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  • Journal article
    Dehbi HM, Blangiardo M, Gulliver J, Fecht D, de Hoogh K, Al-Kanaani Z, Tillin T, Hardy R, Chaturvedi N, Hansell ALet al., 2016,

    Air pollution and cardiovascular mortality with over 25 years follow-up: A combined analysis of two British cohorts

    , Environment International, Vol: 99, Pages: 275-281, ISSN: 1873-6750

    BACKGROUND: Adverse effects of air pollution on cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality are well established. There are comparatively fewer studies in Europe, and in the UK particularly, than in North America. We examined associations in two British cohorts with >25years of follow-up. METHODS: Annual average NO2, SO2 and black smoke (BS) air pollution exposure estimates for 1991 were obtained from land use regression models using contemporaneous monitoring data. From the European Study of Cohorts and Air Pollution (ESCAPE), air pollution estimates in 2010-11 were obtained for NO2, NOx, PM10, PMcoarse and PM2.5. The exposure estimates were assigned to place of residence 1989 for participants in a national birth cohort born in 1946, the MRC National Study of Health and Development (NSHD), and an adult multi-ethnic London cohort, Southall and Brent Revisited (SABRE) recruited 1988-91. The combined median follow-up was 26years. Single-pollutant competing risk models were employed, adjusting for individual risk factors. RESULTS: Elevated non-significant hazard ratios for CVD mortality were seen with 1991 BS and SO2 and with ESCAPE PM10 and PM2.5 in fully adjusted linear models. Per 10μg/m(3) increase HRs were 1.11 [95% CI: 0.76-1.61] for BS, 1.05 [95% CI: 0.91-1.22] for SO2, 1.16 [95% CI: 0.70-1.92] for PM10 and 1.30 [95% CI: 0.39-4.34] for PM2.5, with largest effects seen in the fourth quartile of BS and PM2.5 compared to the first with HR 1.24 [95% CI: 0.91-1.61] and 1.21 [95% CI: 0.88-1.66] respectively. There were no consistent associations with other ESCAPE pollutants, or with 1991 NO2. Modelling using Cox regression led to similar results. CONCLUSION: Our results support a detrimental long-term effect for air pollutants on cardiovascular mortality.

  • Journal article
    Porter RTJ, Fairweather M, Kolster C, Mac Dowell N, Shah N, Woolley RMet al., 2016,

    Cost and performance of some carbon capture technology options for producing different quality CO2 product streams

    , International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Vol: 57, Pages: 185-195, ISSN: 1750-5836

    A techno-economic assessment of power plants with CO2 capture technologies with a focus on process scenarios that deliver different grades of CO2 product purity is presented. The three leading CO2 capture technologies are considered, namely; oxyfuel combustion, pre-combustion and post-combustion capture. The study uses a combination of process simulation of flue gas cleaning processes, modelling with a power plant cost and performance calculator and literature values of key performance criteria in order to evaluate the performance, cost and CO2 product purity of the considered CO2 capture options. For oxyfuel combustion capture plants, three raw CO2 flue gas processing strategies of compression and dehydration only, double flash system purification and distillation purification are considered. Analysis of pre-combustion capture options is based on integrated gasification combined cycle plants using physical solvent systems for capturing CO2 and sulfur species via three routes; co-capture of sulfur impurities with the CO2 stream using Selexol™ solvent, separate capture of CO2 and sulfur impurities using Selexol™, and Rectisol® solvent systems for separate capture of sulfur impurities and CO2. Analysis of post-combustion capture plants was made with and without some conventional pollution control devices. The results highlight the wide variation in CO2 product purity for different oxyfuel combustion capture scenarios and the wide cost variation for the pre-combustion capture scenarios. The post-combustion capture plant with conventional pollution control devices offers high CO2 purity (99.99 mol%) for average cost of considered technologies. The calculations performed will be of use in further analyses of whole chain CCS for the safe and economic capture, transport and storage of CO2.

  • Journal article
    Rathgeber F, Ham DA, Mitchell L, Lange M, Luporini F, McRae ATT, Bercea GT, Markall GR, Kelly PHJet al., 2016,

    Firedrake: Automating the finite element method by composing abstractions

    , ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, Vol: 43, ISSN: 0098-3500

    Firedrake is a new tool for automating the numerical solution of partial differential equations. Firedrake adopts the domain-specific language for the finite element method of the FEniCS project, but with a pure Python runtime-only implementation centered on the composition of several existing and new abstractions for particular aspects of scientific computing. The result is a more complete separation of concerns that eases the incorporation of separate contributions from computer scientists, numerical analysts, and application specialists. These contributions may add functionality or improve performance. Firedrake benefits from automatically applying new optimizations. This includes factorizing mixed function spaces, transforming and vectorizing inner loops, and intrinsically supporting block matrix operations. Importantly, Firedrake presents a simple public API for escaping the UFL abstraction. This allows users to implement common operations that fall outside of pure variational formulations, such as flux limiters.

