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Netherlands, Netherlands

Coutand I.,Dalhousie University | Whipp Jr. D.M.,University of Helsinki | Grujic D.,Dalhousie University | Bernet M.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth | Year: 2014

Both climatic and tectonic processes affect bedrock erosion and exhumation in convergent orogens, but determining their respective influence is difficult. A requisite first step is to quantify long-term (∼106 year) erosion rates within an orogen. In the Himalaya, past studies suggest long-term erosion rates varied in space and time along the range front, resulting in numerous tectonicmodels to explain the observed erosion rate distribution. Here, we invert a large data set of new and existing thermochronological ages to determine both long-term exhumation rates and the kinematics of Neogene tectonic activity in the eastern Himalaya in Bhutan. New data include 31 apatite and five zircon (U-Th)/He ages, and 49 apatite and 16 zircon fission-track ages along two north-south oriented transects across the orogen in western and eastern Bhutan. Data inversion was performed using a modified version of the 3-D thermokinematic model Pecube, with parameter ranges defined by available geochronologic, metamorphic, structural, and geophysical data. Among several important observations, our three main conclusions are as follows: (1) Thermochronologic ages do not spatially correlate with surface traces of major fault zones but appear to reflect the geometry of the underlying Main Himalayan Thrust; (2) our data are compatible with a strong tectonic influence, involving a variably dipping Main Himalayan Thrust geometry and steady state topography; and (3) erosion rates have remained constant in western Bhutan over the last ∼10Ma, while a significant decrease occurred at ∼6Ma in eastern Bhutan, which we partially attribute to convergence partitioning into uplift of the Shillong Plateau. ©2014. American Geophysical Union.

Van Zoest J.,TU Eindhoven | Hopman M.,Ministry of Economic Affairs
Urban Climate | Year: 2014

As municipal management budgets for green space management are under pressure, there is an urgent need for new funding models for urban green space. Inspired by the TEEB study (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, 2010), it was hypothesized that the value of ecosystem services that urban green spaces provide, when monetized, will often be larger than the cost of management. This article describes an initiative to develop a tool that makes the financial benefits of green spaces visible in the municipal balance sheet. While the project was successful in producing the desired deliverables (a tool for inclusive finance for urban green spaces, eight in depth cases showing green spaces paying their way, a Community of Practice), it is recognized that the adoption of inclusive finance in municipalities depends critically on urban strategies that have efficiency and resilience at their core. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Xue X.,University of Oklahoma | Xue X.,Advanced Radar Research Center | Hong Y.,University of Oklahoma | Hong Y.,Advanced Radar Research Center | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2013

The objective of this study is to quantitatively evaluate the successive Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) products and further to explore the improvements and error propagation of the latest 3B42V7 algorithm relative to its predecessor 3B42V6 using the Coupled Routing and Excess Storage (CREST) hydrologic model in the mountainous Wangchu Basin of Bhutan. First, the comparison to a decade-long (2001-2010) daily rain gauge dataset reveals that: (1) 3B42V7 generally improves upon 3B42V6's underestimation both for the whole basin (bias from -41.15% to -8.38%) and for a 0.25°. ×. 0.25° grid cell with high-density gauges (bias from -40.25% to 0.04%), though with modest enhancement of correlation coefficients (CC) (from 0.36 to 0.40 for basin-wide and from 0.37 to 0.41 for grid); and (2) 3B42V7 also improves its occurrence frequency across the rain intensity spectrum. Using the CREST model that has been calibrated with rain gauge inputs, the 3B42V6-based simulation shows limited hydrologic prediction NSCE skill (0.23 in daily scale and 0.25 in monthly scale) while 3B42V7 performs fairly well (0.66 in daily scale and 0.77 in monthly scale), a comparable skill score with the gauge rainfall simulations. After recalibrating the model with the respective TMPA data, significant improvements are observed for 3B42V6 across all categories, but not as much enhancement for the already-well-performing 3B42V7 except for a reduction in bias (from -26.98% to -4.81%). In summary, the latest 3B42V7 algorithm reveals a significant upgrade from 3B42V6 both in precipitation accuracy (i.e., correcting the underestimation) thus improving its potential hydrological utility. Forcing the model with 3B42V7 rainfall yields comparable skill scores with in situ gauges even without recalibration of the hydrological model by the satellite precipitation, a compensating approach often used but not favored by the hydrology community, particularly in ungauged basins. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Rupper S.,Brigham Young University | Schaefer J.M.,Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory | Burgener L.K.,Brigham Young University | Koenig L.S.,NASA | And 2 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2012

