Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Dec 2004

Modelling and measuring the spectral bidirectional reflectance factor of snow-covered sea ice: an intercomparison study

Li, SS Zhou, XB


Broadband albedo is a very important geophysical parameter in the Earth surface-atmosphere interaction in either global climate change or hydrological cycle and snowmelt runoff studies. To derive the broadband albedo accurately from satellite optical sensor observation at limited bands and at a single observation angle, the bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF) has to be specified quantitatively. In the present albedo derivation algorithms from the satellite radiance data, the BRF is either modelled or observed. Questions may arise as to how well a BRF model can be in the broadband albedo derivation. To help answer such questions, we studied the performance of a snow-surface BRF model for two specific cases under large solar zenith angles (65degrees and 85degrees). We measured snow-surface spectral directional reflectance under clear skies. The snow physical properties, such as snow grain size and snow density, at the same sites were also measured. In situ snow physical data are used to simulate the snow-surface BRF and hemispherical directional reflectance factor (HDRF) through a multilayered azimuth- and zenith-dependent plane-parallel radiative transfer model. The field measurements and BRF and HDRF simulations all reveal the forward-scattering nature of snow surface under large solar incidence angles, but the BRF model results depict the strongest forward-scattering patterns under such solar zenith angles. Because the HDRF is simulated through coupling of the surface BRF with radiative transfer in the atmosphere, the resulting HDRF patterns agree with the field measurements better than the simulated BRF does. The deviation of the simulated HDRF from field-based clear-sky directional reflectance (FCDR) is within +/- 10% for the central (viewing zenith angle <45degrees) and lateral sides of the viewing hemisphere. This level of agreement between the simulated HDRF and FCDR also implies that the simulated BRF model can provide remote-sensing estimates of spectral albedo with an uncertainty of +/- 10% for the same part of the viewing hemisphere. Further improvement in BRF model performance requires better handling of single scattering properties of snow grains, surface roughness, and atmospheric correction. Also, better procedures and techniques in field measurement are necessary for more accurate assessment of the performance of BRF models. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

johncross:unrelated | /unrelated | 433

The impact of surface-adsorbed phosphorus on phytoplankton Redfield stoichiometry

Sanudo-Wilhelmy, SA Tovar-Sanchez, A Fu, FX Capone, DG Carpenter, EJ Hutchins, DA

NATURE 432:7019 897-901

The Redfield ratio of 106 carbon: 16 nitrogen: 1 phosphorus in marine phytoplankton(1) is one of the foundations of ocean biogeochemistry, with applications in algal physiology(2), palaeoclimatology(3) and global climate change(4). However, this ratio varies substantially in response to changes in algal nutrient status(5) and taxonomic affiliation(6,7). Here we report that Redfield ratios are also strongly affected by partitioning into surface-adsorbed and intracellular phosphorus pools. The C: N: surface-adsorbed P (80 - 105 C: 15 - 18 N: 1 P) and total (71 - 80 C: 13 - 14 N: 1 P) ratios in natural populations and cultures of Trichodesmium were close to Redfield values and not significantly different from each other. In contrast, intracellular ratios consistently exceeded the Redfield ratio ( 316 - 434 C: 59 - 83 N: 1 intracellular P). These high intracellular ratios were associated with reduced N-2 fixation rates, suggestive of phosphorus deficiency. Other algal species also have substantial surface-adsorbed phosphorus pools, suggesting that our Trichodesmium results are generally applicable to all phytoplankton. Measurements of the distinct phytoplankton phosphorus pools may be required to assess nutrient limitation accurately from elemental composition. Deviations from Redfield stoichiometry may be attributable to surface adsorption of phosphorus rather than to biological processes, and this scavenging could affect the interpretation of marine nutrient inventories and ecosystem models.

johncross:unrelated | /unrelated | 446

Declining extent of open-water refugia for top predators in Baffin Bay and adjacent waters

