Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
Acidification has sparked discussion about whether regulatory agencies should place coastal waters on the Clean Water Act 303(d) impaired water bodies list. Here we describe scientific challenges in assessing impairment with existing data, exploring use of both pH and biological criteria. Application of pH criteria is challenging because present coastal pH levels fall within the allowable criteria range, but the existing criteria allow for pH levels that are known to cause extensive biological damage. Moreover, some states express their water quality criteria as change from natural conditions, but the spatio-temporal distribution and quality of existing coastal pH data are insufficient to define natural condition. Biological criteria require that waters be of sufficient quality to support resident biological communities and are relevant because a number of biological communities have declined over the last several decades. However, the scientific challenge is differentiating those declines from natural population cycles and positively associating them with acidification-related water quality stress. We present two case studies, one for pteropods and one for oysters, which illustrate the opportunities, challenges and uncertainties associated with implementing biological criteria. The biggest challenge associated with these biological assessments is lack of co-location between long-term biological and chemical monitoring, which inhibits the ability to connect biological response with an acidification stressor. Developing new, ecologically relevant water quality criteria for acidification and augmenting coastal water monitoring at spatio-temporal scales appropriate to those criteria would enhance opportunities for effective use of water quality regulations.
Keywords: Water quality criteria; Acidification; 303(d); Pteropods
Source: S. B. Weisberg, N. Bednaršek, R. A. Feely, F. Chan, A. B. Boehm, M. Sutula, J. L. Ruesink, B. Hales, J. L. Largier and J. A. Newton (2016); “Water quality criteria for an acidifying ocean: Challenges and opportunities for improvement”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 126, June 2016, Pages 31–41; Received: 25 October 2015; Revised: 14 March 2016; Accepted: 21 March 2016; Available online: 13 April 2016 under DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.03.010
Climate change is increasing the need to characterise the vulnerability of coastal landscapes to coastal and flood hazards that result in erosion and inundation. Indices, such as the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI), have emerged as useful tools with which coastal managers can prioritise areas for further detailed assessment of vulnerability, risk, resilience and adaptation options. Approaches, such as the use of an index, efficiently characterise the vulnerability of linear, one-dimensional coastal features such as coastlines; however, they do not capture variability in coastal processes affecting more complex, non-linear features, such as estuaries, or interactive effects of coastal processes between linear (e.g. coastlines) and non-linear (e.g. estuaries) landforms. We present an approach that uses geomorphology to indicate biophysical vulnerability of estuaries to coastal and flood hazards. The approach is applied to the South Coast of NSW; a wave-dominated coastline of approximately 400 km length that contains more than 100 estuaries. We demonstrate the simplicity of the approach and its utility in identifying areas requiring higher resolution assessments. Although this approach does not include socio-economic factors, we demonstrate the capacity to incorporate socio-economic components of vulnerability using regional land use mapping. We infer that the most vulnerable estuaries are characterised by large catchment areas, broad estuarine valleys, mature stages of infill, or entrances oriented towards the prevailing wave direction. The area below 15 m elevation was identified as a robust indicator of the total area of vulnerability within a catchment. This approach can be applied to one-dimensional and more complex two-dimensional landscapes, such as estuaries; integrates varying sea-level rise projections; and incorporates a wider range of hazards that operate in the coastal zone.
Source: K. Rogers and C. D. Woodroffe (2016); “Geomorphology as an indicator of the biophysical vulnerability of estuaries to coastal and flood hazards in a changing climate”, Journal of Coastal Conservation, April 2016, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 127-144; First online: 26 February 2016
The paper shows how some water-sensitive strategies that have traditionally been used in Mediterranean agriculture to manage rainwater reappear as basic elements in the design of the main urban parks built in recent years in the city of Valencia, as Cabecera Park, Hesperides Garden, Marxalenes Park and Central Park. The elements associated with the use of the water for agricultural purposes in the Mediterranean context, as canals, ditches, irrigation ponds and cisterns, as well as the terrain modeling with terraces to retain rainwater, are some of the archetypal elements that compose a distinctive anthropic landscape, and provide, in addition to tested solutions for an efficient water management, a set of morphological patterns to design these new parks.
Source: J. P. Igualada (2016); “Water-sensitive Strategies in the New Urban Parks in Valencia: The Agricultural Mediterranean Paradigm as a Pattern for Landscape Management and Design”, International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, Volume 11 (2016), Issue 2, Pages 97 – 106; DOI: 10.2495/SDP-V11-N2-97-106
We describe a new approach that allows for systematic causal attribution of weather and climate-related events, in near-real time. The method is designed so as to facilitate its implementation at meteorological centers by relying on data and methods that are routinely available when numerically forecasting the weather. We thus show that causal attribution can be obtained as a by-product of data assimilation procedures run on a daily basis to update numerical weather prediction (NWP) models with new atmospheric observations; hence, the proposed methodology can take advantage of the powerful computational and observational capacity of weather forecasting centers. We explain the theoretical rationale of this approach and sketch the most prominent features of a “data assimilation–based detection and attribution” (DADA) procedure. The proposal is illustrated in the context of the classical three-variable Lorenz model with additional forcing. The paper concludes by raising several theoretical and practical questions that need to be addressed to make the proposal operational within NWP centers.
Keywords: Event attribution; Data assimilation; Causality theory; Modified Lorenz model.
Source: A. Hannart , A. Carrassi, M. Bocquet, M. Ghil, P. Naveau, M. Pulido, J. Ruiz and P. Tandeo (2016); “DADA: data assimilation for the detection and attribution of weather and climate-related events”, Climatic Change, May 2016, Volume 136, Issue 2, pp 155-174; First online: 21 March 2016.