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The use of biophysical models to support increased food production and environmental protection is on the rise. This paper reviews the demand for, and trends in, soil property data for various biophysical models being used in Victoria, Australia, over the 2009–2014 period. The study used surveys, workshops and interviews with public sector modellers to examine perceptions of the soil parameters that affect model sensitivity and error. Although the data requirements of models have remained similar over the 5-year period, the diversity of models used has decreased. There is evidence of increased application of models at point/site scale to support grains, dairy and livestock production industries in Victoria. Opportunities are identified to deliver finer scale soil data from digital soil mapping to better meet modelling requirements for agricultural industries in Victorian landscapes.
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•Chennai (India) received the highest rainfall of 490 mm on 1 Dec 2015.•This study looked at NOAA/NESDIS global analysis of SST anomaly (°C).•Revival of 769 km long Buckingham Canal essential for flood mitigation.•Renovating canals, ponds, and lakes crucial for flood prevention.•India needs better strategies to adapt to future extreme weather situations.
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The French soil-test database (Base de Données d'Analyses de Terre: BDAT) is populated with analytical results of agricultural topsoil samples requested by farmers for fertilization planning. The coordinates of the farms are unknown due to data confidentiality policies, and the best available georeference is at level of municipality. We compared four approaches for mapping soil texture of agricultural land in Region Centre (France) using BDAT data: 1) a reference approach of mapping the mean of the aggregated data by municipality, 2) a boosted regression tree (BRT) model fitted with the municipality-averaged data, 3) area-to-point cokriging (AToP CK), and 4) a regression kriging version of this (AToP RCK, for which the BRT predictions were used to give the trend). Specifically, parameters for these last two approaches were fitted through the summary statistics approach to AToP kriging, which accounts for the full set of municipality summary statistics data (i.e. the mean, variance and number of measurements from each municipality). We could thus determine whether more complex and statistically-challenging approaches improve our knowledge on the spatial distribution of soil texture compared with maps of data aggregated by municipality. Texture data from 105 sites form the French soil monitoring network (Réseau de Mesures de la Qualité des Sols: RMQS) were used for independent validation. In general, the R2 was greater for sand (average R2=0.69) and silt (average R2=0.72) than for clay (average R2=0.40). The three methods for disaggregating the summary statistics data (BRT, AToP CK, and AToP RCK) showed similar prediction accuracies—although BRT predictions showed the greatest bias—and were better than the BDAT reference approach. AToP RCK was able to give similar prediction accuracy to BRT modelling alone, reduced the bias considerably, and gave a reasonable (although slightly conservative) assessment of prediction uncertainty. The results indicate that geostatistical methods for change of support expand the utility of aggregated data from soil-test databases.
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Kveithola is a glacially-carved, E-W trending trough located in the NW Barents Sea, an epicontinental shelf sea of the Arctic Ocean located off northern Norway and Russia. A set of confined sediment drifts (the “Kveithola Drift”) is located in the inner part of the trough. In general, drift deposits are commonly characterized by high lateral continuity, restricted occurrence of hiatuses and relatively high accumulation rates, and thus represent excellent repositories of paleo-environmental information. We provide for the first time a detailed morphological and seismostratigraphic insight into this sediment drift, which is further supported by some preliminary lithological and sedimentological analyses. The complex morphology of the drift, imaged by combining all available multibeam data, includes a main and a minor drift body, two drift lenses in the outer part of the trough, more or less connected drift patches in the innermost part and small perched sediment patches in a structurally-controlled channel to the north. The seismic (PARASOUND) data show that the main and minor drift bodies are mainly well-stratified, characterized by sub-parallel reflections of moderate to high amplitude and good lateral