Monthly Archives: March 2017

USAID Acting Assistant Administrator Gregory C. Gottlieb Travels to Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and East Africa


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Friday, March 31, 2017

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Assistant Administrator for Democracy Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Gregory C. Gottlieb will travel to Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and East Africa March 31-April 7.

An approach to measure parameter sensitivity in watershed hydrological modelling

Hydrologic responses vary spatially and temporally according to watershed characteristics. In this study, the hydrologic models that we developed earlier for the Little Miami River (LMR) and Las Vegas Wash (LVW) watersheds were used for detail sensitivity analyses. To compare the relative sensitivities of the hydrologic parameters of these two models, we used Normalized Root Mean Square Error (NRMSE). By combining the NRMSE index with the flow duration curve analysis, we derived an approach to measure parameter sensitivities under different flow regimes. Results show that the parameters related to groundwater are highly sensitive in the LMR watershed, whereas the LVW watershed is primarily sensitive to near surface and impervious parameters. The high and medium flows are more impacted by most of the parameters. Low flow regime was highly sensitive to groundwater related parameters. Moreover, our approach is found to be useful in facilitating model development and calibration.

Environmental implications of carbon limits on market penetration of combined heat and power with the U.S. energy sector (Slides)

Combined heat and power (CHP) is promoted as an economical, energy-efficient option for combating climate change. To fully examine the viability of CHP as a clean-technology solution, its market potential and impacts need to be analyzed as part of scenarios of the future energy system, particularly those with policies limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper develops and analyzes scenarios using a bottom-up, technology rich optimization model of the U.S. energy system. Two distinct carbon reduction goals were set up for analysis. In Target 1, carbon emission reduction goals were only included for the electric sector. In Target 2, carbon emission reduction goals were set across the entire energy system with the target patterned after the U.S.’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions as part of the Paris Agreement reached at the COP21 summit. From a system-wide carbon reduction standpoint, Target 2 is significantly more stringent. In addition, these scenarios examine the implications of various CHP capacity expansion and contraction assumptions and energy prices. The largest CHP capacity expansion are observed in scenarios that included Target 1, but investments were scaled back in scenarios that incorporated Target 2. The latter scenario spurred rapid development of zero-emissions technologies within the electric sector, and purchased electricity increased dramatically in many end-use sectors. The results suggest that CHP may play a role in a carbon-constrained world, but that role diminishes as carbon policies become more stringent.

The Evaluation of Vehicle Mass Reduction and Material Choice in Life Cycle Assessments: Key Factors and Dynamic Industries

Developments in the realm of lightweight materials for automotive use continue to be announced by the industry and by academia. This session will provide new and updated information on new generation of materials. Additionally, this session will focus on the key topics involved in Life-Cycle-Analysis of light-weight materials including practices and developments in material recyclability. This presentation will review key findings from recent LCAs for vehicle mass reduction.

Cellular Responses to Beta Blocker Exposures in Marine Bivalves

β blockers are prescription drugs used for medical treatment of hypertension and arrhythmias. They prevent activation of adenylate cyclase and increases in blood pressure by limiting cAMP production and protein kinase A activation. After being taken therapeutically, β blockers may make their way to coastal habitats via discharge from waste water treatment plants, posing a potential risk to aquatic organisms. The aim of our research is to evaluate cellular biomarkers of β blocker exposure using two drugs, propranolol and metoprolol, in three commercially important marine bivalves -Crassostrea virginica, Mytilus edulis and Mercenaria mercenaria. Bivalves were obtained from Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island, USA) and acclimated in the laboratory. Following acclimation, gills and hepatopancreas tissues were harvested and separately exposed to 0, 1, 10, 100 and 1000 ng/l of each drug for 24 hours. Samples were preserved for cellular biomarker assays. Elevated cellular damage and changes in enzymatic activities were noted at environmentally relevant concentrations, and M. mercenaria was found to be the most sensitive bivalve out of the three species tested. These studies enhance our understanding of the potential impacts of commonly used prescription medication on organisms in coastal ecosystems, and demonstrate that filter feeders such as marine bivalves may serve as good model organisms to examine the effects of water soluble drugs. Evaluating a suite of biomarkers allows us to better define molecular initiating events and subsequent key events that might be used to develop adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) for unintended environmental exposure to β blockers.

Anthropocene Survival of Southern New England’s Salt Marshes

In southern New England, salt marshes are exceptionally vulnerable to the impacts of accelerated sea level rise. Regional rates of sea level rise have been as much as 50 % greater than the global average over past decades, a more than fourfold increase over late Holocene background values. In addition, coastal development blocks many potential marsh migration routes, and compensatory mechanisms relying on positive feedbacks between inundation and sediment deposition are insufficient to counter inundation increases in extreme low-turbidity tidal waters. Accordingly, multiple lines of evidence suggest that marsh submergence is occurring in southern New England. A combination of monitoring data, field re-surveys, radiometric dating, and analysis of peat composition have established that, beginning in the early and mid-twentieth century, the dominant low-marsh plant, Spartina alterniflora, has encroached upward in tidal marshes, and typical high-marsh plants, including Juncus gerardii and Spartina patens, have declined, providing strong evidence that vegetation changes are being driven, at least in part, by higher water levels. Additionally, aerial and satellite imagery show shoreline retreat, widening and headward extension of channels, and new and expanded interior depressions. Papers in this special section highlight changes in marsh-building processes, patterns of vegetation loss, and shifts in species composition. The final papers turn to strategies for minimizing and coping with marsh loss by managing adaptively and planning for landward marsh migration. It is hoped that this collection offers lessons that will be of use to researchers and managers on coasts where relative sea level is not yet rising as fast as in southern New England.

