Matching Items (18)

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Imagining Climate: Combining Climate Awareness and Imagination

Description

Imagining Climate (www.imaginingclimate.com) is a social media project that gauges how the public thinks about climate change in their community. Users will view climate data from 2017, view projected

Imagining Climate (www.imaginingclimate.com) is a social media project that gauges how the public thinks about climate change in their community. Users will view climate data from 2017, view projected data for 2050, and then be given a prompt to imagine what the future looks like to them and write a short narrative story about their vision. Imagining Climate hopes to provide a public source of data for all and use imaginative writing to help users understand how other members of their communities think about climate change.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Managed Retreat as a Policy Tool to Combat Sea Level Rise, Flood Risk, and Other Coastal Dangers

Description

A comprehensive review of the managed retreat literature reveals mixed feelings towards the legality, practicality and cost of the policy action as a way to react to rising sea level

A comprehensive review of the managed retreat literature reveals mixed feelings towards the legality, practicality and cost of the policy action as a way to react to rising sea level and coastal erosion. Existing research shows increasing costs of severe storm damage borne to insurance companies and private citizens, furthering the need for long-term policy actions that mitigate the negative effects of major storms. Some main policy actions are restricting development, strategically abandoning infrastructure, funding buyout programs, utilizing rolling easements, and implementing a variety of protective structures. These policy actions face various problems regarding their feasibility and practicality as policy tools, including wavering public support and total costs associated with the actions. Managed retreat specifically faces public scrutiny, as many coastal property owners are reluctant to retreat from the shore. This paper will use examples of managed retreat in other countries (Netherlands, Belgium, and France) to develop plans for specific municipalities, using their models, costs and successes to generate in-depth policy plans and proposals. When observing Clatsop County, Oregon and assessing its policy options, its established that the best policy option is a combination of beach nourishment and Controlled Reduced Tides. This paper analyzes several features of the county, such as the importance of its coastal economic activity and its geographical makeup, to decide what policy actions would be best to mitigate its risk from sea level rise and flood damages. The process used to determine the best course of action for Clatsop County can be replicated in other municipalities, although the resulting policies will obviously be unique to the area.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Speleothem Carbon and Oxygen Isotopic Analysis in Southern South Africa

Description

Holocene climate dynamics for southern South Africa are still poorly understood, with only a few high-resolution isotopic studies and often contradicting records due to complex regional climates. South Africa's southern

Holocene climate dynamics for southern South Africa are still poorly understood, with only a few high-resolution isotopic studies and often contradicting records due to complex regional climates. South Africa's southern coastal margin represents an important transition zone for seasonal rainfall that reflects both regional and local climate systems. To gain insight into this unique environment, an isotopic record from Glentana Cave, with 176 measurements spanning 8 ka to 0.4 ka, is presented. δ18O and δ13C signals demonstrate abrupt changes to rainfall and vegetation, and support recent studies of a highly variable southern cape during the Holocene. Specifically, a quickly expanding summer rainfall zone (SRZ) between 6.8-6.3 ka, and 2.7 ka interrupt the generally year-round-rainfall environment. During times of greater summer rainfall the environment is characterized by more C4 vegetation. When compared to other South African coeval datasets, environmental changes appear to contrast northern more than southern records.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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A Study of yard-scale climate effects in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

In this project, I investigated the ecosystem services, or lack thereof, that landscape designs created in terms of microclimate modification at 11 residential homes throughout the Phoenix Metro Area. I

In this project, I investigated the ecosystem services, or lack thereof, that landscape designs created in terms of microclimate modification at 11 residential homes throughout the Phoenix Metro Area. I also created an article for the homeowners who participated, explaining what I did and how they could apply my research. My research question was how a person can achieve a comfortable outdoor climate in their yard without over-using scarce water resources. I hypothesized that there would be a negative correlation between the maximum air temperature and the percent shade in each yard, regardless of the percent grass. I analyzed the data I collected using the program, R, and discovered that my hypothesis was supported for the month of July. These results are in line with previous studies on the subject and can help homeowners make informed decisions about the effects their landscaping choices might have.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Climate Teleconnection Influences on Low-Level Wind Speeds over the Great Plains

Description

The Great Plains region of the central United States and southern Canada is a promising location for wind energy resource development. Wind energy site assessments and forecasts can benefit from

