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Now showing 1 - 10 of 31
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    Reply to Bhowmik et al.: Democratic climate action and studying extreme climate risks are not in tension
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2022) Kemp, Luke; Xu, Chi; Depledge, Joanna; Ebi, Kristie L.; Gibbins, Goodwin; Kohler, Timothy A.; Rockström, Johan; Scheffer, Marten; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim; Steffen, Will; Lenton, Timothy M.
    [no abstract available]
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    Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war
    (2020) Scherrer, Kim J.N.; Harrison, Cheryl S.; Heneghan, Ryan F.; Galbraith, Eric; Bardeen, Charles G.; Coupe, Joshua; Jägermeyr, Jonas; Lovenduski, Nicole S.; Luna, August; Robock, Alan; Stevens, Jessica; Stevenson, Samantha; Toon, Owen B.; Xia, Lili
    Nuclear war, beyond its devastating direct impacts, is expected to cause global climatic perturbations through injections of soot into the upper atmosphere. Reduced temperature and sunlight could drive unprecedented reductions in agricultural production, endangering global food security. However, the effects of nuclear war on marine wild-capture fisheries, which significantly contribute to the global animal protein and micronutrient supply, remain unexplored. We simulate the climatic effects of six war scenarios on fish biomass and catch globally, using a state-of-the-art Earth system model and global process-based fisheries model. We also simulate how either rapidly increased fish demand (driven by food shortages) or decreased ability to fish (due to infrastructure disruptions), would affect global catches, and test the benefits of strong prewar fisheries management. We find a decade-long negative climatic impact that intensifies with soot emissions, with global biomass and catch falling by up to 18 ± 3% and 29 ± 7% after a US-Russia war under business-as-usual fishing-similar in magnitude to the end-of-century declines under unmitigated global warming. When war occurs in an overfished state, increasing demand increases short-term (1 to 2 y) catch by at most ∼30% followed by precipitous declines of up to ∼70%, thus offsetting only a minor fraction of agricultural losses. However, effective prewar management that rebuilds fish biomass could ensure a short-term catch buffer large enough to replace ∼43 ± 35% of today's global animal protein production. This buffering function in the event of a global food emergency adds to the many previously known economic and ecological benefits of effective and precautionary fisheries management.
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    Reply to Ruhl and Craig: Assessing and governing extreme climate risks needs to be legitimate and democratic
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2022) Kemp, Luke; Xu, Chi; Depledge, Joanna; Ebi, Kristie L.; Gibbins, Goodwin; Kohler, Timothy A.; Rockström, Johan; Scheffer, Marten; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim; Steffen, Will; Lenton, Timothy M.
    [No abstract available]
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    Hydrothermal carbonization as an alternative sanitation technology: Process optimization and development of low-cost reactor
    (Brussels : European Commission, 2022) Chung, Jae Wook; Gerner, Gabriel; Ovsyannikova, Ekaterina; Treichler, Alexander; Baier, Urs; Libra, Judy; Krebs, Rolf
    Background: The provision of safe sanitation services is essential for human well-being and environmental integrity, but it is often lacking in less developed communities with insufficient financial and technical resources. Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) has been suggested as an alternative sanitation technology, producing value-added products from faecal waste. We evaluated the HTC technology for raw human waste treatment in terms of resource recovery. In addition, we constructed and tested a low-cost HTC reactor for its technical feasibility. Methods: Raw human faeces were hydrothermally treated in a mild severity range (≤ 200 °C and ≤ 1 hr). The total energy recovery was analysed from the energy input, higher heating value (HHV) of hydrochar and biomethane potential of process water. The nutrient contents were recovered through struvite precipitation employing process water and acid leachate from hydrochar ash. A bench-scale low-cost reactor (BLR) was developed using widely available materials and tested for human faeces treatment. Results: The hydrochar had HHVs (23.2 - 25.2 MJ/kg) comparable to bituminous coal. The calorific value of hydrochar accounted for more than 90% of the total energy recovery. Around 78% of phosphorus in feedstock was retained in hydrochar ash, while 15% was in process water. 72% of the initial phosphorus can be recovered as struvite when deficient Mg and NH 4 are supplemented. The experiments with BLR showed stable operation for faecal waste treatment with an energy efficiency comparable to a commercial reactor system. Conclusions: This research presents a proof of concept for the hydrothermal treatment of faecal waste as an alternative sanitation technology, by providing a quantitative evaluation of the resource recovery of energy and nutrients. The experiments with the BLR demonstrate the technical feasibility of the low-cost reactor and support its further development on a larger scale to reach practical implementation.
