On November 8 Professor Cutler Cleveland presented preliminary results of his team’s research to the the City of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission. BU President Robert Brown sits on the commission. Professor Cleveland and his colleagues provide technical analyses of the options available to the City to reach its goal of carbon-neutrality by 2050.
Researchers in the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Department of Earth and Environment are assessing potential technologies and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the energy, buildings, transportation, and waste sectors in the City. Social equity is a key cross-cutting theme. This work is a collaborative effort with the City of Boston and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, and it will inform the City’s upcoming Climate Action Plan update.
First-year PhD student Yasmin Romitti has collaborated with the National Academy of Sciences to develop a research agenda for dealing carbon dioxide capture. Negative emissions technologies that aim to remove and sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere have been identified as an important part of the portfolio of responses to climate change. This new report aims to develop a detailed research and development agenda needed to assess the benefits, risks, and sustainable scale potential for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration approaches and increase their commercial viability. Romitti is advised by Professor Tony Janetos.
Professor Suchi Gopal, Lecturer James Baldwin, and Kevin Gallagher of BU’s Global Development Policy Center have penned “Fueling Global Energy Finance: The Emergence of China in Global Energy Investment” in Energies. The writers assess the investment trends in the global energy sector during, before, and after the financial crisis of 2008 using the Dealogic database providing cross-border mergers and acquisitions and the “fDi Intelligence fDi Markets” database providing Greenfield foreign direct investments).
Adjunct Assistant Professor John Fegyveresi and his colleagues have penned “Instruments and methods: a case study of ice core bubbles as strain indicators” in Annals of Glaciology. In their abstract, the authors note, “Measurements of a sample from ~580 m depth in the WAIS Divide (WDC06A) ice core reveal that bubbles are preferentially elongated in the basal plane of their parent grain, as expected if bubble shape preserves the record of dominant basal glide. This suggests that a method using bubbles as strain gauges could provide insights to grain-scale ice deformation. We introduce a technique using fabric and image analyses of paired thin and thick sections.”
Professor Rick Murray has been elected to a two-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Geophysical Association, where he will help oversee AGU’s business, organizational, and legal affairs. For nearly a century AGU has worked to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.
Assistant Professor Dan Li has published a single-author, invited review article titled “Turbulent Prandtl number in the atmospheric boundary layer – where are we now?” in Atmospheric Research. Turbulent Prandtl number is named after the Father of Modern Fluid Mechanics, Ludwig Prandtl, and is an indicator of how turbulent transport of heat differs from its counterpart of momentum. It is a key parameter in first-order turbulence closure schemes used in weather and climate models. In this article, Professor Li reviews recent advances in understanding and modeling of turbulent Prandtl number in the atmospheric boundary layer and presented a unifying framework for turbulent Prandtl number based on his own recent work. For more information on Professor Li’s research, visit http://sites.bu.edu/efm/http://sites.bu.edu/efm/.
Postdoc Istem Fer, PhD candidate Elizabeth Cowdery, and Associate Professor Mike Dietze have co-authored “Linking big models to big data: efficient ecosystem model calibration through Bayesian model emulation” in Biogeosciences. “Bayesian methods provide a rigorous data assimilation framework for these applications, especially for problems with multiple data constraints,” the authors note. “However, the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques underlying most Bayesian calibration can be prohibitive for computationally demanding models and large datasets. We employ an alternative method, Bayesian model emulation of sufficient statistics, that can approximate the full joint posterior density, is more amenable to parallelization, and provides an estimate of parameter sensitivity.”
Sergio Fagherazzi and Cédric Fichot join the newly funded NASA Delta-X team to study the future of the Mississippi delta
Professor Sergio Fagherazzi and Assistant Professor Cédric Fichot have joined the Delta-X investigation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to better understand the natural processes that maintain and build land in major river deltas threatened by rising seas. The project will improve models that predict loss of coastal land from sea level rise by improving estimates of how deltas add land—a process that involves trapping sediments and creating organic soils as plants grow. Delta-X will focus on the Mississippi River Delta using instruments on three NASA research aircraft.
Associate Professor Wally Fulweiler will join The Undiscovered, a Radcliffe Institute science symposium that will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.
Friday, October 26, 9 AM–5 PM
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. At other times, new instruments offer unanticipated revelations: Galileo trained his telescope on Jupiter and found it to have moons. And, occasionally, methodical experiments find exactly the opposite of what they sought to prove. Scientists intending to measure the deceleration of the Universe’s expansion, for example, found acceleration instead.
Professor Nathan Phillips recently spoke with BU Today about the gas leaks and explosions in Merrimack Valley. “Piecing together information from a press briefing, it appears that a routine removal of a pipe from the aging, leaking pipeline system was done without first removing a pressure sensor on that old pipe that had regulated how much gas to feed,” he said.