A Spatio-temporal Modelling Framework for Assessing the Fluctuations of Avalanche Occurrence Resulting from Climate Change

Application to 60 Years of Data in the Northern French Alps

Climatic Change, published online 25 November 2009

Nicolas Eckert, E. Parent, R. Kies, and H. Baya1

“Based on a previous township-scale model, a spatio-temporal framework is proposed to study the fluctuations of avalanche occurrence possibly resulting from climate change. The regional annual component is isolated from the total variability using a two-factor nonlinear analysis of variance. Moreover, relying on a Conditional AutoRegressive sub-model for the spatial effects, the structured time trend is distinguished from the random noise with different time series sub-models including autocorrelative, periodic and change-point models. The hierarchical structure obtained takes into account the uncertainty related to the estimation of the annual component for the quantification of the time trend. Bayesian inference is performed using Monte Carlo simulations. This allows a comparison of the different time series models and the prediction of future activity in an explicit unsteady context. Application to the northern French Alps illustrates the information provided by the model’s different components, mainly the spatial and temporal terms as well as the spatio-temporal fluctuation of the relative risk. For instance, it shows no strong modifications in mean avalanche activity or in the number of winters of low or high activity over the last 60 years. This suggests that climate change has recently had little impact on the avalanching rhythm in this region. However, significant temporal patterns are highlighted: a complex combination of abrupt changes and pseudo-periodic cycles of approximately 15 years. For anticipating the future response of snow avalanches to climate change, correlating them with fluctuations of the constraining climatic factors is now necessary.”

Greenprint Maryland: Web-enabled Map Shows the Relative Ecological Importance of Every Parcel of Land in the State

“Greenprint Maryland is a first in the nation web-enabled map showing the relative ecological importance of every parcel of land in the State.

“Combining color-coded maps, information layers, and ariel photography with public openness and transparency, Greenprint Maryland applies the best environmental science and geographic information systems to the urgent work of preserving and protecting environmentally critical lands.

“A valuable new tool not only for making land conservation decisions today, but for building a broader and better informed public consensus for sustainable growth and land preservation decisions into the future.”

Solar Potential for the Solar Photovoltaic Roof Integration System in China Explored by the Geographic Information System

International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 2009 – Vol. 31, No.1 pp. 50 – 60

Xinping Zhou, Jiakuan Yang, Xudong Yuan, Bo Xiao, and Guoxiang Hou

“This paper estimates the potential solar power for the solar photovoltaic Roof Integration System (RIS) using the Geographic Information System (GIS) method, taking into account the geographic distribution of solar irradiation and the estimate of costs for the RIS and identifies the distribution of potential solar energy radiating on the RIS and power. The total urban roof area is estimated to be 2957 million square metres by assuming five-story buildings. Based on the conversion efficiency of the RIS from solar energy to electric power that reached about 14%, the total potential power of this system in the urban regions of China can attain about 1.9 × 1018 J, thus lessening the cumulative emission at approximately 5.3 × 108 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Also, the results show that the west is the most suitable region for the RIS, where the highest electricity cost can be reached owing to the most intense irradiation. However, this large need of power will counteract the high cost induced by low irradiation to promote the application of the RIS in eastern China, where the cost of electricity is the highest.”

Global Urban Land-use Trends and Climate Impacts

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2009, Pages 89-95

Karen C Seto and J Marshall Shepherd

“In 2008, the global urban population exceeded the nonrural population for the first time in history, and it is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world population will live in urban areas, with more than half of them concentrated in Asia. Although there are projections of future urban population growth, there is significantly less information about how these changes in demographics correspond with changes in urban extent. Urban land-use and land-cover changes have considerable impacts on climate. It has been well established that the urban heat island effect is more significant during the night than day and that it is affected by the shape, size, and geometry of buildings as well as the differences in urban and rural gradients. Recent research points to mounting evidence that urbanization also affects cycling of water, carbon, aerosols, and nitrogen in the climate system. This review highlights advances in the understanding of urban land-use trends and associated climate impacts, concentrating on peer-reviewed papers that have been published over the last two years.”

