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  1. Urban flooding is a growing threat due to land use and climate change. Vulnerable populations tend to have greater exposure to flooding as a result of historical societal and institutional processes. Most flood vulnerability studies focus on a single large flood, neglecting the impact of small, frequent floods. Therefore, there is a need to investigate inequitable flood exposure across a range of event magnitudes and frequencies. To explore this question, we develop a novel score of inequitable flood risk by defining risk as a function of frequency, exposure, and vulnerability. This analysis combines high-resolution, parcel-scale compounded fluvial and pluvial flood data with census data at the census block group scale. We focus on six census tracts within Athens-Clarke County, Georgia that are highly developed with diverse populations. We define vulnerable populations as non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and households under the poverty level and use dasymetric mapping techniques to calculate the over-representation of these populations in flood zones. Inequitable risks at each census tract (approximately neighborhood scale) were estimated for multiple (e.g., 5-, 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-year) flood return periods. Results show that the relatively greatest flood risk inequities occur for the 10-year flood and not at the largest event. We also found that the size of inequity is dynamic, depending on the flood magnitude. Therefore, addressing a range of events including smaller, more frequent floods can increase equity and reveal opportunities that may be missed if only one event is considered. 
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  2. Abstract

    Bedload is notoriously challenging to measure and model; its dynamics, therefore, remains largely unknown in most fluvial systems worldwide. We present results from a global scale bedload flux model as part of the WBMsed modeling framework that well predict the distribution of water discharge, suspended sediment and bedload. The sensitivity of bedload predictions to river slope, particle size, discharge, river width, and suspended sediment were analyzed, showing the model to be most responsive to spatial dynamics in river discharge and slope. The relationship between bedload and total sediment flux is analyzed globally, and for representative longitudinal river profiles (Amazon, Mississippi, and Lena Rivers). The results show that while the proportion of bedload decreases from headwaters to the coasts, there is considerable variability between basins and along river corridors. The topographic and hydrological longitudinal profiles of rivers are shown to be the key drivers of bedload trends, with fluctuations in slope controlling its more local dynamics. Estimates of water and sediment fluxes to global oceans from 2,067 largest river outlets (draining 67% of the global continental area) are provided. Estimated water discharge at 30,579 km3/y corresponds well to past estimates; however, sediment flux is higher. Total global particulate load of 17.8 Gt/y is delivered to global oceans, 14.8 Gt/y as washload, 1.1 Gt/y as bedload, and 2.6 Gt/y as suspended bed material. The largest 25 rivers are predicted to transport more than half of the total sediment flux to global oceans.

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  3. Abstract

    Climate change is altering biogeochemical, metabolic, and ecological functions in lakes across the globe. Historically, mountain lakes in temperate regions have been unproductive because of brief ice‐free seasons, a snowmelt‐driven hydrograph, cold temperatures, and steep topography with low vegetation and soil cover. We tested the relative importance of winter and summer weather, watershed characteristics, and water chemistry as drivers of phytoplankton dynamics. Using boosted regression tree models for 28 mountain lakes in Colorado, we examined regional, intraseasonal, and interannual drivers of variability in chlorophyllaas a proxy for lake phytoplankton. Phytoplankton biomass was inversely related to the maximum snow water equivalent (SWE) of the previous winter, as others have found. However, even in years with average SWE, summer precipitation extremes and warming enhanced phytoplankton biomass. Peak seasonal phytoplankton biomass coincided with the warmest water temperatures and lowest nitrogen‐to‐phosphorus ratios. Although links between snowpack, lake temperature, nutrients, and organic‐matter dynamics are increasingly recognized as critical drivers of change in high‐elevation lakes, our results highlight the additional influence of summer conditions on lake productivity in response to ongoing changes in climate. Continued changes in the timing, type, and magnitude of precipitation in combination with other global‐change drivers (e.g., nutrient deposition) will affect production in mountain lakes, potentially shifting these historically oligotrophic lakes toward new ecosystem states. Ultimately, a deeper understanding of these drivers and pattern at multiple scales will allow us to anticipate ecological consequences of global change better.

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