New Studies to Measure the Effects of Climate Change on the Increase in Environmental Risks

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Climatology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2022) | Viewed by 23366

Special Issue Editors

Department of Applied Physics, University of Leon, Leon, Spain
Interests: rainfall characterization; measurements of rainfall; rainfall simulators; disdrometers; splash erosion; karstification; impacts of water on construction; fluid dynamics engineering; erosion; weather types
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
School of Soil and Water Conservation, Jixian National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, CNERN, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China
Interests: soil and water conservation; surface runoff; watershed management; water erosion; rainfall
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
CSIC, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Interests: soil organic matter; carbon stock; soil contamination; organic pollutants; microplastics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The consequences of climate change have increased exponentially in recent years. As per the director of NASA, the years 2016–2020 were the warmest four years on record, not only typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trends, but also culminating in a host of extreme events with consequences such as the degradation of landscapes, agricultural losses, emerging diseases, water pollution, loss of monumental heritage, forest fires or floods. At the watershed scale, understanding the effects of such long-term climate trends is essential for the safety and quality of human life, allowing humans to adapt to the changing environment through, for example, planting different vegetation combined with soil and water conservation engineering, managing our water resources, and preparing for extreme weather events. Comprehensive watershed management, however, is still facing significant challenges.

In addition to climate change, anthropogenic activities are often found to cause land degradation, and the potential positive influences of their management are rarely studied at the watershed scale. While ecological management projects naturally aim at increasing vegetation cover, mitigating hydrogeological risks, and stabilizing the channel bed, the watershed scale success of such conservation efforts is not easily quantifiable. Knowledge regarding how ecosystems respond to climatic and anthropogenic impact at the watershed scale should be the foundation for implementing reasonable measures in the form of adaptation strategies to climate change.

This Special Issue invites papers on the management of both natural or agricultural lands and whole watersheds under climate change and aims at reaching a sustainable ecological function compatible with anthropogenic needs. The Special Issue welcomes contributions that explore the impacts of different experiences on management all over the world, and new methods/technologies used in the measurement of climate change influence are also welcomed.

Dr. María Fernández-Raga
Dr. Yang Yu
Dr. Julian Campo
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • weather types/hydroclimate extremes
  • erosion
  • climatic change
  • ecological restoration
  • loss of monumental heritage
  • sustainable watershed management
  • forest fires
  • soil and water conservation practices

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 195 KiB  
Editorial
New Studies to Measure the Effects of Climate Change on the Increase in Environmental Risks
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020227 - 21 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
The impacts of climate change already pose major challenges for the environment, and the trend is rising [...] Full article

Research

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14 pages, 4213 KiB  
Article
Canopy Effects on Rainfall Partition and Throughfall Drop Size Distribution in a Tropical Dry Forest
Atmosphere 2022, 13(7), 1126; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13071126 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2001
Abstract
The energy distribution of natural rainfall droplets at different stages of canopy development in low-latitude semi-arid environments is still understudied. We assessed relationships between canopy development, gross rainfall (P) and throughfall (TF) characteristics in a tropical dry forest (TDF) with a total of [...] Read more.
The energy distribution of natural rainfall droplets at different stages of canopy development in low-latitude semi-arid environments is still understudied. We assessed relationships between canopy development, gross rainfall (P) and throughfall (TF) characteristics in a tropical dry forest (TDF) with a total of 95 events of natural rain during December 2019–July 2021, in Northeast Brazil. One disdrometer was installed in an open field to record the gross rainfall and another under the deciduous vegetation canopy to record the throughfall. At the onset of the rainy season with a low leaf density, a larger fraction of rainfall was converted into throughfall, which declines as the leaf density increases. For events higher than 3 mm, the number of TF drops was always higher than that of P and with smaller diameters, regardless of the stage of canopy development, which indicates fragmenting of the rain drops by the vegetation canopy. The insights of this study are useful to quantify the impact of canopy development stages of a TDF on the characteristics of rainfall reaching the soil forest. Since those characteristics affect the water balance and soil erosion at the hillslope scale, the information provided is crucial for water and soil management. Full article
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12 pages, 2824 KiB  
Article
Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data for Lake Change Detection in Xinjiang, China
Atmosphere 2022, 13(5), 713; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13050713 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1508
Abstract
Lake water resources in arid areas play an important role in regional resource and environmental management. Therefore, to master the dynamic changes in lake water resources in arid areas, the laser altimetry satellite and land resource satellite were used to interpret the changes [...] Read more.
Lake water resources in arid areas play an important role in regional resource and environmental management. Therefore, to master the dynamic changes in lake water resources in arid areas, the laser altimetry satellite and land resource satellite were used to interpret the changes in water level and the areas of alpine lakes and non-alpine lakes. The dynamic changes in the lake and their relationship with glacial meltwater, precipitation, and runoff of the lake basin were analyzed using the unary linear regression equation, the ratio of glacier area to lake area (G–L ratio), and the ratio of lake basin area to lake area (supply coefficient). The results were as follows: the changes in alpine lakes were closely related to the supply coefficient (basin/lake area ratio) but weakly related to the G–L ratio (glacier/lake area ratio). In addition, the spatial pattern of lake change was consistent with that of climate change. There was a strong correlation between the lake, precipitation, and temperature during the snowmelt period. Thus, it can be seen that the changes in the lake were caused by precipitation, glacial melt, snowmelt, and other multi-factors. Therefore, this study on the changes in water resources in different types of lakes and their influencing factors provides data support for water resources managers to evaluate the health and sustainable utilization of the ecological environment. Full article
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19 pages, 4572 KiB  
Article
Hydrogeochemistry Characteristics of Groundwater in the Nandong Karst Water System, China
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040604 - 09 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
The hydrogeochemical characteristics of groundwater are an important element in the study of the spatial and temporal variation of groundwater resources, which is crucial to water resources utilization, ecological environmental protection, and human development. Water samples were collected at eight observation of Nandong [...] Read more.
The hydrogeochemical characteristics of groundwater are an important element in the study of the spatial and temporal variation of groundwater resources, which is crucial to water resources utilization, ecological environmental protection, and human development. Water samples were collected at eight observation of Nandong Karst Water System (NKWS) sites in each month of 2019, and the main ions and isotopes of the water samples were examined. The hydrogeochemistry characteristics of groundwater and its differences with surface water were explored by using the methods of multivariate statistics, Gibbs model. Results showed that the water chemistry types of groundwater were mainly HCO3–Ca and HCO3–Ca·Mg. The analysis of hydrogen and oxygen isotope showed that the initial recharge source of surface water and groundwater were atmospheric precipitation, and the measured hydrogen and oxygen isotopes of surface water were heavier due to the strong evaporation effect. The natural and anthropogenic processes contributed to the chemical composition of surface water and groundwater in the study area. However, the main factor affecting the quality of surface water and groundwater was the input of anthropogenic contaminants. In terms of natural factors, the main chemical ions of surface water and groundwater were mainly controlled by water-rock action originating from weathering and hydrolysis of rocks and soils. Ca2+, Mg2+, and HCO3 mainly originated from natural dissolution of carbonate rocks. K+, Na+, SO42, and Cl were partly from atmospheric precipitation. For human activities, Na+ and Cl were partly from domestic water for local residents. SO42 in surface water mainly came from mining. NO3 in groundwater mainly came from chemical fertilizers, and NO3 in surface water were mainly from human waste and domestic sewage. Full article
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13 pages, 5530 KiB  
Article
Modeling Effects of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on the Water Quality of the MR-SNWDP
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040553 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Modeling the effects of atmospheric deposition on the water quality of the middle route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (MR-SNWDP) can provide a basis for scientific protection and optimal allocation of water resources. Considering the total nitrogen (TN) as a representative water [...] Read more.
Modeling the effects of atmospheric deposition on the water quality of the middle route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (MR-SNWDP) can provide a basis for scientific protection and optimal allocation of water resources. Considering the total nitrogen (TN) as a representative water quality index, this study analyzed the water quality variations along the MR-SNWDP and in the Miyun Reservoir under atmospheric deposition, using the hydrodynamic and environmental numerical models. The results in 2016 revealed that the atmospheric deposition significantly affected the water quality of the MR-SNWDP, and the effects of atmospheric deposition on the water quality of the middle route and Miyun Reservoir showed different variation rules. However, the clearer water from the MR-SNWMP would significantly deteriorate after storage in the Miyun Reservoir as the TN concentration increased significantly. Based upon the scenario analysis, it was found that the constant water diversion scheme helped reduce the effects of atmospheric deposition. Further, it is recommended that the storage amounts in the Miyun Reservoir should be as low as possible. Full article
