Special Issue "Climate Change and Geosciences"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mary J. Thornbush

Department of Geography, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: physical geography; geomorphology; environment; climate; landscape change; sustainability
Guest Editor
Dr. Nir Y. Krakauer

Department of Civil Engineering, 193 Steinman Hall, City College of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate change; water resources planning; groundwater; land-atmosphere interaction; sustainable agriculture; urban ecological design; carbon cycle monitoring; renewable energy resource assessment; probabilistic forecasting; data assimilation; model uncertainty assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue of Geosciences examines interactions between the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere from an integrated systems approach. Earth systems are considered from the perspective of ongoing dynamic interactions that culminate in or are driven by climate change. The aim is to include papers (original research articles, review articles, commentary, and case studies) that take a long-term view in investigating climate and environmental (landscape) change. It would be highly suitable for studies to address environmental sustainability.

Human alteration of the land surface, of material and energy flows, and of Earth's climate has led to the proposal to define the Anthropocene as a distinctive geologic period. For this Special Issue, we invite contributions broadly exploring interactions between climate change (including drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use change) and the geosphere. Potential topics include changes in geologic processes, such as erosion, sedimentation, and soil formation; biogeochemical and biogeophysical climate feedbacks; urban processes; and the role of geosciences in climate mitigation and adaptation.

Papers may focus on either climate change causation or effects, and could be from either a shallow surface (physical geography) or Earth history (geology/Earth sciences) viewpoint. The emphasis will be on human interactions with the environment, so that anthropogenic impacts are central as part of an Anthropocene approach that is ideally explored from Earth surface disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. Climate change mitigation and/or adaptation studies are welcome. Studies with a field component are preferred, but experimental approaches (laboratory, simulations/models) and remote sensing investigations are also appropriate. Cross-boundary studies, exploring for example land-air, air-water, or land-water interfaces, would be especially relevant to this Special Issue.

It is recommended that authors approach at an early stage the Guest Editors about possible submissions in order to verify the appropriateness of their potential contributions. If appropriate, an abstract will be requested, and the corresponding author required to submit the full manuscript online by the deadline of 31 January 2016.

Dr. Mary J. Thornbush
Dr. Nir Y. Krakauer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • climate and landscape change
  • human impacts
  • human-environment interactions
  • cross-boundary studies
  • longitudinal studies
  • environmental sustainability
  • interdisciplinary research
  • mitigation
  • adaptation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on Climate Change and Geosciences
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
With increasing interdisciplinarity, more studies are examining environmental problems from an integrated perspective. This is apparent in the geological sciences and physical geography, which incorporate various disciplinary approaches, including biology, pedology, hydrology, geomorphology, and climatology. This Special Issue of Geosciences is comprised of
[...] Read more.
With increasing interdisciplinarity, more studies are examining environmental problems from an integrated perspective. This is apparent in the geological sciences and physical geography, which incorporate various disciplinary approaches, including biology, pedology, hydrology, geomorphology, and climatology. This Special Issue of Geosciences is comprised of studies relevant to the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere, with terrestrial systems also considered. This Issue takes a geoscience perspective, embracing both geology (Earth science) and physical geography.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Climate Change and Watershed Hydrology—Heavier Precipitation Influence on Stormwater Runoff
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030034
Received: 1 April 2016 / Revised: 7 June 2016 / Accepted: 9 July 2016 / Published: 18 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stormwater runoff in the USA is a main driver of non-point source pollution and other major problems for urbanizing areas, and runoff effects will be exacerbated by the increased frequency and intensity of heavier storm events that are projected as climate changes. The
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Stormwater runoff in the USA is a main driver of non-point source pollution and other major problems for urbanizing areas, and runoff effects will be exacerbated by the increased frequency and intensity of heavier storm events that are projected as climate changes. The purpose of this paper is to consider how increased rainfall from storms could influence direct stormwater runoff in urbanizing watersheds. As part of a recent research project in coastal Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA, we applied the Stormwater Runoff Modeling System (SWARM) to model various combinations of development levels and climate change scenarios. SWARM single-event output showed dramatic increases in runoff volume and rate, in some cases almost doubling under moderate climate change scenario and tripling under severe climate change scenario. In all cases, modeled impacts from climate change exceeded those of development. By quantifying stormwater runoff based on climate change scenarios within the context of development, the findings add to the recognition that they must be considered together when projecting changes in watershed hydrology and that climate change effects potentially exceed those of development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle A Multi-Satellite Approach for Water Storage Monitoring in an Arid Watershed
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030033
Received: 5 April 2016 / Revised: 31 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 15 July 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study was to use satellite imagery to monitor the water budget of Al Ain region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Inflows and outflows were estimated and the trend of water storage variation in the study area was examined
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The objective of this study was to use satellite imagery to monitor the water budget of Al Ain region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Inflows and outflows were estimated and the trend of water storage variation in the study area was examined from 2005 to 2014. Evapotranspiration was estimated using the simplified Penman-Monteith equation. Landsat images were used to determine the extent of agricultural and green areas. Time series of gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE) observations over the study area were used to assess the inferred water storage variation from satellite data. The change of storage inferred from the Water Budget Equation showed a decreasing trend at an average rate of 2.57 Mm3 annually. Moreover, GRACE readings showed a decreasing trend at a rate of 0.35 cm of water depth annually. Mann-Kendal, a non-parametric trend test, proved the presence of significant negative trends in both time series at a 5% significance level. A two-month lag resulted in a better agreement (R2 = 0.55) between the change in water storage and GRACE anomalies within the study area. These results suggest that water storage in the study area is being depleted significantly. Moreover, the potential of remote sensing in water resource management, especially in remote and arid areas, was demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle Motivated for Action and Collaboration: The Abrahamic Religions and Climate Change
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030031
Received: 1 March 2016 / Revised: 30 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 28 June 2016
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Abstract
Leaders of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have publicly advocated action to mitigate the adverse effects of human-forced climate change. Particularly prominent prior to, during, and after the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were Rabbi
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Leaders of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have publicly advocated action to mitigate the adverse effects of human-forced climate change. Particularly prominent prior to, during, and after the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Pope Francis, and Patriarch Bartholomew. Also prominent was a group of Islamic clerics, leaders of organizations, and scholars who collaborated in issuing a declaration on climate change three months prior to COP 21. Informed by the Earth sciences, these leaders shared their faith-based rationales for acting locally to internationally as indicated in the documents explored in this article. Examples of organizations motivated by their leaders’ faith perspectives demonstrate their readiness to act informed by scientists. To work effectively, these religious leaders and activist groups require well-substantiated conclusions from data collected to counter unsubstantiated claims by climate skeptics. Earth scientists will find among the religious leaders and groups allies in the quest for a flourishing planet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
Open AccessArticle Groundwater Exploration for Rural Water Supply in an Arid Region of Southern Argentina
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020028
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 30 May 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 13 June 2016
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Abstract
Climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events and desertification of vast areas of southern Argentina. Water shortages are a major concern, and this problem is expected to be exacerbated in the future. An exploration program was undertaken to investigate
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Climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events and desertification of vast areas of southern Argentina. Water shortages are a major concern, and this problem is expected to be exacerbated in the future. An exploration program was undertaken to investigate the groundwater occurrence in areas of the Chubut River basin in order to provide new supply options for pastoral farming. The investigation involved the drilling of exploration holes and construction of bores for long-term monitoring. Water quality and hydraulic test data were also collected. Findings from the study indicate that alluvial sediments extend to a maximum of 45 m below the surface, and are underlain by a sequence of clays and subordinated sands that exceed 100 m in thickness. The bulk of groundwater lies within the shallow sediments, which act as an unconfined aquifer. Hydraulic conductivities up to 10 m/day were estimated from pumping tests, although granulometric analyses indicate that higher values may occur. Chemical characterization indicates that waters are typically fresh, low in sodium, and largely suitable for stock-grazing or horticulture. Anomalous salinities at one of the sites are likely due to the effects of a nearby waste dump. Even though further work is required, the study contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of the hydrogeological system in the basin under a warming climate, and provides useful information for the expansion of economic activities in remote communities of Argentina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle Surface Area Variability of a North-Central Tanzanian Crater Lake
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020027
Received: 18 February 2016 / Revised: 30 May 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 8 June 2016
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Abstract
A history of modern (1973–2015) surface area variability for Lake Basotu in north-central Tanzania has been reconstructed using archived Landsat images from the dry season between June and October. This record was compared to local weather data as well as larger scale weather
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A history of modern (1973–2015) surface area variability for Lake Basotu in north-central Tanzania has been reconstructed using archived Landsat images from the dry season between June and October. This record was compared to local weather data as well as larger scale weather patterns. The lake has been in a state of decline interrupted by major flood events since the beginning of the satellite record. From 1973 to 1997, the lake area was between 0.97 km2 and 4.28 km2. Lake extent abruptly increased to 13.86 km2 in 1998, when a co-occurrence of El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole led to extensive flooding. It is hypothesized that local agricultural practices leading to soil erosion and subsequent basin sedimentation have most likely increased the sensitivity of Lake Basotu to climatic fluctuations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle Screening the Resilience of Short-Rotation Woody Crops to Climate Change
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
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Abstract
Sustainable woody biofeedstock production systems require a reliable supply of woody biomass that could be affected by future climate change. However, there is limited understanding of the climatic sensitivity of short rotation woody crops, such as hybrid aspens. The general objective of this
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Sustainable woody biofeedstock production systems require a reliable supply of woody biomass that could be affected by future climate change. However, there is limited understanding of the climatic sensitivity of short rotation woody crops, such as hybrid aspens. The general objective of this study is to identify climatically resilient hybrid aspen clones for woody biomass feedstock development. Specifically, tree-ring analysis methods (dendrochronology) were used to quantify the influence of climate on stem growth rates of hybrid aspens by measuring year-to-year changes in tree-ring width from different cultivars of hybrid aspen and relating annual growth patterns with past instrumental climate records (i.e., temperature and moisture index). Tree-ring analysis was conducted on a full-sib progeny plantation of different cultivars of hybrid aspens (Populus × smithii derived from different geographical variants of aspen parents: trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata) located on Michigan State University property in the Sandhill Research Area (42.7°N latitude; 84.5°W longitude). Overall, the hybrid aspen families examined in this study were more sensitive to moisture related stressors compared to a weaker or no response to temperature stressors. By the end of the 21st century (2071–2100), 11 out of the 18 hybrid aspen families will be vulnerable to future changes in moisture stress, while the remaining families were screened to be resilient to future changes in moisture stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Climate Change and Future Fire Regimes: Examples from California
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030037
Received: 17 June 2016 / Revised: 6 August 2016 / Accepted: 12 August 2016 / Published: 17 August 2016
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Abstract
Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to control
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Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to control fire activity. Inevitably this requires historical analyses that relate annual burning to climate variation. Fuel structure plays a critical role in determining which climatic parameters are most influential on fire activity, and here, by focusing on the diversity of ecosystems in California, we illustrate some principles that need to be recognized in predicting future fire regimes. Spatial scale of analysis is important in that large heterogeneous landscapes may not fully capture accurate relationships between climate and fires. Within climatically homogeneous subregions, montane forested landscapes show strong relationships between annual fluctuations in temperature and precipitation with area burned; however, this is strongly seasonal dependent; e.g., winter temperatures have very little or no effect but spring and summer temperatures are critical. Climate models that predict future seasonal temperature changes are needed to improve fire regime projections. Climate does not appear to be a major determinant of fire activity on all landscapes. Lower elevations and lower latitudes show little or no increase in fire activity with hotter and drier conditions. On these landscapes climate is not usually limiting to fires but these vegetation types are ignition-limited. Moreover, because they are closely juxtaposed with human habitations, fire regimes are more strongly controlled by other direct anthropogenic impacts. Predicting future fire regimes is not rocket science; it is far more complicated than that. Climate change is not relevant to some landscapes, but where climate is relevant, the relationship will change due to direct climate effects on vegetation trajectories, as well as by feedback processes of fire effects on vegetation distribution, plus policy changes in how we manage ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessReview Paleolimnology as a Tool to Achieve Environmental Sustainability in the Anthropocene: An Overview
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020026
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 25 May 2016 / Accepted: 26 May 2016 / Published: 30 May 2016
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Abstract
Lacustrine sediment accumulation provides meaningful and diverse long-term records of environmental change. This overview highlights the usefulness of the paleolimnological approach in evaluating the magnitude and direction of human-induced environmental change in lakes and their catchments. Because of the services they provide, freshwater
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Lacustrine sediment accumulation provides meaningful and diverse long-term records of environmental change. This overview highlights the usefulness of the paleolimnological approach in evaluating the magnitude and direction of human-induced environmental change in lakes and their catchments. Because of the services they provide, freshwater ecosystems have always been significantly affected by human activities. However, the rate and extent of human-induced change in continental freshwaters and their catchments has considerably increased since the beginning of industrialization (mid-18th century), and are even more pronounced since the advent of the “Great Acceleration” (since the mid-20th century). Global change, including climate and landscape changes, loss of biodiversity, species introductions and the spread of pollutants, leave traces in lake sediment archives that provide valuable long-term information with which to evaluate and quantify past environmental changes. This paper outlines how the knowledge gleaned from an interdisciplinary paleolimnological approach can benefit the development of mitigation and adaptation measures to current global change at various latitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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