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Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

Schneider K.,Alpnter for Climate Change Adaption Technologies | Leopold U.,Resource Center for Environmental Technologies | Gerschlauer F.,Justus Liebig University | Barthold F.,Justus Liebig University | And 5 more authors.
Plant and Soil | Year: 2011

Grazing of grasslands changes soil physical and chemical properties as well as vegetation characteristics, such as vegetation cover, species composition and biomass production. In consequence, nutrient allocation and water storage in the top soil are affected. Land use and management changes alter these processes. Knowledge on the impacts of grazing management on nutrient and water fluxes is necessary because of the global importance of grasslands for carbon sequestration. Soil water in semi-arid areas is a limiting factor for matter fluxes and the intrinsic interaction between soil, vegetation and atmosphere. It is therefore desirable to understand the effects of grazing management and stocking rate on the spatial and temporal distribution of soil moisture. In the present study, we address the question how spatio-temporal soil moisture distribution on grazed and ungrazed grassland sites is affected by soil and vegetation properties. The study took place in the Xilin river catchment in Inner Mongolia (PR China). It is a semi-arid steppe environment, which is characterized by still moderate grazing compared to other regions in central Inner Mongolia. However, stocking rates have locally increased and resulted in a degradation of soils and vegetation also in the upper Xilin River basin. We used a multivariate geostatistical approach to reveal spatial dependencies between soil moisture distribution and soil or vegetation parameters. Overall, 7 soil and vegetation parameters (bulk density, sand, silt and clay content, mean weight diameter, mean carbon content of the soil, vegetation cover) and 57 soil moisture data sets were recorded on 100 gridded points on four sites subject to different grazing intensities. Increasing stocking rates accelerated the influence of soil and vegetation parameters on soil moisture. However, the correlation was rather weak, except for a site with high stocking rate where higher correlations were found. Low nugget ratios indicate spatial dependency between soil or plant parameters and soil moisture on a long-term ungrazed site. However, the effect was not found for a second ungrazed site that had been excluded from grazing for a shorter period. Furthermore the most important soil and vegetation parameters for predicting soil moisture distribution varied between different grazing intensities. Therefore, predicting soil moisture by using secondary variables requires a careful selection of the soil or vegetation parameters. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Julich D.,Justus Liebig University | Gath S.,Justus Liebig University | Julich S.,Resource Center for Environmental Technologies
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2012

The validation of metal balancing tools is usually based on the comparison of simulated versus observed data. In our study, we applied a set of different relative and absolute criteria to evaluate the performance of the model Assessment Tool for Metals in Soils. In this process, the uncertainty of the model output and the sensitivity of model parameters were also assessed. The study includes data from 123 agricultural used top soils which are characterized by the application of different fertilizers (mineral and farmyard fertilizers, sewage sludge) resulting in diverse metal inputs into the soil. Although the most common validation criteria (coefficient of determination, error ratio between prediction and observation) indicated a good model performance in predicting the metal contents over a simulation period, the absolute measure (mean absolute difference between prediction and observation) showed that the informational value of the validation results was limited for several sites. Therefore sites with short simulation periods and/or low metal inputs are not suitable for validation, because the model uncertainty covers the metal concentration changes. Excluding such sites from the validation statistics led to evaluable and quite better validation results. Although the calculated output uncertainty was low, a further reduction can be realized by improving the database for the identified sensitive parameters (initial soil metal content and fertilizers metal concentration). © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Muller B.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Balbi S.,Basque Center For Climate Change 3 | Buchmann C.M.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | de Sousa L.,Resource Center for Environmental Technologies | And 15 more authors.
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2014

Agent-based models are helpful to investigate complex dynamics in coupled human-natural systems. However, model assessment, model comparison and replication are hampered to a large extent by a lack of transparency and comprehensibility in model descriptions. In this article we address the question of whether an ideal standard for describing models exists. We first suggest a classification for structuring types of model descriptions. Secondly, we differentiate purposes for which model descriptions are important. Thirdly, we review the types of model descriptions and evaluate each on their utility for the purposes. Our evaluation finds that the choice of the appropriate model description type is purpose-dependent and that no single description type alone can fulfil all requirements simultaneously. However, we suggest a minimum standard of model description for good modelling practice, namely the provision of source code and an accessible natural language description, and argue for the development of a common standard. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Gutierrez T.N.,Resource Center for Environmental Technologies | Ciarletta L.,University of Lorraine | Chevrier V.,University of Lorraine
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2014

The challenge we address in this work is the control of complex systems. We consider techno-social systems which share with complex systems some characteristics like big number of entities, autonomous entities, pre-existing systems, and multiple levels of organization. Our proposal is based on the multi-agent paradigm to model the complex system, to forecast its evolution and to assess the impact of control actions on it. Our solution is an exogenous architecture of the system to control using an equation-free approach based on multi-agent model. An example implementation of the architecture is presented on a free-riding problem of peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Implementation results demonstrate that our architecture can control such a network. Our contributions are i) to demonstrate the feasibility of our approach and its ability to control a system and, ii) to show that the modularity of the architecture enables to tackle issues related to the use of multi-agent paradigm in the context of control of complex systems. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Farlin J.,Resource Center for Environmental Technologies | Maloszewski P.,Helmholtz Center Munich
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2013

Baseflow recession analysis and groundwater dating have up to now developed as two distinct branches of hydrogeology and have been used to solve entirely different problems. We show that by combining two classical models, namely the Boussinesq equation describing spring baseflow recession, and the exponential piston-flow model used in groundwater dating studies, the parameters describing the transit time distribution of an aquifer can be in some cases estimated to a far more accurate degree than with the latter alone. Under the assumption that the aquifer basis is sub-horizontal, the mean transit time of water in the saturated zone can be estimated from spring baseflow recession. This provides an independent estimate of groundwater transit time that can refine those obtained from tritium measurements. The approach is illustrated in a case study predicting atrazine concentration trend in a series of springs draining the fractured-rock aquifer known as the Luxembourg Sandstone. A transport model calibrated on tritium measurements alone predicted different times to trend reversal following the nationwide ban on atrazine in 2005 with different rates of decrease. For some of the springs, the actual time of trend reversal and the rate of change agreed extremely well with the model calibrated using both tritium measurements and the recession of spring discharge during the dry season. The agreement between predicted and observed values was however poorer for the springs displaying the most gentle recessions, possibly indicating a stronger influence of continuous groundwater recharge during the summer months. © 2013 Author(s).

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