2,221 research outputs found

    Ecological processes dominate the 13C land disequilibrium in a Rocky Mountain subalpine forest

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    pre-printFossil fuel combustion has increased atmospheric CO2 by ≈ 115 μmol mol1 since 1750 and decreased its carbon isotope composition (δ13C) by 1.7-2‰(the 13C Suess effect). Because carbon is stored in the terrestrial biosphere for decades and longer, the δ13C of CO2 released by terrestrial ecosystems is expected to differ from the δ13C of CO2 assimilated by land plants during photosynthesis. This isotopic difference between land-atmosphere respiration (δR) and photosynthetic assimilation (δA) fluxes gives rise to the 13C land disequilibrium (D). Contemporary understanding suggests that over annual and longer time scales, D is determined primarily by the Suess effect, and thus, D is generally positive (δR>δA). A 7 year record of biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchange was used to evaluate the seasonality of δA and δR, and the 13C land disequilibrium, in a subalpine conifer forest. A novel isotopic mixing model was employed to determine the δ13C of net land-atmosphere exchange during day and night and combined with tower-based flux observations to assess δA and δR. The disequilibrium varied seasonally and when flux-weighted was opposite in sign than expected from the Suess effect (D =0.75 ± 0.21‰or 0.88 ± 0.10‰depending on method). Seasonality in D appeared to be driven by photosynthetic discrimination (Δcanopy) responding to environmental factors. Possible explanations for negative D include (1) changes in Δcanopy over decades as CO2 and temperature have risen, and/or (2) post-photosynthetic fractionation processes leading to sequestration of isotopically enriched carbon in long-lived pools like wood and soil

    Connecting Galaxy Evolution, Star Formation and the X-ray Background

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    As a result of deep hard X-ray observations by Chandra and XMM-Newton a significant fraction of the cosmic X-ray background (CXRB) has been resolved into individual sources. These objects are almost all active galactic nuclei (AGN) and optical followup observations find that they are mostly obscured Type 2 AGN, have Seyfert-like X-ray luminosities (i.e., L_X ~ 10^{43-44} ergs s^{-1}), and peak in redshift at z~0.7. Since this redshift is similar to the peak in the cosmic star-formation rate, this paper proposes that the obscuring material required for AGN unification is regulated by star-formation within the host galaxy. We test this idea by computing CXRB synthesis models with a ratio of Type 2/Type 1 AGN that is a function of both z and 2-10 keV X-ray luminosity, L_X. The evolutionary models are constrained by parameterizing the observed Type 1 AGN fractions from the recent work by Barger et al. The parameterization which simultaneously best accounts for Barger's data, the CXRB spectrum and the X-ray number counts has a local, low-L_X Type 2/Type 1 ratio of 4, and predicts a Type 2 AGN fraction which evolves as (1+z)^{0.3}. Models with no redshift evolution yielded much poorer fits to the Barger Type 1 AGN fractions. This particular evolution predicts a Type 2/Type 1 ratio of 1-2 for log L_X > 44, and thus the deep X-ray surveys are missing about half the obscured AGN with these luminosities. These objects are likely to be Compton thick. Overall, these calculations show that the current data strongly supports a change to the AGN unification scenario where the obscuration is connected with star formation in the host galaxy rather than a molecular torus alone. The evolution of the obscuration implies a close relationship between star formation and AGN fueling, most likely due to minor mergers or interactions.Comment: 36 pages, 8 figures, ApJ in press. Minor changes to match published versio

    Climate-Mediated Nitrogen and Carbon Dynamics in a Tropical Watershed

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    Climate variability affects the capacity of the biosphere to assimilate and store important elements, such as nitrogen and carbon. Here we present biogeochemical evidence from the sediments of tropical Lake Titicaca indicating that large hydrologic changes in response to global glacial cycles during the Quaternary were accompanied by major shifts in ecosystem state. During prolonged glacial intervals, lake level was high and the lake was in a stable nitrogen-limited state. In contrast, during warm dry interglacials lake level fell and rates of nitrogen concentrations increased by a factor of 4–12, resulting in a fivefold to 24-fold increase in organic carbon concentrations in the sediments due to increased primary productivity. Observed periods of increased primary productivity were also associated with an apparent increase in denitrification. However, the net accumulation of nitrogen during interglacial intervals indicates that increased nitrogen supply exceeded nitrogen losses due to denitrification, thereby causing increases in primary productivity. Although primary productivity in tropical ecosystems, especially freshwater ecosystems, tends to be nitrogen limited, our results indicate that climate variability may lead to changes in nitrogen availability and thus changes in primary productivity. Therefore some tropical ecosystems may shift between a stable state of nitrogen limitation and a stable state of nitrogen saturation in response to varying climatic conditions

    Regional Differences in South American Monsoon Precipitation Inferred from the Growth and Isotopic Composition of Tropical Trees