Using GIS for Modelling the Impact of Current Climate Trend on the Recharge Area of the S. Susanna Spring, Central Apennines, Italy

Hydrological Processes, Volume 24, Issue 1, Date: 1 January 2010, Pages: 50-64

M. Spadoni, M. Brilli, F. Giustini, M. Petitta

“Though the S. Susanna spring system is one of the biggest water sources in the central Apennines, its hydrogeological dynamics have been scarcely investigated. This study tried to clarify some of the factors controlling the recharge/discharge processes of this spring by modelling the available climate series, water balance equations and new isotopic and quantitative data, using statistical and raster overlay functions embedded in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic data were recorded monthly over a 2-year period at the spring itself and in eight rain gauges in Reatini Mountains. The effective infiltration rate was calculated using the Kennessey coefficients and the Turc equation. Finally, the recharge area was identified with the help of an expert evaluation procedure. Local 18O and D versus altitude regression curves were used to validate the digital recharge model by comparing their expected values with the values actually measured.

“Recharge process was framed within the perspective of the ongoing local climate trends. The current discharge rate of 4·1 m3·s-1 is significantly lower than the average value of 5·5 m3·s-1 measured up to the 1980s, confirming the fall in the recharge/discharge rate. The hydrogeological system shows a delayed response, due to an average groundwater residence time in the aquifer, which is estimated to be about 15/20 years on the basis of the offset between calculated and observed isotope data at the main spring. For this reason the system is presently not equilibrated and is gradually changing towards a final equilibrium discharge estimated in about 3·4 m3·s-1.”

Mission Architecture Decision Support System for Robotic Lunar Exploration

Planetary and Space Science, Volume 57, Issue 12, October 2009, Pages 1434-1445

P. Weiss and K.L. Yung

“It is common practice in the landing site decision process for planetary or lunar exploration to limit the choice of sites to locations that strictly meet the technical and safety requirements of the lander. The science objective is ultimately implemented within the operational requirements of the mission strategy.

“In this paper, we present a study that derives the technical requirements of the landing strategy by considering proposed landing sites. The study reviewed the objectives of the future robotic exploration of the Moon and proposed targets from the Apollo era to our time. Three types of strategies are defined, namely, rover missions, immobile landing stations, and impacting probes. The capabilities and restrictions of each system are taken into account and compared to the science objectives of the proposed landing sites. A Geographic Information System (GIS) with lunar datasets was developed and the methodology was implemented. The study concludes with a description of the resulting mission scenarios that were assigned to the targets. The technical requirements for each landing system to fulfil these scientific objectives are derived and the feasibility, based on the technological readiness, is discussed.”

Bird Diversity Modeling Using Geostatistics and GIS

Presented at the 12th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Hannover, Germany, 2009

Abdulhakim Abdi and Anand Nandipati

“Portugal has a diverse landscape that provides a variety of habitats for birds. Many species of birds that breed in Portugal migrate south in the autumn and return in the spring. Portugal also serves as a wintering ground for several northern species. Since migrating bird species sometimes cover long distances and several habitats, they can serve as indicators of the overall health of the environment. This study investigate the possibility of using geostatistics to predict the diversity of bird species over a given area and using these predictions as a basis for the conservation of ecosystems. The study involves the use of 2007 data from the Portuguese common bird census conducted by Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA) and using European Environmental Agency’s CORINE Land Cover classification. Geostatistical interpolation techniques were used to build prediction models. GIS was used to extract both habitat information and the predicted diversity values. The results showed the habitat preferences based on the predictions. The combination of diversity modeling and habitat characterization can be used to aid conservation efforts in identifying key habitats of importance for each category. The study will also conduct comparative analysis of the interpolators and an assessment of their accuracy.”