Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture once fertilizer leaves the field

Countries need to keep track of their national greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to meet targets to combat climate change. Even though carbon dioxide gets most of the attention, nitrous oxide is the most potent of the top three greenhouse gases that contribute to current global warming, having 300 times the warming strength of carbon dioxide. In many countries agriculture is the largest source of nitrous oxide emissions. Keeping track of these emissions after they leave the farm fields via water pathways is difficult.

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Double trouble: how floods after bushfire affect the health of our rivers

Between Christmas 2019 and the  2020 New Year, forested mountain ranges across drought-stricken areas in Eastern Australia came alight, with fires ravaging 11 million hectares of bush (Eucalyptus woodlands and rainforests) – a size comparable to England’s land area. These megafires threw the states of New South Wales and Victoria into a state of emergency. The bushfire crisis took a sudden turn when heavy rainfall flooded the scorched land in the span of just two weeks. Unfortunately, while rainfall might appear to be a blessing in light of the megafires, the resulting floods were ultimately not sweet relief for rivers. 

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History and Science; An Essential Duet for River Conservation

Recently I was down by the Mississippi River with a friend when he remarked, “Look at that tree!” A 30 foot log was barreling downstream in the middle of the 1 mile wide river channel bouncing along the many eddies created by the rushing, brown water. I had heard about large wood rafts that historically clogged up the Red River in Louisiana and many rivers around the world. I tried to imagine what thousands of 30 foot logs floating in the river together would look like and I didn’t get very far before I googled “The Great Raft.” The old images of a massive log jam displayed on my phone were beyond anything I could have imagined.

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Is there enough dirt in the Mississippi River to save the delta?

I know what you’re thinking: dirt flowing down a river doesn’t sound too exciting. But what if I told you this dirt could be the difference between building and losing physical land on our coastlines? Information like how much sediment is flowing down the river, what kind it is, and where it might end up is important in deciding how people will manage coastlines in a delta. For some places, like the Mississippi River Delta, sediment can be the difference between saving and losing precious natural resources, and even people’s homes.

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Throwback Thursday: How did streams and rivers flow before humans started changing things?

Throwbacks aren’t just for old songs and embarrassing childhood photos. Knowing how rivers and streams flowed before people started changing things can help us to create water management practices that are better for the ecological health of these systems. However, the first challenge of throwing it back to these natural flows is just figuring out what these natural flows are.

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