  • Journal article
    Schaeffer N, Grimes SM, Cheeseman CR, 2016,

    Use of extraction chromatography in the recycling of critical metals from thin film Leach solutions

    , Inorganica Chimica Acta, Vol: 457, Pages: 53-58, ISSN: 1873-3255

    Phosphors and optoelectronic thin film electronic device layers contain critical metals including lanthanides and indium that should be recycled. Solvent impregnated resins (SIRs) containing (i) DEHPA (ii) DODGAA and (iii) DODGAA with the ionic liquid [C4mim][Tf2N] are investigated in extraction chromatography methodologies to recover and separate critical metals from dilute solutions that model those leached from thin films. Optimum adsorption of metals occurs at pH 1.5-3.5 but is highest on DODGAA-[C4mim][Tf2N]. The recovery and separation of adsorbed metal species on the DODGAA-[C4mim][Tf2N] SIR resin from solutions containing the glass matrix ions, Ca(II) and Al(III), along with In(III) and Sn(IV) or lanthanide ions is achieved by elution with HNO3. Ca(II) and Al(III) are completely eluted with 0.1M HNO3 retaining the target critical metal species on the resin. Separation of In from Sn is achieved by elution of In(III) with 2.5M HNO3 and Sn(IV) with 5M acid. La is separated from the other lanthanides by elution of La(III) with 2.5M HNO3 and the remaining lanthanides with 5M acid. The SIR resins can be reused over a series of at least five cycles of loading,stripping, and rinsing to reduce reagent costs and achieve economic critical metal recovery byextraction chromatography.

  • Journal article
    Hellweger FL, van Sebille E, Calfee BC, Chandler JW, Zinser ER, Swan BK, Fredrick NDet al., 2016,

    The role of ocean currents in the temperature selection of plankton: insights from an individual-based model.

    , PLOS One, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1932-6203

    Biogeography studies that correlate the observed distribution of organisms to environmental variables are typically based on local conditions. However, in cases with substantial translocation, like planktonic organisms carried by ocean currents, selection may happen upstream and local environmental factors may not be representative of those that shaped the local population. Here we use an individual-based model of microbes in the global surface ocean to explore this effect for temperature. We simulate up to 25 million individual cells belonging to up to 50 species with different temperature optima. Microbes are moved around the globe based on a hydrodynamic model, and grow and die based on local temperature. We quantify the role of currents using the "advective temperature differential" metric, which is the optimum temperature of the most abundant species from the model with advection minus that from the model without advection. This differential depends on the location and can be up to 4°C. Poleward-flowing currents, like the Gulf Stream, generally experience cooling and the differential is positive. We apply our results to three global datasets. For observations of optimum growth temperature of phytoplankton, accounting for the effect of currents leads to a slightly better agreement with observations, but there is large variability and the improvement is not statistically significant. For observed Prochlorococcus ecotype ratios and metagenome nucleotide divergence, accounting for advection improves the correlation significantly, especially in areas with relatively strong poleward or equatorward currents.

  • Journal article
    Chen SS, Sun Y, Tsang DC, Graham NJ, Ok YS, Feng Y, Li XDet al., 2016,

    Potential impact of flowback water from hydraulic fracturing on agricultural soil quality: metal/metalloid bioaccessibility, Microtox bioassay, and enzyme activities

    , Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 579, Pages: 1419-1429, ISSN: 0048-9697

    Hydraulic fracturing has advanced the development of shale gas extraction, while inadvertent spills of flowback water may pose a risk to the surrounding environment due to its high salt content, metals/metalloids (As, Se, Fe and Sr), and organic additives. This study investigated the potential impact of flowback water on four representative soils from shale gas regions in Northeast China using synthetic flowback solutions. The compositions of the solutions were representative of flowback water arising at different stages after fracturing well establishment. The effects of solution composition of flowback water on soil ecosystem were assessed in terms of metal mobility and bioaccessibility, as well as biological endpoints using Microtox bioassay (Vibrio fischeri) and enzyme activity tests. After one-month artificial aging of the soils with various flowback solutions, the mobility and bioaccessibility of As(V) and Se(VI) decreased as the ionic strength of the flowback solutions increased. The results inferred a stronger binding affinity of As(V) and Se(VI) with the soils. Nevertheless, the soil toxicity to Vibrio fischeri only presented a moderate increase after aging, while dehydrogenase and phosphomonoesterase activities were significantly suppressed with increasing ionic strength of flowback solutions. On the contrary, polyacrylamide in the flowback solutions led to higher dehydrogenase activity. These results indicated that soil enzyme activities were sensitive to the composition of flowback solutions. A preliminary human health risk assessment related to As(V) suggested a low level of cancer risk through exposure via ingestion, while holistic assessment of environmental implications is required.

