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Butenschon M.,University of Bologna | Butenschon M.,Plymouth Marine Laboratory | Zavatarelli M.,University of Bologna | Vichi M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Ocean Modelling | Year: 2012

Coupled marine biogeochemical models are composed of a hydrodynamic component with a transport model for the ecological state variables and a model for the biogeochemical dynamics. The combination of these components involves the implementation of a numerical coupling method, that performs the spatial-temporal integration of the combined system, introducing an additional source of error to the system (splitting error). In this article we demonstrate the sensitivity of a comparatively complex 1D hydrodynamical biogeochemical model to the coupling method, showing that for an inadequate choice of the coupling method, the splitting error may dominate the numerical error of the system. It is demonstrated that for this type of system the tracer transport time scale clearly dominates over the scale of the biogeochemical processes, that maybe computed on significantly coarser time scales. In between the implemented coupling schemes Operator Splitting and Source Splitting, the Source Splitting method inserting the biogeochemical rates into the transport tracer integration is to be preferred for these type of models. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Vichi M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Manzini E.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Manzini E.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | And 11 more authors.
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2011

Under future scenarios of business-as-usual emissions, the ocean storage of anthropogenic carbon is anticipated to decrease because of ocean chemistry constraints and positive feedbacks in the carbon-climate dynamics, whereas it is still unknown how the oceanic carbon cycle will respond to more substantial mitigation scenarios. To evaluate the natural system response to prescribed atmospheric "target" concentrations and assess the response of the ocean carbon pool to these values, 2 centennial projection simulations have been performed with an Earth System Model that includes a fully coupled carbon cycle, forced in one case with a mitigation scenario and the other with the SRES A1B scenario. End of century ocean uptake with the mitigation scenario is projected to return to the same magnitude of carbon fluxes as simulated in 1960 in the Pacific Ocean and to lower values in the Atlantic. With A1B, the major ocean basins are instead projected to decrease the capacity for carbon uptake globally as found with simpler carbon cycle models, while at the regional level the response is contrasting. The model indicates that the equatorial Pacific may increase the carbon uptake rates in both scenarios, owing to enhancement of the biological carbon pump evidenced by an increase in Net Community Production (NCP) following changes in the subsurface equatorial circulation and enhanced iron availability from extratropical regions. NCP is a proxy of the bulk organic carbon made available to the higher trophic levels and potentially exportable from the surface layers. The model results indicate that, besides the localized increase in the equatorial Pacific, the NCP of lower trophic levels in the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans is projected to be halved with respect to the current climate under a substantial mitigation scenario at the end of the twenty-first century. It is thus suggested that changes due to cumulative carbon emissions up to present and the projected concentration pathways of aerosol in the next decades control the evolution of surface ocean biogeochemistry in the second half of this century more than the specific pathways of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Torresan S.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Critto A.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Critto A.,University of Venice | Rizzi J.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | And 2 more authors.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science | Year: 2012

Sea level rise, changes in storms and wave climate as a consequence of global climate change are expected to increase the size and magnitude of flooded and eroding coastal areas, thus having profound impacts on coastal communities and ecosystems. River deltas, beaches, estuaries and lagoons are considered particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, which should be studied at the regional/local scale. This paper presents a regional vulnerability assessment (RVA) methodology developed to analyse site-specific spatial information on coastal vulnerability to the envisaged effects of global climate change, and assist coastal communities in operational coastal management and conservation. The main aim of the RVA is to identify key vulnerable receptors (i.e. natural and human ecosystems) in the considered region and localize vulnerable hot spot areas, which could be considered as homogeneous geographic sites for the definition of adaptation strategies. The application of the RVA methodology is based on a heterogeneous subset of bio-geophysical and socio-economic vulnerability indicators (e.g. coastal topography, geomorphology, presence and distribution of vegetation cover, location of artificial protection), which are a measure of the potential harm from a range of climate-related impacts (e.g. sea level rise inundation, storm surge flooding, coastal erosion). Based on a system of numerical weights and scores, the RVA provides relative vulnerability maps that allow to prioritize more vulnerable areas and targets of different climate-related impacts in the examined region and to support the identification of suitable areas for human settlements, infrastructures and economic activities, providing a basis for coastal zoning and land use planning. The implementation, performance and results of the methodology for the coastal area of the North Adriatic Sea (Italy) are fully described in the paper. © Author(s) 2012.

