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  1. Abstract

    Tidal marshes are valuable global carbon sinks, yet large uncertainties in coastal marsh carbon budgets and mediating mechanisms limit our ability to estimate fluxes and predict feedbacks with global change. To improve mechanistic understanding, we assess how net carbon storage is influenced by interactions between crab activity, water movement, and biogeochemistry. We show that crab burrows enhance carbon loss from tidal marsh sediments by physical and chemical feedback processes. Burrows increase near-creek sediment permeability in the summer by an order of magnitude compared to the winter crab dormancy period, promoting carbon-rich fluid exchange between the marsh and creek. Burrows also enhance vertical exchange by increasing the depth of the strongly carbon-oxidizing zone and reducing the capacity for carbon sequestration. Results reveal the mechanism through which crab burrows mediate the movement of carbon through tidal wetlands and highlight the importance of considering burrowing activity when making budget projections across temporal and spatial scales.

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  2. The urban heat island (UHI) concept describes heat trapping that elevates urban temperatures relative to rural temperatures, at least in temperate/humid regions. In drylands, urban irrigation can instead produce an urban cool island (UCI) effect. However, the UHI/UCI characterization suffers from uncertainty in choosing representative urban/rural endmembers, an artificial dichotomy between UHIs and UCIs, and lack of consistent terminology for other patterns of thermal variation at nested scales. We use the case of a historically well-enforced urban growth boundary (UGB) around Portland (Oregon, USA): to explore the representativeness of the surface temperature UHI (SUHI) as derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature data, to test common assumptions of characteristically “warm” or “cool” land covers (LCs), and to name other common urban thermal features of interest. We find that the UGB contains heat as well as sprawl, inducing a sharp surface temperature contrast across the urban/rural boundary. The contrast ranges widely depending on the end-members chosen, across a spectrum from positive (SUHI) to negative (SUCI) values. We propose a new, inclusive “urban thermal deviation” (UTD) term to span the spectrum of possible UHI-zero-UCI conditions. We also distinguish at finer scales “microthermal extremes” (MTEs), discrete areas tending in the same thermal direction as their LC or surroundings but to extreme (hot or cold) values, and microthermal anomalies (MTAs), that run counter to thermal expectations or tendencies for their LC or surroundings. The distinction is important because MTEs suggest a need for moderation in the local thermal landscape, whereas MTAs may suggest solutions. 
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  3. Abstract

    Tidal freshwater zones (TFZs) are transitional environments between terrestrial and coastal waters. TFZs have freshwater chemistry and tidal physics, and yet are neither river nor estuary based on classic definitions. Such zones have been occasionally discussed in the literature but lack a consistent nomenclature and framework for study. This work proposes a measurable definition for TFZs based on three longitudinal points of interest: (1) the upstream limit of brackish water, (2) the upstream limit of bidirectional tidal velocities, and (3) the upstream limit of tidal stage fluctuations. The resulting size and position of a TFZ is transient and depends on the balance of tidal and riverine forces that evolves over event, tidal, seasonal, and annual (or longer) timescales. The concept, definition, and transient analysis of TFZ position are illustrated using field observations from the Aransas River (Texas, USA) from July 2015 to July 2016. The median Aransas TFZ length was 59.9 km, with a late summer maximum of 66.0 km and a winter minimum of 53.6 km. The TFZ typically (annual median) began 11.8 km upstream from the river mouth (15.4 km winter/11.2 km summer medians) and ended 71.7 km upstream (69.0 km/77.2 km). Seasonally low baseflow in the Aransas River promoted gradual coastal salt encroachment upstream, which shortened the TFZ. However, sporadic large rainfall/runoff events rapidly elongated the TFZ. The TFZ definition establishes a quantifiable framework for analyzing these critical freshwater systems that reside at the nexus of natural and human‐influenced hydrology, tides, and climate.

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