Impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Environmental Sciences: A Citation Analysis 1990-2007

Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 24, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 865-871

R. Casagrandi and G. Guariso

“Detecting trends on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the domain of environmental sciences is important to foresee new frontiers of modelling and software research. Here we analyze the impact of ICT in scientific papers published from 1990 to 2007 in all ISI journals and in those belonging to the Environmental Sciences category only. We thus determine some expanding, fluctuating or unexploited research directions. Quite unexpectedly, we find that the frequency of occurrence of many, yet not all, information technologies increased at significantly higher rates in the environmental studies than in the general sciences. We also contrast trends in the EMS journal to those of the entire domain and discuss differences in some details. Retrieving pertinent information for the comparison is certainly made difficult by some inconsistency in the use of keywords and the current lack of semantic oriented tools. Nevertheless, we find that this journal is leading the development on some research topics, like decision support systems or information systems.”

Gender Differences in Chronic Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution—A Simulation Study of Working Females and Males

The Professional Geographer, Volume 62, Issue 1 February 2010 , pages 66 – 83

Eleanor Setton; C. Peter Keller; Denise Cloutier-Fisher; Perry W. Hystad

“The objective of this study was to identify spatial variability in exposure to outdoor traffic-related air pollution with specific emphasis on comparing exposure estimates for working females and males across a metropolitan area. A spatial exposure simulation model was used to estimate annual average exposure to traffic-related nitrogen dioxide for males and females reporting regular work in census tracts other than that of their residence, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The model produced estimates of annual average exposure in six microenvironments (home indoor, work indoor, other indoor, outdoor, in-vehicle to work, and in-vehicle other) using time-activity patterns and work flow data, for males and females in each of 382 census tracts. This allowed for the identification of spatial variations in exposure estimates for each gender, due to mobility within the study region. Indoor sources of nitrogen dioxide were not included in the simulation. No significant differences in estimated total exposure were found between working females and males in general. Small but observable spatial differences, however, were found between working females and males at the 90th percentile of the exposure distributions associated specifically with the work indoor microenvironment. These were highest in suburban areas (+3 μ g/m3 for females, relative to total exposures in the range of 26 to 37 μ g/m3 annual average hourly nitrogen dioxide). These results identify specific geographic locations in the study area where personal monitoring studies might be warranted and suggest that the inclusion of workplace locations in multivariate modeling could be useful to further understand differences in estimated exposures.”

South Central Arc User Group Graduate Scholarship/Research Grant Applications Being Accepted Through 28 February 2010

The South Central Arc User Group (SCAUG) Graduate Scholarship/Research Grant has been created to:

  • assist in furthering the education of graduate students in geospatial sciences;
  • promote and support an increase of knowledge and proficiency of geospatial science in the SCAUG community;
  • recognize and encourage scholastic and professional accomplishments in the geospatial field; and
  • encourage the exemplary goals of students who are working toward their Masters of Doctoral degree in geospatial science.

Students may submit for either:

  • A scholarship to apply towards qualified tuition and related expenses; or
  • A research grant to be applied towards expenses related to an approved project

Applications and related documentation must be post marked by February 28, 2010 for consideration.

A Spatial Analysis of Gullies on Mars

Proceedings of the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2010)

L. Kincy, C. Currit, D. Butler, and S. Fuhrmann

“The possibility of life on Mars has intrigued people for over a century. A necessary re-quirement for life is water, a substance confirmed to exist on Mars. Gullies are features typically created by flowing water. Although Mars today is a desert planet, numerous geologically young gullies exist. The pres-ence of these gullies on the surface of other features, such as craters, suggests the gullies are young relative to the features on which they lie [1]. Many images of Martian gullies have been studied and compared to gullies on Earth to try to determine the origin of Mar-tian gullies. A gully is defined as a surficial feature having an alcove above a channel, and channels are typically associated with water [1].”

Disappearing Ducks? North America’s Prairie Potholes Vulnerable to Warming Climates

The loss of wetlands in the prairie pothole region of central North America due to a warmer and drier climate will negatively affect millions of waterfowl that depend on the region for food, shelter and raising young, according to research published today in the journal BioScience.

