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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    We use six Earth system models (ESMs) run under SSP3-7.0, a scenario characterized by a relatively large land use change (LUC) over the 21st century, and under a variant of the same scenario where a significantly different pattern of LUC, taken from SSP1-2.6, was used, all else being equal. Our goal is to identify changes in climate extremes between the two scenarios that are statistically significant and robust across the ESMs. The motivation for this study is to test a long-held assumption of the shared socio-economic pathway-representative concentration pathway (SSP-RCP) scenario framework: that the signal from LUC can be safely disregarded when pairing different SSPs to the compatible RCPs, where compatibility only considers global radiative forcing, predominantly determined by well-mixed greenhouse gasses emissions. We analyze extremes of daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation, after fitting non-stationary generalized extreme value distributions in a way that borrows strength along the length of the simulation (2015–2100) and across initial condition ensembles. We consider changes in the 20 year return levels (RL20s) of these metrics by 2100, and focus on eight locations where LUC is large within each scenario, and strongly differs between scenarios, averaging the RL20s over a neighborhood characterized by the same LUC to enhance the signal to noise. We find that precipitation extremes do not show significant differences attributable to LUC differences. For temperature extremes (cold and hot) results are mixed, with some location-index combination showing significant results for some of the ESMs but not all, and not many coherent changes appearing for indices across regions, or regions across indices. These ESMs are representative of what is typically adopted as the source of climate information for impact studies, when the SSP-RCP framework is put to use. Overall, our analysis suggests that the hypothesis to pair SSPs to RCPs in a flexible fashion is overall defensible. However, the appearance of some coherence in a few locations and for some indices invites further investigation.

     
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  3. The labor-intensive nature of the construction industry requires workers to frequently perform physically demanding manual work, thereby exposing them to the risk of musculoskeletal injury (approximately 31.2 cases per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers). Exoskeletons and exosuits (collectively called EXOs here) are designed to protect workers from these injuries by reducing exertion and muscle fatigue during work. However, the usability of EXOs in construction is still not clear. This is because extant EXO assessments in construction were mainly conducted in laboratory environments with test participants who are not construction professionals. In this research, we conducted a pilot study to investigate the usability of EXOs in a real construction workplace. Four experienced workers were recruited to push/empty construction gondolas with and without a Back-Support EXO, HeroWear Apex. Three workers were recruited to install/remove wooden blocks between steel studs with and without two Arm-Support EXOs, i.e., Ekso EVO and Hilti EXO-001. Their motions, postures, heart rates, and task completion times were recorded and compared. The workers were also surveyed to gather their attitudes toward the EXO’s usefulness and ease of use. The study results demonstrated that the workers responded to the use of EXOs differently and consequently were not unanimously in favor of EXO adoption in practice. The preliminary results and findings from this pilot study help in building a foundation of understanding to improve EXO products to fit the needs of construction workers and foster EXO-enabled construction tasks in the future.

     
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  4. Exoskeletons and exosuits (collectively termed EXOs) have the potential to reduce the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) by protecting workers from exertion and muscle fatigue due to physically demanding, repetitive, and prolonged work in construction workplaces. However, the use of EXOs in construction is in its infancy, and much of the knowledge required to drive the acceptance, adoption, and application of this technology is still lacking. The objective of this research is to identify the facilitators, barriers, and corresponding solutions to foster the adoption of EXOs in construction workplaces through a sequential, multistage Delphi approach. Eighteen experts from academia, industry, and government gathered in a workshop to provide insights and exchange opinions regarding facilitators, barriers, and potential solutions from a holistic perspective with respect to business, technology, organization, policy/regulation, ergonomics/safety, and end users (construction-trade professionals). Consensus was reached regarding all these perspectives, including top barriers and potential solution strategies. The outcomes of this study will help the community gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential for EXO use in the construction industry, which may enable the development of a viable roadmap for the evolution of EXO technology and the future of EXO-enabled workers and work in construction workplaces. 
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  5. Abstract Assessing the role of anthropogenic warming from temporally inhomogeneous historical data in the presence of large natural variability is difficult and has caused conflicting conclusions on detection and attribution of tropical cyclone (TC) trends. Here, using a reconstructed long-term proxy of annual TC numbers together with high-resolution climate model experiments, we show robust declining trends in the annual number of TCs at global and regional scales during the twentieth century. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) dataset is used for reconstruction because, compared with other reanalyses, it assimilates only sea-level pressure fields rather than utilize all available observations in the troposphere, making it less sensitive to temporal inhomogeneities in the observations. It can also capture TC signatures from the pre-satellite era reasonably well. The declining trends found are consistent with the twentieth century weakening of the Hadley and Walker circulations, which make conditions for TC formation less favourable. 
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  6. Abstract We propose a method for analyzing extremal behavior through the lens of a most efficient basis of vectors. The method is analogous to principal component analysis, but is based on methods from extreme value analysis. Specifically, rather than decomposing a covariance or correlation matrix, we obtain our basis vectors by performing an eigendecomposition of a matrix that describes pairwise extremal dependence. We apply the method to precipitation observations over the contiguous United States. We find that the time series of large coefficients associated with the leading eigenvector shows very strong evidence of a positive trend, and there is evidence that large coefficients of other eigenvectors have relationships with El Niño–Southern Oscillation. 
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