To integrate temporal and spatial dimensions of seasonal cycles, we combine two conceptual frameworks: ecological calendars and the “3Hs” model of the biocultural ethic. The latter values the vital links between human and other-than-human co-inhabitants, their life habits (e.g., cultural practices of human communities or life cycles of other-than-human species) and the structure, patterns and processes of their shared habitats. This integration enhances an understanding of core links between cultural practices and the life cycles of biocultural keystone species. As a synthesis, we use the term biocultural calendars to emphasize the co-constitutive nature of calendars that result from continuous interactions between dynamic biophysical and cultural processes. We apply biocultural calendars to examine cultural practices and socio-environmental changes in southwestern South America, specifically in Chile, spanning from (1) Cape Horn at the southern of the Americas in sub-Antarctic habitats inhabited by the Yagan indigenous community, (2) artisanal fisher communities in Chiloe; archipelagoes, (3) coastal regions of central-southern Chile inhabited by Lafkenche and Williche indigenous communities, to (4) high Andean habitats in northern Chile co-inhabited by Aymara communities along with domesticated camelids and a rich biodiversity. To illustrate biocultural calendars, we designed analemma diagrams that show the position of the Sun in the sky as seen from a fixed time and location, and linked to continuous renewal of astronomical, biological and cultural, seasonal cycles that sustain life. These biocultural calendars enhance the integration of indigenous and scientific knowledge to confront complex challenges of climate change faced by local communities and global society.
The future of Arctic social systems and natural environments is highly uncertain. Climate change will lead to unprecedented phenomena in the pan-Arctic region, such as regular shipping traffic through the Arctic Ocean, urban growth, military activity, expanding agricultural frontiers, and transformed Indigenous societies. While intergovernmental to local organizations have produced numerous synthesis-based visions of the future, a challenge in any scenario exercise is capturing the ‘possibility’ space of change. In this work, we employ a computational text analysis to generate unique thematic input for novel, story-based visions of the Arctic. Specifically, we develop a corpus of more than 2,000 articles in publicly accessible, English-language Arctic newspapers that discuss the future in the Arctic. We then perform a latent Dirichlet allocation, resulting in ten distinct topics and sets of associated keywords. From these topics and keywords, we design ten story-based scenarios employing the Mānoa mashup, science fiction prototyping, and other methods. Our results demonstrate that computational text analysis can feed directly into a creative futuring process, whereby the output stories can be traced clearly back to the original topics and keywords. We discuss our findings in the context of the broader field of Arctic scenarios and show that the results of this computational text analysis produce complementary stories to the existing scenario literature. We conclude that story-based scenarios can provide vital texture toward understanding the myriad possible Arctic futures.
Radon is a natural radioactive gas accounting for approximately one in ten lung cancer deaths, with substantially higher death rates in sub-Arctic communities. Radon transport is significantly reduced in permafrost, but permafrost is now thawing due to climate change. The effect of permafrost thawing on domestic radon exposure is unknown. Here we present results from radon transport modeling through soil, permafrost and model buildings either with basements or built on piles. We find that permafrost acts as an effective radon barrier, reducing radiation exposure to a tenth of the background level, while producing a ten-fold increase in the radon activity behind the barrier. When we model thawing of the permafrost barrier, we find no increase in radon to the background level for buildings on piles. However, for buildings with basements the radon increases to over one hundred times its initial value and can remain above the 200 Bq/m3 threshold for up to seven years depending on the depth of the permafrost and the speed of thawing. When thawing speed is taken into account, radiations remains higher than the threshold for all scenarios where 40% thawing occurs within 15 years. This new information suggests that a significant sub-Arctic population could be exposed to radon levels dangerous to health as a result of climate change thawing of permafrost, with implications for health provision, building codes and ventilation advice.