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16 pages, 8035 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Effects of Climate Change on Vegetation Dynamics in Alpine Grassland of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in a County
Atmosphere 2022, 13(2), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13020324 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1386
Abstract
Alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is known to be sensitive to climate change. To quantify the impacts of climate change on alpine ecosystems at small scale, Wulan County in Qinghai Province was taken as the research object, and the relationships between vegetation [...] Read more.
Alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is known to be sensitive to climate change. To quantify the impacts of climate change on alpine ecosystems at small scale, Wulan County in Qinghai Province was taken as the research object, and the relationships between vegetation dynamics and climate changes and the direct and indirect effects of climate factors on vegetation dynamics were analyzed using the methods of ordinary least squares, Pearson correlation analysis and path analysis, on the basis of MOD13A3 data and meteorological data from 2001 to 2020. The results showed that the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in the growing season of the county and 5 vegetation types showed similar fluctuation processes and relationships with climate factors during the study period. The growing season NDVI (GSN) of shrubland and desert steppe respectively were the highest and lowest. The yearly mean values of GSN over the county ranged from 0.151 to 0.264, and increased extremely significantly with years at a rate of 0.0035 yr−1. Spatially, GSN gradually decreased from northeast to southwest, and 97.2% of the county area showed an increasing trend in GSN. With years, growing season evaporation (GSE) decreased extremely significantly at a rate of 29.6 mm yr−1, while growing season average relative humidity (GSARH) showed a significant increasing trend at a rate of 0.16% yr−1. The correlations and effects of GSE, GSARH, and growing season precipitation (GSP) on vegetation dynamics were weakened in turn. GSE was the main direct effect factor, and the latter two were the indirect effect factors through GSE. The total contribution rates of GSE, GSARH and GSP to vegetation dynamics was about 78.0%. However, growing season average temperature (GSAT) had little effect on vegetation dynamics. This study provides information for understanding the characteristics of vegetation dynamics of alpine grassland in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at a small scale. Full article
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18 pages, 3642 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Past and Projected Trends of Rainfall and Temperature Parameters in Eastern and Western Hararghe Zones, Ethiopia
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010067 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2803
Abstract
Smallholder farmers in East and West Hararghe zones, Ethiopia frequently face problems of climate extremes. Knowledge of past and projected climate change and variability at local and regional scales can help develop adaptation measures. A study was therefore conducted to investigate the spatio-temporal [...] Read more.
Smallholder farmers in East and West Hararghe zones, Ethiopia frequently face problems of climate extremes. Knowledge of past and projected climate change and variability at local and regional scales can help develop adaptation measures. A study was therefore conducted to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of rainfall and temperature in the past (1988–2017) and projected periods of 2030 and 2050 under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) at selected stations in East and West Hararghe zones, Ethiopia. To detect the trends and magnitude of change Mann–Kendall test and Sen’s slope estimator were employed, respectively. The result of the study indicated that for the last three decades annual and seasonal and monthly rainfall showed high variability but the changes are not statistically significant. On the other hand, the minimum temperature of the ‘Belg’ season showed a significant (p < 0.05) increment. The mean annual minimum temperature is projected to increase by 0.34 °C and 2.52 °C for 2030, and 0.41 °C and 4.15 °C for 2050 under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively. Additionally, the mean maximum temperature is projected to change by −0.02 °C and 1.14 °C for 2030, and 0.54 °C and 1.87 °C for 2050 under RCP4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively. Annual rainfall amount is also projected to increase by 2.5% and 29% for 2030, and 12% and 32% for 2050 under RCP4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively. Hence, it is concluded that there was an increasing trend in the Belg season minimum temperature. A significant increasing trend in rainfall and temperature are projected compared to the baseline period for most of the districts studied. This implies a need to design climate-smart crop and livestock production strategies, as well as an early warning system to counter the drastic effects of climate change and variability on agricultural production and farmers’ livelihood in the region. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 971 KiB  
Review
Drought: A Common Environmental Disaster
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010111 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 10815
Abstract
Droughts have been identified as an environmental hazard by environmentalists, ecologists, hydrologists, meteorologists, geologists, and agricultural experts. Droughts are characterised by a decrease in precipitation over a lengthy period, such as a season or a year, and can occur in virtually all climatic [...] Read more.
Droughts have been identified as an environmental hazard by environmentalists, ecologists, hydrologists, meteorologists, geologists, and agricultural experts. Droughts are characterised by a decrease in precipitation over a lengthy period, such as a season or a year, and can occur in virtually all climatic zones, including both high and low rainfall locations. This study reviewed drought-related impacts on the environment and other components particularly, in South Africa. Several attempts have been made using innovative technology such as earth observation and climate information as recorded in studies. Findings show that the country is naturally water deficient, which adds to the climate fluctuation with the average annual rainfall in South Africa being far below the global average of 860 mm per year. Drought in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, for example, has resulted in employment losses in the province’s agriculture sector. According to the third quarterly labor force survey from 2017, the agricultural industry lost almost 25,000 jobs across the country. In the Western Cape province, about 20,000 of these were lost which has a direct impact on income generation. Many of these impacts were linked to drought events. Full article
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