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Renewable fuel production, particularly grain-based ethanol, is expanding rapidly in the USA. Although subsidized grain-based ethanol may provide a competitively priced transportation fuel, concerns exist about potential environmental impacts. This contribution focuses on potential water quality implications of expanded grain-based ethanol production and potential impacts of perennial-grass–based cellulosic ethanol. Expanded grain-based ethanol will increase and intensify corn production. Even with recommended fertilizer and land conservation measures, corn acreage can be a major source of N loss to water (20–40 kg ha-1 yr-1). A greater acreage of corn is estimated to increase N and P loss to water by 37% (117 million...
Whitefish Lake, which is officially named Bardon Lake, is an oligotrophic, soft-water seepage lake in northwestern Wisconsin, and classified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an Outstanding Resource Water. Ongoing monitoring of the lake demonstrated that its water quality began to degrade (increased phosphorus and chlorophyll a concentrations) around 2002 following a period of high water level. To provide a better understanding of what caused the degradation in water quality, and provide information to better understand the lake and protect it from future degradation, the U.S. Geological Survey did a detailed study from 2004 to 2008. The goals of the study were to describe the past and present...
Streamflow declines on the Great Plains of the US are causing many Federal reservoirs to become profoundly inefficient, and will eventually drive them into unsustainability as negative annual reservoir water budgets become more common. The streamflow declines are historically related to groundwater mining, but since the mid-1980s correlate increasingly with climate. This study highlights that progression toward unsustainability, and shows that future climate change will continue streamflow declines at historical rates, with severe consequences for surface water supply. An object lesson is Optima Lake in the Oklahoma Panhandle, where streamflows have declined 99% since the 1960s and the reservoir has never been more...
Publicly available statistics regarding rural demographics, rural society and land use are presented and analysed using Geographic Information System (GIS). Our aim was to provide a quantitative basis for discussion of rural policy issues such as urban encroachment. Productivity (tonnage) of crop agriculture has increased by about 230% over 40 years while that of livestock (expressed as livestock units) has remained constant. Agricultural consolidation and intensification seen in southern Ontario has not translated into economic sustainability where on-farm income declined from 1991 to 2000. However, on-farm income in southern Quebec and municipalities adjacent to Toronto increased, perhaps due to the niche markets...
Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0088.1): A comprehensive understanding of the spatial, seasonal, and diurnal patterns in cloud cover frequency over the Hawaiian Islands was developed using high-resolution image data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The Terra and Aqua MODIS cloud mask products, which provide the confidence that a given 1-km pixel is unobstructed by cloud, were obtained for the entire MODIS time series (10-plus years) over the main Hawaiian Islands. Monthly statistics were generated from the daily cloud mask data, including mean cloud cover...
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174045): Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Drought, Drought, North Central CASC
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1752-1688.12304/abstract): The hydrologic response to statistically downscaled general circulation model simulations of daily surface climate and land cover through 2099 was assessed for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin located in the southeastern United States. Projections of climate, urbanization, vegetation, and surface-depression storage capacity were used as inputs to the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System to simulate projected impacts on hydrologic response. Surface runoff substantially increased when land cover change was applied. However, once the surface depression storage was added to mitigate the land cover change and increases...
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. The report can be explored interactively at http://nca2014.globalchange.gov.
Abstract (from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-13-00202.1): Traditional long-term (decadal) and large-scale (hundreds of kilometers) shoreline change modeling techniques, known as single transect, or ST, often overfit the data because they calculate shoreline statistics at closely spaced intervals along the shore. To reduce overfitting, recent work has used spatial basis functions such as polynomials, B splines, and principal components. Here, we explore an alternative to such basis functions by using regularization to reduce the dimension of the ST model space. In our regularized-ST method, traditional ST is an end member of a continuous spectrum of models. We use an evidence information criterion...
Abstract (from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep24441): The 170 National Forests and Grasslands (NFs) in the conterminous United States are public lands that provide important ecosystem services such as clean water and timber supply to the American people. This study investigates the potential impacts of climate change on two key ecosystem functions (i.e., water yield and ecosystem productivity) using the most recent climate projections derived from 20 Global Climate Models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We find that future climate change may result in a significant reduction in water yield but an increase in ecosystem productivity in NFs. On average, gross ecosystem productivity...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Northwest CASC, forests, grasslands
Abstract: P-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data at 5 m resolution from Kahiltna Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alaska Range, Alaska, USA, show pronounced spatial variation in penetration depth, δ P. We obtained δ P by differencing X- and P-band digital elevation models. δ P varied significantly over the glacier, but it was possible to distinguish representative zones. In the accumulation area, δ P decreased with decreasing elevation from 18±3 m in the percolation zone to 10±4 m in the wet snow zone. In the central portion of the ablation area, a location free of debris and crevasses, we identified a zone of very high δ P (34±4 m) which decreased at lower elevations (23±3 m in bare ice...
Agricultural nitrogen is a major contributor to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia, and research has shown that agricultural subsurface tile drainage is a major carrier of nitrogen from croplands to streams and rivers. This study compares the results of abating nitrogen under a retired-land minimization policy with those of a net revenue- maximizing policy, paying particular attention to the role of tile-drained land. Endings reveal the retirement-minimizing policy resulted in more tile-drained land being retired and less being fertilizer-managed than was optimal under the net-return maximizing policy. Also, it led to a greater economic burden being shouldered by tile- drained land. Under both cases, tile drainage dominated...
The use of conservation practices by agriculture in the United States will enhance soil organic carbon and potentially increase carbon sequestration. This, in turn, will decrease the net emission of carbon dioxide. A number of studies exist that calibrate the contribution of various individual, site-specific conservation practices on changes in soil organic carbon. There is a general absence, however, of a comprehensive effort to measure objectively the contribution of these practices including conservation tillage, the Conservation Reserve Program, and conservation buffer strips to an change in soil organic carbon. This paper fills that void. After recounting the evolution of the use of the various conservation...
Increased atmospheric CO sub(2) concentration and climate change may significantly impact the hydrological and meteorological processes of a watershed system. Quantifying and understanding hydrological responses to elevated ambient CO sub(2) and climate change is, therefore, critical for formulating adaptive strategies for an appropriate management of water resources. In this study, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was applied to assess the effects of increased CO sub(2) concentration and climate change in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB). The standard SWAT model was modified to represent more mechanistic vegetation type specific responses of stomatal conductance reduction and leaf area increase...
A study of the quality of ground water beneath irrigated cropland was completed for the northern and southern High Plains aquifer. Ground-water samples were collected from 30 water-table monitoring wells in the northern agricultural land-use (NAL) study area in Nebraska in 2004 and 29 water-table monitoring wells in the southern agricultural land-use (SAL) study area in Texas in 2003. The two study areas represented different agricultural and hydrogeologic settings. The primary crops grown in the NAL study area were corn and soybeans, and the primary crop in the SAL study area was cotton. Overall, pesticide and fertilizer application rates were larger in the NAL study area. Also, precipitation and recharge rates...