Heide-Jorgensen, MP Laidre, K

AMBIO 33:8 487-494

Global climate change is expected to severely impact Arctic ecosystems, yet predictions of impacts are complicated by region-specific patterns and nonuniform trends. Twentyfour open-water overwintering areas (or “microhabitats”) were identified to be of particular importance for eight seabird and marine mammal species in the eastern Canadian High Arctic and Baffin Bay. Localized trends in the available fraction of open-water were examined in March during 1979-2001, derived from approximate sea ice concentrations from satellite-based microwave telemetry. Declines in the fraction of open-water were identified at microhabitats in Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, coastal West Greenland, and Lancaster Sound. Increases in open-water were observed in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Foxe Basin. The biological importance of each microhabitat was examined based on species distribution and abundance. Potential consequences of reduced open-water for top marine predators include impacts on foraging efficiency and oxygen and prey availability.

johncross:unrelated | /unrelated | 438

New evidence for a volcanically, tectonically, and climatically active Mars

Marquez, A Fernandez, C Anguita, F Farelo, A Anguita, J de la Casa, MA

ICARUS 172:2 573-581

Geological analysis of Mars imagery supports the hypothesis that the planet has been the site of recent (< 10 Ma) volcanic and tectonic processes and glacier flow, and makes most likely previous suggestions of continuing endogenic and exogenic activity. Tectonic structures which deform very slightly cratered (at MOC scales) surfaces of Tharsis Montes and surrounding regions Seem to attest to active tectonism (both extensional and transcurrent) on Mars. Exogenic processes in this region, such as a glacial origin for the aureole deposits on the northwestern flanks of the Tharsis Montes shield volcanoes, are supported by new data. The very recent age of these structures could be the first direct confirmation that drastic changes in obliquity are modulating the martian climate, such that an increase in obliquity would result in equatorial glaciers taking the place of the receding polar ice caps. If this and other concurring research is extended and confirmed. the ‘alive Mars’ Which would emerge would constitute a most appealing place for exobiology and comparative planetology. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

johncross:unrelated | /unrelated | 435

Changes in lagoonal marsh morphology at selected northeastern Atlantic coast sites of significance to migratory waterbirds

Erwin, RM Sanders, GM Prosser, DJ

WETLANDS 24:4 891-903

Five lagoonal salt marsh areas, ranging from 220 ha to 3,670 ha, were selected from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the southern DelMarVa peninsula, Virginia, USA to examine the degree to which Spartina marsh area and microhabitats had changed from the early or mid- 1900s to recent periods. We chose areas based on their importance to migratory bird populations, agency concerns about marsh loss and sea-level rise, and availability of historic imagery. We georeferenced and processed aerial photographs from a variety of sources ranging from 1932 to 1994. Of particular interest were changes in total salt marsh area, tidal creeks, tidal flats, tidal and non-tidal ponds, and open water habitats. Nauset Marsh, within Cape Cod National Seashore, experienced an annual marsh loss of 0.40% (19% from 1947 to 1994) with most loss attributed to sand overwash and conversion to open water. At Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Jersey, annual loss was 0.27% (17% from 1932 to 1995), with nearly equal attribution of loss to open water and tidal pond expansion. At Curlew Bay, Virginia, annual loss was 0.20% (9% from 1949 to 1994) and almost entirely due to perimeter erosion to open water. At Gull Marsh, Virginia, a site chosen because of known erosional losses, we recorded the highest annual loss rate, 0.67% per annum, again almost entirely due to erosional, perimeter loss. In contrast, at the southernmost site, Mockhorn Island Wildlife Management Area, Virginia, there was a net gain of 0.09% per annum (4% from 1949 to 1994), with tidal flats becoming increasingly vegetated. Habitat. implications for waterbirds are considerable; salt marsh specialists such as laughing gulls (Larus atricilla), Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri), black rail, (Laterallus jamaicensis), seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus), and saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) are particularly at risk if these trends continue, and all but the laughing gull are species of concern to state and federal managers.

johncross:unrelated | /unrelated | 428