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    The authors present results on the relationship between tree-ring proxies and regional precipitation for several sites in tropical South America. The responsiveness of oxygen isotopes (δ18O) and seasonal growth as precipitation proxies was first validated by high-resolution sampling of a Tachigali myrmecophila from Manaus, Brazil (3.1°S, 60.0°W). Monthly growth of Tachigali spp. was significantly correlated with monthly precipitation. Intra-annual measurements of cellulose δ18O in Tachigali spp. were also significantly correlated with monthly precipitation at a lag of approximately one month. The annual ring widths of two tropical tree taxa, Cedrela odorata growing in the Amazon (12.6°S, 69.2°W) and Polylepis tarapacana growing in the Altiplano (22.0°S, 66.0°W), were validated using bomb-derived radiocarbon 14C. Estimated dates were within two to three years of bomb-inferred 14C dates, indicating that these species exhibit annual rings but uncertainties in our chronologies remain. A multiproxy record spanning 180 years from Cedrela spp. showed a significant negative relationship between cellulose δ18O and January precipitation. A 150-yr record obtained from Polylepis spp. also showed a significant negative relationship between δ18O and March precipitation, whereas annual ring width showed a significant positive correlation with December precipitation. These proxies were combined in a multivariate framework to reconstruct past precipitation, revealing a significant increase in monsoon precipitation at the Amazon site since 1890 and a significant decrease in monsoon precipitation at the Altiplano since 1880. Proxy time series also showed spatial and temporal coherence with precipitation variability due to El Niño forcing, suggesting that oxygen isotopes and ring widths in tropical trees may be important diagnostics for identifying regional differences in the response of the tropical hydrologic cycle to anthropogenic warming

    A growth-rate indicator for Compton-thick active galactic nuclei

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    Due to their heavily obscured central engines, the growth rate of Compton-thick (CT) active galactic nuclei (AGN) is difficult to measure. A statistically significant correlation between the Eddington ratio, {\lambda}Edd_{Edd}, and the X-ray power-law index, {\Gamma}, observed in unobscured AGN offers an estimate of their growth rate from X-ray spectroscopy (albeit with large scatter). However, since X-rays undergo reprocessing by Compton scattering and photoelectric absorption when the line-of-sight to the central engine is heavily obscured, the recovery of the intrinsic {\Gamma} is challenging. Here we study a sample of local, predominantly Compton-thick megamaser AGN, where the black hole mass, and thus Eddington luminosity, are well known. We compile results on X-ray spectral fitting of these sources with sensitive high-energy (E> 10 keV) NuSTAR data, where X-ray torus models which take into account the reprocessing effects have been used to recover the intrinsic {\Gamma} values and X-ray luminosities, LX_X. With a simple bolometric correction to LX_X to calculate {\lambda}Edd_{Edd}, we find a statistically significant correlation between {\Gamma} and {\lambda}Edd_{Edd} (p = 0.007). A linear fit to the data yields {\Gamma} = (0.41±\pm0.18)log10_{10}{\lambda}Edd_{Edd}+(2.38±\pm 0.20), which is statistically consistent with results for unobscured AGN. This result implies that torus modeling successfully recovers the intrinsic AGN parameters. Since the megamasers have low-mass black holes (MBH106107_{BH}\approx10^6-10^7 Msol_{sol}) and are highly inclined, our results extend the {\Gamma}-{\lambda}Edd_{Edd} relationship to lower masses and argue against strong orientation effects in the corona, in support of AGN unification. Finally this result supports the use of {\Gamma} as a growth-rate indicator for accreting black holes, even for Compton-thick AGN.Comment: Accepted for publication in Ap

    Broadband X-ray spectral analysis of the Seyfert 1 galaxy GRS 1734-292

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    We discuss the broadband X-ray spectrum of GRS 1734-292 obtained from non-simultaneous XMM-Newton and NuSTAR observations, performed in 2009 and 2014, respectively. GRS1734-292 is a Seyfert 1 galaxy, located near the Galactic plane at z=0.0214z=0.0214. The NuSTAR spectrum (3803-80 keV) is dominated by a primary power-law continuum with Γ=1.65±0.05\Gamma=1.65 \pm 0.05 and a high-energy cutoff Ec=538+11E_c=53^{+11}_{-8} keV, one of the lowest measured by NuSTAR in a Seyfert galaxy. Comptonization models show a temperature of the coronal plasma of kTe=11.90.9+1.2kT_e=11.9^{+1.2}_{-0.9} keV and an optical depth, assuming a slab geometry, τ=2.980.19+0.16\tau=2.98^{+0.16}_{-0.19} or a similar temperature and τ=6.70.4+0.3\tau=6.7^{+0.3}_{-0.4} assuming a spherical geometry. The 2009 XMM-Newton spectrum is well described by a flatter intrinsic continuum (Γ=1.470.03+0.07\Gamma=1.47^{+0.07}_{-0.03}) and one absorption line due to Fe\textsc{XXV} Kα\alpha produced by a warm absorber. Both data sets show a modest iron Kα\alpha emission line at 6.46.4 keV and the associated Compton reflection, due to reprocessing from neutral circumnuclear material