The grandest geotourism attractions in the southern hemisphere, in the nineteenth century were the siliceous Pink and White Terraces, the lost New Zealand Eighth Wonder of the World. In 1886, the Tarawera eruption buried the terraces. In the absence of a government survey or evidence of their locations; public debate over their survival ensued until the 1940s. Recently, a unique survey was uncovered and led researchers at last to the Terrace locations. Early colonial visitors were told by traditional landowners, that the major White Terrace spring erupted in strong easterly winds. Having researched the Pink and White Terraces for some years, this 1859 report puzzled me, as it did Ferdinand Hochstetter to whom the first report was made in 1859. From previous studies in automotive crankcase ventilation, I could see a potential causal pathway for these east-wind spring eruptions. After examining the topography of the White Terrace spring, embankment and apron: I suggest the puzzling eruptions were a product of three phenomenae: the Venturi and Coandă effects, with Bernoulli’s principle. This paper presents the evidence for the presence of Venturi and Coandă effects at the Lake Rotomahana Basin. More importantly, it discusses how these effects contributed to postulated spring eruptions during the 1886 eruptions; which created so far unexplained water ponding around the Pink, Black and White Terrace locations. These surface waters contribute to the new paradigm for the Rotomahana Basin during the 1886 eruptions; where the topographic changes lead today’s researchers to the lost Terrace locations around the shores of the new Lake Rotomahana.
With shore-fast sea ice disappearing along the coast of the Chukchi Sea causing winds with deep snow drifts, variable snowpack in Bristol Bay in Alaska, and winters without snow in West Central Montana, youth from these areas have personal stories of environmental changes witnessed firsthand. In a virtual “Dirty Snow” citizen science STEM engagement program that met weekly for 5-weeks, middle and high school youth across different time zones and cultures shared such snow stories, implemented a protocol to measure light absorbing particles (LAPs) in snow, and conducted their own Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) snowpack and pH investigations. Teachers, parents and researchers teamed up to support students as they asked their own questions about how LAPs affect their local communities and measured, collected, filtered, and analyzed snow samples. Students learned that LAPs in snow affect the Earth’s climate system by reducing snow reflectivity, affecting albedo. On a local scale, LAPs capture heat energy leading to snow loss. Students wondered if LAPs also affect water quality. Middle school students from Shishmaref, Alaska (located on an island in the Chukchi Sea) selected snow sampling locations in areas important to their community’s resilience to climate change, such as the sole water supply lagoon. The Shishmaref students shared their results with their community, showcased their project in both the GLOBE International Virtual Science Symposium and a tribal climate resilience webinar, and have been featured in the July 2021 Association of Women in Science Magazine issue on sustainability and innovation. In this session, we will share the lessons learned from multiple perspectives - including surveyed youth participants - on conducting a remote synchronous and asynchronous STEM and climate resilience engagement on a short timescale.
Geophysical methods are very useful in archeological prospection by providing an inexpensive, non-invasive view of the subsurface, and, helping the archeologists to better target their excavation efforts. Ecuador’s past is very rich, with many archeological sites still unexplored. Manteño culture prevailed in the province of Manabí in a series of large coastal towns and along the river valleys and ridges of the Chongón-Colonche coastal mountains of what is now Ecuador from around 500 CE to 1532 CE. They were one of the last prehistoric cultures and the Inca Empire never conquered them directly, which meant their culture developed independently. Thousands of carefully arranged stone foundation have been documented across the abrupt landscape that has been intentionally modified for large scale agriculture. In this work, we present the results of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and magnetometry surveys at the Río Blanco archeological area close to the coastal city of Puerto Lopez. The area includes one of the largest unexcavated archeological remains known in Ecuador. It consists of alluvial terraces modified by the Manteño people scattered with numerous ruins. The archeological structures are often delimited by buried rock blocks that sometimes outcrop in the surface. We made 2 ½ D ERT with dipole-dipole array configuration and ground magnetometry surveys at three locations which were identified earlier by archeologists as buried buildings, with one of them being previously partially excavated. The measurement grid for each structure was designed according to their size. For magnetometry, a base station measurement was taken after finishing each survey line in order to be able to remove diurnal variations from the magnetometry readings. All tested structures showed internal variations within them related to differences in electrical resistivity and magnetic susceptibility. According to our preliminary interpretation, some of these anomalies are from the wall rocks and some suggest the presence of buried objects as well as potential locations of fireplaces. The locations of the buried objects are intended to be later verified by archeological excavation.
Undergraduate research internship programs are generally expected to teach interns about research ethics and research misconduct, often using case studies on plagiarism, data falsification/fabrication, and issues around authorship and intellectual property. While these are vital topics to discuss, this approach ignores the fundamental way in which Western science developed in tandem with European imperialistic expansion, and the ethically questionable way in which science historically has been and is often still conducted. For example: 1) How was the ideal of “discovery” in pursuit of knowledge used to justify European imperial expansion, and how did that history shape the current culture of science? 2) When collecting data in the field, do researchers consistently seek permission from the indigenous/international communities that reside on the land? And 3) Do Western scientists tend to disregard Traditional Ecological Knowledge from different cultures as a result of this history? In our 2021 Geosciences REU Workshop Series, we developed an ‘Ethics in the Geosciences Workshop’ that covers the traditional ethics topics, but also shines a light on the dark history of colonialism and racism that underpin Western science. We discussed prominent historical figures such as John Wesley Powell and Captain James Cook. Both men are greatly celebrated in academic/scientific spheres as explorers, cartographers, and scientists . However, their historical contributions reveal blatant racism towards indigenous people, the dismissal of indigenous knowledge and culture as being primitive and delusional, and for Cook, involved brutal slaughters around the world. Their values were aligned with Western imperialism, military expansion, and racism. The workshop included a discussion of examples of ‘parachute’ or ‘helicopter’ science, and the colonial undertones of modern day research in the Geosciences. Examples of racism, sexism, and safety in the field were examined through both a lecture and open-dialogue on a virtual platform. We acknowledged the many identities that we bring to science (race, gender, sexual identity, ability, nationality & citizenship, etc.), the relative privilege and power that these different identities may hold, and discussed addressing slurs and slights by using bystander strategies, as well as finding support in affinity groups. In tandem with this approach of broadening the scope of ethics discussions, it is hoped that intentionally creating safe, inclusive spaces in science for people of various and intersecting identities has the potential to change the ethical framework and social atmosphere in which we do science.
Actions addressing anthropogenic climate change are paramount to survival; however, there are limitations to the current binary approach which considers adaptation and mitigation as separate actions. Insights from Indigenous pluralistic ontology reveals anticipatory capacity to include components of adaptation as well as mitigation. Drawing from our research in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, ecological calendars build anticipatory capacity for climate change. Anticipatory capacity, having the ability to envision possible and sustainable futures, occurs in response to the changes in the environment. It includes elements of foresight as these actions are simultaneously in preparation for upcoming uncertainty. These two aspects are elements of the adaptation-mitigation binary respectively. As illustrated by the ecological calendars in the Bartang Valley of Tajikistan, this approach has been carried out for many generations and is founded upon context specificity, intellectual pluralism, and relations between the agropastoralists and transformations in their habitat. Reconceptualizing the adaptation-mitigation binary is not bound to the boarders of the Pamir Mountains, rather it is a practice that is relevant globally.
Sexual harassment in STEM continues to be a pervasive barrier to women’s full participation in the sciences. Many studies conclude that workplace culture and lack of clear policies and practices exacerbate the risks of sexual harassment. Remote research environments, such as field stations and ocean platforms, bring additional risk to researchers. Participants already face acute safety concerns related to the remoteness of the field station or oceanographic vessels, fewer and less clear policies and enforcement regulations are in place, and multiple institutions bear responsibility, leading to a challenging environment for preventing and handling incidents. This workshop explored the factors that permit sexual harassment in remote research, and aimed to develop practices to prevent and respond to harassment in the field. The California State University Desert Studies Center and the Center for Ocean Leadership convened workshop in March, 2021 to address sexual harassment in field science. Over three days, field and ocean science leadership and practitioners came together with leadership from professional societies and academia, and experts in sociology, policy, and social justice. The goals were to: 1) open a dialogue between sexual harassment experts and the field research community to develop best practices and recommendations; 2) build coordination and consistency in policy setting and enforcement across field stations and oceanographic platforms; 3) develop processes to monitor the reporting of sexual harassment instances occurring at remote field locations; and 4) promote a safe culture for scientists conducting research at remote field stations and on oceanographic vessels. The workshop compiled and developed best practices and recommendations in four key areas: 1) culture change, 2) policy, 3) accountability, and 4) reporting. These recommendations were targeted at all facets of field and ocean sciences, from academic and research institutions, professional societies, and funding agencies, to departments and field research crews. Here we will give an overview of the workshop findings, with particular focus on the recommendations for research leadership.
Earth kilns are still used for charcoal production in the Eastern Mediterranean and worldwide. Until 2016, around 1,600 tons of charcoal were produced in Israel and the Palestinian territories in about 400 traditional earth kilns that were operated in about the same manner for the last 400 years. The intense air pollution caused by this indigenous practice resulted in higher mortality rates among the workers and the population living close to the charcoal production sites. The air pollution was found to migrate beyond 50 km, causing cross-boundary pollution in Jordan. Since the charcoal production industry processes surplus wood into solid fuel, which is used for heating and cooking, it was imperative to shift this industry to a new type of non-polluting charcoal production system. To upgrade this industry to 21st century standards development and implementation of a new ecological retort system (ERS), became possible through a combined effort by Israeli researchers and Palestinian manufacturers. Comparing the ERS to the old earth kilns suggests that the wood-to-charcoal transformation efficiency is about 10% higher in the ERS and the process duration is half a day vs. about three weeks in a traditional kiln. Generally, ERS is about two orders of magnitude more productive than the traditional earth kilns. The ERS combines a simple operational scheme and higher charcoal yield than a traditional kiln, leading to an increase in the revenue to the charcoal makers, also through byproducts bearing economic value such as electric energy and wood vinegar.
The Arctic hydrological system is an interconnected system that is experiencing rapid change. It is comprised of permafrost, snow, glacier, frozen soils, and inland river systems. Permafrost degradation, trends towards earlier snow melt, a lengthening snow-free season, soil ice melt, and warming frozen soils all challenge hydrologic simulation under climate change in the Arctic. In this study, we provide an improved representation of the hydrologic cycle across a regional Arctic domain using a generalizable optimization methodology and workflow for the community. We applied the Community Terrestrial Systems Model (CTSM) across the US state of Alaska and the Yukon River Basin at 4-km spatial resolution. We highlight several potentially useful high-resolution CTSM configuration changes. Additionally, we performed a multi-objective optimization using snow and river flow metrics within an adaptive surrogate-based model optimization scheme. Four representative river basins across our study domain were selected for optimization based on observed streamflow and snow water equivalent observations at ten SNOTEL sites. Fourteen sensitive parameters were identified for optimization with half of them not directly related to hydrology or snow processes. Across fifteen out-of-sample river basins, thirteen had improved flow simulations after optimization and the median Kling-Gupta Efficiency of daily flow increased from 0.40 to 0.63. In addition, we adapted the Shapley Decomposition to disentangle each parameter’s contribution to streamflow performance changes, with the seven non-hydrological parameters providing a non-negligible contribution to performance gains. The snow simulation had limited improvement, likely because snow simulation is influenced more by meteorological forcing than model parameter choices.
The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) is a NASA Terrestrial Ecology field campaign comprised of researchers from many disciplines and institutions who use field-based, remote sensing, and modeling approaches to understand the vulnerability and resilience of Arctic ecosystems and people in western North America. One goal of ABoVE is to provide the scientific basis for informed decision-making to guide societal responses at local to international levels, which requires knowledge of the identities and data needs of ABoVE’s partners and collaborators. The research presented here sought to identify relevant existing and new communities, organizations and institutions for ABoVE products while simultaneously assessing their research needs that future ABoVE activities can meet. We report on the results of an online survey sent to all ABoVE participants, defined broadly as an individual who engages with ABoVE, to identify their most relevant research themes and activities while simultaneously asking participants to identify potential new partners and collaborators for ABoVE engagement. These results are compared with data about who has downloaded ABoVE data products from the ORNL DAAC (the designated data archive for most ABoVE data products). The analysis reveals the current relevancy of ABoVE research themes and activities to participants, identification of additional organizations for ABoVE engagement, and potential gaps between data product access, usage, and engagement with ABoVE. Results indicate opportunities to tailor to the needs of current participants and focused outreach for newly identified groups.