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Category: Technology
  • Effects of Milling on the Metals Analysis of Soil Samples Containing Metallic Residues

    Abstract: Metallic residues are distributed heterogeneously onto small-arms range soils from projectile fragmentation upon impact with a target or berm backstop. Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) can address the spatially heterogeneous contamination of surface soils on small-arms ranges, but representative kilogram-sized ISM subsamples are affected by the range of metallic residue particle sizes in the sample. This study compares the precision and concentrations of metals in a small-arms range soil sample processed by a puck mill, ring and puck mill, ball mill, and mortar and pestle prior to analysis. The ball mill, puck mill, and puck and ring mill produced acceptable relative standard deviations of less than 15% for the anthropogenic metals of interest (Lead (Pb), Antimony (Sb), Copper (Cu), and Zinc (Zn)), with the ball mill exhibiting the greatest precision for Pb, Cu, and Zn. Precision by mortar and pestle, without milling, was considerably higher (40% to >100%) for anthropogenic metals. Media anthropogenic metal concentrations varied by more than 40% between milling methods, with the greatest concentrations produced by the puck mill, followed by the puck and ring mill and then the ball mill. Metal concentrations were also dependent on milling time, with concentrations stabilizing for the puck mill by 300 s but still increasing for the ball mill over 20 h. Differences in metal concentrations were not directly related to the surface area of the milled sample. Overall, the tested milling methods were successful in producing reproducible data for soils containing metallic residues. However, the effects of milling type and time on concentrations require consideration in environmental investigations.
  • Modernizing Environmental Signature Physics for Target Detection

    Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of environmental phenomonology on the ability to detect buried objects and to provide a predictive capability of when targets are best detectable with IR sensors. Jay Clausen presented this material at the ERDC RD20 Conference.
  • Machine Learning Analyses of Remote Sensing Measurements Establish Strong Relationships Between Vegetation and Snow Depth in the Boreal Forest of Interior Alaska

    Abstract: The seasonal snowpack plays a critical role in Arctic and boreal hydrologic and ecologic processes. Though snow depth can be different from one season to another there are repeated relationships between ecotype and snowpack depth. Alterations to the seasonal snowpack, which plays a critical role in regulating wintertime soil thermal conditions, have major ramifications for near-surface permafrost. Therefore, relationships between vegetation and snowpack depth are critical for identifying how present and projected future changes in winter season processes or land cover will affect permafrost. Vegetation and snow cover areal extent can be assessed rapidly over large spatial scales with remote sensing methods, however, measuring snow depth remotely has proven difficult. This makes snow depth–vegetation relationships a potential means of assessing snowpack characteristics. In this study, we combined airborne hyperspectral and LiDAR data with machine learning methods to characterize relationships between ecotype and the end of winter snowpack depth. Our results show hyperspectral measurements account for two thirds or more of the variance in the relationship between ecotype and snow depth. An ensemble analysis of model outputs using hyperspectral and LiDAR measurements yields the strongest relationships between ecotype and snow depth. Our results can be applied across the boreal biome to model the coupling effects between vegetation and snowpack depth.
  • Metrics of Success for Nearshore Nourishment Projects Constructed with Dredged Sediment

    Purpose: This Regional Sediment Management Technical Note (RSM TN) provides practical metrics of success for nearshore nourishment projects constructed with dredged sediment. Clearly defined goals and performance metrics for projects will set clear expectations and will lead to long-term project support from local stakeholders and the public.
  • A Pulse of Mercury and Major Ions in Snowmelt Runoff from a Small Arctic Alaska Watershed

    Abstract: Atmospheric mercury (Hg) is deposited to Polar Regions during springtime atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) that require halogens and snow or ice surfaces. The fate of this Hg during and following snowmelt is largely unknown. We measured Hg, major ions, and stable water isotopes from the snowpack through the entire spring melt runoff period for two years. Our small (2.5 ha) watershed is near Barrow (now Utqiaġvik), Alaska. We measured discharge, made 10 000 snow depths, and collected over 100 samples of snow and meltwater for chemical analysis in 2008 and 2009 from the watershed snowpack and ephemeral stream channel. Our results suggest AMDE Hg complexed with Cl− or Br− may be less likely to be photochemically reduced and re-emitted to the atmosphere prior to snowmelt, and we estimate that roughly 25% of the Hg in snowmelt is attributable to AMDEs. Projected Arctic warming, with more open sea ice leads providing halogen sources that promote AMDEs, may provide enhanced Hg deposition, reduced Hg emission and, ultimately, an increase in snowpack and snowmelt runoff Hg concentrations.
  • Effects of Geologic Outcrops on Long-Term Geomorphic Trends: New Madrid, MO, to Hickman, KY