The new research shows that the region appears to be much more sensitive to climate warming and drying than previously thought.

“The impact to the millions of wetlands that attract countless ducks to these breeding grounds in spring makes it difficult to imagine how to maintain today’s level of waterfowl populations in altered climate conditions,” said Dr. Glenn Guntenspergen, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher and one of the report authors. “Parents may not have time to raise their young to where they can fly because of wetlands drying up too quickly in the warming climate of the future,” he added.

A new wetland model developed by the authors to understand the impacts of climate change on wetlands in the prairie pothole region projected major reductions in water volume, shortening of the time water remains in wetlands and changes to wetland vegetation dynamics in this 800,000-square kilometer region in the United States (North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and Iowa) and Canada.

Many wetland species — such as waterfowl and amphibians — require a minimum time in water to complete their life cycles. For example, most dabbling ducks — such as mallards and teal– require at least 80 to 110 days of surface water for their young to grow to where they can fly and for breeding adults to complete molting, the time when birds are flightless while growing new feathers. In addition, an abundance of wetlands are needed because breeding waterfowl typically isolate themselves from others of the same species.

“Unfortunately, the model simulations show that under forecasted climate-change scenarios for this region (an increase of 4-degrees Celsius), the western prairie potholes will be too dry and the eastern ones will have too few functional wetlands and nesting habitat to support historical levels of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species,” said Dr. W. Carter Johnson, another study author and a researcher at South Dakota State University.

The authors noted that their model allowed a more comprehensive analysis of climate change impacts across the northern prairies because it simultaneously examined the hydrology and vegetation dynamics of the wetland complex, which are both important for the wildlife that depend on the prairie potholes for part or all of their life cycles.

“Our results indicate that the prairie wetlands are highly vulnerable to climate warming, and are less resilient than we previously believed,” said Guntenspergen. “All but the very wettest of the historic boom years for waterfowl production in the more arid parts of the prairie pothole region may be bust years in a 4-degrees Celsius warmer climate.”

These findings may serve as a foundation for managers and policy makers to develop management plans to prepare for and adapt to climate change in the prairie pothole region.

The article, Prairie wetland complexes as landscape functional units in a changing climate, was published in BioScience (60[2]:128-140) and authored by researchers with South Dakota State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Montana, St. Olaf College, The Desert Research Institute-University of Nevada, and the University of Idaho.

USGS, in partnership with the University of Idaho and South Dakota State University.

[Source: USGS press release]

GEO Announces Call for Participation in GEOSS Pilot

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC®) announces a Call for Participation (CFP) in Phase 3 of the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) Architecture Implementation Pilot (AIP) issued by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The CFP documents are available at: http://earthobservations.org/geoss_call_aip.shtml.

AIP-3 will build on previous project phases and is coordinated with other GEO Tasks. Specific areas of emphasis for AIP-3 include increasing the capacity for GEOSS to support Societal Benefit Areas; building on the AIP Service Architecture and the GEOSS Common Infrastructure; and increasing availability of data in GEOSS in accordance with the GEOSS Data Sharing Guidelines. AIP-3 will be conducted in 2010 with support to the Earth Observation Summit, November 2010.

The AIP-3 CFP invites GEO Members and Participating Organizations to participate in activities involving: registering components and services; testing of services; and participating in refinement of Societal Benefit Area scenarios to guide testing, demonstrations and operations of the identified interoperable services.

CFP responses are requested by 3 March 2010. Organizations responding to the CFP should plan to attend the kickoff workshop to begin development of AIP-3 to be held 11-12 March 2010, at the European Space Agency facility in Frascati, Italy.

Discussion and clarification of the CFP will be the topic of several teleconferences before the Kickoff Workshop. Agenda and logistics for these teleconferences are posted at http://www.ogcnetwork.net/AIPtelecons.

The point of contact for the AIP task is George Percivall percivall@opengeospatial.org.

The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 385 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org.

GEO (Group on Earth Observations) is a voluntary partnership of 124 governments and international organizations, launched in response to calls for action by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and by the G8 (Group of Eight) leading industrialized countries. GEO is coordinating efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS. See http://earthobservations.org/about_geo.shtml.

[Source: OGC press release]