    Emission-line Helium Abundances in Highly Obscured Nebulae

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    This paper outlines a way to determine the ICF using only infrared data. We identify four line pairs, [NeIII] 36\micron/[NeII] 12.8\micron, [NeIII]~15.6\micron /[NeII] 12.8\micron, [ArIII] 9\micron/[ArII] 6.9\micron, and [ArIII] 21\micron/[ArII] 6.9\micron, that are sensitive to the He ICF. This happens because the ions cover a wide range of ionization, the line pairs are not sensitive to electron temperature, they have similar critical densities, and are formed within the He+^+/H+^+ region of the nebula. We compute a very wide range of photoionization models appropriate for galactic HII regions. The models cover a wide range of densities, ionization parameters, stellar temperatures, and use continua from four very different stellar atmospheres. The results show that each line pair has a critical intensity ratio above which the He ICF is always small. Below these values the ICF depends very strongly on details of the models for three of the ratios, and so other information would be needed to determine the helium abundance. The [Ar III] 9\micron/[ArII] 6.9\micron ratio can indicate the ICF directly due to the near exact match in the critical densities of the two lines. Finally, continua predicted by the latest generation of stellar atmospheres are sufficiently hard that they routinely produce significantly negative ICFs.Comment: Accepted by PASP. Scheduled for the October 1999 issue. 11 pages, 5 figure

    X-ray bolometric corrections for Compton-thick active galactic nuclei

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    We present X-ray bolometric correction factors, κBol\kappa_{Bol} (LBol/LX\equiv L_{Bol}/L_X), for Compton-thick (CT) active galactic nuclei (AGN) with the aim of testing AGN torus models, probing orientation effects, and estimating the bolometric output of the most obscured AGN. We adopt bolometric luminosities, LBolL_{Bol}, from literature infrared (IR) torus modeling and compile published intrinsic 2--10 keV X-ray luminosities, LXL_{X}, from X-ray torus modeling of NuSTAR data. Our sample consists of 10 local CT AGN where both of these estimates are available. We test for systematic differences in κBol\kappa_{Bol} values produced when using two widely used IR torus models and two widely used X-ray torus models, finding consistency within the uncertainties. We find that the mean κBol\kappa_{Bol} of our sample in the range LBol10421045L_{Bol}\approx10^{42}-10^{45} erg/s is log10κBol=1.44±0.12_{10}\kappa_{Bol}=1.44\pm0.12 with an intrinsic scatter of 0.2\sim0.2 dex, and that our derived κBol\kappa_{Bol} values are consistent with previously established relationships between κBol\kappa_{Bol} and LBolL_{Bol} and κBol\kappa_{Bol} and Eddington ratio. We investigate if κBol\kappa_{Bol} is dependent on NHN_H by comparing our results on CT AGN to published results on less-obscured AGN, finding no significant dependence. Since many of our sample are megamaser AGN, known to be viewed edge-on, and furthermore under the assumptions of AGN unification whereby unobscured AGN are viewed face-on, our result implies that the X-ray emitting corona is not strongly anisotropic. Finally, we present κBol\kappa_{Bol} values for CT AGN identified in X-ray surveys as a function of their observed LXL_X, where an estimate of their intrinsic LXL_{X} is not available, and redshift, useful for estimating the bolometric output of the most obscured AGN across cosmic time.Comment: Accepted for publication in Ap

    Advanced photovoltaic power systems using tandem GaAs/GaSb concentrator modules

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    In 1989, Boeing announced the fabrication of a tandem gallium concentrator solar cell with an energy conversion efficiency of 30 percent. This research breakthrough has now led to panels which are significantly smaller, lighter, more radiation resistant, and potentially less expensive than the traditional silicon flat plate electric power supply. The new Boeing tandem concentrator (BTC) module uses an array of lightweight silicone Fresnel lenses mounted on the front side of a light weight aluminum honeycomb structure to focus sunlight onto small area solar cells mounted on a thin back plane. This module design is shown schematically. The tandem solar cell in this new module consists of a gallium arsenide light sensitive cell with a 24 percent energy conversion efficiency stacked on top of a gallium antimonide infrared sensitive cell with a conversion efficiency of 6 percent. This gives a total efficiency 30 percent for the cell-stack. The lens optical efficiency is typically 85 percent. Discounting for efficiency losses associated with lens packing, cell wiring, and cell operating temperature still allows for a module efficiency of 22 percent which leads to a module power density of 300 Watts/sq. m. This performance provides more than twice the power density available from a single crystal silicon flat plate module and at least four times the power density available from amorphous silicon modules. The fact that the lenses are only 0.010 ft. thick and the aluminum foil back plane is only 0.003 ft. thick leads to a very lightweight module. Although the cells are an easy to handle thickness of 0.020 ft., the fact that they are small, occupying one-twenty-fifth of the module area, means that they add little to the module weight. After summing all the module weights and given the high module power, we find that we are able to fabricate BTC modules with specific power of 100 watts/kg