Category: Blog

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Abrupt events and population synchrony in the dynamics of Bovine Tuberculosis

The study of extreme events poses a great challenge to science as such events take place rarely. However, their effects on natural and man-made systems can be detected over a long period of time but also at a distance from the locations where they have occurred. Moustakas et al. (2018) developed an innovative method of analyzing time series for the study of such extreme events. The method was applied on a data set of bovine tuberculosis test results from Great Britain. Bovine tuberculosis poses serious problems for the rural economy, as cattle found positive in the bacterium must be killed and their...

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The Hydrological and Erosional Cycles in Karstic Terrains

Karstic landscapes are shaped by the geomorphic work of water on a carbonate bedrock, with various mechanisms taking place at aquifer, soil subsurface, and surface flow level. Due to the water and sediment flow discontinuities introduced by the unpredictable location, dimensions, and geometry of the karst formations, monitoring and modeling relevant hydrologic and biogeochemical regimes poses a great scientific and engineering challenge. Therefore, studying flow connectivity within such watersheds is a key factor to understanding both the landforms and the components of the local hydrological cycle. This is relevant from a pure scientific approach but it is also definitive for...

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Spatial Downscaling of Alien Species Presences Using Machine Learning

Spatially explicit assessments of alien species environmental and socio-economic impacts, and subsequent management interventions for their mitigation, require large scale, high-resolution data on species presence distribution. However, these data are often unavailable. This paper presents a method that relies on Random Forest (RF) models to distribute alien species presence counts at a finer resolution grid, thus achieving spatial downscaling. A bootstrapping scheme is designed to account for sub-setting uncertainty, and subsets are used to train a sufficiently large number of RF models. RF results are processed to estimate variable importance and model performance. The method is tested with an ~8...

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Can Tomato Inoculation with Trichoderma Compensate Yield and Soil Health Deficiency due to Soil Salinity?

Soil salinity is a major soil degradation threat, especially for arid coastal environments where it hinders agricultural production and soil health. Protected horticultural crops in the Mediterranean region, typically under deficit irrigation and intensive cultivation practices, have to cope with increasing irrigation water and soil salinization. This study quantifies the beneficial effects of the Trichoderma harzianum (TH) on the sustainable production of Solanum lycopersicum (tomato), a major greenhouse crop of the RECARE project Case Study in Greece, the semi-arid coastal Timpaki basin in south-central Crete. Preliminary results of a greenhouse experiments suggest that TH pre-inoculation of tomato plants at both S and...

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What caught my attention this week

Chairs underwater, photo by yannishimself Water Is the Climate Challenge, Says World Bank Some worry that Yemen, where many farmers have replaced grape vines with more water-intensive qhat, will become the first modern country to literally run out of water. Panasonic Claims Their New Weather Model is the World’s Most Accurate Science Isn’t Broken, It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for. Effects of climate change greater than previously feared Tackling land degradation and climate change isn’t just about other people in other places. If we don’t respond now, we all risk paying a catastrophic...

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One Element to Rule them all

Current climate models fed on emissions and more recently green house gas concentrations depict temperature trends with a far greater certainty than any other climate variable. Regardless of one’s view on the causes of global warming, this effect is foreseen at a more or less uniform way around the planet. On the other hand, future changes in precipitation distribution and thus runoff (also affected by snowmelt) is expected to be uneven with a significant inherent uncertainty in frequency and intensity. This uncertainty barrier  may also be one of the reasons that temperature is seen as the overall driver of change, including that of the global water cycle....

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2014 NASA mission to aid hydrologists

Dr. Dennis Lettenmaier has had a long standing interest in the application of remote sensing to hydrologic problems and has contributed to the launch of several relevant scientific missions. So when Dennis announces that this “will be a big year for hydrology” there’s probably a good reason for it. He’s enthusiastic about NASA’s plans to place two precipitation monitoring satellites in orbit this year. Each of them will carry out a unique task that will help scientists around the world to bridge knowledge gaps in climate and hydrology research. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) instrument will focus on cloud structure...

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Drought Simulation with Rainfall Exclusion Experiments

The CASCADE European Project strives to investigate such approaches and to fill knowledge gaps through a series of multi-scale experiments and integrated soil-water-plant modeling. At plant level, experiments include the simulation of drought, or prolonged dry summers, through rainfall exclusion experiments.  Prototype roofs were constructed using polycarbonate sheets fitted in hydro-jet cut sea plywood designed by Manolis Grillakis. The design ensures a sturdy but light structure that can sustain strong winds. Messara Valley is one of the 6 Study Sites of the CASCADE Project that addresses catastrophic shifts relevant to soil and vegetation in the Mediterranean dryland ecosystems. The main objective of...

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Climate Change Soon at your Favorite Vacation Spot

2023 is now just 9 years away, and that is the year scientists predict that Jamaica will be an unfamiliar place for its inhabitants and visitors, a place with a wholly different climate. The coldest year in Jamaica  after 2023 will probably be warmer than the hottest year anyone there has ever experienced. A recently published article by Camilo Mora et al. (2013) presents a new indicator of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location is expected to move to a state well outside the bounds of historical variability, for different emission scenarios. Results show that global...

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Flood Risk Increased due to Urbanization not Climate

A group of researchers lead by Zbigniew Kundzewicz recently published a paper concludes that the increase of population density is a far greater driver for floods frequency increase than climate change. Whilst scientists recognise that climatic factors internsify most parts of the hydrological cycle thus contributing to extreme precipitation and flooding, this linkage is very complex to accurately describe. On the other hand, implications connected to Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), as well as interference with river flows that alter their hydrological responce  have a more direct impact to flood risk. The authors combine the outcomes of the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks...