Efforts to understand the influence of historical global warming on individual extreme climate events have increased over the past decade. However, despite substantial progress, events that are unprecedented in the local observational record remain a persistent challenge. Leveraging observations and a large climate model ensemble, we quantify uncertainty in the influence of global warming on the severity and probability of the historically hottest month, hottest day, driest year, and wettest 5-d period for different areas of the globe. We find that historical warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest month and hottest day of the year at >80% of the available observational area. Our framework also suggests that the historical climate forcing has increased the probability of the driest year and wettest 5-d period at 57% and 41% of the observed area, respectively, although we note important caveats. For the most protracted hot and dry events, the strongest and most widespread contributions of anthropogenic climate forcing occur in the tropics, including increases in probability of at least a factor of 4 for the hottest month and at least a factor of 2 for the driest year. We also demonstrate the ability of our framework to systematically evaluate the role of dynamic and thermodynamic factors such as atmospheric circulation patterns and atmospheric water vapor, and find extremely high statistical confidence that anthropogenic forcing increased the probability of record-low Arctic sea ice extent.
We present a framework for evaluating the cause of fishery declines by integrating covariates into a fisheries stock assessment model. This allows the evaluation of fisheries' effects vs. natural and other human impacts. The analyses presented are based on integrating ecological science and statistics and form the basis for environmental decision-making advice. Hypothesis tests are described to rank hypotheses and determine the size of a multiple covariate model. We extend recent developments in integrated analysis and use novel methods to produce effect size estimates that are relevant to policy makers and include estimates of uncertainty. Results can be directly applied to evaluate trade-offs among alternative management decisions. The methods and results are also broadly applicable outside fisheries stock assessment. We show that multiple factors influence populations and that analysis of factors in isolation can be misleading. We illustrate the framework by applying it to Pacific herring of Prince William Sound, Alaska (USA). The Pacific herring stock that spawns in Prince William Sound is a stock that has collapsed, but there are several competing or alternative hypotheses to account for the initial collapse and subsequent lack of recovery. Factors failing the initial screening tests for statistical significance included indicators of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, coho salmon predation, sea lion predation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Northern Oscillation Index, and effects of containment in the herring egg-on-kelp pound fishery. The overall results indicate that the most statistically significant factors related to the lack of recovery of the herring stock involve competition or predation by juvenile hatchery pink salmon on herring juveniles. Secondary factors identified in the analysis were poor nutrition in the winter, ocean (Gulf of Alaska) temperature in the winter, the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, and the pathogen Ichthyophonus hoferi. The implication of this result to fisheries management in Prince William Sound is that it may well be difficult to simultaneously increase the production of pink salmon and maintain a viable Pacific herring fishery. The impact can be extended to other commercially important fisheries, and a whole ecosystem approach may be needed to evaluate the costs and benefits of salmon hatcheries.
A coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model was implemented in order to estimate the effects of Major Baltic Inflows on the near-bottom hydrophysical and biogeochemical conditions in the northern Baltic Proper and the western Gulf of Finland during the period 1991-2009. We compared results of a realistic reference run to the results of an experimental run where Major Baltic Inflows were suppressed. Further to the expected overall decrease in bottom salinity, this modelling experiment confirms that in the absence of strong saltwater inflows the deep areas of the Baltic Proper would become more anoxic, while in the shallower areas (western Gulf of Finland) near-bottom average conditions improve. Our experiment revealed that typical estuarine circulation results in the sporadic emergence of short-lasting events of near-bottom anoxia in the western Gulf of Finland due to transport of water masses from the Baltic Proper. Extrapolating our results beyond the modelled period, we speculate that the further deepening of the halocline in the Baltic Proper is likely to prevent inflows of anoxic water to the Gulf of Finland and in the longer term would lead to improvement in near-bottom conditions in the Baltic Proper. Our results reaffirm the importance of accurate representation of salinity dynamics in coupled Baltic Sea models serving as a basis for credible hindcast and future projection simulations of biogeochemical conditions.
Cites: Ambio. 2005 May;34(3):188-9116042275
Cites: Mar Pollut Bull. 2005 Nov;50(11):1185-9615992832
Cites: Ambio. 2007 Apr;36(2-3):186-9417520933
Cites: Environ Sci Technol. 2009 May 15;43(10):3407-1119544832
Cites: Environ Sci Technol. 2009 May 15;43(10):3412-2019544833
The spread of agriculture into Europe and the ancestry of the first European farmers have been subjects of debate and controversy among geneticists, archaeologists, linguists and anthropologists. Debates have centred on the extent to which the transition was associated with the active migration of people as opposed to the diffusion of cultural practices. Recent studies have shown that patterns of human cranial shape variation can be employed as a reliable proxy for the neutral genetic relationships of human populations.
Here, we employ measurements of Mesolithic (hunter-gatherers) and Neolithic (farmers) crania from Southwest Asia and Europe to test several alternative population dispersal and hunter-farmer gene-flow models. We base our alternative hypothetical models on a null evolutionary model of isolation-by-geographic and temporal distance. Partial Mantel tests were used to assess the congruence between craniometric distance and each of the geographic model matrices, while controlling for temporal distance. Our results demonstrate that the craniometric data fit a model of continuous dispersal of people (and their genes) from Southwest Asia to Europe significantly better than a null model of cultural diffusion.
