What Links Urban Metabolic Energy Flows and Urban Ecosystems – a literature review.

Eight energy and material flow characteristics of urban ecosystems (12 page pdf, Xuemei Bai, Ambio, Apr. 22, 2016)

Today we examine a review of current literature about two apparently conflicting urban concepts: one that is concerned with the material energy flows, the other with the ecology of wildlife and plants in a city environment. As cities become more complex and larger these concepts become more important in themselves, as well as between each other with intercity distributions and the regulation of processes across large urban areas and estimating the capacity of a city when to comes to the flow of materials, such as waste Approaching cities in this way also allows for a better defined environmental footprint, as demonstrated in one example in Barcelona, where a park designed for carbon sequestration was found after analysis to be one twelve the size needed to produce the desired absorption of carbon emissions from the city. The concluding words are worth noting: “A better understanding of the interactions between anthropogenic material and energy flows and ecosystem processes can help reduce unintended consequences of narrowly focused policy and management decisions.”

urban metabolism

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Modelling the Best Way to Reduce Global Carbon Emissions

2 °C and SDGs: united they stand, divided they fall? (16 page pdf, Christoph von Stechow, Jan C Minx, Keywan Riahi, Jessica Jewell, David L McCollum, Max W Callaghan, Christoph Bertram, Gunnar Luderer and Giovanni Baiocchi, Environmental Research Letters, Mar. 16, 2016)

Also discussed here: Short-sighted climate policy jeopardizes other UN sustainable development goals (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis News, Mar. 16, 2016)

Today we review the results from 7 “integrated” models which were used to assess 20 scenarios for each decade out to 2050 while considering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets and the agreement to limit global climate warming to 2 deg C, set out in the recent COP 21 conference in Paris. Some carbon emission reduction strategies have emphasized economic impacts alone, failing to take into account wider social and environmental implications.

Application of carbon pricing to transportation, for example, has a greater potential for lowering emissions in the near term because of the short turn-around needed for technological improvements (e.g. electric vehicles) and the quick responsiveness of users to fuel price changes. On the other hand, a major increase in energy prices can have major impacts on the poor in developing countries, unless their concerns are accommodated in some way.

Another significant finding from this research is the impact of delaying the reduction of energy while waiting for potential non carbon energy technologies to become cost effective and widely used, such as BioEnergy(BE), Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR). The modelling indicates that delaying climate mitigation in the short term, to give time for these technologies to emerge, leads to more risk and costs in the long term if the 2 deg goal is to be met.


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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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Where are Europe’s Air Pollution Hotspots and How are they being Cleaned Up?

Modelling street level PM10 concentrations across Europe: source apportionment and possible futures (15 page pdf, Kiesewetter, G., Borken-Kleefeld, J., Schöpp, W., Heyes, C., Thunis, P., Bessagnet, B., Terrenoire, E., Fagerli, H., Nyiri, A., and Amann, M., Atmos. Chem. Phys., Feb. 13, 2015)

Also discussed here: Clearing up Europe’s air pollution hotspots (News, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Feb 19, 2015)
Today we review modeling sources of ambient air pollution across Europe down to the street canyon scale (using the GAINS, model developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) as measured by 1850 monitoring stations (including 300 traffic stations) and then applying various policy scenarios. Results indicate the while most areas show improvement over the next two decades, some continue to remain below EU air quality limits, specifically, southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, northern Italy, and Bulgaria. Adherence to these limits require more than vehicle emission controls such as introduction of low emission zones, improved road materials and road dust removal and eliminating studded tires and controlling emissions from home heating fuels such as wood burning.

europe hot spots

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A Check List for Managing Urban Air Quality

Growing Public Health Concerns from Poor Urban Air Quality: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living (9 page pdf, Bhaskar Kura, Suruchi Verma, Elena Ajdari, Amrita Iyer, Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, Apr. 2013)

Today we review a paper that zeroes in on the issue of urban air pollution and its health impacts, identifying which pollutants cause the greatest harm and what to do about that in terms of identifying and controlling pollution sources. Given that a million premature deaths and another million pre-native deaths are linked to urban air pollution, along with 2-5% GDP costs for developed and developing countries respectively, much more attention is needed at the municipal level now.

urban aq manageemnt

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Modelling Emissions from Stop-and-Start Traffic Congestion

A congestion sensitive approach to modelling road networks for air quality management (Abstract, James O’Brien; Anil Namdeo; Margaret Bell; Paul Goodman, Int. J. of Environment and Pollution, Dec. 2014)
Also discussed here: Stop-start driving in city centres creates higher pollution levels (Phys Org, Dec. 12, 2014)

And here: New regional traffic model to combat urban road congestion (Phys Org, Jan. 9, 2014)

And here:  Verkeersvoorspellingen met modellen: een voorspelling over modellen (in Dutch language) (3 page pdf, Victor L. Knoop and Serge P. Hoogendoorn, Nationaal verkeerskundecongres, 6 Nov. 2013)

Today we review research into improved modelling of emissions from congested traffic which takes into account instantaneous starts and stops instead of assuming a constant speed of vehicles. The results indicate that previous mobile transportation pollution models may underestimate emissions by as much as 60%.and this has large potential consequences for environmental impact assessments of large transportation projects, as well as for regulating or reducing emissions from currently congested cities.

traffic model

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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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