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Tag: Climatic changes
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  • Advancing Engineering With Nature Initiatives in Point Hope, Alaska

    Purpose: Growing environmental risk threatens communities in cold regions, particularly as climate change contributes to permafrost thaw, a reduction in sea-ice extent, and some of the largest rates of coastal erosion on earth. In the context of these significant and growing risks, the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) program formed its cold regions work unit in 2021 to explore the potential to apply EWN approaches in these areas to mitigate environmental risk while supporting resilient outcomes. The work unit’s objectives include working with communities to preserve the natural environment and traditions, advancing the work unit’s understanding of cold-region environments, and providing guidance on the implementation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) and EWN in cold regions to increase resilience. This technical note (TN) provides an overview of the EWN in cold regions technical approach as applied to Point Hope, Alaska, which includes community engagement, the integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) throughout the project, and the development of cold-regions-specific knowledge and tools.
  • Artificial Ground Freezing Using Solar-Powered Thermosyphons

    Abstract: Thermosyphons are an artificial ground-freezing technique that has been used to stabilize permafrost since the 1960s. The largest engineered structure that uses thermosyphons to maintain frozen ground is the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and it has over 124,000 thermosyphons along its approximately 1300 km route. In passive mode, thermosyphons extract heat from the soil and transfer it to the environment when the air temperature is colder than the ground temperature. This passive technology can promote ground cooling during cold winter months. To address the growing need for maintaining frozen ground as air temperatures increase, we investigated a solar-powered refrigeration unit that could operate a thermosyphon (nonpassive) during temperatures above freezing. Our tests showed that energy generated from the solar array can operate the refrigeration unit and activate the hybrid thermosyphon to artificially cool the soil when air temperatures are above freezing. This technology can be used to expand the application of thermosyphon technology to freeze ground or maintain permafrost, particularly in locations with limited access to line power.
  • Threatened, Endangered, and At-Risk Species for Consideration into Climate Change Models in the Northeast

    Abstract: This special report provides a selection process for choosing priority species using the specific focus of high-elevation, forested habitats in the North Atlantic to demonstrate the process. This process includes criteria for choosing invasive species to incorporate into models, given the predicted spread of invasive plant species because of climate change. Discussed in this report are the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Threatened and Endangered Species Team portal, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation Portal, the nonprofit organization Partners in Flight’s watch list, the US Geological Survey’s Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation model, and NatureServe’s interagency effort Landfire. The data linked this montane habitat with a species of conservation concern, Cartharus bicknelli and the endangered squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus as target species and with Elaeagnus umbellate, Robinia pseudoacacia, Rhamnus cathartica, and Acer planoides as invasive species. Incorporating these links into the climate change framework developed by Davis et al. (2018) will create predictive models for the impacts of climate change on TER-S, which will affect land management decisions in the region.
  • Changes in Climate and Its Effect on Timing of Snowmelt and Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves

    Abstract: Snow is a critical water resource for much of the U.S. and failure to ac-count for changes in climate could deleteriously impact military assets. In this study, we produced historical and future snow trends through modeling at three military sites (in Washington, Colorado, and North Dakota) and the Western U.S. For selected rivers, we performed seasonal trend analysis of discharge extremes. We calculated flood frequency curves and estimated the probability of occurrence of future annual maximum daily rainfall depths. Additionally, we generated intensity-duration-frequency curves (IDF) to find rainfall intensities at several return levels. Generally, our results showed a decreasing trend in historical and future snow duration, rain-on-snow events, and snowmelt runoff. This decreasing trend in snowpack could reduce water resources. A statistically significant increase in maximum streamflow for most rivers at the Washington and North Dakota sites occurred for several months of the year. In Colorado, only a few months indicated such an increase. Future IDF curves for Colorado and North Dakota indicated a slight increase in rainfall intensity whereas the Washington site had about a twofold increase. This increase in rainfall in-tensity could result in major flood events, demonstrating the importance of accounting for climate changes in infrastructure planning.