141 research outputs found

    Robust projections of Fire Weather Index in the Mediterranean using statistical downscaling

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    The effect of climate change on wildfires constitutes a serious concern in fire-prone regions with complex fire behavior such as the Mediterranean. The coarse resolution of future climate projections produced by General Circulation Models (GCMs) prevents their direct use in local climate change studies. Statistical downscaling techniques bridge this gap using empirical models that link the synoptic-scale variables from GCMs to the local variables of interest (using e.g. data from meteorological stations). In this paper, we investigate the application of statistical downscaling methods in the context of wildfire research, focusing in the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI), one of the most popular fire danger indices. We target on the Iberian Peninsula and Greece and use historical observations of the FWI meteorological drivers (temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation) in several local stations. In particular, we analyze the performance of the analog method, which is a convenient first choice for this problem since it guarantees physical and spatial consistency of the downscaled variables, regardless of their different statistical properties. First we validate the method in perfect model conditions using ERA-Interim reanalysis data. Overall, not all variables are downscaled with the same accuracy, with the poorest results (with spatially averaged daily correlations below 0.5) obtained for wind, followed by precipitation. Consequently, those FWI components mostly relying on those parameters exhibit the poorest results. However, those deficiencies are compensated in the resulting FWI values due to the overall high performance of temperature and relative humidity. Then, we check the suitability of the method to downscale control projections (20C3M scenario) from a single GCM (the ECHAM5 model) and compute the downscaled future fire danger projections for the transient A1B scenario. In order to detect problems due to non-stationarities related to climate change, we compare the results with those obtained with a Regional Climate Model (RCM) driven by the same GCM. Although both statistical and dynamical projections exhibit a similar pattern of risk increment in the first half of the 21st century, they diverge during the second half of the century. As a conclusion, we advocate caution in the use of projections for this last period, regardless of the regionalization technique applied.We are grateful to the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) for providing the observational data used in this study. We would also like to thank Erik van Meijgaard from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute for making available ENSEMBLES RACMO2 climate model output verifying at 12:00 UTC and to the Max Planck Institute for providing the appropriate data for the ECHAM5 model used in this work. This work was partly funded by European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreements 243888 (FUME Project) and from Spanish Ministry MICINN under grant EXTREMBLES (CGL2010-21869). We thank tw

    Relationship between the expansion of drylands and the intensification of Hadley circulation during the late twentieth century

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    The changes in coverage by arid climate and intensity of the Hadley circulation during the second half of the twentieth century were examined using observations and the multi-model ensemble (MME) mean of Twentieth-Century Coupled Climate Model (20C3M) simulations. It was found that the area of dry climate, which comprises steppe and desert climates following the Köppen climate classification, expanded to an appreciable extent in observation and, to a lesser degree, in MME simulation. The areal extent of steppe climate (the outer boundary of arid climate) tends to encroach on the surrounding climate groups, which, in turn, feeds desert climate (the inner part of arid climate) and causes it to grow. This result indicates the importance of accurate prediction for climate regimes that border steppe climate. Concomitant with the expansion of drylands, the observed intensity of the Hadley cell is persistently enhanced, particularly during boreal winter, suggesting the validity of a self-induction of deserts through a positive biogeophysical feedback (also known as Charney’s cycle). In comparison, the simulated Hadley circulation in the MME mean remains invariant in time. The current climate models, therefore, disagree with the observation in the long-term linkage between desertification and Hadley cell. Finally, the implication of such discrepancy is discussed as a possible guidance to improve models

    Contrasting responses of mean and extreme snowfall to climate change

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    Snowfall is an important element of the climate system, and one that is expected to change in a warming climate. Both mean snowfall and the intensity distribution of snowfall are important, with heavy snowfall events having particularly large economic and human impacts. Simulations with climate models indicate that annual mean snowfall declines with warming in most regions but increases in regions with very low surface temperatures. The response of heavy snowfall events to a changing climate, however, is unclear. Here I show that in simulations with climate models under a scenario of high emissions of greenhouse gases, by the late twenty-first century there are smaller fractional changes in the intensities of daily snowfall extremes than in mean snowfall over many Northern Hemisphere land regions. For example, for monthly climatological temperatures just below freezing and surface elevations below 1,000 metres, the 99.99th percentile of daily snowfall decreases by 8% in the multimodel median, compared to a 65% reduction in mean snowfall. Both mean and extreme snowfall must decrease for a sufficiently large warming, but the climatological temperature above which snowfall extremes decrease with warming in the simulations is as high as −9 °C, compared to −14 °C for mean snowfall. These results are supported by a physically based theory that is consistent with the observed rain–snow transition. According to the theory, snowfall extremes occur near an optimal temperature that is insensitive to climate warming, and this results in smaller fractional changes for higher percentiles of daily snowfall. The simulated changes in snowfall that I find would influence surface snow and its hazards; these changes also suggest that it may be difficult to detect a regional climate-change signal in snowfall extremes.National Science Foundation (U.S.) (Grant AGS-1148594)United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (ROSES Grant 09-IDS09-0049