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    Strong impact of wildfires on the abundance and aging of black carbon in the lowermost stratosphere
    (Washington, DC : NAS, 2018) Ditas, Jeannine; Ma, Nan; Zhang, Yuxuan; Assmann, Denise; Neumaier, Marco; Riede, Hella; Karu, Einar; Williams, Jonathan; Scharffe, Dieter; Wang, Qiaoqiao; Saturno, Jorge; Schwarz, Joshua P.; Katich, Joseph M.; McMeeking, Gavin R.; Zahn, Andreas; Hermann, Markus; Brenninkmeijer, Carl A. M.; Andreae, Meinrat O.; Pöschl, Ulrich; Su, Hang; Cheng, Yafang
    Wildfires inject large amounts of black carbon (BC) particles into the atmosphere, which can reach the lowermost stratosphere (LMS) and cause strong radiative forcing. During a 14-month period of observations on board a passenger aircraft flying between Europe and North America, we found frequent and widespread biomass burning (BB) plumes, influencing 16 of 160 flight hours in the LMS. The average BC mass concentrations in these plumes (∼140 ng·m−3, standard temperature and pressure) were over 20 times higher than the background concentration (∼6 ng·m−3) with more than 100-fold enhanced peak values (up to ∼720 ng·m−3). In the LMS, nearly all BC particles were covered with a thick coating. The average mass equivalent diameter of the BC particle cores was ∼120 nm with a mean coating thickness of ∼150 nm in the BB plume and ∼90 nm with a coating of ∼125 nm in the background. In a BB plume that was encountered twice, we also found a high diameter growth rate of ∼1 nm·h−1 due to the BC particle coatings. The observed high concentrations and thick coatings of BC particles demonstrate that wildfires can induce strong local heating in the LMS and may have a significant influence on the regional radiative forcing of climate.
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    Exploring functional pairing between surface glycoconjugates and human galectins using programmable glycodendrimersomes
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2018) Xiao, Qi; Ludwig, Anna-Kristin; Romanò, Cecilia; Buzzacchera, Irene; Sherman, Samuel E.; Vetro, Maria; Vértesy, Sabine; Kaltner, Herbert; Reed, Ellen H.; Möller, Martin; Wilson, Christopher J.; Hammer, Daniel A.; Oscarson, Stefan; Klein, Michael L.; Gabius, Hans-Joachim; Percec, Virgil
    Precise translation of glycan-encoded information into cellular activity depends critically on highly specific functional pairing between glycans and their human lectin counter receptors. Sulfoglycolipids, such as sulfatides, are important glycolipid components of the biological membranes found in the nervous and immune systems. The optimal molecular and spatial design aspects of sulfated and nonsulfated glycans with high specificity for lectin-mediated bridging are unknown. To elucidate how different molecular and spatial aspects combine to ensure the high specificity of lectin-mediated bridging, a bottom-up toolbox is devised. To this end, negatively surface-charged glycodendrimersomes (GDSs), of different nanoscale dimensions, containing sulfo-lactose groups are self-assembled in buffer from a synthetic sulfatide mimic: Janus glycodendrimer (JGD) containing a 3′-O-sulfo-lactose headgroup. Also prepared for comparative analysis are GDSs with nonsulfated lactose, a common epitope of human membranes. These self-assembled GDSs are employed in aggregation assays with 15 galectins, comprising disease-related human galectins, and other natural and engineered variants from four families, having homodimeric, heterodimeric, and chimera architectures. There are pronounced differences in aggregation capacity between human homodimeric and heterodimeric galectins, and also with respect to their responsiveness to the charge of carbohydrate-derived ligand. Assays reveal strong differential impact of ligand surface charge and density, as well as lectin concentration and structure, on the extent of surface cross-linking. These findings demonstrate how synthetic JGD-headgroup tailoring teamed with protein engineering and network assays can help explain how molecular matchmaking operates in the cellular context of glycan and lectin complexity.
