Health & Environmental Research Online (HERO)


ISA NOxSOxPM Ecology (2018)

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The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Global peak in atmospheric radiocarbon provides a potential definition for the onset of the anthropocene epoch in 1965

Authors: Turney, CSM; Palmer, J; Maslin, MA; Hogg, A; Fogwill, CJ; Southon, J; Fenwick, P; Helle, G; Wilmshurst, JM; Mcglone, M; Bronk Ramsey, C; Thomas, Z; Lipson, M; Beaven, B; Jones, RT; Andrews, O; Hua, Q (2018) Scientific Reports 8:3293. HERO ID: 4270947

[Less] Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, . . . [More] Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, suggesting we have entered a human-dominated geological epoch, the 'Anthropocene'. To formally define the onset of the Anthropocene, a synchronous global signature within geological-forming materials is required. Here we report a series of precisely-dated tree-ring records from Campbell Island (Southern Ocean) that capture peak atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) resulting from Northern Hemisphere-dominated thermonuclear bomb tests during the 1950s and 1960s. The only alien tree on the island, a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), allows us to seasonally-resolve Southern Hemisphere atmospheric14C, demonstrating the 'bomb peak' in this remote and pristine location occurred in the last-quarter of 1965 (October-December), coincident with the broader changes associated with the post-World War II 'Great Acceleration' in industrial capacity and consumption. Our findings provide a precisely-resolved potential Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) or 'golden spike', marking the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Estimating base cation weathering rates in the USA: challenges of uncertain soil mineralogy and specific surface area with applications of the profile model

Author: Whitfield, C.J., Phelan, J.N., Buckley, J., CLark, C.M., Guthrie, S., Lynch, J.A. (2018) Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 229:61. HERO ID: 4288664


The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Feasibility of coupled empirical and dynamic modeling to assess climate change and air pollution impacts on temperate forest vegetation of the eastern United States

Authors: Mcdonnell, TC; Reinds, GJ; Sullivan, TJ; Clark, CM; Bonten, LTC; Mol-Dijkstra, JP; Wamelink, GWW; Dovciak, M (2018) Environmental Pollution 234:902-914. HERO ID: 4167086

[Less] Changes in climate and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition caused pronounced changes in soil conditions . . . [More] Changes in climate and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition caused pronounced changes in soil conditions and habitat suitability for many plant species over the latter half of the previous century. Such changes are expected to continue in the future with anticipated further changing air temperature and precipitation that will likely influence the effects of N deposition. To investigate the potential long-term impacts of atmospheric N deposition on hardwood forest ecosystems in the eastern United States in the context of climate change, application of the coupled biogeochemical and vegetation community model VSD+PROPS was explored at three sites in New Hampshire, Virginia, and Tennessee. This represents the first application of VSD+PROPS to forest ecosystems in the United States. Climate change and elevated (above mid-19th century) N deposition were simulated to be important factors for determining habitat suitability. Although simulation results suggested that the suitability of these forests to support the continued presence of their characteristic understory plant species might decline by the year 2100, low data availability for building vegetation response models with PROPS resulted in uncertain results at the extremes of simulated N deposition. Future PROPS model development in the United States should focus on inclusion of additional foundational data or alternate candidate predictor variables to reduce these uncertainties.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Vegetation dynamics associated with changes in atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate in hardwood forests of Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, USA

Authors: Mcdonnell, TC; Belyazid, S; Sullivan, TJ; Bell, M; Clark, C; Blett, T; Evans, T; Cass, W; Hyduke, A; Sverdrup, H (2018) Environmental Pollution 237:662-674. HERO ID: 4304224

[Less] Ecological effects of atmospheric nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) deposition on two hardwood forest sites . . . [More] Ecological effects of atmospheric nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) deposition on two hardwood forest sites in the eastern United States were simulated in the context of a changing climate using the dynamic coupled biogeochemical/ecological model chain ForSAFE-Veg. The sites are a mixed oak forest in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (Piney River) and a mixed oak-sugar maple forest in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee (Cosby Creek). The sites have received relatively high levels of both S and N deposition and the climate has warmed over the past half century or longer. The model was used to evaluate the composition of the understory plant communities, the alignment between plant species niche preferences and ambient conditions, and estimate changes in relative species abundances as reflected by plant cover under various scenarios of future atmospheric N and S deposition and climate change. The main driver of ecological effects was soil solution N concentration. Results of this research suggested that future climate change might compromise the capacity for the forests to sustain habitat suitability. However, vegetation results should be considered preliminary until further model validation can be performed. With expected future climate change, preliminary estimates suggest that sustained future N deposition above 7.4 and 5.0 kg N/ha/yr is expected to decrease contemporary habitat suitability for indicator plant species located at Piney River and Cosby Creek, respectively.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Traceable measurements and calibration: a primer on uncertainty analysis