The Great Plains region of the central United States and southern Canada is a promising location for wind energy resource development. Wind energy site assessments and forecasts can benefit from better understanding the variability that may result from several teleconnections affecting North America. This thesis investigates how the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Pacific/North American Pattern (PNA) impact mean monthly wind speeds at 850 hPa over the Great Plains. Using wind speeds from the NCAR/NCEP Reanalysis 1, correlations were computed between the mean monthly wind speeds and average monthly teleconnection index values. A difference of means test was used to compute the change in wind speeds between the positive and negative phases of each index. ENSO was not found to have a significant impact on wind speeds, while the NAO and PNA patterns weakly affected wind speeds. The NAO index was positively (negatively) correlated with wind speeds over the northern (southern) plains, while the PNA index was negatively correlated with wind speeds over most of the plains. Even a small change in wind speed can have a large effect on the potential power output, so the effects of these teleconnections should be considered in wind resource assessments and climatologies.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Developing Anthropogenic Heating Profiles for Urban Areas across the United States

Description

Urban areas produce an urban heat island (UHI), which is manifest as warmer temperatures compared to the surrounding and less developed areas. While it is understood that UHI's are warmer

Urban areas produce an urban heat island (UHI), which is manifest as warmer temperatures compared to the surrounding and less developed areas. While it is understood that UHI's are warmer than their surrounding areas, attributing the amount of heat added by the urban area is not easily determined. Current generation modeling systems require diurnal anthropogenic heating profiles. Development of diurnal cycle profiles of anthropogenic heating will help the modeling community as there is currently no database for anthropogenic heating profiles for cities across the United States. With more accurate anthropogenic heating profiles, climate models will be better able to show how humans directly impact the urban climate. This research attempts to create anthropogenic heating profiles for 61 cities in the United States. The method used climate, electricity, natural gas, and transportation data to develop anthropogenic heating profiles for each state. To develop anthropogenic heating profiles, profiles are developed for buildings, transportation, and human metabolism using the most recently available data. Since utilities are reluctant to release data, the building energy profile is developed using statewide electricity by creating a linear regression between the climate and electricity usage. A similar method is used to determine the contribution of natural gas consumption. These profiles are developed for each month of the year, so annual changes in anthropogenic heating can be seen. These profiles can then be put into climate models to enable more accurate urban climate modeling.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Graph Analysis of Arctic Ice

Description

Polar ice masses can be valuable indicators of trends in global climate. In an effort to better understand the dynamics of Arctic ice, this project analyzes sea ice concentration anomaly

Polar ice masses can be valuable indicators of trends in global climate. In an effort to better understand the dynamics of Arctic ice, this project analyzes sea ice concentration anomaly data collected over gridded regions (cells) and builds graphs based upon high correlations between cells. These graphs offer the opportunity to use metrics such as clustering coefficients and connected components to isolate representative trends in ice masses. Based upon this analysis, the structure of sea ice graphs differs at a statistically significant level from random graphs, and several regions show erratically decreasing trends in sea ice concentration.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

The Development of a Better Electrical Bicycle for Commuting Americans

Description

Each year, the average vehicle contributes 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere [1]. These gases contribute to around 30,000 premature deaths each year [2] and are linked

Each year, the average vehicle contributes 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere [1]. These gases contribute to around 30,000 premature deaths each year [2] and are linked to in the increase in cases of Asthma. Human health is further impacted by the increase of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Rays from the sun travel to the Earth where they are absorbed. Absorbing the sun’s rays heats up the Earth which is then radiated into space. Greenhouse gasses inhibit this process much like the glass walls in a greenhouse. As a result, the temperature of the Earth steadily increases. The greenhouse effect is dangerous because it can be linked to natural disasters, rising ocean levels, and extinction of species. One of the biggest contributors to the greenhouse effect is burning fossil fuels. Powerplants, agriculture, and transportation are some of the largest contributors to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. To mitigate the effects of transportation, car companies have invested into production of alternative and renewable fuels for their products. One of the sources which has gained popularity recently, is the use of electricity to power our vehicles. Tesla has spearheaded the electric car movement and is largely responsible for this beneficial shift. One issue with this approach is that a majority, around 76.3%, of Americans drive alone on their commute [13]. The market in its current state encourages inefficient transportation due to the lack of alternatives. While motorcycles may offer a more eco-friendly and economical approach to cars, many are afraid of potential hazards of using this mode of transportation. The introduction of electric bikes offers an interesting approach to improving this efficiency and safety issue. The wide availability to customers offers an alternative which pushes the traditional distance limits for commuting on a bicycle. Since the market is relatively new, several issues pose challenges to consumers. This research aims to clarify and analyze the electric bike market in order to supply a potential customer with the tools needed to acquire a high quality and reasonably price bike.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Tectonic and climatic influence on the evolution of the Bhutan Himalaya