  • Journal article
    Prentice IC, Rogers A, Medlyn BE, Dukes JS, Bonan G, von Caemmerer S, Dietze MC, Kattge J, Leakey ADB, Mercado LM, Niinemets Ü, Serbin SP, Sitch S, Way DA, Zaehle Set al., 2016,

    A roadmap for improving the representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models

    , New Phytologist, Vol: 213, Pages: 22-42, ISSN: 1469-8137

    Accurate representation of photosynthesis in terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) is essential for robust projections of global change. However, current representations vary markedly between TBMs, contributing uncertainty to projections of global carbon fluxes. ● Here we compared the representation of photosynthesis in seven TBMs by examining leaf and canopy level responses of A to key environmental variables: light, temperature,carbon dioxide concentration, vapor pressure deficit and soil water content. ● We identified research areas where limited process knowledge prevents inclusion ofphysiological phenomena in current TBMs and research areas where data are urgently needed for model parameterization or evaluation.● We provide a roadmap for new science needed to improve the representation ofphotosynthesis in the next generation of terrestrial biosphere and Earth System Models.

  • Journal article
    Madani K, Pierce TW, Mirchi A, 2016,

    Serious games on environmental management

    , Sustainable Cities and Society, Vol: 29, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2210-6707

    Serious environmental management games can improve understanding of practical environmental sustainability challenges by offering opportunities to obtain first-hand experiences that may be otherwise too costly, difficult or dangerous to reproduce in reality. Game-based learning (GBL) has been found to increase soft skills, such as critical thinking, creative problem solving and teamwork, as well as to improve cognitive development, learning retention and social learning, which are important for future environmental researchers and professionals. Environmental management games can be applied in educational settings to promote awareness about sustainable resource planning and management among citizens who are increasingly exposed to products of the information age. This paper provides an overview of game-based learning and the state of serious games (SG) for environmental management, offering insight into their potential as effective tools in facilitating environmental education. SGs have been shown to possess numerous qualities that have been connected with improved learning experiences and cognitive development, but research must continue to study the SGs’ efficacy. Shortcomings found with games reviewed are that few evaluate or explain pedagogical foundation, and many are hard to implement or not accessible. Methods employed in determining the effectiveness of SGs vary greatly among environmental studies, necessitating a standardized methodology to reduce disparities in testing procedures. Furthermore, a centralized source, effectively an online database for SGs, is needed for locating and obtaining information pertaining to the available environmental games and their most appropriate applications.

  • Journal article
    Ritson JP, Bell M, Brazier RE, Grand-Clement E, Graham NJD, Freeman C, Smith DM, Templeton MR, Clark JMet al., 2016,

    Managing peatland vegetation for drinking water treatment

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2045-2322

    Peatland ecosystem servicesinclude drinking water provision, flood mitigation, habitat provision and carbon sequestration. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal is a key treatment process for the supply of potablewaterdownstream frompeat-dominated catchments. A transition from peat-forming Sphagnummoss to vascular plants has been observed in peatlands degraded by (a) land management, (b) atmospheric deposition and (c) climate change. Herewithinwe show that the presence of vascular plants with higherannual above-ground biomass productionleads to a seasonaladdition of labileplantmaterialinto the peatland ecosystemaslitter recalcitranceis lower. The net effect willbe asmaller litter carbon pool dueto higher rates of decomposition, and a greater seasonal pattern of DOC flux. Conventional water treatment involving coagulation-flocculation-sedimentation may be impeded byvascularplant-derivedDOC. It has been shown thatvascularplant-derived DOC is more difficult to remove via these methodsthan DOC derived from Sphagnum, whilst also being less susceptible to microbial mineralisation before reaching the treatment works. These results provide evidence that practices aimed at re-establishing Sphagnummoss on degraded peatlands could reduce costs and improve efficacy at water treatment works, offering an alternative to ‘end-of-pipe’ solutionsthrough management of ecosystem service provision.

