Biofuels

Improving biofuel feedstocks

August 19, 2021

Corn stover–the leaves, stalks, husks, and cobs that remain in the field after harvesting—can be used as a renewable feedstock for biofuel production. However, relying exclusively on crop residues may be too costly for biofuel plants due to the costs in obtaining stover from distant suppliers. This analysis looks at the potential of including energy…

Tundra

Impact of light-absorbing particles on climate

August 19, 2021

The snow–ice surface is the highest light reflecting (albedo) surface on Earth and a key factor influencing the planet’s radiative balance. The deposition of light-absorbing particles (LAP) — primarily black carbon, organic carbon, mineral dust, and microbes—reduces snow albedo, increasing absorption of solar radiation, and accelerating snow melting. Of these LAP, water-soluble organic carbon particles…

trees

Climate-induced extinctions of woody plants

August 19, 2021

Modeling studies based on species distribution models (SDMs) have predicted that climate change will cause the regional extinction of tree species within the next 50-100 years. With few exceptions, these efforts have not been validated by experimental or observational studies, and SDM-based predictions of future extinctions have largely gone unchallenged. A new study reports on…

Storm water

Stormwater on the margins

August 19, 2021

For many cities around the world, climate change is bringing more frequent intense downpours which can overwhelm urban stormwater management systems and lead to flooding and degraded water quality. These hazards disproportionately affect socially and economically marginalized communities. This paper looks at how an individual’s race, gender, and education level help predict one’s concern about…

Aerosols

Global distribution of urban aerosols

August 19, 2021

Urban aerosols, tiny particles that range in size from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers, have major size-dependent impacts on human health, atmospheric processes, and climate. In a review of 737 studies, spanning nearly 20 years of observations, Purdue researchers find large variations in the urban aerosol particle size distributions among different geographical regions…

climate emergency banner

“Code red” for humanity

August 19, 2021

Five years after the first climate emergency declaration in 2016, almost 2,000 such assertions have been issued. Among the most recent, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the August 9, 2021 IPCC report as a “code red for humanity.” An emergency frame is a sense-making lens that conveys the meaning that a given set of circumstances…

Soundscapes coral reef

What does resilience sound like?

August 18, 2021

Images of the destructive power of extreme weather events—incinerated landscapes, massive forest defoliation, broken coral reefs, splintered homes, waterlogged communities and coastlines—are regular features in today’s news feeds. Researchers studying these events follow-up with charts, graphs, and animations, providing additional ways to visualize the impact of these storms. But what about the sounds? What can…

UAV Lidar

Mapping the Brazilian savanna using UAV-lidar

August 18, 2021

Lidar used in combination with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) enables rapid 3-D mapping of aboveground vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and surface layers that have a strong influence on fire regimes and carbon cycling. However, this technology has been rarely implemented in tropical savanna ecosystems. A new study assesses the capability of UAV-lidar to estimate and…

Child holding sign that says "Save the World"

Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to impact global climate agreements

April 21, 2021

The United Nations has identified Indigenous Peoples and women as two groups most affected by environmental and climate change issues. Although Indigenous Peoples make up roughly five percent (5%) of the global population, they govern, occupy, or use nearly 22% of global land area. As such, they are critical stakeholders in global environmental governance, and…

Climate change exacerbates health risks to farmworkers

April 19, 2021

Until now, most research on climate change and agriculture has focused on crops, not the people who cultivate the crops. A new study looks at the future potential impacts of global warming on both crop yields and farmworkers for a more complete picture of the effects of climate change to the agricultural sector. The study…