    On tail trend detection: modeling relative risk

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    The climate change dispute is about changes over time of environmental characteristics (such as rainfall). Some people say that a possible change is not so much in the mean but rather in the extreme phenomena (that is, the average rainfall may not change much but heavy storms may become more or less frequent). The paper studies changes over time in the probability that some high threshold is exceeded. The model is such that the threshold does not need to be specified, the results hold for any high threshold. For simplicity a certain linear trend is studied depending on one real parameter. Estimation and testing procedures (is there a trend?) are developed. Simulation results are presented. The method is applied to trends in heavy rainfall at 18 gauging stations across Germany and The Netherlands. A tentative conclusion is that the trend seems to depend on whether or not a station is close to the sea.Comment: 38 page

    Inertio-elastic focusing of bioparticles in microchannels at high throughput

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    Controlled manipulation of particles from very large volumes of fluid at high throughput is critical for many biomedical, environmental and industrial applications. One promising approach is to use microfluidic technologies that rely on fluid inertia or elasticity to drive lateral migration of particles to stable equilibrium positions in a microchannel. Here, we report on a hydrodynamic approach that enables deterministic focusing of beads, mammalian cells and anisotropic hydrogel particles in a microchannel at extremely high flow rates. We show that on addition of micromolar concentrations of hyaluronic acid, the resulting fluid viscoelasticity can be used to control the focal position of particles at Reynolds numbers up to Re≈10,000 with corresponding flow rates and particle velocities up to 50 ml min[superscript −1] and 130 m s[superscript −1]. This study explores a previously unattained regime of inertio-elastic fluid flow and demonstrates bioparticle focusing at flow rates that are the highest yet achieved.National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (U.S.) (P41 BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems Resource Center)National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (U.S.) (P41 EB002503)National Science Foundation (U.S.). Graduate Research FellowshipUnited States. Army Research Office (Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies Grant W911NF-09-0001

    Public Sector Reform and Governance for Adaptation: Implications of New Public Management for Adaptive Capacity in Mexico and Norway

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    Although many governments are assuming the responsibility of initiating adaptation policy in relation to climate change, the compatibility of “governance-for-adaptation” with the current paradigms of public administration has generally been overlooked. Over the last several decades, countries around the globe have embraced variants of the philosophy of administration broadly called “New Public Management” (NPM) in an effort to improve administrative efficiencies and the provision of public services. Using evidence from a case study of reforms in the building sector in Norway, and a case study of water and flood risk management in central Mexico, we analyze the implications of the adoption of the tenets of NPM for adaptive capacity. Our cases illustrate that some of the key attributes associated with governance for adaptation—namely, technical and financial capacities; institutional memory, learning and knowledge; and participation and accountability—have been eroded by NPM reforms. Despite improvements in specific operational tasks of the public sector in each case, we show that the success of NPM reforms presumes the existence of core elements of governance that have often been found lacking, including solid institutional frameworks and accountability. Our analysis illustrates the importance of considering both longer-term adaptive capacities and short-term efficiency goals in public sector administration reform

    Salmonella Strains Isolated from Galápagos Iguanas Show Spatial Structuring of Serovar and Genomic Diversity

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    It is thought that dispersal limitation primarily structures host-associated bacterial populations because host distributions inherently limit transmission opportunities. However, enteric bacteria may disperse great distances during food-borne outbreaks. It is unclear if such rapid long-distance dispersal events happen regularly in natural systems or if these events represent an anthropogenic exception. We characterized Salmonella enterica isolates from the feces of free-living Galápagos land and marine iguanas from five sites on four islands using serotyping and genomic fingerprinting. Each site hosted unique and nearly exclusive serovar assemblages. Genomic fingerprint analysis offered a more complex model of S. enterica biogeography, with evidence of both unique strain pools and of spatial population structuring along a geographic gradient. These findings suggest that even relatively generalist enteric bacteria may be strongly dispersal limited in a natural system with strong barriers, such as oceanic divides. Yet, these differing results seen on two typing methods also suggests that genomic variation is less dispersal limited, allowing for different ecological processes to shape biogeographical patterns of the core and flexible portions of this bacterial species' genome
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