  • Journal article
    Baran D, Ashraf RS, Hanifi DA, Abdelsamie M, Gasparini N, Röhr JA, Holliday S, Wadsworth A, Lockett S, Neophytou M, Emmott CJ, Nelson J, Brabec CJ, Amassian A, Salleo A, Kirchartz T, Durrant JR, McCulloch Iet al., 2016,

    Reducing the efficiency-stability-cost gap of organic photovoltaics with highly efficient and stable small molecule acceptor ternary solar cells.

    , Nature Materials, Vol: 16, Pages: 363-369, ISSN: 1476-4660

    Technological deployment of organic photovoltaic modules requires improvements in device light-conversion efficiency and stability while keeping material costs low. Here we demonstrate highly efficient and stable solar cells using a ternary approach, wherein two non-fullerene acceptors are combined with both a scalable and affordable donor polymer, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), and a high-efficiency, low-bandgap polymer in a single-layer bulk-heterojunction device. The addition of a strongly absorbing small molecule acceptor into a P3HT-based non-fullerene blend increases the device efficiency up to 7.7 ± 0.1% without any solvent additives. The improvement is assigned to changes in microstructure that reduce charge recombination and increase the photovoltage, and to improved light harvesting across the visible region. The stability of P3HT-based devices in ambient conditions is also significantly improved relative to polymer:fullerene devices. Combined with a low-bandgap donor polymer (PBDTTT-EFT, also known as PCE10), the two mixed acceptors also lead to solar cells with 11.0 ± 0.4% efficiency and a high open-circuit voltage of 1.03 ± 0.01 V.

  • Journal article
    Manap N, Voulvoulis N, 2016,

    Data analysis for environmental impact of dredging

    , Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol: 137, Pages: 394-404, ISSN: 0959-6526

    The aim of this paper is twofold; first is to identify the environmental impact of dredging related to water and sediment quality; and second is to identify the main factors determining the environmental impact of dredging. The method of this research is data analysis using historical dredging data from three dredging projects performed from 2006 to 2008 at two connected rivers in Perak, Malaysia. The indices measured to identify the impact include: total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, biochemical oxygen demand, pH, total organic content, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. The factors are then identified through determination of relationships between concentration levels in sediment and water and identification of patterns of impact in the water and caged fish during dredging activities. The results of the analysis show that dredging performed in these rivers has an impact on the environment. The impact includes an increase in levels of most of the monitored indices, including dissolved oxygen and metal concentrations in highly contaminated areas. The main factors associated with the environmental impacts of dredging are the contamination level of the sediment and the contamination level of the neighbouring area, aspects that are the main scientific value added by this paper. This paper draws conclusions regarding the importance of two analyses prior to commencement of dredging: sediment quality analysis and analysis of contamination level in the neighbouring area prior to dredging. The results of this paper could help to better anticipate the environmental impact of dredging and allow for suitable mitigation measures to be identified, especially for developing countries such as Malaysia.

  • Journal article
    Wang H, Prentice IC, Davis TW, Keenan TF, Wright IJ, Peng Cet al., 2016,

    Photosynthetic responses to altitude: an explanation based on optimality principles

    , New Phytologist, Vol: 213, Pages: 976-982, ISSN: 1469-8137
  • Journal article
    Zulkafli Z, Perez K, Vitolo C, Buytaert W, Karpouzoglou T, Dewulf A, De Bièvre B, Clark J, Hannah DM, Shaheed Set al., 2016,

    User-driven design of decision support systems for polycentric environmental resources management

    , Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol: 88, Pages: 58-73, ISSN: 1364-8152

    Open and decentralized technologies such as the Internet provide increasing opportunities to create knowledge and deliver computer-based decision support for multiple types of users across scales. However, environmental decision support systems/tools (henceforth EDSS) are often strongly science-driven and assuming single types of decision makers, and hence poorly suited for more decentralized and polycentric decision making contexts. In such contexts, EDSS need to be tailored to meet diverse user requirements to ensure that it provides useful (relevant), usable (intuitive), and exchangeable (institutionally unobstructed) information for decision support for different types of actors. To address these issues, we present a participatory framework for designing EDSS that emphasizes a more complete understanding of the decision making structures and iterative design of the user interface. We illustrate the application of the framework through a case study within the context of water-stressed upstream/downstream communities in Lima, Peru.