continuity. The reflectors show an abrupt pinch-out on the northern edge where a distinct moat is present, and a gradual tapering to the south. Internally we identify the base of the drift and four internal horizons, which we correlate throughout the drift. Two units display high amplitude reflectors, marked lensoidal character and restricted lateral extent, suggesting the occurrence of more energetic sedimentary conditions. Facies typical for contourite deposition are found in the sediment cores, with strongly bioturbated sediments and abundant silty/sandy mottles that contain shell fragments. These characteristics, along with the morphological and seismic information, suggest a strong control by a bottom current flowing along the moat on the northern edge of the drift. Though both Atlantic and Arctic waters are known to enter the trough, from the west and the north respectively, brine-enriched shelf water (BSW) produced during winter and flowing westward in the moat, is suggested to be responsible for the genesis of the Kveithola Drift. The formation of BSW is inferred to have started around 13 cal ka BP, the onset of drift deposition, suggesting that conditions leading to atmospheric cooling of the surface waters and/or the presence of coastal polynyas and wind or floating ice shelves have persisted on the western Barents Shelf since that time. The units inferred to have been deposited under more energetic sedimentary conditions (tentatively dated to the Younger Dryas and to 8.9–8.2 cal ka BP) are suggestive of stronger BSW formation. In general, we infer that variations in the bottom current regime were mainly related to BSW formation due to atmospheric changes. They could also have been a response to successive episodes of grounded and sea ice retreat that allowed for a first limited, later open shelf current, which progressively established on the western Barents Sea shelf.
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Latest investigations on atmospheric carbon tetrachloride (CTC) are focused on its ozone depleting potential, adverse effects on the human health, and radiative efficiency and Global Warming Potential as a greenhouse gas. CTC mixing ratios have been thoroughly studied since its restriction under the Montreal Protocol, mostly in remote areas with the aim of reporting long-term trends after its banning. The observed decrease of the CTC background mixing ratio, however, was not as strong as expected. In order to explain this behavior CTC lifetime should be adjusted by estimating the relative significance of its sinks and by identifying ongoing potential sources.
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In most countries, the loss of biodiversity caused by the fires is worrying. In this sense, the fires detection towers are crucial for rapid identification of fire outbreaks and can also be used in environmental inspection, biodiversity monitoring, telecommunications mechanisms, telemetry and others. Currently the methodologies for allocating fire detection towers over large areas are numerous, complex and non-standardized by government supervisory agencies. Therefore, this study proposes and evaluates different methodologies to best location of points to install fire detection towers considering the topography, risk areas, conservation units and heat spots. Were used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques and unaligned stratified systematic sampling for implementing and evaluating 9 methods for allocating fire detection towers. Among the methods evaluated, the C3 method was chosen, represented by 140 fire detection towers, with coverage of: a) 67% of the study area, b) 73.97% of the areas with high risk, c) 70.41% of the areas with very high risk, d) 70.42% of the conservation units and e) 84.95% of the heat spots in 2014. The proposed methodology can be adapted to areas of other countries.
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The Belgian territory has yielded a rich archaeological record related to the Ancient Palaeolithic, with 442 locations from this period. Of these, some were recovered in stratigraphic position and provide archaeological, chronostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental data on the Lower to Middle Palaeolithic transition. In this paper, we present the oldest archaeological remains from the Belgian territory, from the first documented human settlements to the beginning of the Middle Palaeolithic (MIS 8). We then discuss the chronostratigraphic distribution of the sites, land-use strategies, and the Lower to Middle Palaeolithic transition in relation to the issue of the emergence of sophisticated prepared-core technologies, such as Levallois, in the North-Western European context.
