This week mathematicians created the first computer simulation of realistic forests including branches, leaves, and roots of individual trees. Here is an example. Real trees are on the right. Simulated trees are on the left. (Image: Washington State University)
February 28 2016
Here are five extra short summaries of scientific studies published during the past week, available free via open-access journals for anyone and everyone to read and enjoy!
1) The first estimate of global sea level change over the last 3,000 years shows that current sea levels are rising faster than at any other time during this period. Global sea level rose 14 cm in the 20th century, and much of this, they say, can only be explained by global warming. Without the effects of global warming, they estimate sea level would only have risen by 7 cm. In contrast, sea level rose and fell by just 8 cm over the 27 centuries, before the industrial revolution. The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal PNAS.
Read the original scientific paper.
2) Scientists published a new method for estimating future sea level rise (up to the end of this century). They use an existing technique (so-called semi-empirical computer modelling) tweaked with data on long-term sea level rise, broken down according to the many different contributing processes, such as ice-melt from Greenland or Antarctica, from mountain glaciers, and thermal expansion. Their results broadly agree with predictions in the last IPCC report, which used a different technique (so-called process based modelling). The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal PNAS.
Read the original scientific paper.
3) New method for defining heat waves uses historical weather data from Florida State in the US. Until now, there was surprisingly, no consistent definition of what constitutes a heat wave, with the US National Weather Service and the IPCC using different definitions. The new definition allows public health bodies to issue warnings and advice for heat waves based on a standard formula and can be tweaked for use elsewhere in the world. The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
4) New study encourages consumers to take responsibility for their carbon footprint. An analysis of emissions associated with production of consumer goods shows that consumers are responsible for more than 60 per cent of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and up to 80 per cent of the world’s water use. Whilst many of these goods are produced in China, they are exported to the rest of the world, so who is really responsible for these emissions, they ask. The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal Journal of Industrial Ecology.
5) Mathematicians created the first computer simulation of realistic forests including branches, leaves, and roots of individual trees. The new simulation allows them to investigate the effects of climate-related phenomena such as drought and wildfire across entire forests. They hope that forest managers will be able to use the simulation to investigate their own forests. The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal Royal Society Open Science.
Kopp, R., Kemp, A., Bittermann, K., Horton, B., Donnelly, J., Gehrels, W., Hay, C., Mitrovica, J., Morrow, E., & Rahmstorf, S. (2016). Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517056113
Mengel, M., Levermann, A., Frieler, K., Robinson, A., Marzeion, B., & Winkelmann, R. (2016). Future sea level rise constrained by observations and long-term commitment Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1500515113
Leary, E., Young, L., DuClos, C., & Jordan, M. (2015). Identifying Heat Waves in Florida: Considerations of Missing Weather Data PLOS ONE, 10 (11) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143471
Ivanova, D., Stadler, K., Steen-Olsen, K., Wood, R., Vita, G., Tukker, A., & Hertwich, E. (2015). Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption Journal of Industrial Ecology DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12371
Liénard, J., & Strigul, N. (2016). An individual-based forest model links canopy dynamics and shade tolerances along a soil moisture gradient Royal Society Open Science, 3 (2) DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150589