Therefore, this study does not support the assertion that farming in Europe solely involved the adoption of technologies and ideas from Southwest Asia by indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Moreover, the results highlight the utility of craniometric data for assessing patterns of past population dispersal and gene flow.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jul 21;95(15):9053-89671803
Cites: Nat Genet. 2008 May;40(5):646-918425127
Cites: Ann Hum Genet. 1998 May;62(Pt 3):241-609803269
Space competition effects are well-known in many microbiological and ecological systems. Here we analyze such an effect in human populations. The Neolithic transition (change from foraging to farming) was mainly the outcome of a demographic process that spread gradually throughout Europe from the Near East. In Northern Europe, archaeological data show a slowdown on the Neolithic rate of spread that can be related to a high indigenous (Mesolithic) population density hindering the advance as a result of the space competition between the two populations. We measure this slowdown from a database of 902 Early Neolithic sites and develop a time-delayed reaction-diffusion model with space competition between Neolithic and Mesolithic populations, to predict the observed speeds. The comparison of the predicted speed with the observations and with a previous non-delayed model show that both effects, the time delay effect due to the generation lag and the space competition between populations, are crucial in order to understand the observations.
Cites: Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010 Dec;82(6 Pt 1):06190521230688
In this introductory paper, I review the 'visions of the future' articles prepared by top young scientists for the second of the two Christmas 2008 Triennial Issues of Phil. Trans. R. Soc.A, devoted respectively to astronomy and Earth science. Topics covered in the Earth science issue include: trace gases in the atmosphere; dynamics of the Antarctic circumpolar current; a study of the boundary between the Earth's rocky mantle and its iron core; and two studies of volcanoes and their plumes. A final section devoted to ecology and climate covers: the mathematical modelling of plant-soil interactions; the effects of the boreal forests on the Earth's climate; the role of the past palaeoclimate in testing and calibrating today's numerical climate models; and the evaluation of these models including the quantification of their uncertainties.
The notion of prevention was theoretically based upon the doctrines of the development of nature and society, the organism and environment relationship and on the biological and social patterns determining the public and individual health. The concept of dispanserization of population proved to be the most fruitful of all ideas of prevention. In the conditions of XXI century, the disease prevention became the reflection of the social essence of medicine. This prevention approach is really effective when its purposes, forms and methods are coordinated with the public health characteristics. The progress of disease prevention is inseparable from public responsibility for protection and promotion of public health and maintenance of healthy environment and conditions of work. In present situation, the dispanserization has to be supported with the new organizational technologies to carry out medical, preventive and periodical check-ups and to arrange the dispanserization quotas according the disease nosologies and to rank them for the subsequent dynamic monitoring of profile specialists. The most effective is the dispanserization related to the diseases which can be subjected to the modern techniques of early diagnostics implementing screening and other high-tech technologies in the framework of evidence-based medicine.
Known analytical solutions of groundwater flow equations are routinely used for verification of computer codes. However, these analytical solutions (e.g., the Dupuit solution for the steady-state unconfined unidirectional flow in a uniform aquifer with a flat bottom) represent smooth and continuous water table configurations, simulating which does not pose any significant problems for the numerical groundwater flow models, like MODFLOW. One of the most challenging numerical cases for MODFLOW arises from drying-rewetting problems often associated with abrupt changes in the elevations of impervious base of a thin unconfined aquifer. Numerical solutions of groundwater flow equations cannot be rigorously verified for such cases due to the lack of corresponding exact analytical solutions. Analytical solutions of the steady-state Boussinesq equation, associated with the discontinuous water table configurations over a stairway impervious base, are presented in this article. Conditions resulting in such configurations are analyzed and discussed. These solutions appear to be well suited for testing and verification of computer codes. Numerical solutions, obtained by the latest versions of MODFLOW (MODFLOW-2005 and MODFLOW-NWT), are compared with the presented discontinuous analytical solutions. It is shown that standard MODFLOW-2005 code (as well as MODFLOW-2000 and older versions) has significant convergence problems simulating such cases. The problems manifest themselves either in a total convergence failure or erroneous results. Alternatively, MODFLOW-NWT, providing a good match to the presented discontinuous analytical solutions, appears to be a more reliable and appropriate code for simulating abrupt changes in water table elevations.
Most European assessments of climate change impacts have been carried out on sectors and ecosystems, providing a narrow understanding of what climate change really means for society. Furthermore, the main focus has been on technological adaptations, with less attention paid to the process of climate change adaptation. In this article, we present and analyze findings from recent studies on climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation in Norway, with the aim of identifying the wider social impacts of climate change. Three main lessons can be drawn. First, the potential thresholds and indirect effects may be more important than the direct, sectoral effects. Second, highly sensitive sectors, regions, and communities combine with differential social vulnerability to create both winners and losers. Third, high national levels of adaptive capacity mask the barriers and constraints to adaptation, particularly among those who are most vulnerable to climate change. Based on these results, we question complacency in Norway and other European countries regarding climate change impacts and adaptation. We argue that greater attention needs to be placed on the social context of climate change impacts and on the processes shaping vulnerability and adaptation.