Abstract: Carbon neutrality represents one climate strategy adopted by many cities, including the city of Helsinki and the Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland. This study examines initiatives adopted by the Helsinki metropolitan area aimed at reducing energy-related carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality through future actions. Various sectorial energy consumption rates per year and carbon emissions from various sectors within the city of Helsinki and the metropolitan area were extracted from an online database and re-calculated (in GWh, MWh/inhabitant and MtCO2e, KtCO2e/inhabitant). We employed a backcasting scenario method to explore the various carbon reduction measures in the Helsinki metropolitan area. About 96% of the emissions produced in the Helsinki metropolitan area are energy-based. District heating represents the primary source of emissions, followed by transportation and electricity consumption, respectively. We also found that accomplishing the carbon reduction strategies of the Helsinki metropolitan area by 2050 remains challenging. Technological advancement for clean and renewable energy sources, smart policies and raising awareness resulting in behavioral changes greatly affect carbon reduction actions. Thus, strong political commitments are also required to formulate and implement stringent climate actions.
Abstract: The long-term harsh climate conditions in 2015 distorted already from June up to November in all study trees of Tsuga and Taxus the intracellular organization of the needles. Intimately involved in these repressive processes were the flavanols, a small subgroup of the flavonoids. They were not only deposited in vacuoles of conifer needles but also in the nuclei and chromosomes. Among the many flavonoids the small group of catechin derivatives and polymers named flavanols can exclusively be stained blue with DMACA (dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde). From mid-July onward, the vacuolar flavanols of the epidermal cell layers were gradually diminished as evidenced by decreasing blue staining of nuclei and vacuoles. Subsequently, in August also the large spongy mesophyll cells showed the flavanols decreasing progressively. Apparently, the antioxidant flavanols operate as oxygen radical scavengers. (ROS) were used up during the harsh environmental stress conditions. Both, Tsuga and Taxus reacted in this way. However, it is quite surprising that in all study trees the palisade cells did not contain such vacuolar flavanols. Only these cells were in June the first to show a loss of chlorophyll from chloroplasts as well as an efflux of flavanols from the nuclei. Conversely, from September onward another group of phenols, the yellow-staining flavanols were newly formed in the palisade cells and later on also in the mesophyll cells. Obviously, they were assembled finally to stabilize finally the fragile cell sites. Summing up, the present study shows by cytological studies that the climatic conditions in 2015 produced the worst disturbance of subcellular structures observed since 2000 when our studies on nuclear phenols in needles of conifers were initiated.
Abstract: Climate change will have large impacts on water resources and its predictions are fraught with uncertainties in West Africa. With the current global drive for renewable energy due to climate change, there is a need for understanding the effects of hydro-climatic changes on water resources and hydropower generation. A hydrological model was used to model runoff inflow into the largest hydroelectric dam (Kainji) in the Niger Basin (West Africa) under present and future conditions. Inflow to the reservoir was simulated using hydro-climatic data from a set of dynamically downscaled 8 global climate models (GCM) with two emission scenarios from the CORDEX-Africa regional downscaling experiment, driven with CMIP5 data. Observed records of the Kainji Lake were used to develop a hydroelectricity production model to simulate future energy production for the reservoir. Results indicate an increase in inflow into the reservoir and concurrent increases in hydropower production for the majority of the GCM data under the two scenarios. This analysis helps planning hydropower schemes for sustainable hydropower production.
Abstract: In recent years, biofuels have emerged as a suitable alternative to hydrocarbon fuel due to their foreseen potential of being a future energy resource. Biofuel development initiatives have been successfully implemented in countries like Brazil, United States of America, European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan. However, such programmes have been stagnant in Africa due to various constraints, such as financial barriers, technical expertise, land availability, and government policies. Nonetheless, some countries within the continent have realized the potential of biofuels and have started to introduce similar programmes and initiatives for their development. These include the bioethanol production initiatives and the plantation of jatropha oil seeds in most Sub-Saharan African countries for biodiesel production. Therefore, this paper examines the biofuel development initiatives that have been implemented in several countries across Sub-Saharan Africa over the past few years. It also discusses the opportunities and challenges of having biofuel industries in the continent. Finally, it proposes some recommendations that could be applied to accelerate their development in these Sub-Saharan African countries.
Abstract: This study aims to calibrate and validate the generic crop model (CROPGRO-Soybean) and estimate the soybean yield, considering simulations with different sowing times for the current period (1990–2013) and future climate scenario (2014–2030). The database used came from observed data, nine climate models of CORDEX (Coordinated Regional climate Downscaling Experiment)-Africa framework and MERRA (Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications) reanalysis. The calibration and validation data for the model were acquired in field experiments, carried out in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 growing seasons in the experimental area of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Angónia, Mozambique. The yield of two soybean cultivars: Tgx 1740-2F and Tgx 1908-8F was evaluated in the experiments and modeled for two distinct CO2 concentrations. Our model simulation results indicate that the fertilization effect leads to yield gains for both cultivars, ranging from 11.4% (Tgx 1908-8F) to 15% (Tgx 1740-2Fm) when compared to the performance of those cultivars under current CO2 atmospheric concentration. Moreover, our results show that MERRA, the RegCM4 (Regional Climatic Model version 4) and CNRM-CM5 (Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques – Climatic Model version 5) models provided more accurate estimates of yield, while others models underestimate yield as compared to observations, a fact that was demonstrated to be related to the model’s capability of reproducing the precipitation and the surface radiation amount.
Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that urban forms and materials can help to mediate temporal variation of microclimates and that landscape modifications can potentially reduce temperatures and increase accessibility to outdoor environments. To understand the relationship between urban form and temperature moderation, we examined the spatial and temporal variation of air temperature throughout one desert city—Doha, Qatar—by conducting vehicle traverses using highly resolved temperature and GPS data logs to determine spatial differences in summertime air temperatures. To help explain near-surface air temperatures using land cover variables, we employed three statistical approaches: Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), Regression Tree Analysis (RTA), and Random Forest (RF). We validated the predictions of the statistical models by computing the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and discovered that temporal variations in urban heat are mediated by different factors throughout the day. The average RMSE for OLS, RTA and RF is 1.25, 0.96, and 0.65 (in Celsius), respectively, suggesting that the RF is the best model for predicting near-surface air temperatures at this study site. We conclude by recommending the features of the landscape that have the greatest potential for reducing extreme heat in arid climates.