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Forest ecosystems are major providers of high quality water and contribute to maintain a better distribution of base flows during the year. However, these environmental services have been adversely affected by human pressure due to the decline and deterioration of forested areas and the inadequate management of water resources. To better understand the relations between human population, forest area and water quality and yield, at a regional level, we studied six catchments located in the upper Grijalva river basin in the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Measurements of twelve water quality parameters and water yield from nine sampling periods during 2011–2013 were analyzed through PLS (partial least squares) regression, ANOVA and linear mixed models to assess the season effect on water quality and the forest cover effect on water yield. An ordination by PCA (principal components analysis) and Pearson's pair-wise correlations were used to identify association between hydrological and social catchment features (forest cover, protection of riparian buffer strips, population density and urban areas). Our results suggest that overall water quality is higher during the dry season (higher values of dissolved oxygen and lower levels of total dissolved solids, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, chemical oxygen demand and temperature were observed). Water yield is positively related to forest cover and riparian buffer strips, becoming essential in maintaining water security for local populations. Major threats to water flux and their quality are related to human pressures and untreated wastewater discharges, which reduce water quality of the receiving rivers.
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Seagrasses worldwide are highly vulnerable to, and at increasing risk from reduced light availability, and robust light thresholds are required for evaluating future impacts of changing light conditions. We tested the morphological response (shoot density and growth) of four Indo-West Pacific seagrass species (Cymodocea serrulata, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis and Zostera muelleri) to six daily light levels ranging from 0 to 23molm−2d−1 (0–70% surface irradiance) in cool (∼23°C) and warm temperatures (∼28°C) over 14 weeks. The impact of light limitation on shoot densities and growth rates was higher at warm than at cool temperatures, and for Z. muelleri and H. ovalis than for C. serrulata and H. uninervis, in terms of both the time taken for the low light treatment to take effect and the predicted time to shoot loss (e.g. 17–143 days at 0molm−2d−1). Using fitted curves we estimated temperature-dependent thresholds (with estimates of uncertainty) for 50% and 80% protection of growth and shoot density, defined here as “potential light thresholds” in recognition that they were derived under experimental conditions. Potential light thresholds that maintained 50% and 80% of seagrass shoot density fell within the ranges 1.1–5.7molm−2d−1 and 3.8–10.4molm−2d−1, respectively, depending on temperature and species. Light thresholds calculated in separate in situ studies for two of the same species produced comparable results. We propose that the upper (rounded) values of 6molm−2d−1 and 10molm−2d−1 can be used as potential light thresholds for protecting 50% and 80% of shoot density for these four species over 14 weeks. As management guidelines should always be more conservative than thresholds for biological declines, we used error estimates to provide a quantitative method for converting potential light thresholds into guidelines that satisfy this criterion. The present study demonstrates a new approach to deriving potential light thresholds for acute impacts, describes how they can be applied in management guidelines and quantifies the timescales of seagrass decline in response to light limitation. This method can be used to further quantify cumulative impacts on potential light thresholds.
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The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is culled in many states because of the real and presumed damages it inflicts on farmed and recreational fisheries and other ecosystem services. Resident cormorant colonies breeding in the southeastern United States are protected in some areas, so it is important to distinguish these from co-occurring but unprotected migratory cormorants. Migratory P. auritus are likely to contain helminthic parasite communities that differ from those of non-migratory, resident birds, because they will encounter a wider variety of habitats and intermediate host communities during migrations. Here, we document five distinct assemblages of helminth parasites collected from 218 P. auritus culled from 11 sites in Alabama, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Vermont. The assemblages of P. auritus parasites are distinct among many sampling locations and can be used to correctly predict where a host cormorant has been feeding. We provide evidence for mixing of cormorants at a regional scale using discriminant analysis, which suggests there is a single population of migratory cormorants. Furthermore, our models strongly differentiate between migratory and resident P. auritus in the southeastern United States. In conjunction with species-by species latitudinal and longitudinal trends, our models could serve as effective tools for managers interested in both the population control of migratory cormorants and the conservation of non-migratory, resident birds. Finally, parasite counts per host are notoriously variable with many zeros and a few large numbers, leading many researchers to use simple prevalence in their analyses. We show that an intermediate level of data resolution, using species occurrence ranks within individual hosts, behaves well statistically and provides the greatest discrimination among distinct host groupings.
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