  • Journal article
    Chiong MS, Rajoo S, Romagnoli A, Costall AW, Martinez-Botas RFet al., 2016,

    One-dimensional pulse-flow modeling of a twin-scroll turbine

    , Energy, Vol: 115, ISSN: 0360-5442

    This paper presents a revised one-dimensional (1D) pulse flow modeling of twin-scroll turbocharger turbine under pulse flow operating conditions. The proposed methodology in this paper provides further consideration for the turbine partial admission performance during model characterization. This gives rise to significant improvement on the model pulse flow prediction quality compared to the previous model. The results show that a twin-scroll turbine is not operating at full admission throughout the in-phase pulse flow conditions. Instead, they are operating at unequal admission state due to disparity in the magnitude of turbine inlet flow. On the other hand, during out-of-phase pulse flow, a twin-scroll turbine is working at partial admission state for majority of the pulse cycle. An amended mathematical correlation in calculating the twin-scroll turbine partial admission characteristics is also presented in the paper. The impact of its accuracy on the pulse flow model prediction is explored.

  • Journal article
    Watts N, Adger WN, Ayeb-Karlsson S, Bai Y, Byass P, Campbell-Lendrum D, Colbourn T, Cox P, Davies M, Depledge M, Depoux A, Dominguez-Salas P, Drummond P, Ekins P, Flahault A, Grace D, Graham H, Haines A, Hamilton I, Johnson A, Kelman I, Kovats S, Liang L, Lott M, Lowe R, Luo Y, Mace G, Maslin M, Morrissey K, Murray K, Neville T, Nilsson M, Oreszczyn T, Parthemore C, Pencheon D, Robinson E, Schuette S, Shumake-Guillemot J, Vineis P, Wilkinson P, Wheeler N, Xu B, Yang J, Yin Y, Yu C, Gong P, Montgomery H, Costello Aet al., 2016,

    The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change

    , LANCET, Vol: 389, Pages: 1151-1164, ISSN: 0140-6736
  • Journal article
    Read L, Madani K, Mokhtari S, Hanks Cet al., 2016,

    Stakeholder-driven multi-attribute analysis for energy project selection under uncertainty

    , Energy, Vol: 119, Pages: 744-753, ISSN: 0360-5442

    In practice, selecting an energy project for development requires balancing criteria and competing stakeholder priorities to identify the best alternative. Energy source selection can be modeled as multi-criteria decision-maker problems to provide quantitative support to reconcile technical, economic, environmental, social, and political factors with respect to the stakeholders' interests. Decision making among these complex interactions should also account for the uncertainty present in the input data. In response, this work develops a stochastic decision analysis framework to evaluate alternatives by involving stakeholders to identify both quantitative and qualitative selection criteria and performance metrics which carry uncertainties. The developed framework is illustrated using a case study from Fairbanks, Alaska, where decision makers and residents must decide on a new source of energy for heating and electricity. We approach this problem in a five step methodology: (1) engaging experts (role players) to develop criteria of project performance; (2) collecting a range of quantitative and qualitative input information to determine the performance of each proposed solution according to the selected criteria; (3) performing a Monte-Carlo analysis to capture uncertainties given in the inputs; (4) applying multi-criteria decision-making, social choice (voting), and fallback bargaining methods to account for three different levels of cooperation among the stakeholders; and (5) computing an aggregate performance index (API) score for each alternative based on its performance across criteria and cooperation levels. API scores communicate relative performance between alternatives. In this way, our methodology maps uncertainty from the input data to reflect risk in the decision and incorporates varying degrees of cooperation into the analysis to identify an optimal and practical alternative.

  • Journal article
    Hdidouan D, Staffell IL, 2016,

    The impact of climate change on the levelised cost of wind energy

    , Renewable Energy, Vol: 101, Pages: 575-592, ISSN: 1879-0682

    Society's dependence on weather systems has broadened to include electricity generation from wind turbines. Climate change is altering energy flows in the atmosphere, which will affect the economic potential of wind power. Changes to wind resources and their upstream impacts on the energy industry have received limited academic attention, despite their risks earning interest from investors.We propose a framework for assessing the impact of climate change on the cost of wind energy, going from the change in hourly wind speed distributions from radiative forcing through to energy output and levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from wind farms. The paper outlines the proof of concept for this framework, exploring the limitations of global climate models for assessing wind resources, and a novel Weibull transfer function to characterise the climate signal.The framework is demonstrated by considering the UK's wind resources to 2100. Results are mixed: capacity factors increase in some regions and decrease in others, while the year-to-year variation generally increases. This highlights important financial and risk impacts which can be adopted into policy to enhance energy system resilience to the impacts of climate change. We call for greater emphasis to be placed on modelling wind resources in climate science.

