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Site: http://www.scientificcomputing.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

A computer model that aims to provide physical information on the Bangladesh delta to policy makers there, has received the ‘impact’ award from the UK national supercomputing facility, ARCHER. This is the first model to link the open ocean with the limit of tidal interaction in Bangladesh, and has been produced by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) scientist Dr. Lucy Bricheno using the ARCHER facility. This model predicts changes in tidal water level and salinity in the delta region, and could be used to make decisions about how to manage the physical environment, such as where to take irrigation water from and what crops to grow. Future scenarios forecast by the model show the tidal range increasing by up to half a meter in places, which could see a large area of the delta flooded during high tide; affecting farmland, and the Sundarbans mangrove forests (a UNESCO world heritage site). Bricheno said “I am really pleased that this award has recognized the important potential social and economic impacts of this model.….this region is home to large numbers of people whose wellbeing is critically dependent on the land, and so are vulnerable to changes in the physical environment. By providing high-quality evidence and forecasts, the outputs of the model could really help policy makers to make more informed decisions about how to best manage that environment. What was interesting about the tidal change evident in the model is that it had a complex spatial pattern — not just rising everywhere. This is important because it wouldn't be captured in a coarse ocean model — we need to simulate the whole delta.” The model also showed that, in general, the west of the delta and the Sundarbans mangrove forest got saltier, particularly during the dry season, which has important implications for the health of the forest and any crops planted there. The western part of the delta is also home to some of the poorest farmers in Bangladesh and is the habitat of the Royal Bengal tiger. The model uses and produces high-resolution 3-D maps of the delta, its rivers and the Indian Ocean. Bathymetry data is used in conjunction with information describing river discharge, ocean tides, water temperature and salinity from other models. However, since the model is complex, and of high resolution (containing around two million nodes), the run-time is around one week per year of data. Therefore, the large supercomputing power offered by the ARCHER supercomputing national facility is required. Dr. Judith Wolf, who is leading the NOC’s contribution to this project, called ESPA Deltas, said “This international collaborative research is pushing oceanography into new areas, working further inland than ever (to reach the limit of tidal penetration), and leading us to collaborations with human geographers and social scientists. ESPA Deltas investigates how the bio-physical environment of the delta impacts on human population and livelihood for some of the poorest people on the planet. The NOC’s role within this international multidisciplinary project is to contribute world-leading expertise in hydrodynamic modeling.


Howe C.,Imperial College London | Howe C.,University College London | Suich H.,ESPA | Suich H.,University of Oxford | And 6 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2013

A rapid review of the current literature on the links between climate change, ecosystem services (ES) and poverty alleviation has identified 41 papers. Of these, 19 were considered relevant as they specifically discussed the linkages between ES and poverty and the influence of climate change on that relationship. The papers reviewed focused on a limited number of ES and rarely considered multiple dimensions of poverty or the full range of climate change effects. The authors collectively recognise a complex network of relationships between ES and poverty, further complicated by the potential impacts of climate change. There is an urgent need for empirical research and interdisciplinarity, including developing a commonly understood set of definitions, in order to begin to elucidate pathways that will significantly affect the abilities of people to adapt to our rapidly changing climate. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source


Suich H.,ESPA | Suich H.,University of Oxford | Suich H.,Australian National University | Howe C.,ESPA | And 3 more authors.
Ecosystem Services | Year: 2015

We present the results of a review of the empirical evidence and of the state of knowledge regarding the mechanisms linking ecosystem services and poverty alleviation. The review was undertaken to determine the state of current knowledge about the scale and nature of these linkages, and focus the future research agenda. Research has, to date, focussed largely on provisioning services, and on just two poverty dimensions concerning income and assets, and food security and nutrition. While many papers describe links between ecosystem services and dimensions of poverty, few provide sufficient context to enable a thorough understanding of the poverty alleviation impacts (positive or negative), if any. These papers contribute to the accumulating evidence that ecosystem services support well-being, and perhaps prevent people becoming poorer, but provide little evidence of their contribution to poverty alleviation, let alone poverty elimination. A considerable gap remains in understanding the links between ecosystem services and poverty, how change occurs, and how pathways out of poverty may be achieved based on the sustainable utilisation of ecosystem services. © 2015 The Authors. Source

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