    Abstract: The Mississippi River between New Madrid, MO, and Hickman, KY, is of particular interest because of divergent trends in water surface profiles at the upstream and downstream ends of the reach. This report documents the investigation of the bathymetry, geology, and hydraulics of this segment of the river. The report shows that the area near River Mile 901 above Head of Passes strongly affects the river stages at low flows. This part of the river can experience high shear stresses when flows fall below 200,000 cfs, as opposed to most other locations where shear stress increases with flow. One-dimensional hydraulic modeling was also used to demonstrate that an increase of depth at a single scour hole, such as the one downstream from Hickman near River Mile 925, is unlikely to cause reach-wide degradation.
  • Dimensional Analysis of Structural Response in Complex Biological Structures

    Abstract: The solution to many engineering problems is obtained through the combination of analytical, computational and experimental methods. In many cases, cost or size constraints limit testing of full-scale articles. Similitude allows observations made in the laboratory to be used to extrapolate the behavior to full-scale system by establishing relationships between the results obtained in a scaled experiment and those anticipated for the full-scale prototype. This paper describes the application of the Buckingham Pi theorem to develop a set of non-dimensional parameters that are appropriate for describing the problem of a distributed load applied to the rostrum of the paddlefish. This problem is of interest because previous research has demonstrated that the rostrum is a very efficient structural system. The ultimate goal is to estimate the response of a complex, bio-inspired structure based on the rostrum to blast load. The derived similitude laws are verified through a series of numerical experiments having a maximum error of 3.39%.
  • Modeling of a Multi-Month Thermal IR Study

    Abstract: Inconsistent and unacceptable probability of detection (PD) and false alarm rates (FAR) due to varying environmental conditions hamper buried object detection. A 4-month study evaluated the environmental parameters impacting standoff thermal infra-red (IR) detection of buried objects. Field observations were integrated into a model depicting the temporal and spatial thermal changes through a 1-week period utilizing a 15-minute time-step interval. The model illustrates the surface thermal observations obtained with a thermal IR camera contemporaneously with a 3-d presentation of subsurface soil temperatures obtained with 156 buried thermocouples. Precipitation events and subsequent soil moisture responses synchronized to the temperature data are also included in the model simulation. The simulation shows the temperature response of buried objects due to changes in incoming solar radiation, air/surface soil temperature changes, latent heat exchange between the objects and surrounding soil, and impacts due to precipitation/changes in soil moisture. Differences are noted between the thermal response of plastic and metal objects as well as depth of burial below the ground surface. Nearly identical environmental conditions on different days did not always elicit the same spatial thermal response.
  • Increased Rainfall Stimulates Permafrost Thaw Across a Variety of Interior Alaskan Boreal Ecosystems

    Abstract: Earth’s high latitudes are projected to experience warmer and wetter summers in the future but ramifications for soil thermal processes and permafrost thaw are poorly understood. Here we present 2750 end of summer thaw depths representing a range of vegetation characteristics in Interior Alaska measured over a 5-year period. This included the top and third wettest summers in the 91-year record and three summers with precipitation close to mean historical values. Increased rainfall led to deeper thaw across all sites with an increase of 0.7 ± 0.1 cm of thaw per cm of additional rain. Disturbed and wetland sites were the most vulnerable to rain-induced thaw with ~1 cm of surface thaw per additional 1 cm of rain. Permafrost in tussock tundra, mixed forest, and conifer forest was less sensitive to rain-induced thaw. A simple energy budget model yields seasonal thaw values smaller than the linear regression of our measurements but provides a first-order estimate of the role of rain-driven sensible heat fluxes in high-latitude terrestrial permafrost. This study demonstrates substantial permafrost thaw from the projected increasing summer precipitation across most of the Arctic region.
  • Mercury Isotopes Reveal Atmospheric Gaseous Mercury Deposition Directly to the Arctic Coastal Snowpack

    Abstract: Springtime atmospheric mercury depletion events (AMDEs) lead to snow with elevated mercury concentrations (>200 ng Hg/L) in the Arctic and Antarctic. During AMDEs gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) is photochemically oxidized by halogens to reactive gaseous mercury which is deposited to the snowpack. This reactive mercury is either photochemically reduced back to GEM and re-emitted to the atmosphere or remains in the snowpack until spring snowmelt. GEM is also deposited to the snowpack and tundra vegetation by reactive surface uptake (dry deposition) from the atmosphere. There is little consensus on the proportion of AMDE-sourced Hg versus Hg from dry deposition that is released in spring runoff. We used mercury stable isotope measurements of GEM, snowfall, snowpack, snowmelt, surface water, vegetation, and peat from a northern Alaska coastal watershed to quantify Hg sources. Although high Hg concentrations are deposited to the snowpack during AMDEs, we estimate that ∼76 to 91% is released back to the atmosphere prior to snowmelt. Mercury deposited to the snowpack as GEM comprises the majority of snowmelt Hg and has a Hg stable isotope composition similar to Hg deposited by reactive surface uptake of GEM into the leaves of trees in temperate forests. This GEM-sourced Hg is the dominant Hg we measured in the spring snowpack and in tundra peat permafrost deposits.