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Creators/Authors contains: "Melack, John M."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Extensive floodplains throughout the Amazon basin support important ecosystem services and influence global water and carbon cycles. A recent change in the hydroclimatic regime of the region, with increased rainfall in the northern portions of the basin, has produced record-breaking high water levels on the Amazon River mainstem. Yet, the implications for the magnitude and duration of floodplain inundation across the basin remain unknown. Here we leverage state-of-the-art hydrological models, supported byin-situand remote sensing observations, to show that the maximum annual inundation extent along the central Amazon increased by 26% since 1980. We further reveal increased flood duration and greater connectivity among open water areas in multiple Amazon floodplain regions. These changes in the hydrological regime of the world’s largest river system have major implications for ecology and biogeochemistry, and require rapid adaptation by vulnerable populations living along Amazonian rivers.

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  4. Abstract

    Freshwater ecosystem contributions to the global methane budget remains the most uncertain among natural sources. With warming and accompanying carbon release from thawed permafrost and thermokarst lake expansion, the increase of methane emissions could be large. However, the impact and relative importance of various factors related to warming remain uncertain. Based on diverse lake characteristics incorporated in modeling and observational data, we calibrate and verify a lake biogeochemistry model. The model is then applied to estimate global lake methane emissions and examine the impacts of temperature increase for the first and the last decades of the 21st century under different climate scenarios. We find that current emissions are 24.0 ± 8.4 Tg CH4 yr−1from lakes larger than 0.1 km2, accounting for 11% of the global total natural source as estimated based on atmospheric inversion. Future projections under the RCP8.5 scenario suggest a 58%–86% growth in emissions from lakes. Our model sensitivity analysis indicates that additional carbon substrates from thawing permafrost may enhance methane production under warming in the Arctic. Warming enhanced methane oxidation in lake water can be an effective sink to reduce the net release from global lakes.

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  5. Abstract As the climate evolves over the next century, the interaction of accelerating sea level rise (SLR) and storms, combined with confining development and infrastructure, will place greater stresses on physical, ecological, and human systems along the ocean-land margin. Many of these valued coastal systems could reach “tipping points,” at which hazard exposure substantially increases and threatens the present-day form, function, and viability of communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Determining the timing and nature of these tipping points is essential for effective climate adaptation planning. Here we present a multidisciplinary case study from Santa Barbara, California (USA), to identify potential climate change-related tipping points for various coastal systems. This study integrates numerical and statistical models of the climate, ocean water levels, beach and cliff evolution, and two soft sediment ecosystems, sandy beaches and tidal wetlands. We find that tipping points for beaches and wetlands could be reached with just 0.25 m or less of SLR (~ 2050), with > 50% subsequent habitat loss that would degrade overall biodiversity and ecosystem function. In contrast, the largest projected changes in socioeconomic exposure to flooding for five communities in this region are not anticipated until SLR exceeds 0.75 m for daily flooding and 1.5 m for storm-driven flooding (~ 2100 or later). These changes are less acute relative to community totals and do not qualify as tipping points given the adaptive capacity of communities. Nonetheless, the natural and human built systems are interconnected such that the loss of natural system function could negatively impact the quality of life of residents and disrupt the local economy, resulting in indirect socioeconomic impacts long before built infrastructure is directly impacted by flooding. 
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  6. Abstract

    The amplitude, duration, frequency, and predictability of runoff and inundation of aquatic habitats are key hydrological characteristics linked to aquatic ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, but they are seldom integrated into analyses of Amazon floodplain ecology. Remote sensing approaches, measurements and modelling of floodplain hydrology provide a basis for this integration.

    Effective legislation to protect floodplains and other wetlands depends on operational definitions that require application of hydrological data.

    Extent and changes of flooded areas are linked to fish diversity and to presence and growth of flooded forests and floating plants.

    Dam construction reduces river system connectivity and modifies the flood pulse, with major negative implications for floodplain ecosystems adapted to and dependent on a natural flood regime.

    Trends and variability in climate plus deforestation are altering the Amazon's hydrological cycle, causing changes in discharge and flooded area with concomitant ecological impacts.

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  7. null (Ed.)
    The hydrodynamics within small boreal lakes have rarely been studied, yet knowing whether turbulence at the air-water interface and in the water column scales with metrics developed elsewhere is essential for computing metabolism and fluxes of climate-forcing trace gases. We instrumented a humic, 4.7 ha, boreal lake with 2 meteorological stations, 3 thermistor arrays, an infra-red (IR) camera to quantify surface divergence, obtained turbulence as dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy (ε) using an acoustic Doppler velocimeter and a temperature-gradient microstructure profiler, and conducted chamber measurements for short periods to obtain fluxes and gas transfer velocities (k). Near-surface ε varied from 10-8 m2 s-3 to 10-6 m2 s-3 for the 0 to 4 m s-1 winds and followed predictions from Monin-Obukhov similarity theory. The coefficient of eddy diffusivity in the mixed layer was up to 10-3 m2 s-1 on the windiest afternoons, an order of magnitude less other afternoons, and near molecular at deeper depths. The upper thermocline upwelled when Lake numbers (LN) dropped below 4 facilitating vertical and horizontal exchange. k computed from a surface renewal model using ε agreed with values from chambers and surface divergence and increased linearly with wind speed. Diurnal thermoclines formed on sunny days when winds were < 3 m s-1, a condition that can lead to elevated near-surface ε and k. Results extend scaling approaches developed in the laboratory and for larger water bodies, illustrate turbulence and k are greater than expected in small wind-sheltered lakes, and provide new equations to quantify fluxes. 
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  8. Computational advances reveal opportunities for more sustainable hydropower development in large transboundary river basins. 
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