lawns.

    “We’re using two-thirds of our allocation,” Mr. Entsminger said in an interview. “You can’t take blood from a stone.”

    Farms versus subdivisions

    That leaves California and Arizona, which have rights to 4.4 million and 2.8 million acre-feet from the Colorado — typically the largest and third-largest allotments among the seven states. Negotiators from both sides seem convinced of one thing: The other state ought to come up with more cuts.

    In California, the largest user of Colorado River water is the Imperial Irrigation District, which has rights to 3.1 million acre-feet — as much as Arizona and Nevada put together. That water lets farmers grow alfalfa, lettuce and broccoli on about 800 square miles of the Imperial Valley, in the southeast corner of California.

    California has senior water rights to Arizona, which means that Arizona’s supply should be cut before California is forced to take reductions, according to JB Hamby, vice president of the Imperial Irrigation District and chairman of the Colorado River Board of California, which is negotiating for the state.

    “We have sound legal footing,” Mr. Hamby said in an interview. He said that fast-growing Arizona should have been ready for the Colorado River drying up. “That’s kind of a responsibility on their part to plan for these risk factors.”

    Tina Shields, Imperial’s water department manager, put the argument more bluntly. It would be hard to tell the California farmers who rely on the Colorado River to stop growing crops, she said, “so that other folks continue to build subdivisions.”

    Still, Mr. Hamby conceded that significantly reducing the water supply for large urban populations in Arizona would be “a little tricky.” California has offered to cut its use of Colorado River water by as much as 400,000 acre-feet — up to one-fifth of the cuts that the Biden administration has sought.

    If the administration wants to impose deeper cuts on California, he said, it’s welcome to try.

    “Reclamation can do whatever Reclamation wants,” Mr. Hamby said. “The question is, will it withstand legal challenge?”

    A canal carried Colorado River water past a spinach field in the Imperial Valley, Calif. Credit: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters.

    Equity versus the law

    On the other side of the Colorado, Arizona officials acknowledge that the laws governing the river may not work in their favor. But they have arguments of their own.

    Arizona’s status as a junior rights holder was cemented in 1968, when Congress agreed to pay for the Central Arizona Project, an aqueduct that carries water from the Colorado to Phoenix and Tucson, and the farms that surround them.

    But the money came with a catch. In return for their support, California’s legislators insisted on a provision that their state’s water rights take priority over the aqueduct.

    If Arizona could have foreseen that climate change would permanently reduce the river’s flow, it might never have agreed to that deal, said Tom Buschatzke, director of the state’s Department of Water Resources.

    Because of its junior rights, Arizona has taken the brunt of recent rounds of voluntary cuts. The state’s position now, Mr. Buschatzke said, is that everyone should make a meaningful contribution, and that nobody should lose everything. “That’s an equitable outcome, even if it doesn’t necessarily strictly follow the law.”

    There are other arguments in Arizona’s favor. About half of the water delivered through the Central Arizona Project goes to Native American tribes — including those in the Gila River Indian Community, which is entitled to 311,800 acre-feet per year.

    The United States can’t cut off that water, said Governor Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community. “That would be a rejection of the trust obligation that the federal government has for our water.”

    In an interview this week, Tommy Beaudreau, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, said the federal government would consider “equity, and public health, and safety” as it weighs how to spread the reductions.

    The department will compare California’s preference to base cuts on seniority of water rights with Arizona’s suggestion to cut allotments in ways meant to “meet the basic needs of communities in the lower basin,” Mr. Beaudreau said.

    “We’re in a period of 23 years of sustained drought and overdraws on the system,” he added. “I’m not interested, under those circumstances, in assigning blame.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 1:34 pm on January 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Assessing weathering conditions around the globe to understand rate-limiting factors for major rock types", , , Earth Observation, ,   

    From The Pennsylvania State University Via “phys.org” : “Assessing weathering conditions around the globe to understand rate-limiting factors for major rock types” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From The Pennsylvania State University




    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain.

    A quartet of researchers at Pennsylvania State University has assessed differing weathering conditions around the globe in an attempt to better understand the rate-limiting factors for major rock types.

    In their paper published in the journal Science [below], S. L. Brantley, Andrew Shaughnessy, Marina Lebedeva and Victor Balashov describe comparing experimental results with tests conducted in the real world to learn more about how much carbon dioxide is pulled from the air by rock weathering. Robert Hilton, with the University of Oxford, has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue outlining the work done by the team on this new effort.

    Prior research has shown that as rock is exposed to natural weathering elements such as heat, cold, wind, rain and ice, it releases minerals that eventually sequester atmospheric carbon, but the amount has been difficult to measure. In this new study, the researchers carried out testing at a large number of sites to estimate global carbon dioxide sequestration.

    When carbon dioxide gas comes into contact with wet rock, carbonic acid is formed. Over time, it leads to the creation of soluble minerals and bicarbonate, a type of carbon. Such products slowly make their way through rivers, streams and groundwater to the ocean, where the minerals and their carbon are locked away. This process has been going on for millions of years, the researchers note, and it explains why the planet has not grown much hotter from all the carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by volcanoes.

    To gain a better estimate of how much carbon is naturally sequestered by rock weathering, the researchers subjected many types of rocks to artificially induced weather conditions in the lab. They then collected soil samples from 45 sites around the world and analyzed them, comparing their makeup with the materials weathered in the lab.

    They more clearly identified the factors that inform the amount of carbon that is released or sequestered. They found, for example, that less carbon is released from minerals in cooler places, where mineral supplies are low and where there is little rainfall. More work is required before they can make global estimates, but the researchers note that initial calculations suggest that rock weathering sequestration of carbon dioxide is not nearly enough to offset the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air by human activities.



    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

    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.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc