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Clay S. Tucker, Jill C. Trepanier, Pamela B. Blanchard, Ed Bush, James W. Jordan, Mark J. Shafer, and John Andrew Nyman

Abstract

Environmental education is key in solving environmental problems and for producing a future workforce capable of solving issues of climate change. Over the last two decades, the Coastal Roots Program at Louisiana State University (LSU) has reached more than 26,676 K-12 students in Louisiana to teach them environmental science and has brought them to restoration sites to plant 194,336 school-grown trees and grasses. The co-directors of Coastal Roots are continually searching for opportunities to enrich the experience of teachers and students in connecting school subjects, Coastal Roots, and stewardship. In school year 2018–2019, students in five local schools entered a pilot program to learn how tree-ring science informs environmental science broadly. During their scheduled restoration planting trips, students were asked to collect the following tree data: tree cores, tree height, tree diameter, tree species, and global positioning system location points. Datawere given to scientists atLSUfor preliminary analysis, and graphical representation of the data were shown to the students for their interpretation. Results from this program indicate that bringing students into the field and teaching them a newscientific skill improved their understanding of environmental science and their role in coastal restoration, and tree-ring data showed significant correlations to various climate parameters in Louisiana. Additionally, we find that bringing this knowledge to teachers allows the knowledge to spread for multiple generations of students. Here we present tree-ring data from this project, lessons learned during the pilot program, advantages to student-based citizen science, and recommendations for similar programs.

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Heidi Kreibich, Paul Hudson, and Bruno Merz

Abstract

Flood warning systems are longstanding success stories in respect to protecting human life, but monetary losses continue to grow. Knowledge on the effectiveness of flood early warning in reducing monetary losses is scarce, especially at the individual level. To gain more knowledge in this area, we analyze a dataset which is unique in respect to detailed information on warning reception and monetary losses at the property level and in respect to amount of data available. The dataset contains 4468 loss cases from six flood events in Germany. These floods occurred between 2002 and 2013. The data from each event was collected by computer aided telephone interviews in four surveys following a repeated cross-sectional design. We quantitatively reveal that flood early warning is only effective in reducing monetary losses when people know what to do when they receive the warning. We also show, that particularly long-term preparedness is associated with people knowing what to do when they receive a warning. Thus, risk communication, training, and (financial) support for private preparedness are effective in mitigating flood losses in two ways: through precautionary measures and more effective emergency responses.

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Adam C. Varble, Stephen W. Nesbitt, Paola Salio, Joseph C. Hardin, Nitin Bharadwaj, Paloma Borque, Paul J. DeMott, Zhe Feng, Thomas C. J. Hill, James N. Marquis, Alyssa Matthews, Fan Mei, Rusen Öktem, Vagner Castro, Lexie Goldberger, Alexis Hunzinger, Kevin R. Barry, Sonia M. Kreidenweis, Greg M. McFarquhar, Lynn A. McMurdie, Mikhail Pekour, Heath Powers, David M. Romps, Celeste Saulo, Beat Schmid, Jason M. Tomlinson, Susan C. van den Heever, Alla Zelenyuk, Zhixiao Zhang, and Edward J. Zipser

CAPSULE

The CACTI field campaign provides comprehensive atmospheric state, aerosol, cloud, precipitation, surface, and radiation measurements to improve understanding of convective cloud life cycle interactions with their surrounding environment.

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Graciela B. Raga, Luis A. Ladino, Darrel Baumgardner, Carolina Ramirez-Romero, Fernanda Córdoba, Harry Alvarez-Ospina, Daniel Rosas, Talib Amador, Javier Miranda, Irma Rosas, Alejandro Jaramillo, Jacqueline Yakobi-Hancock, Jong Sung Kim, Leticia Martínez, Eva Salinas, and Bernardo Figueroa

Abstract

Biomass burning (BB) emissions and African dust (AD) are often associated with poor regional air quality, particularly in the tropics. The Yucatan Peninsula is a fairly pristine site due to predominant trade winds, but occasionally BB and AD plumes severely degrade its air quality. The African Dust And Biomass Burning Over Yucatan (ADABBOY) project (Jan 2017- Aug 2018) was conducted in the Yucatan Peninsula to characterize physical and biological properties of particulate pollution at remote seaside and urban sites. The 18-month long project quantified the large interannual variability in frequency and spatial extent of BB and AD plumes. Remote and urban sites experienced air quality degradation under the influence of these plumes, with up to 200 and 300% increases in coarse particle mass under BB and AD influence, respectively. ADABBOY is the first project to systematically characterize elemental composition of airborne particles as a function of these sources and identify bioaerosol over Yucatan. Bacteria, actinobacteria (both continental and marine) and fungi propagules vary seasonally and interannually and revealed the presence of very different species and genera associated with different sources. A novel contribution of ADABBOY was the determination of the ice-nucleating abilities of particles emitted by different sources within an under-sampled region of the world. BB particles were found to be inefficient ice nucleating particles at temperatures warmer than -20°C, whereas both AD and background marine aerosol activated ice nucleating particles below -10°C.

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Bradley Wade Bishop, Ashley Marie Orehek, and Hannah R. Collier

Abstract

This study’s purpose is to capture the skills of Earth science data managers and librarians through interviews with current job holders. Job analysis interviews were conducted of fourteen participants –six librarians and eight data managers—to assess the types and frequencies of job tasks. Participants identified tasks related to communication, including collaboration, teaching, and project management activities. Data specific tasks included data discovery, processing, and curation, which require an understanding of the data, technology, and information infrastructures to support data use, re-use, and preservation. Most respondents had formal science education and six had a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences. Most of the knowledge, skills, and abilities for these workers were acquired through on-the-job experience, but future professionals in these careers may benefit from tailored education informed through job analyses.

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Bing Pu and Qinjian Jin

Abstract

High concentrations of dust can affect climate and human health, yet our understanding of extreme dust events is still limited. A record-breaking trans-Atlantic African dust plume occurred during June 14–28, 2020, greatly degrading air quality over large areas of the Caribbean Basin and U.S. Daily PM2.5 concentrations exceeded 50 μg m−3 in several Gulf States, while the air quality index reached unhealthy levels for sensitive groups in more than 11 States. The magnitude and duration of aerosol optical depth over the tropical North Atlantic Ocean were the greatest ever observed during summer over the past 18 years based on satellite retrievals. This extreme trans-Atlantic dust event is associated with both enhanced dust emissions over western North Africa and atmospheric circulation extremes that favor long-range dust transport. An exceptionally strong African easterly jet and associated wave activities export African dust across the Atlantic toward the Caribbean in the middle to lower troposphere, while a westward extension of the North Atlantic subtropical high and a greatly intensified Caribbean low-level jet further transport the descended, shallower dust plume from the Caribbean Basin into the U.S. Over western North Africa, increased dust emissions are associated with strongly enhanced surface winds over dust source regions and reduced vegetation coverage in the western Sahel. While there are large uncertainties associated with assessing future trends in African dust emissions, model-projected atmospheric circulation changes in a warmer future generally favor increased long-range transport of African dust to the Caribbean Basin and the U.S.

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D.J. Mullan, I.D. Barr, R.P. Flood, J.M. Galloway, A.M.W. Newton, and G.T. Swindles

Capsule

Warming of 2°C may be a tipping point for the world’s busiest winter road, while enhanced winter warming threatens the viability of winter roads across Arctic North America.

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Thomas W. N. Haine, Renske Gelderloos, Miguel A. Jimenez-Urias, Ali H. Siddiqui, Gerard Lemson, Dimitri Medvedev, Alex Szalay, Ryan P. Abernathey, Mattia Almansi, and Christopher N. Hill

Abstract

Computational Oceanography is the study of ocean phenomena by numerical simulation, especially dynamical and physical phenomena. Progress in information technology has driven exponential growth in the number of global ocean observations and the fidelity of numerical simulations of the ocean in the past few decades. The growth has been exponentially faster for ocean simulations, however. We argue that this faster growth is shifting the importance of field measurements and numerical simulations for oceanographic research. It is leading to the maturation of Computational Oceanography as a branch of marine science on par with observational oceanography. One implication is that ultra-resolved ocean simulations are only loosely constrained by observations. Another implication is that barriers to analyzing the output of such simulations should be removed. Although some specific limits and challenges exist, many opportunities are identified for the future of Computational Oceanography. Most important is the prospect of hybrid computational and observational approaches to advance understanding of the ocean.

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Tristan S. L’Ecuyer, Brian J. Drouin, James Anheuser, Meredith Grames, David Henderson, Xianglei Huang, Brian H. Kahn, Jennifer E. Kay, Boon H. Lim, Marian Mateling, Aronne Merrelli, Nathaniel B. Miller, Sharmila Padmanabhan, Colten Peterson, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel, Mary L. White, and Yan Xie

Abstract

The Earth’s climate is strongly influenced by energy deficits at the poles that emit more thermal energy than they receive from the sun. Energy exchanges between the surface and atmosphere influence the local environment while heat transport from lower latitudes drives midlatitude atmospheric and oceanic circulations. In the Arctic, in particular, local energy imbalances induce strong seasonality in surface-atmosphere heat exchanges and an acute sensitivity to forced climate variations. Despite these important local and global influences, the largest contributions to the polar atmospheric and surface energy budgets have not been fully characterized. The spectral variation of far-infrared radiation that makes up 60% of polar thermal emission has never been systematically measured impeding progress toward consensus in predicted rates of Arctic warming, sea ice decline, and ice sheet melt.

Enabled by recent advances in sensor miniaturization and CubeSat technology, the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far InfraRed Experiment (PREFIRE) mission will document, for the first time, the spectral, spatial, and temporal variations of polar far-infrared emission. Selected under NASA’s Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) program, PREFIRE will utilize new light weight, low-power, ambient temperature detectors capable of measuring at wavelengths up to 50 micrometers to quantify Earth’s far-infrared spectrum. Estimates of spectral surface emissivity, water vapor, cloud properties, and the atmospheric greenhouse effect derived from these measurements offer the potential to advance our understanding of the factors that modulate thermal fluxes in the cold, dry conditions characteristic of the polar regions.

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Cara L. Cuite, Rebecca E. Morss, Julie L. Demuth, and William K. Hallman

CAPSULE

Coastal residents in the northeastern US perceive hurricanes as more severe than nor’easters – even when all other storm attributes are held constant – making them more likely to evacuate for hurricanes.

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