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    • Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 141: The Monetary Measurement of Flood Damage and the Valuation of the Proactive Policies in Sicily

      Although floods, as well as other natural disasters, can be considered as relevant causes of intra-generational inequalities, frequent catastrophes and the resulting damage to the territory can be seen as a consequence of a generalized indifference about future. Land protection is one of the societal issues typically concerning inter-generational solidarity, involving the administrative system in the implementation of proactive policies. In the last three decades, the widespread demand for subsidiarity has made local communities more and more independent, so that attention to the long-term effects—typically concerning the territorial system as a whole at geographical scale—has been dispersed, and the proactive policies that come from the central government have become more ineffective. Regarding the case of the 2009 flood in the Fiumedinisi-Capo Peloro river basin in North Eastern Sicily, we propose an economic valuation of the land protection policy. This valuation, compared to the cost of recovery of the damaged areas, can provide helpful information on the decision-making process concerning the trade-off between reactive and proactive land policy. The economic value of land protection was calculated by means of the method of the imputed preferences, to obtain a real measure of the social territorial value from the point of view of the harmony between social system and environment. This method consists of an estimate based on the attribution of the expenditures according to the importance of the different areas. Since the value of land protection has been calculated by discounting the expenditures stream, some considerations about the economic significance of the proactive policy are referred to the role played by the social discount rate in the inter-temporal economic calculation.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 140: Proximal Monitoring of the 2011–2015 Etna Lava Fountains Using MSG-SEVIRI Data

      From 2011 to 2015, 49 lava fountains occurred at Etna volcano. In this work, the measurements carried out from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) instrument, on board the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) geostationary satellite, are processed to realize a proximal monitoring of the eruptive activity for each event. The SEVIRI measurements are managed to provide the time series of start and duration of eruption and fountains, Time Averaged Discharge Rate (TADR) and Volcanic Plume Top Height (VPTH). Due to its temperature responsivity, the eruptions start and duration, fountains start and duration and TADR are realized by exploiting the SEVIRI 3.9 μm channel, while the VPTH is carried out by applying a simplified procedure based on the SEVIRI 10.8 μm brightness temperature computation. For each event, the start, duration and TADR have been compared with ground-based observations. The VPTH time series is compared with the results obtained from a procedures-based on the volcanic cloud center of mass tracking in combination with the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) back-trajectories. The results indicate that SEVIRI is generally able to detect the start of the lava emission few hours before the ground measurements. A good agreement is found for both the start and the duration of the fountains and the VPTH with mean differences of about 1 h, 50 min and 1 km respectively.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 139: A Javascript GIS Platform Based on Invocable Geospatial Web Services

      Semantic Web technologies are being increasingly adopted by the geospatial community during last decade through the utilization of open standards for expressing and serving geospatial data. This was also dramatically assisted by the ever-increasing access and usage of geographic mapping and location-based services via smart devices in people’s daily activities. In this paper, we explore the developmental framework of a pure JavaScript client-side GIS platform exclusively based on invocable geospatial Web services. We also extend JavaScript utilization on the server side by deploying a node server acting as a bridge between open source WPS libraries and popular geoprocessing engines. The vehicle for such an exploration is a cross platform Web browser capable of interpreting JavaScript commands to achieve interaction with geospatial providers. The tool is a generic Web interface providing capabilities of acquiring spatial datasets, composing layouts and applying geospatial processes. In an ideal form the end-user will have to identify those services, which satisfy a geo-related need and put them in the appropriate row. The final output may act as a potential collector of freely available geospatial web services. Its server-side components may exploit geospatial processing suppliers composing that way a light-weight fully transparent open Web GIS platform.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 138: Best-Fit Probability Models for Maximum Monthly Rainfall in Bangladesh Using Gaussian Mixture Distributions

      In this study, Gaussian/normal distributions (N) and mixtures of two normal (N2), three normal (N3), four normal (N4), or five normal (N5) distributions were applied to data with extreme values for precipitation for 35 weather stations in Bangladesh. For parameter estimation, maximum likelihood estimation was applied by using an expectation-maximization algorithm. For selecting the best-fit model, graphical inspection (probability density function (pdf), cumulative density function (cdf), quantile-quantile (Q-Q) plot) and numerical criteria (Akaike’s information criterion (AIC), Bayesian information criterion (BIC), root mean square percentage error (RMSPE)) were used. In most of the cases, AIC and BIC gave the same best-fit results but their RMSPE results differed. The best-fit result of each station was chosen as the distribution with the lowest sum of the rank scores from each test statistic. The N distribution gave the best-fit result for 51% of the stations. N2 and N3 gave the best-fit for 20% and 14% of stations, respectively. N5 gave 11% of the best-fit results. This study also calculated the rainfall heights corresponding to 10-year, 25-year, 50-year, and 100-year return periods for each location by using the distributions to project more extreme values.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 137: Modelling Ephemeral Gully Erosion from Unpaved Urban Roads: Equifinality and Implications for Scenario Analysis