Pasini S.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Torresan S.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Rizzi J.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Zabeo A.,University of Venice | And 3 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

Climate change impact assessment on water resources has received high international attention over the last two decades, due to the observed global warming and its consequences at the global to local scale. In particular, climate-related risks for groundwater and related ecosystems pose a great concern to scientists and water authorities involved in the protection of these valuable resources. The close link of global warming with water cycle alterations encourages research to deepen current knowledge on relationships between climate trends and status of water systems, and to develop predictive tools for their sustainable management, copying with key principles of EU water policy. Within the European project Life. + TRUST (Tool for Regional-scale assessment of groundwater Storage improvement in adaptation to climaTe change), a Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) methodology was developed in order to identify impacts from climate change on groundwater and associated ecosystems (e.g. surface waters, agricultural areas, natural environments) and to rank areas and receptors at risk in the high and middle Veneto and Friuli Plain (Italy). Based on an integrated analysis of impacts, vulnerability and risks linked to climate change at the regional scale, a RRA framework complying with the Sources-Pathway-Receptor-Consequence (SPRC) approach was defined. Relevant impacts on groundwater and surface waters (i.e. groundwater level variations, changes in nitrate infiltration processes, changes in water availability for irrigation) were selected and analyzed through hazard scenario, exposure, susceptibility and risk assessment. The RRA methodology used hazard scenarios constructed through global and high resolution model simulations for the 2071-2100 period, according to IPCC A1B emission scenario in order to produce useful indications for future risk prioritization and to support the addressing of adaptation measures, primarily Managed Artificial Recharge (MAR) techniques. Relevant outcomes from the described RRA application highlighted that potential climate change impacts will occur with different extension and magnitude in the case study area. Particularly, qualitative and quantitative impacts on groundwater will occur with more severe consequences in the wettest and in the driest scenario (respectively). Moreover, such impacts will likely have little direct effects on related ecosystems - croplands, forests and natural environments - lying along the spring area (about 12% of croplands and 2% of natural environments at risk) while more severe consequences will indirectly occur on natural and anthropic systems through the reduction in quality and quantity of water availability for agricultural and other uses (about 80% of agricultural areas and 27% of groundwater bodies at risk). © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Berline L.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche | Stemmann L.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche | Vichi M.,Centro Euro mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Plankton Research | Year: 2011

So far, the role of appendicularians in the biogeochemical cycling of organic matter has been largely overlooked. Appendicularians represent only a fraction of total mesozooplankton biomass, however these ubiquitous zooplankters have very high filtration and growth rates compared to copepods, and produce numerous fecal pellets and filtering houses contributing to export production by aggregating small marine particles. To study their quantitative impact on biogeochemical flux, we have included this group in the biogeochemical flux model, using a recently developed ecophysiological model. One-dimensional annual simulations of the pelagic ecosystem including appendicularians were conducted with realistic surface forcing for the year 2000, using data from the DyFAMed open ocean station. The appendicularian grazing impact was generally low, but appendicularians increased detritus production by 8 and export production by 55 compared to a simulation without appendicularians. Therefore, current biogeochemical models lacking appendicularians probably under, or misestimate the detritus and export production by omitting the pathway from small-sized plankton to fast sinking detritus. Detritus production and export rates are 60 lower than the estimates from mesotrophic sites, showing that appendicularians' role is lower but still significant in oligotrophic environments. The simulated annual export at 200 m exceeds sediment trap values by 44, suggesting an intense degradation during the sinking of appendicularian detritus, supported by observations made at other sites. Thus, degradation and grazing of appendicularian detritus need better quantification if we are to accurately assess the role of appendicularia in export flux. © 2011 The Author.

Patara L.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Masina S.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Masina S.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2012

The impacts of natural atmospheric variability and anthropogenic climate change on the spatial distribution, seasonality, structure, and productivity of North Pacific plankton groups are investigated by means of an Earth System Model (ESM) that contains a plankton model with variable stoichiometry. The ESM is forced with observed greenhouse gases for the 20th century and with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change A1B Emission Scenario for the 21st century. The impacts of the two main modes of variability - connected with the Aleutian Low (AL) strength and with the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) - are considered. When the AL is strong, primary productivity and chlorophyll concentrations are higher in the central Pacific, the seasonality of plankton is enhanced, and the classical grazing chain is stimulated, whereas in the Alaskan Gyre the model simulates a chlorophyll decrease and a shift toward smaller phytoplankton species. A stronger NPO increases productivity and chlorophyll concentration at ∼45°N. In the anthropogenic climate change scenario, simulated sea surface temperature is 4 °C higher with respect to contemporary conditions, leading to reduced mixing and nutrient supply at middle-subpolar latitudes. The seasonal phytoplankton bloom is reduced and occurs one month earlier, the flow of carbon to the microbial loop is enhanced, and phytoplanktonic stoichiometry is nutrient-depleted. Primary productivity is enhanced at subpolar latitudes, due to increased ice-free regions and possibly to temperature-related photosynthesis stimulation. This study highlights that natural climate variability may act alternatively to strengthen or to weaken the human-induced impacts, and that in the next decades it will be difficult to distinguish between internal and external climate forcing on North Pacific plankton groups. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Spada G.,Urbino University | Ruggieri G.,Urbino University | Sorensen L.S.,Technical University of Denmark | Nielsen K.,Technical University of Denmark | And 2 more authors.
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2012