  • Journal article
    Boldrin P, Ruiz Trejo E, Mermelstein J, Bermudez Menendez J, Ramirez Reina T, Brandon Net al.,

    Strategies for carbon and sulfur tolerant solid oxide fuel cell materials, incorporating lessons from heterogeneous catalysis

    , Chemical Reviews, Vol: 116, Pages: 13633-13684, ISSN: 1520-6890

    Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a rapidly emerging energy technology for a low carbon world, providing high efficiency, potential to use carbonaceous fuels and compatibility with carbon capture and storage. However, current state-of-the-art materials have low tolerance to sulfur, a common contaminant of many fuels, and are vulnerable to deactivation due to carbon deposition when using carbon-containing compounds. In this review we first study the theoretical basis behind carbon and sulfur poisoning, before examining the strategies towards carbon and sulfur tolerance used so far in the SOFC literature. We then study the more extensive relevant heterogeneous catalysis literature for strategies and materials which could be incorporated into carbon and sulfur tolerant fuel cells.

  • Journal article
    Keenan TF, Prentice IC, Canadell JG, Williams CA, Wang H, Raupach M, Collatz GJet al., 2016,

    Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake.

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2041-1723

    Terrestrial ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle and offset a large fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The terrestrial carbon sink is increasing, yet the mechanisms responsible for its enhancement, and implications for the growth rate of atmospheric CO2, remain unclear. Here using global carbon budget estimates, ground, atmospheric and satellite observations, and multiple global vegetation models, we report a recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2, and a decline in the fraction of anthropogenic emissions that remain in the atmosphere, despite increasing anthropogenic emissions. We attribute the observed decline to increases in the terrestrial sink during the past decade, associated with the effects of rising atmospheric CO2 on vegetation and the slowdown in the rate of warming on global respiration. The pause in the atmospheric CO2 growth rate provides further evidence of the roles of CO2 fertilization and warming-induced respiration, and highlights the need to protect both existing carbon stocks and regions, where the sink is growing rapidly.

  • Journal article
    Stevens T, Madani K, 2016,

    Future climate impacts on maize farming and food security in Malawi

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2045-2322

    Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy and maize is the most important crop for food security. As a Least Developed Country (LDC), adverse effects of climate change (CC) on agriculture in Malawi are expected to be significant. We examined the impacts of CC on maize production and food security in Malawi’s dominant cereal producing region, Lilongwe District. We used five Global Circulation Models (GCMs) to make future (2011 to 2100) rainfall and temperature projections and simulated maize yields under these projections. Our future rainfall projections did not reveal a strong increasing or decreasing trend, but temperatures are expected to increase. Our crop modelling results, for the short-term future, suggest that maize farming might benefit from CC. However, faster crop growth could worsen Malawi’s soil fertility problem. Increasing temperature could drive lower maize yields in the medium to long-term future. Consequently, up to 12% of the population in Lilongwe District might be vulnerable to food insecurity by the end of the century. Measures to increase soil fertility and moisture must be developed to build resilience into Malawi’s agriculture sector.

  • Journal article
    Thomas RT, Prentice IC, Graven H, Ciais P, Fisher JB, Hayes DJ, Huang M, Huntzinger DN, Ito A, Jain A, Mao J, Michalak AM, Peng S, Poulter B, Ricciuto DM, Shi X, Schwalm C, Tian H, Zeng Net al., 2016,

    Increased light-use efficiency in northern terrestrial ecosystems indicated by CO2 and greening observations

    , Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 43, Pages: 11339-11349, ISSN: 1944-8007

    Observations show an increasing amplitude in the seasonal cycle of CO2 (ASC) north of 45°N of 56 ± 9.8% over the last 50 years and an increase in vegetation greenness of 7.5–15% in high northern latitudes since the 1980s. However, the causes of these changes remain uncertain. Historical simulations from terrestrial biosphere models in the Multiscale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project are compared to the ASC and greenness observations, using the TM3 atmospheric transport model to translate surface fluxes into CO2 concentrations. We find that the modeled change in ASC is too small but the mean greening trend is generally captured. Modeled increases in greenness are primarily driven by warming, whereas ASC changes are primarily driven by increasing CO2. We suggest that increases in ecosystem-scale light use efficiency (LUE) have contributed to the observed ASC increase but are underestimated by current models. We highlight potential mechanisms that could increase modeled LUE.

  • Journal article
    Mattevi C, 2016,

    Graphitic carbon nitride as a catalyst support in fuel cells and electrolyzers

    , Electrochimica Acta, Vol: 222, Pages: 44-57, ISSN: 1873-3859

    Electrochemical power sources, such as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), require the use of precious metal catalysts which are deposited as nanoparticles onto supports in order to minimize their mass loading and therefore cost. State-of-the-art/commercial supports are based on forms of carbon black. However, carbon supports present disadvantages including corrosion in the operating fuel cell environment and loss of catalyst activity. Here we review recent work examining the potential of different varieties of graphitic carbon nitride (gCN) as catalyst supports, highlighting their likely benefits, as well as the challenges associated with their implementation. The performance of gCN and hybrid gCN-carbon materials as PEMFC electrodes is discussed, as well as their potential for use in alkaline systems and water electrolyzers. We illustrate the discussion with examples taken from our own recent studies.