      Modelling gully erosion in urban areas is challenging due to difficulties with equifinality and parameter identification, which complicates quantification 0of management impacts on runoff and sediment production. We calibrated a model (AnnAGNPS) of an ephemeral gully network that formed on unpaved roads following a storm event in an urban watershed (0.2 km2) in Tijuana, Mexico. Latin hypercube sampling was used to create 500 parameter ensembles. Modelled sediment load was most sensitive to the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) curve number, tillage depth (TD), and critical shear stress (τc). Twenty-one parameter ensembles gave acceptable error (behavioural models), though changes in parameters governing runoff generation (SCS curve number, Manning’s n) were compensated by changes in parameters describing soil properties (TD, τc), resulting in uncertainty in the optimal parameter values. The most suitable parameter combinations or “behavioural models” were used to evaluate uncertainty under management scenarios. Paving the roads increased runoff by 146–227%, increased peak discharge by 178–575%, and decreased sediment load by 90–94% depending on the ensemble. The method can be used in other watersheds to simulate runoff and gully erosion, to quantify the uncertainty of model-estimated impacts of management activities on runoff and erosion, and to suggest critical field measurements to reduce uncertainties in complex urban environments.

    • Effect of deforestation and subsequent land-use management on soil carbon stocks in the South American Chaco

      Effect of deforestation and subsequent land-use management on soil carbon stocks in the South American Chaco Natalia Andrea Osinaga, Carina Rosa Álvarez, and Miguel Angel Taboada SOIL Discuss., https//doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-34,2018 Manuscript under review for SOIL (discussion: open, 0 comments) The sub-humid argentine Chaco, originally covered by forest, has been subjected to clearing since the end of the '70 and replacement of the forest by no till farming. The organic carbon stock content up to 1 m depth varied as follows: forest > pasture > continuous cropping, with no impact of the number of years under cropping. The incorporation of pastures of warm-season grasses was able to mitigate the decrease of C stocks caused by cropping and so could be considered a sustainable management.

    • A systemic approach for modeling soil functions

      A systemic approach for modeling soil functions Hans-Jörg Vogel, Stephan Bartke, Katrin Daedlow, Katharina Helming, Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Birgit Lang, Eva Rabot, David Russell, Bastian Stößel, Ulrich Weller, Martin Wiesmeier, and Ute Wollschläger SOIL, 4, 83-92, https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-4-83-2018, 2018 This paper deals with the importance of soil for our terrestrial environment and the need to predict the impact of soil management on the multitude of functions that soil provides. We suggest to consider soil as a self-organized complex system and provide a concept of how this could be achieved. This includes how soil research, currently fragmented into a number of more or less disjunct disciplines, may be integrated to substantially contribute to a science-based evaluation of soil functions.

    • Comment on Soil organic stocks are systematically overestimated by misuse of the parameters bulk density and rock fragment content (Poeplau et al., 2017, SOIL, 3, 61–66)

      Comment on Soil organic stocks are systematically overestimated by misuse of the parameters bulk density and rock fragment content (Poeplau et al., 2017, SOIL, 3, 61–66) Eleanor U. Hobley, Brian Murphy, and Aaron Simmons SOIL Discuss., https//doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-23,2018 Manuscript under review for SOIL (discussion: final response, 5 comments) This research is evaluates equations to calculate soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. Although various equations exist for SOC stock calculations, we recommend using the simplest equation with lowest associated errors. Adjusting SOC stock calculations for rock content is essential. Using the mass proportion of rocks to do so minimises error.

    • Physical, chemical and mineralogical attributes of a representative group of soils from the Eastern Amazon, Brazil

      Physical, chemical and mineralogical attributes of a representative group of soils from the Eastern Amazon, Brazil Edna Santos de Souza, Antonio Rodrigues Fernandes, Anderson Martins de Souza Braz, Fábio Júnior de Oliveira, Luís Reynaldo Ferracciú Alleoni, and Milton César Costa Campos SOIL Discuss., https//doi.org/10.5194/soil-2018-3,2018 Manuscript under review for SOIL (discussion: open, 1 comment) The study refers to a survey of the attributes of the main soils classes of the state of Pará, Eastern Brazilian Amazon. These soils have a good potential for agricultural use under natural conditions. In the study we observed that the soils are predominantely kaolinitic, but have relatively low aluminum and organic matter contents, with huge textural variability. The results enable a better understanding of Eastern Amazonian soils, whose extention reaches more than 1.2 million km2.

    • Saturated and unsaturated salt transport in peat from a constructed fen

      Saturated and unsaturated salt transport in peat from a constructed fen Reuven B. Simhayov, Tobias K. D. Weber, and Jonathan S. Price SOIL, 4, 63-81, https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-4-63-2018, 2018 Lab experiments were performed to understand solute transport in peat from an experimental fen. Transport was analyzed under saturated and unsaturated conditions using NaCl (salt). We tested the applicability of a physical-based model which finds a wide consensus vs. alternative models. Evidence indicated that Cl transport can be explained using a simple transport model. Hence, use of the physical transport mechanism in peat should be evidence based and not automatically assumed.

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