Description

The Himalaya are the archetypal example of a continental collision belt, formed by the ongoing convergence between India and Eurasia. Boasting some of the highest and most rugged topography on

The Himalaya are the archetypal example of a continental collision belt, formed by the ongoing convergence between India and Eurasia. Boasting some of the highest and most rugged topography on Earth, there is currently no consensus on how climatic and tectonic processes have combined to shape its topographic evolution. The Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalaya provides a unique opportunity to study the interconnections among Himalayan climate, topography, erosion, and tectonics. The eastern Himalaya are remarkably different from the rest of the orogen, most strikingly due to the presence of the Shillong Plateau to the south of the Himalayan rangefront. The tectonic structures associated with the Shillong Plateau have accommodated convergence between India and Eurasia and created a natural experiment to test the possible response of the Himalaya to a reduction in local shortening. In addition, the position and orientation of the plateau topography has intercepted moisture once bound for the Himalaya and created a natural experiment to test the possible response of the range to a reduction in rainfall. I focused this study around the gently rolling landscapes found in the middle of the otherwise extremely rugged Bhutan Himalaya, with the understanding that these landscapes likely record a recent change in the evolution of the range. I have used geochronometric, thermochronometric, and cosmogenic nuclide techniques, combined with thermal-kinematic and landscape evolution models to draw three primary conclusions. 1) The cooling histories of bedrock samples from the hinterland of the Bhutan Himalaya show a protracted decrease in erosion rate from the Middle Miocene toward the Pliocene. I have attributed this change to a reduction in shortening rates across the Himalayan mountain belt, due to increased accommodation of shortening across the Shillong Plateau. 2) The low-relief landscapes of Bhutan were likely created by backtilting and surface uplift produced by an active, blind, hinterland duplex. These landscapes were formed during surface uplift, which initiated ca. 1.5 Ma and has totaled 800 m. 3) Millennial-scale erosion rates are coupled with modern rainfall rates. Non-linear relationships between topographic metrics and erosion rates, suggest a fundamental difference in the mode of river incision within the drier interior of Bhutan and the wetter foothills.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Hydroclimatic controls on erosional efficiency in mountain landscapes

Description

Climate and its influence on hydrology and weathering is a key driver of surface processes on Earth. Despite its clear importance to hazard generation, fluvial sediment transport and erosion, the

Climate and its influence on hydrology and weathering is a key driver of surface processes on Earth. Despite its clear importance to hazard generation, fluvial sediment transport and erosion, the drawdown of atmospheric CO2 via the rock cycle, and feedbacks between climate and tectonics, quantifying climatic controls on long-term erosion rates has proven to be one of the grand problems in geomorphology. In fact, recent attempts addressing this problem using cosmogenic radionuclide (CRN) derived erosion rates suggest very weak climatic controls on millennial-scale erosion rates contrary to expectations. In this work, two challenges are addressed that may be impeding progress on this problem.

The first challenge is choosing appropriate climate metrics that are closely tied to erosional processes. For example, in fluvial landscapes, most runoff events do little to no geomorphic work due to erosion thresholds, and event-scale variability dictates how frequently these thresholds are exceeded. By analyzing dense hydroclimatic datasets in the contiguous U.S. and Puerto Rico, we show that event-scale runoff variability is only loosely related to event-scale rainfall variability. Instead, aridity and fractional evapotranspiration (ET) losses are much better predictors of runoff variability. Importantly, simple hillslope-scale soil water balance models capture major aspects of the observed relation between runoff variability and fractional ET losses. Together, these results point to the role of vegetation water use as a potential key to relating mean hydrologic partitioning with runoff variability.

The second challenge is that long-term erosion rates are expected to balance rock uplift rates as landscapes approach topographic steady state, regardless of hydroclimatic setting. This is illustrated with new data along the Main Gulf Escarpment, Baja, Mexico. Under this conceptual framework, climate is not expected to set the erosion rate, but rather the erosional efficiency of the system, or the steady-state relief required for erosion to keep up with tectonically driven uplift rates. To assess differences in erosional efficiency across landscapes experiencing different climatic regimes, we contrast new CRN data from tectonically active landscapes in Baja, Mexico and southern California (arid) with northern Honduras (very humid) alongside other published global data from similar hydroclimatic settings. This analysis shows how climate does, in fact, set functional relationships between topographic metrics like channel steepness and long-term erosion rates. However, we also show that relatively small differences in rock erodibility and incision thresholds can easily overprint hydroclimatic controls on erosional efficiency motivating the need for more field based constraints on these important variables.

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Date Created
  • 2014