Monthly Archives: February 2017

Understanding the LCA and ISO water footprint: A response to Hoekstra (2016) “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”

Water footprinting has emerged as an important approach to assess water use related effects from consumption of goods and services. Assessment methods are proposed by two different communities, the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community. The proposed methods are broadly similar and encompass both the computation of water use and its impacts, but differ in communication of a water footprint result. In this paper, we explain the role and goal of LCA and ISO-compatible water footprinting and resolve the six issues raised by Hoekstra (2016) in “A critique on the water-scarcity weighted water footprint in LCA”. By clarifying the concerns, we identify both the overlapping goals in the WFN and LCA water footprint assessments and discrepancies between them. The main differing perspective between the WFN and LCA-based approach seems to relate to the fact that LCA aims to account for environmental impacts, while the WFN aims to account for water productivity of global fresh water as a limited resource. We conclude that there is potential to use synergies in research for the two approaches and highlight the need for proper declaration of the methods applied.

Arsenic and Environmental Health: State of the Science and Future Research Opportunities

Background: Exposure to inorganic and organic arsenic compounds is a major public health problem that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Exposure to arsenic is associated with cancer and noncancer effects in nearly every organ in the body, and evidence is mounting for health effects at lower levels of arsenic exposure than previously thought. Building from a tremendous knowledge base with > 1,000 scientific papers published annually with “arsenic” in the title, the question becomes, what questions would best drive future research directions?

Objectives: The objective is to discuss emerging issues in arsenic research and identify data gaps across disciplines.

Methods: The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program convened a workshop to identify emerging issues and research needs to address the multi-faceted challenges related to arsenic and environmental health. This review summarizes information captured during the workshop.

Discussion: More information about aggregate exposure to arsenic is needed, including the amount and forms of arsenic found in foods. New strategies for mitigating arsenic exposures and related health effects range from engineered filtering systems to phytogenetics and nutritional interventions. Furthermore, integration of omics data with mechanistic and epidemiological data is a key step toward the goal of linking biomarkers of exposure and susceptibility to disease mechanisms and outcomes.

Conclusions: Promising research strategies and technologies for arsenic exposure and adverse health effect mitigation are being pursued, and future research is moving toward deeper collaborations and integration of information across disciplines to address data gaps.

Ultra-Wideband Phased Array for Millimeter-Wave 5G and ISM

Abstract: Growing mobile data consumption has prompted the exploration of the millimeter-wave spectrum for large bandwidth, high speed communications. However, the allocated bands are spread across a wide swath of spectrum: fifth generation mobile architecture (5G): 28, 38, 39, 64-71 GHz, as well as Industrial, Scientific, and Medical bands (ISM): 24 and 60 GHz. Moreover, high gain phased arrays are required to overcome the significant path loss associated with these frequencies. Further, it is necessa…

Understanding the Effects of Collisional Evolution and Spacecraft Impact Experiments on Comets and Asteroids

Abstract: Comets and asteroids have endured impacts from other solar system bodies that result in outcomes ranging from catastrophic collisions to regolith evolution due to micrometeorid bombardment of the surface ices and refactory components. Experiments designed to better understand these relics of solar system formation have been conducted on Earth in a laboratory setting, as well as in space through, e.g., the Deep Impact Mission to Comet Tempel 1. Deep Impact fired a high-speed impactor into the …

Glaciers Ebb on South Georgia Island

Frequent cloud cover in the southern Atlantic Ocean often obscures satellite images of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. But occasionally the clouds give way. On September 14, 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured natural-color images of South Georgia Island, where several glaciers are in retreat.

Use of Tracer Dye Techniques Is Assessing Ground Water Availabilty and Quality in a Karst Aquifer System (Project Overview)

Problem: The Leetown Science Center and ~ 500 acre research facility operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Resources Division (BRD) In West Virginia investigates the health and habitats of aquatic species. Large quantities of good quality cold water are needed to support this research. Most of the water used for operations at the Science Center comes from a series of highly productive karst limestone springs located on the facility.

Recent drought conditions greatly reduced the volume of flow and resulted in decreased water quality. Recharge areas, flow characteristics, and water quality were assessed using a variety of techniques including dye tracing.