  • Journal article
    Fogwill CJ, van Sebille E, Cougnon EA, Turney CSM, Rintoul SR, Galton-Fenzi BK, Clark GF, Marzinelli EM, Rainsley EB, Carter Let al., 2016,

    Brief communication: impacts of a developing polynya off Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, triggered by grounding of iceberg B09B

    , Cryosphere, Vol: 10, Pages: 2603-2609, ISSN: 1994-0424

    The dramatic calving of the Mertz Glacier tongue in 2010, precipitated by the movement of iceberg B09B, reshaped the oceanographic regime across the Mertz Polynya and Commonwealth Bay, regions where high-salinity shelf water (HSSW) – the precursor to Antarctic bottom water (AABW) – is formed. Here we present post-calving observations that suggest that this reconfiguration and subsequent grounding of B09B have driven the development of a new polynya and associated HSSW production off Commonwealth Bay. Supported by satellite observations and modelling, our findings demonstrate how local icescape changes may impact the formation of HSSW, with potential implications for large-scale ocean circulation.

  • Journal article
    Chakrabarti BK, Nir DP, Yufit V, Tariq F, Rubio Garcia J, Maher R, Kucernak A, Aravind PV, Brandon NPet al., 2016,

    Studies of performance enhancement of rGO-modified carbon electrodes for Vanadium Redox Flow Systems

    , ChemElectroChem, Vol: 4, Pages: 194-200, ISSN: 2196-0216

    Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) suspended in an N,N′-dimethylformamide (DMF) solvent underwent electrophoretic deposition (EPD) on carbon paper (CP) electrodes. X-ray computed micro-tomography (XMT) indicates a 24 % increase in the specific surface area of CP modified with rGO in comparison to the untreated sample. Furthermore, XMT confirms that the deposition also penetrates into the substrate. Raman analysis shows that the rGO deposited is more amorphous than the CP electrode. A significant reduction in charge-transfer resistance of the VO2+/VO2+ reaction is also observed (from impedance measurements) in modified samples in comparison to untreated CP electrodes.

  • Journal article
    Maritati A, Aitken ARA, Young DA, Roberts JL, Blankenship DD, Siegert MJet al., 2016,

    The tectonic development and rrosion of the knox subglacial sedimentary basin, East Antarctica

    , Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 43, Pages: 10728-10737, ISSN: 1944-8007

    Sedimentary basins beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) have immense potential to inform models of the tectonic evolution of East Antarctica and its ice-sheet. However, even basic characteristics such as thickness and extent are often unknown. Using airborne geophysical data, we resolve the tectonic architecture of the Knox Subglacial Sedimentary Basin in western Wilkes Land. In addition, we apply an erosion restoration model to reconstruct the original basin geometry for which we resolve geometry typical of a transtensional pull-apart basin. The tectonic architecture strongly indicates formation as a consequence of the rifting of India from East Gondwana from ca. 160-130 Ma, and we suggest a spatial link with the western Mentelle Basin offshore Western Australia. The erosion restoration model shows that erosion is confined within the rift margins, suggesting that rift structure has strongly influenced the evolution of the Denman and Scott ice streams.

  • Journal article
    Pandeya B, Buytaert W, Zulkafli Z, Karpouzoglou T, Mao F, Hannah DMet al., 2016,

    A comparative analysis of ecosystem services valuation approaches for application at the local scale and in data scarce regions

    , Ecosystem Services, Vol: 22, Pages: 250-259, ISSN: 2212-0416

    Despite significant advances in the development of the ecosystem services concept across the science and policy arenas, the valuation of ecosystem services to guide sustainable development remains challenging, especially at a local scale and in data scarce regions. In this paper, we review and compare major past and current valuation approaches and discuss their key strengths and weaknesses for guiding policy decisions. To deal with the complexity of methods used in different valuation approaches, our review uses multiple entry points: data vs simulation, habitat vs system vs place-based, specific vs entire portfolio, local vs regional scale, and monetary vs non-monetary. We find that although most valuation approaches are useful to explain ecosystem services at a macro/system level, an application of locally relevant valuation approaches, which allows for a more integrated valuation relevant to decision making is still hindered by data-scarcity. The advent of spatially explicit policy support systems shows particular promise to make the best use of available data and simulations. Data collection remains crucial for the local scale and in data scarce regions. Leveraging citizen science-based data and knowledge co-generation may support the integrated valuation, while at the same time making the valuation process more inclusive, replicable and policy-oriented.