Glacierized change in the Himalayas affects river-discharge, hydro-energy and agricultural production, and Glacial Lake Outburst Flood potential, but its quantification and extent of impacts remains highly uncertain. Here we present conservative, comprehensive and quantitative predictions for glacier area and meltwater flux changes in Bhutan, monsoonal Himalayas. In particular, we quantify the uncertainties associated with the glacier area and meltwater flux changes due to uncertainty in climate data, a critical problem for much of High Asia. Based on a suite of gridded climate data and a robust glacier melt model, our results show that glacier area and meltwater change projections can vary by an order of magnitude for different climate datasets. However, the most conservative results indicate that, even if climate were to remain at the present-day mean values, almost 10% of Bhutan's glacierized area would vanish and the meltwater flux would drop by as much as 30%. Under the conservative scenario of an additional 1C regional warming, glacier retreat is going to continue until about 25% of Bhutan's glacierized area will have disappeared and the annual meltwater flux, after an initial spike, would drop by as much as 65%. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

News Article | September 9, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

In his Taipei office earlier this month, Gordon Yu showed me photos of a Mercedes S350 BlueTec. “We were able to power this car entirely from fuel made from plastic,” Yu said. “It has less emission pollution and costs the same as petro-based diesel.” He pauses for dramatic effect and adds, giddily: “And it has a higher horsepower.” The fuel, called R-One, is made from plastic waste through the use of reactive catalysts and high temperatures. Through a process called pyrolysis, the plastic goes from solid, to liquid, to gas state. The plastic can be sourced from waste landfills and then processed with less sorting than traditional recycling. Taiwan is a leader in innovative recycling and sustainability. The Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research says that 15 percent of the country’s exports are green products and according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, this sector is expected to generate opportunities exceeding $318 billion by 2020. “Right now Taiwan excels at energy efficiency, pollution control, real on the ground environmental protection technology,” said Nate Maynard, a consultant at the Chunghua Institution for Economic Research, a Taiwan-based think tank. “No energy solution is universally applicable, however plastic to fuel can address major problems in Asia, like trash burning, littering, and a general reliance on diesel fuel.” In Taiwan, the plastic-to-fuel technology is championed by recycling company EVP Group, where Yu works, which can process over twenty tons of plastic per day. While plastic to fuel is an innovation that’s been around for nearly three decades, EVP is the only company worldwide that processes plastic without washing and separating —which saves immensely on costs. “We can process a high yield and we accept the widest ranges of plastic in the world,” Yu said. R-One is always in continuous production. Each day, seven kiloliters of R-One, or “regenerative oil new energy”, can be generated and it has a low sulfur-content at ten parts per million (ppm). For context, in the United States, low sulfur content for highway diesel fuel is 500 ppm. Ultra low sulfur diesel only clocks in at 15 ppm. Sulfur causes acid rain, and sulfur dioxide is a mild greenhouse gas. So low sulfur fuels help with reducing air pollution. R-One also has important economic implications for Taiwan. “The difference with Taiwan and the United States is that Taiwan is importing their fuel. With plastic-to-fuel technology, Taiwan can reduce their dependence on imports, reduce waste, have marginally better air quality, and reduce the public health impact of burning waste,” Maynard said. What’s interesting about Yu and his involvement with EVP is not so much the technology, but his broader vision for these sustainable technologies in Taiwan. He is the managing director of the Taiwan Hsinchu Green Industry Association, an industry group that includes over 40 sustainable technology companies in Taiwan. “When people ask what business I am in and I say sustainability, no one understands that here in Taiwan,” he said. “So I say cradle-to-cradle instead and then they understand.” (Cradle-to-cradle refers to a regenerative design system that mimics nature. Waste is recycled back into the production cycle and made into products of value.) Making of the glass violin. Video courtesy of Gordon Yu Yu also serves as the CEO of Etouch Innovation Company, a member of the industry association, which produces products like egg cartons made with recycled fibers, and violins fashioned with leftover glass from smartphones. “It’s such a beautiful instrument,” he said of the recycled glass violin. “It has such a unique sound.” The core philosophy of the green industry association is to use waste as a resource and process it as efficiently as possible into a viable, commercial product. And Taiwan has long been an innovator in sustainable technology. “Taiwan’s rapid progress in sustainability keeps me optimistic,” Maynard said. “In several decades they have developed world class recycling systems which in turn created a whole branch of other industries using recycled products.” Yu has lofty goals, such as creating an ocean-based fueling station that converts plastic waste to R-One. “This would mean cheaper cargo and less plastic in the ocean.” Read More: From Trash to Punk: The Underside of China's Spectacular Urban Growth Other companies and products under the Hsinchu Green Industry Association include Taiwan’s largest recycling association, a business that makes fabrics out of recycled plastics, biodegradable diapers, building bricks made out of plastic, phone cases made with rice husks, and sandals fashioned out of agricultural waste. But Maynard is skeptical they will be able to make it long term. “It’s hard for green business in Taiwan to get the investment they need due to a short-sighted investment culture,” he said. “People don’t understand the risks of these kinds of products and hesitate to invest. This in turn leads to challenges with internationalization or localization, I see a lot of great ideas that fail to really take hold.” Yu, however, is not deterred. “Taiwan has always been an innovative country,” he says. ”It’s been recycling for a long time. In Chinese culture, reusing and recycling is in our genes. This is a Buddhist way of thinking.”

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