We study the implications of a recently published mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), derived from repeated surface elevation measurements from NASA's ice cloud and land elevation satellite (ICESat) for the time period between 2003 and 2008. To characterize the effects of this new, high-resolution GrIS mass balance, we study the time-variations of various geophysical quantities in response to the current mass loss. They include vertical uplift and subsidence, geoid height variations, global patterns of sea level change (or fingerprints), and regional sea level variations along the coasts of Greenland. Long-wavelength uplifts and gravity variations in response to current or past ice thickness variations are obtained solving the sea level equation, which accounts for both the elastic and the viscoelastic components of deformation. To capture the short-wavelength components of vertical uplift in response to current ice mass loss, which is not resolved by satellite gravity observations, we have specifically developed a high-resolution regional elastic rebound (ER) model. The elastic component of vertical uplift is combined with estimates of the viscoelastic displacement fields associated with the process of glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA), according to a set of published ice chronologies and associated mantle rheological profiles. We compare the sensitivity of global positioning system (GPS) observations along the coasts of Greenland to the ongoing ER and GIA. In notable contrast with past reports, we show that vertical velocities obtained by GPS data from five stations with sufficiently long records and from one tide gauge at the GrIS margins can be reconciled with model predictions based on the ICE-5G deglaciation model and the ER associated with the new ICESat-derived mass balance. © 2012 The Authors Geophysical Journal International © 2012 RAS.

Patara L.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Patara L.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Vichi M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | Vichi M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | And 5 more authors.
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2012

The global climate response to solar radiation absorbed by phytoplankton is investigated by performing multi-century simulations with a coupled ocean-atmosphere-biogeochemistry model. The absorption of solar radiation by phytoplankton increases radiative heating in the near-surface ocean and raises sea surface temperature (SST) by overall ~0.5°C. The resulting increase in evaporation enhances specific atmospheric humidity by 2-5%, thereby increasing the Earth's greenhouse effect and the atmospheric temperatures. The Hadley Cell exhibits a weakening and poleward expansion, therefore reducing cloudiness at subtropical-middle latitudes and increasing it at tropical latitudes except near the Equator. Higher SST at polar latitudes reduces sea ice cover and albedo, thereby increasing the high-latitude ocean absorption of solar radiation. Changes in the atmospheric baroclinicity cause a poleward intensification of mid-latitude westerly winds in both hemispheres. As a result, the North Atlantic Ocean meridional overturning circulation extends more northward, and the equatorward Ekman transport is enhanced in the Southern Ocean. The combination of local and dynamical processes decreases upper-ocean heat content in the Tropics and in the subpolar Southern Ocean, and increases it at middle latitudes. This study highlights the relevance of coupled ocean-atmosphere processes in the global climate response to phytoplankton solar absorption. Given that simulated impacts of phytoplankton on physical climate are within the range of natural climate variability, this study suggests the importance of phytoplankton as an internal constituent of the Earth's climate and its potential role in participating in its long-term climate adjustments. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Chakravarty S.,Princeton Environmental Institute | Tavoni M.,Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei | Tavoni M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC
Energy Economics | Year: 2013

Energy poverty alleviation has become an important political issue in the most recent years. Several initiatives and policies have been proposed to deal with poor access to modern sources of energy in many developing countries. Given the large number of people lacking basic energy services, an important question is whether providing universal access to modern energy could significantly increase energy demand and associated CO2 emissions. This paper provides one of the few formal assessments of this problem by means of a simple but robust model of current and future energy consumption. The model allows mapping energy consumption globally for different classes of energy use, quantifying current and future imbalances in the distribution of energy consumption. Our results indicate that an encompassing energy poverty eradication policy to be met by 2030 would increase global final energy consumption by about 7% (roughly 20EJ). The same quantity of energy could be saved by reducing by 15% energy consumption of individuals with standards above current European levels. The additional energy infrastructure needed to eradicate energy poverty would produce 44-183GtCO2 over the 21st century and contribute at most 0.13°C of additional warming. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Tavoni M.,Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei | Tavoni M.,Centro Euro Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici CMCC | van der Zwaan B.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands | van der Zwaan B.,Columbia University
Environmental Modeling and Assessment | Year: 2011

In this paper, we analyze the relative importance and mutual behavior of two competing base-load electricity generation options that each are capable of contributing significantly to the abatement of global CO 2 emissions: nuclear energy and coal-based power production complemented with CO 2 capture and storage (CCS). We also investigate how, in scenarios developed with an integrated assessment model that simulates the economics of a climate-constrained world, the prospects for nuclear energy would change if exogenous limitations on the spread of nuclear technology were relaxed. Using the climate change economics model World Induced Technical Change Hybrid, we find that until 2050 the growth rates of nuclear electricity generation capacity would become comparable to historical rates observed during the 1980s. Given that nuclear energy continues to face serious challenges and contention, we inspect how extensive the improvements of coal-based power equipped with CCS technology would need to be if our economic optimization model is to significantly scale down the construction of new nuclear power plants. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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