  • Journal article
    McRae ATT, Mitchell L, Bercea, Ham DA, Cotteret al., 2016,

    Automated Generation and Symbolic Manipulation of Tensor Product Finite Elements

    , SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, Vol: 38, Pages: S25-S47, ISSN: 1095-7197

    We describe and implement a symbolic algebra for scalar and vector-valued finite elements, enabling the computer generation of elements with tensor product structure on quadrilateral, hexahedral, and triangular prismatic cells. The algebra is implemented as an extension to the domain-specific language UFL, the Unified Form Language. This allows users to construct many finite element spaces beyond those supported by existing software packages. We have made corresponding extensions to FIAT, the FInite element Automatic Tabulator, to enable numerical tabulation of such spaces. This tabulation is consequently used during the automatic generation of low-level code that carries out local assembly operations, within the wider context of solving finite element problems posed over such function spaces. We have done this work within the code-generation pipeline of the software package Firedrake; we make use of the full Firedrake package to present numerical examples.

  • Journal article
    Bercea G, McRae ATT, Ham DA, Mitchell L, Rathgeber F, Nardi L, Luporini F, Kelly PHJet al., 2016,

    A structure-exploiting numbering algorithm for finite elements on extruded meshes, and its performance evaluation in Firedrake

    , Geoscientific Model Development, Vol: 9, Pages: 3803-3815, ISSN: 1991-9603

    We present a generic algorithm for numbering and then efficiently iterating over the data values attached to an extruded mesh. An extruded mesh is formed by replicating an existing mesh, assumed to be unstructured, to form layers of prismatic cells. Applications of extruded meshes include, but are not limited to, the representation of 3D high aspect ratio domains employed by geophysical finite element simulations. These meshes are structured in the extruded direction. The algorithm presented here exploits this structure to avoid the performance penalty traditionally associated with unstructured meshes. We evaluate the implementation of this algorithm in the Firedrake finite element system on a range of low compute intensity operations which constitute worst cases for data layout performance exploration. The experiments show that having structure along the extruded direction enables the cost of the indirect data accesses to be amortized after 10-20 layers as long as the underlying mesh is well-ordered. We characterise the resulting spatial and temporal reuse in a representative set of both continuous-Galerkin and discontinuous-Galerkin discretisations. On meshes with realistic numbers of layers the performance achieved is between 70% and 90% of a theoretical hardware-specific limit.

  • Journal article
    Hills T, 2016,

    Highlights from Carbon Capture and Storage: Faraday Discussion, Sheffield, UK, July 2016

    , Chemical Communications, Vol: 52, Pages: 13323-13326, ISSN: 1359-7345
  • Journal article
    Sandwell P, Chambon C, Saraogi A, Chabenat A, Mazur M, Ekins-Daukes N, Nelson Jet al., 2016,

    Analysis of energy access and impact of modern energy sources in unelectrified villages in Uttar Pradesh

    , Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol: 35, Pages: 67-79, ISSN: 0973-0826

    Bringingaccesstomodernenergysourcestothepoorestinsocietyisakeygoalofmanypolicymakers,businessesandcharities,butinorder tobea success projects and schemesmust be foundedonaccuratedata. We undertooka survey of energy demand and usage patterns in households in unelectrified villages in Uttar Pradesh, India toassess access to and utilisation of energy sources for lighting and cooking. The times of usage were recordedand analysed and the effect on usage patterns of transitioning from traditional to modern energy sourcesis assessed. We quantify the cost and greenhouse gas emissions of current energy use in order to provide abenchmark of potential mitigation through the use of renewable energy technologies: a typical householdwith kerosene lamps only for lighting spends INR 3243 (US$50.67) and emits 381 kgCO2eqper year; householdswithmoderncookingenergyspend17%morethroughincreasedusage,butemit28%lessgreenhousegasescom-pared to those with traditional stoves only. Cell phone ownership was found to be 50% amongst adults. We usedemographic and utilisation data to construct an hourly demand profile of basic electricity demand extrapolatedto each month of the year, and present an example of aspirational demand assess the impact of desirable appli-ances. A Monte Carlo simulation is used to highlight the daily and seasonal variation in total energy and powerdemand. A hybrid system, with solar power and battery storage meeting daytime demand and higher-capacitydiesel- or biomass-powered generation meeting the remainder during evening peaks and winter months,would satisfy demand most effectively.

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