Assessing the Impact of Vertical Land Motion on Twentieth Century Global Mean Sea Level Estimates

Abstract: Near-global and continuous measurements from satellite altimetry have provided accurate estimates of global mean sea level in the past two decades. Extending these estimates further into the past is a challenge using the historical tide gauge records. Not only is sampling nonuniform in both space and time, but tide gauges are also affected by vertical land motion (VLM) that creates a relative sea level change not representative of ocean variability. To allow for comparisons to the satellite a…

The Description and Validation of a Computationally-Efficient CH4-CO-OH (ECCOHv1.01) Chemistry Module for 3D Model Applications

Abstract: We present the Efficient CH4-CO-OH (ECCOH) chemistry module that allows for the simulation of the methane, carbon monoxide, and hydroxyl radical (CH4-CO- OH) system, within a chemistry climate model, carbon cycle model, or Earth system model. The computational efficiency of the module allows many multi-decadal sensitivity simulations of the CH4-CO-OH system, which primarily determines the global atmospheric oxidizing capacity. This capability is important for capturing the nonlinear feedbacks…

Micropulsed Plasma Thrusters for Attitude Control of a Low-Earth-Orbiting CubeSat

Abstract: This study presents a 3-Unit CubeSat design with commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, Teflon-fueled micropulsed plasma thrusters, and an attitude determination and control approach. The micropulsed plasma thruster is sized by the impulse bit and pulse frequency required for continuous compensation of expected maximum disturbance torques at altitudes between 400 and 1000 km, as well as to perform stabilization of up to 20 deg /s and slew maneuvers of up to 180 deg. The study involves realistic p…

New-Generation NASA Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) Volcanic SO2 Dataset: Algorithm Description, Initial Results, and Continuation with the Suomi-NPP Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)

Abstract: Since the fall of 2004, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) has been providing global monitoring of volcanic SO2 emissions, helping to understand their climate impacts and to mitigate aviation hazards. Here we introduce a new-generation OMI volcanic SO2 dataset based on a principal component analysis (PCA) retrieval technique. To reduce retrieval noise and artifacts as seen in the current operational linear fit (LF) algorithm, the new algorithm, OMSO2VOLCANO, uses characteristic features ex…

Advances in Electrically Driven Thermal Management

Abstract: Electrically Driven Thermal Management is a vibrant technology development initiative incorporating ISS based technology demonstrations, development of innovative fluid management techniques and fundamental research efforts. The program emphasizes high temperature high heat flux thermal management required for future generations of RF electronics and power electronic devices. This presentation reviews i.) preliminary results from the Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) Long Term Flight Demonstration la…

Comparing the Life Cycle Energy Consumption, Global Warming and Eutrophication Potentials of Several Water and Waste Service Options

Managing the water-energy-nutrient nexus for the built environment requires, in part, a full system analysis of energy consumption, global warming and eutrophication potentials of municipal water services. As an example, we evaluated the life cycle energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aqueous nutrient releases of the whole anthropogenic municipal water cycle starting from raw water extraction to wastewater treatment and reuse/discharge for five municipal water and wastewater systems. The assessed options included conventional centralized services
and four alternative options following the principles of source-separation and water fit-for-purpose. The comparative life cycle assessment identified that centralized drinking water supply coupled with blackwater energy recovery and on-site greywater treatment and reuse was the most energyand carbon-efficient water service system evaluated, while the conventional (drinking water and sewerage) centralized system ranked as the most energy- and carbon-intensive system. The electricity generated from blackwater and food residuals co-digestion was estimated to offset at least 40% of life cycle energy consumption for water/waste services. The dry composting toilet option demonstrated
the lowest life cycle eutrophication potential. The nutrients in wastewater effluent are the dominating contributors for the eutrophication potential for the assessed system configurations. Among the parameters for which variability and sensitivity were evaluated, the carbon intensity of the local electricity grid and the efficiency of electricity production by the co-digestion with the energy recovery process were the most important for determining the relative global warming potential results.

Fire Detection Tradeoffs as a Function of Vehicle Parameters

Abstract: Fire survivability depends on the detection of and response to a fire before it has produced an unacceptable environment in the vehicle. This detection time is the result of interplay between the fire burning and growth rates; the vehicle size; the detection system design; the transport time to the detector (controlled by the level of mixing in the vehicle); and the rate at which the life support system filters the atmosphere, potentially removing the detected species or particles. Given the …

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman is shown with a model of the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) in 1962. She was the first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters and the first woman to hold an executive position at NASA. She had oversight for the planning and development of programs including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Lessons Learned: Mechanical Component and Tribology Activities in Support of Return to Flight

Abstract: The February 2003 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia resulted in NASA Management revisiting every critical system onboard this very complex, reusable space vehicle in a an effort to Return to Flight. Many months after the disaster, contact between NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Glenn Research Center evolved into an in-depth assessment of the actuator drive systems for the Rudder Speed Brake and Body Flap Systems. The actuators are CRIT 1-1 systems that classifies them as failure of any of…