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    Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth's climate by 2050
    (2020) Otto, Ilona M.; Donges, Jonathan F.; Cremades, Roger; Bhowmik, Avit; Hewitt, Richard J.; Lucht, Wolfgang; Rockström, Johan; Allerberger, Franziska; McCaffrey, Mark; Doe, Sylvanus S.P.; Lenferna, Alex; Morán, Nerea; van Vuuren, Detlef P.; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    Safely achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement requires a worldwide transformation to carbon-neutral societies within the next 30 y. Accelerated technological progress and policy implementations are required to deliver emissions reductions at rates sufficiently fast to avoid crossing dangerous tipping points in the Earth's climate system. Here, we discuss and evaluate the potential of social tipping interventions (STIs) that can activate contagious processes of rapidly spreading technologies, behaviors, social norms, and structural reorganization within their functional domains that we refer to as social tipping elements (STEs). STEs are subdomains of the planetary socioeconomic system where the required disruptive change may take place and lead to a sufficiently fast reduction in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The results are based on online expert elicitation, a subsequent expert workshop, and a literature review. The STIs that could trigger the tipping of STE subsystems include 1) removing fossil-fuel subsidies and incentivizing decentralized energy generation (STE1, energy production and storage systems), 2) building carbon-neutral cities (STE2, human settlements), 3) divesting from assets linked to fossil fuels (STE3, financial markets), 4) revealing the moral implications of fossil fuels (STE4, norms and value systems), 5) strengthening climate education and engagement (STE5, education system), and 6) disclosing information on greenhouse gas emissions (STE6, information feedbacks). Our research reveals important areas of focus for larger-scale empirical and modeling efforts to better understand the potentials of harnessing social tipping dynamics for climate change mitigation.
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    Laser spectroscopic technique for direct identification of a single virus I: FASTER CARS
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2020) Deckert, Volker; Deckert-Gaudig, Tanja; Cialla-May, Dana; Popp, Jürgen; Zell, Roland; Deinhard-Emmer, Stefanie; Sokolov, Alexei V.; Yi, Zhenhuan; Scully, Marlan O.
    From the famous 1918 H1N1 influenza to the present COVID-19 pandemic, the need for improved viral detection techniques is all too apparent. The aim of the present paper is to show that identification of individual virus particles in clinical sample materials quickly and reliably is near at hand. First of all, our team has developed techniques for identification of virions based on a modular atomic force microscopy (AFM). Furthermore, femtosecond adaptive spectroscopic techniques with enhanced resolution via coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (FASTER CARS) using tip-enhanced techniques markedly improves the sensitivity [M. O. Scully, et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99, 10994-11001 (2002)].
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    Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
    (Washington, DC : NAS, 2018) Steffen, Will; Rockström, Johan; Richardson, Katherine; Lenton, Timothy M.; Folke, Carl; Liverman, Diana; Summerhayes, Colin P.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; Cornell, Sarah E.; Crucifix, Michel; Donges, Jonathan F.; Fetzer, Ingo; Lade, Steven J.; Scheffer, Marten; Winkelmann, Ricarda; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.
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    Stewardship of global collective behavior
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2021) Bak-Coleman, Joseph B.; Alfano, Mark; Barfuss, Wolfram; Bergstrom, Carl T.; Centeno, Miguel A.; Couzin, Iain D.; Donges, Jonathan F.; Galesic, Mirta; Gersick, Andrew S.; Jacquet, Jennifer; Kao, Albert B.; Moran, Rachel E.; Romanczuk, Pawel; Rubenstein, Daniel I.; Tombak, Kaia J.; Van Bavel, Jay J.; Weber, Elke U.
    Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.