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Earth, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 3 articles

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20 pages, 4590 KiB  
Article
Relative and Combined Impacts of Climate and Land Use/Cover Change for the Streamflow Variability in the Baro River Basin (BRB)
by Shimelash Molla Kassaye, Tsegaye Tadesse, Getachew Tegegne, Aster Tesfaye Hordofa and Demelash Ademe Malede
Earth 2024, 5(2), 149-168; https://doi.org/10.3390/earth5020008 - 24 Apr 2024
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Abstract
The interplay between climate and land use/cover significantly shapes streamflow characteristics within watersheds, with dominance varying based on geography and watershed attributes. This study quantifies the relative and combined impacts of land use/cover change (LULCC) and climate change (CC) on streamflow variability in [...] Read more.
The interplay between climate and land use/cover significantly shapes streamflow characteristics within watersheds, with dominance varying based on geography and watershed attributes. This study quantifies the relative and combined impacts of land use/cover change (LULCC) and climate change (CC) on streamflow variability in the Baro River Basin (BRB) using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool Plus (SWAT+). The model was calibrated and validated with observed streamflow data from 1985 to 2014 and projected the future streamflow from 2041 to 2070 under two Shared Socio-Economic Pathway (i.e., SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5) scenarios, based on the ensemble of four Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) models. The LULCC was analyzed through Google Earth Engine (GEE) and predicted for the future using the Land Change Modeler (LCM), revealing reductions in forest and wetlands, and increases in agriculture, grassland, and shrubland. Simulations show that the decrease in streamflow is attributed to LULCC, whereas an increase in flow is attributed to the impact of CC. The combined impact of LULCC and CC results in a net increase in streamflow by 9.6% and 19.9% under SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios, respectively, compared to the baseline period. Our findings indicate that climate change outweighs the impact of land use/cover (LULC) in the basin, emphasizing the importance of incorporating comprehensive water resources management and adaptation approaches to address the changing hydrological conditions. Full article
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16 pages, 1251 KiB  
Article
The Modelling of the Evapotranspiration Portion of the Water Footprint: A Global Sensitivity Analysis in the Brazilian Serra Gaúcha
by Gustavo Mendes Platt, Vinícius Kuczynski Nunes, Paulo Roberto Martins, Ricardo Gonçalves de Faria Corrêa and Francisco Bruno Souza Oliveira
Earth 2024, 5(2), 133-148; https://doi.org/10.3390/earth5020007 - 20 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Water footprints have been widely used to illustrate the consumption of water in many situations, for instance, in products, processes, or regions of interest. In this work, we analyzed—using a sensitivity analysis approach—the effect of some variables in the calculation of the water [...] Read more.
Water footprints have been widely used to illustrate the consumption of water in many situations, for instance, in products, processes, or regions of interest. In this work, we analyzed—using a sensitivity analysis approach—the effect of some variables in the calculation of the water footprint in the viticulture in the Brazilian Serra Gaúcha (the major producing region of Brazilian wine). The classical Penman–Monteith model for evapotransporation was considered, with uncertainties in some parameters (dead mulch covering a fraction of the vineyard, maximum temperatures for some months, the altitudes and latitudes of the site). A sensitivity analysis was conducted using the SAFE toolbox under Octave framework. The results indicated that the the portion of the water footprint corresponding to evapotranspiration is more sensitive to the values of the mulch-covered fraction and the altitude of the site in comparison with the latitude and the maximum temperatures. Full article
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23 pages, 4237 KiB  
Article
Land Use Land Cover (LULC) Change Dynamics Associated with Mining Activities in Kitwe District and Adequacy of the Legal Framework on Mine Closure in Zambia
by Kawisha Mutimba, Teiji Watanabe and Mohan Bahadur Chand
Earth 2024, 5(2), 110-132; https://doi.org/10.3390/earth5020006 - 31 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1186
Abstract
Land use land cover (LULC) changes resulting from copper exploration in Kitwe District, Copperbelt Province has adversely impacted the environment. To understand LULC change dynamics associated with mining activities, this study mapped LULC changes using the Google Earth Engine (GEE) from 1990 to [...] Read more.
Land use land cover (LULC) changes resulting from copper exploration in Kitwe District, Copperbelt Province has adversely impacted the environment. To understand LULC change dynamics associated with mining activities, this study mapped LULC changes using the Google Earth Engine (GEE) from 1990 to 2020. In addition, the Zambian legal framework for mine closure was assessed in terms of adequacy and comprehensiveness. A remote sensing analysis using Landsat TM (1990, 2000, and 2010) and OLI (2020) images was performed and the GEE Random Forest classifier algorithm was employed to detect LULC changes. Then, transition matrices and overall changes were calculated for each LULC class. The LULC classification had an overall accuracy and kappa coefficient of 82.47% and 0.78, respectively. In total, 45.2% of the district area (360.92 km2) experienced LULC changes from 1990 to 2020. The overall change indicates that the areas of built-up area, bare land, and grassland/pasture/agricultural land gained 35.84, 14.67, and 43.53 km2, respectively, while forest lost 95.30 km2, with the major driver being the privatization of mining companies. Several concerns regarding the mine closure process practiced in Zambia have principally been raised to the government. Although the legislation generally conformed to international best practices, a gap involving various pieces of legislation, overlapping requirements, and different interpretations of the laws by different governmental departments makes the system complex and unmanageable. An area of concern is the government’s capability and competence to implement legislation. Ineffective law enforcement, that is, the inadequacy of the legislation, is to blame for LULC changes in mining areas, resulting in mining corporations not paying attention to the changes made, particularly regarding mine closures. This study provides decision-makers and land use planners with baseline knowledge on LULC changes that can be valuable for future mining legislation and how these legislations can be effectively executed to ensure sustainable mine closure. Full article
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