What is the Local Environmental Impact of Fracking?

Investigating the traffic-related environmental impacts of hydraulic-fracturing (fracking) operations (13 page pdf, Paul S. Goodman, Fabio Galatioto, Neil Thorpe, Anil K. Namdeo, Richard J. Davies, Roger N. Bird, Environment International, Feb. 1, 2016)

Today we review an aspect of fracking, not often investigated: the impact of local fracking wells which is a combination of the air pollution emissions from the fracking itself and the removal of waste water by tanker trucks which adds vehicle emissions and noise. There is a requirement for 9,000 to 29,000 cubic metres per well, or 54,000 to 174,000 cubic metres for a six-well pad. Total CO2 emissions associated with extraction of shale gas from a well were small (0.2–2.9%) compared to the combustion of the gas from the well. Modelling of NOx emissions showed increases reaching 30% over non-fracking periods and noise levels doubling.

fracking traffic

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How Does Global Climate Warming Look Locally?

Regional estimates of the transient climate response to cumulative CO2 emissions (Abstract, Martin Leduc, H. Damon Matthews & Ramón de Elía, Nature Climate Change, Jan.4, 016)
Also discussed here: Impact of human activity on local climate mapped (Science Daily, Jan. 20, 2016)

Today we review research that examines the projected climate warming using 12 model runs from cumulative carbon emissions from preindustrial levels to four times those emissions on different regions of the world. Not unexpectedly, temperatures increase the most in polar regions (more than 5 deg C per trillion tons of emissions) than in low latitude areas and more over land (1.3 deg C) than over oceans (less than 1 deg C). The influence of ice albedo and ocean circulation caused warming that was linear than in land areas far from ice. This approach offers much in the assessment of future climate impacts on a regional or locals scale.

local climate chnage

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Modelling the Dynamics of Traffic Congestion and Urban Air Pollution Hot Spots

MIT Study devises new algorithm to predict traffic patterns (Becca DeGregorio, The Daily Free Press, Nov. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Understanding Road Usage Patterns in Urban Areas (6 page pdf, Pu Wang, Timothy Hunter, Alexandre M. Bayen, Katja Schechtner & Marta C. Gonzalez, Scientific Reports, Nature, Dec. 20, 2012)

And here: Phone data helps pinpoint source of traffic congestion (On Balance, Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jan. 2013)

And here:

(48 sec You-Tube, Marta Gonzalez, Dec. 8, 2013)

And here: Gridlock Traced to Just a Few Key Commuters (Rocket News, Dec. 21, 2012)

Today we review research from MIT aimed at diagnosing the dynamics of traffic congestion using mobile phone records and population and origin-destination statistics to identify key congested road segments that lead to major congestion across major cities such as San Francisco and Boston. These congested areas rapidly lead to high levels of pollution that affect the entire urban area which puts both drivers and others such as cyclists who use the roads at risk to their health. Better design of the road network and method to reduce traffic peaks such as congestion pricing are offered as solutions.

traffic congestion

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Sharpening the Spatial Resolution of Exposure to Particulate Matter

Spatio-temporal modeling of particulate air pollution in the conterminous United States using geographic and meteorological predictors (34 page pdf, Jeff D Yanosky, Christopher J Paciorek, Francine Laden, Jaime E Hart, Robin C Puett, Duanping Liao and Helen H Suh, Environmental Health, Aug. 5, 2014)

Today we review a paper describing how a statistical model can be used to provide the necessary spatial detail on the exposure to particulate matter. Knowing this is especially important near major roads in urban areas where there is a high volume of diesel powered vehicles which emit PM2.5 and where the distance from the emission sources to where people live or work is critical. The authors show examples of the mapping for cities such as New York as well as across the USA.

high resolution PM in NYC

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Atmospheric Energy Imbalances and Climate Change

Energy and Climate – Dr Kevin E Trenberth(Royal Meteorological Society, Feb, 2013)

Also discussed here:
(NCAR, Apr. 14, 2010)

And here:
Surface Energy Budget of Central Canada(194 pages, William Pugsley. Publication in Meteorology #96, Arctic Meteorology Research Group. Dept of Meteorology, McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Sep. 1970)
Today we review a topic close to my heart and the subject of my MSc thesis 40 years ago- the flows of energy and radiation in the atmosphere and with the earth’s and ocean surface. Dr Trenberth suggests that the balance that existed between outgoing and incoming radiation has changed recently with an unexplained or missing amount of energy that may be stored or accumulating in the deep ocean. He calls for better global atmospheric-oceanic modeling to account for this and to better anticipate the net impact that carbon fuel use has on atmospheric warming and climate change – which, as we have seen from previous posts, mainly affect people and their health in cities.
trenberth_energy

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How Does Waste Heat from MegaCities Affect the Global Atmospheric Circulation?

Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America(5 Page pdf, Guang J. Zhang, Ming Cai and Aixue Hu, Nature Climate Change, Jan 27, 2013)

Also discussed here: Cities change temperatures for thousands of miles(UCAR ATMOS News, Jan. 27, 2013)

And here: City heat affects temperatures 1,000 miles away(The Times of India, Jan. 28, 2013)

Today we review global climate modeling research that examined the contribution of the waste heat produced by buildings and vehicle emissions in very large cities. Although this heat is small compared to the warming from greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere for the entire world, the model simulations reveal large changes in the regional circulation near these cities which may intensify local weather events such as droughts or extreme storms.

earth-at-night-thm_0

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Top 10 Posts for 2012 on Pollution Free Cities-WordPress Edition

At year end, bloggers sometimes look back at their posts to see which ones were the most popular- and I did just that with the list of links clipped below, in case you want to revisit any of them. There continues to be interest in pollution free cities such as Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates and advances being made to reduce or eliminate energy consumption, traffic congestion, pollution (including noise) in cities, along with an ongoing interest in the health impacts of all this. Perhaps surprising is that only one post in the last year was as popular as the older posts- the one on GEO Medicine and accumulated exposure to air pollution over a lifetime.

Masdar City – zero carbon, zero waste

Health Effects of Noise

Low and Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB)

Global Health Impact of Air, Land and Water Pollution

Managing Urban Noise

Traffic-Related Air Pollution Literature Review

The Cleanest (and Dirtiest) Cities in the World

Health Effects of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles

Impact of Traffic Air Pollution on Health in Toronto

GEO Medicine and Lifetime Exposure to Poor Air Quality

Health and Urban Poverty

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