Authors: Csavina, J; Roberti, JA; Taylor, JR; Loescher, HW (2017) Ecosphere 8. HERO ID: 4284796

[Less] Describing the quality of measurements is necessary to understand the level of confidence in any observation. . . . [More] Describing the quality of measurements is necessary to understand the level of confidence in any observation. Accuracy, precision, trueness, repeatability, reproducibility, and uncertainty are all used to describe quality of measurement, but the terms are inconsistently defined and measured and thus easily misunderstood. One purpose of quality parameters is for the comparison of observations, but when dissimilar methods for estimating quality terms are utilized, a comparison is misrepresented. A standardized approach to estimating uncertainty provides a basis for meeting measurement requirements and providing a level of confidence for observations. Here, we show the approach used by the National Ecological Observatory Network to estimate uncertainty of the calibration processes and measurements illustrated with an example of uncertainty assessment on a temperature sensor. Detailing the approach for uncertainty assessment provides the transparency necessary for network science and allows for the approach to be adopted in the scientific community. Reporting uncertainty with all measurements needs to become consistent and commonplace across disciplines.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Spatial variation of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and critical loads for aquatic ecosystems in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Authors: Nanus, L; Mcmurray, JA; Clow, DW; Saros, JE; Blett, T; Gurdak, JJ (2017) Environmental Pollution 223:644-656. HERO ID: 3603495

[Less] Current and historic atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has impacted aquatic ecosystems in the Greater . . . [More] Current and historic atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has impacted aquatic ecosystems in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). Understanding the spatial variation in total atmospheric deposition (wet + dry) of N is needed to estimate air pollution deposition critical loads for sensitive aquatic ecosystems. This is particularly important for areas that have an increasing contribution of ammonia dry deposition to total N (TN), such as the GYA. High resolution geostatistical models and maps of TN deposition (wet + dry) were developed using a variety of techniques including ordinary kriging in a geographic information system, to evaluate spatial variability and identify areas of elevated loading of pollutants for the GYA. TN deposition estimates in the GYA range from <1.4 to 7.5 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) and show greater variability than wet inorganic N deposition. Critical loads of TN deposition (CLTNdep) for nutrient enrichment in aquatic ecosystems range from less than 1.5 ± 1.0 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) to over 4.0 ± 1.0 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) and variability is controlled by differences in basin characteristics. The lowest CLTNdep estimates occurred in high elevation basins within GYA Wilderness boundaries. TN deposition maps were used to identify critical load exceedances for aquatic ecosystems. Estimated CLTNdep exceedances for the GYA range from 17% to 48% depending on the surface water nitrate (NO3(-)) threshold. Based on a NO3(-) threshold of 1.0 μmol L(-1), TN deposition exceeds CLTNdep in approximately 30% of the GYA. These predictive models and maps can be used to help identify and protect sensitive ecosystems that may be impacted by excess atmospheric N deposition.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

A framework to quantify the strength of ecological links between an environmental stressor and final ecosystem services

Authors: Bell, MD; Phelan, J; Blett, TF; Landers, D; Nahlik, AM; Van Houtven, G; Davis, C; Clark, CM; Hewitt, J (2017) Ecosphere 8. HERO ID: 3840532

[Less] Anthropogenic stressors such as climate change, increased fire frequency, and pollution drive shifts . . . [More] Anthropogenic stressors such as climate change, increased fire frequency, and pollution drive shifts in ecosystem function and resilience. Scientists generally rely on biological indicators of these stressors to signal that ecosystem conditions have been altered. However, these biological indicators are not always capable of being directly related to ecosystem components that provide benefits to humans and/or can be used to evaluate the cost-benefit of a change in health of the component (ecosystem services). Therefore, we developed the STEPS (Stressor-Ecological Production function-final ecosystem Services) Framework to link changes in a biological indicator of a stressor to final ecosystem services. The STEPS Framework produces "chains" of ecological components that explore the breadth of impacts resulting from the change in a stressor. Chains are comprised of the biological indicator, the ecological production function (EPF, which uses ecological components to link the biological indicator to a final ecosystem service), and the user group who directly uses, appreciates, or values the component. The framework uses a qualitative score (high, medium, low) to describe the strength of science (SOS) for the relationship between each component in the EPF. We tested the STEPS Framework within a workshop setting using the exceedance of critical loads of air pollution as a model stressor and the Final Ecosystem Goods and Services Classification System (FEGS-CS) to describe final ecosystem services. We identified chains for four modes of ecological response to deposition: aquatic acidification, aquatic eutrophication, terrestrial acidification, and terrestrial eutrophication. The workshop participants identified 183 unique EPFs linking a change in a biological indicator to a FEGS; when accounting for the multiple beneficiaries, we ended with 1104 chains. The SOS scores were effective in identifying chains with the highest confidence ranking as well as those where more research is needed. The STEPS Framework could be adapted to any system in which a stressor is modifying a biological component. The results of the analysis can be used by the social science community to apply valuation measures to multiple or selected chains, providing a comprehensive analysis of the effects of anthropogenic stressors on measures of human well-being.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Evaluation of atmospheric nitrogen deposition model performance in the context of US critical load assessments

Authors: Williams, JJ; Chung, SH; Johansen, AM; Lamb, BK; Vaughan, JK; Beutel, M (2017) Atmospheric Environment 150:244-255. HERO ID: 3605775

[Less] Air quality models are widely used to estimate pollutant deposition rates and thereby calculate critical . . . [More] Air quality models are widely used to estimate pollutant deposition rates and thereby calculate critical loads and critical load exceedances (model deposition > critical load). However, model operational performance is not always quantified specifically to inform these applications, We developed a performance assessment approach designed to inform critical load and exceedance calculations, and applied it to the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. We quantified wet inorganic N deposition performance of several widely-used air quality models, including five different Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) simulations, the Tdep model, and 'PRISM x NTN' model. Modeled wet inorganic N deposition estimates were compared to wet inorganic N deposition measurements at 16 National Trends Network (NTN) monitoring sites, and to annual bulk inorganic N deposition measurements at Mount Rainier National Park. Model bias (model observed) and error (vertical bar model - observed vertical bar) were expressed as a percentage of regional critical load values for diatoms and lichens. This novel approach demonstrated that wet inorganic N deposition bias in the Pacific Northwest approached or exceeded 100% of regional diatom and lichen critical load values at several individual monitoring sites, and approached or exceeded 50% of critical loads when averaged regionally. Even models that adjusted deposition estimates based on deposition measurements to reduce bias or that spatially-interpolated measurement data, had bias that approached or exceeded critical loads at some locations. While wet inorganic N deposition model bias is only one source of uncertainty that can affect critical load and exceedance calculations, results demonstrate expressing bias as a percentage of critical loads at a spatial scale consistent with calculations may be a useful exercise for those performing calculations. It may help decide if model performance is adequate for a particular calculation, help assess confidence in calculation results, and highlight cases where a non-deterministic approach may be needed. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The "refereed" or "peer review" status of a journal comes from the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory (http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/), as supplied by the publisher. The term refers to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. The content of refereed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the referee process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article

Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of PnET-BGC to inform the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of acidity in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Authors: Fakhraei, HK; Driscoll, CT; Kulp, MA; Renfro, JR; Blett, TF; Brewer, PF; Schwartz, JS (2017) Environmental Modelling and Software 95:156-167. HERO ID: 4170700

[Less] The biogeochemical model, PnET-BGC, has been used to evaluate the long-term acid-base response of surface . . . [More] The biogeochemical model, PnET-BGC, has been used to evaluate the long-term acid-base response of surface waters to changes in atmospheric acid deposition. We propose a methodology to identify the input factors of greatest model sensitivity and propagate uncertainty of input factors to model outputs. The quantified model uncertainty enabled application of an "exceedance probability" approach to determine allowable atmospheric deposition in the form of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for twelve acid-impaired streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Results indicate that acidification of surface water resulting from acidic deposition has been substantial. Even if current atmospheric deposition is reduced to pre-industrial levels, only one of the twelve impaired streams might be recovered to its site-specific standard by 2050. Our sensitivity analysis indicates that the model is most sensitive to precipitation quantity, air temperature and calcium weathering rate, and suggests further research to improve characterization of these inputs. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Technical Report
Technical Report

Integrated review plan for the secondary national ambient air quality standards for ecological effects of oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur and particulate matter

Author: U.S. EPA (2017) (EPA-452/R-17-002). Research Triangle Park, NC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [EPA Report] HERO ID: 4144170

[Less] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently reviewing the air quality criteria and associated . . . [More] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently reviewing the air quality criteria and associated secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, and particulate matter (PM). In any such review, the purpose of the Integrated Review Plan (IRP) document is to communicate the current plan for the review, the process for conducting the review and key policy-relevant scientific and technical issues that will guide the review. In the context of the secondary standards for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur and PM, the scope for this IRP pertains to the protection of the public welfare from adverse effects related to ecological effects.