Calendar

October 2019

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Seminar
Nature Sustainability

Nature Sustainability

Seminar
Speaker: William R. Burnside
Date: Tue, 2019-10-01 13:30 to 14:00
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1A

About the Event

I will discuss Nature Sustainability generally and with respect to complexity science, explaining the sorts of complexity-related research and scholarship of interest to the journal, the types of content and article types we publish, and a bit about our history to date.

This special lecture is part of the Conference on Complex Systems.



William R. Burnside

William Burnside (Bill) joined Nature Sustainability in March 2017 as an Associate Editor. He handles manuscripts from ecology, other life science, biogeography, biogeochemistry, soil science, agronomy, oceanography, and anthropology. Before joining Nature Research, Bill was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), in Annapolis, Maryland, working on macroecological approaches to sustainability science. Bill majored in Human Biology at Stanford University and holds an M.S. in Natural Resources & Environment from the University of Michigan. His PhD, in Biology from the University of New Mexico, focused on the metabolic basis of ecological patterns and processes, primarily focused on human use of space, resources, and energy but also including the metabolic ecology of insects and other small ectotherms. Much of this work has been interdisciplinary and has involved collaborations with anthropologists and computer scientists, including from the Santa Fe Institute and related to complexity science. Bill is based in the New York office.


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William R. Burnside
13:30 to 14:00
 
 
 
 
Seminar
How marine calcifiers record climate and environment in carbonate crystals (or, why and how do palaeoproxies work?)

How marine calcifiers record climate and environment in carbonate crystals (or, why and how do palaeoproxies work?)

Seminar
Speaker: Simon Redfern
Date: Fri, 2019-10-04 16:00 to 17:00
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)

About the Event

The development of proxies for past climate using chemical and isotopic signatures recorded in the shells of marine organisms provides the context for understanding climate today. An expanding range of proxies have been proposed that are (variously) thought to reflect ocean temperature, pH, salinity, and oxygen content, among others. Most such proxies, typically extracted from the chemical signatures of marine calcifying organisms such as foraminifera, coccoliths or corals, are developed based on empirical correlations. My interest in trace element (crystal) chemistry of CaCO3 stems from a coffee time conversation with Harry Elderfield, some years ago, in which we pondered why Mg/Ca ratios in forams work as indicators of temperature, Here I will chart the progress since made using synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy at the nanometre length scale, alongside other recent experimental and computational techniques (such as quantum mechanical structure calculations), to understand the underlying reasons why and how foraminifera and other organisms are able to provide insights into past marine environments.



Simon Redfern

Simon Redfern is a mineralogist, trained as a crystallographer, who is interested in the linked between atomic scale structure and the physical and chemical properties of planetary materials, from Earth’s oceans to core. His work explores how minerals control and reflect Earth processes and he has worked in collaboration with a wide variety of Earth and environmental scientists, from climate scientists to volcanologists to palaeontologist to seismologists and even exoplanetary “geo” scientists. In all cases he is interested in how insights into nanometre scale features provide understanding of global processes. His work has extended to using insights from Nature to develop new materials in the context of materials design and manufacture. He obtained his bachelors and PhD degrees from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge before taking up his first job as Lecturer in Geochemical Spectroscopy jointly between the Departments of Geology and Chemistry at the University of Manchester. He returned to Cambridge after a short while and spent a quarter of a century there in various academic roles, before becoming Head of Department. He left Cambridge this summer to move to NTU and take up the post of President’s Chair in Earth Sciences here at ASE, alongside the role of Dean of Science in CoS.


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Simon Redfern
16:00 to 17:00
 
 
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Seminar
The importance of measuring trace gas fluxes to understand future emissions under climate change and land use change

The importance of measuring trace gas fluxes to understand future emissions under climate change and land use change

Seminar
Speaker: Julia Drewer
Date: Tue, 2019-10-08 16:00 to 17:00
Venue: ASE 3D Visualisation Laboratory (N2-B1c-16c)

About the Event

There is an urgent need for quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from different ecosystems and agricultural systems, so that we can make predictions of future emissions under climate change and land use change. At the same time, we need to be looking for solutions to mitigate emissions and to improve sustainability of, for example, agricultural crops. 

In this seminar, I will discuss several projects from the tropics (India and Malaysia) and subtropics (India), as well as the UK where we measured GHGs and VOCs as well as the cycling of nitrogen (N). Land use change in the tropics in very topical, where forests are being converted to crops such as oil palm. In a study in Malaysian Borneo we have measured emissions of GHGs to provide emission rates for these different land uses on mineral soil that can be used for national emission inventories. We have focussed research in Indonesia on providing viable ecological management options to farmers to improve biodiversity and ecosystem function without an added GHG burden. The need to optimize agricultural N use is fast emerging as a key global challenge. In India, we have developed and tested innovative approaches to optimize N management that help meet food security goals while reducing multiple environmental threats. 

The EU has a mandatory target for 20% of all energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2020. Biomass is seen as a key contributor to meeting this aim. I am going to give an example from the UK, where trees including exotic species such as eucalyptus are currently being grown in short rotation forest trials. It is important that we understand all aspects of how such plantations may impact on the environment.



Julia Drewer

Dr Julia Drewer obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh and now works as a senior research scientist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is leading research on trace gas fluxes from various ecosystems, including peatlands and agricultural systems, especially bioenergy crops and the associated land-use change and has worked on projects in Temperate climates as well as the Arctic, Sub-Antarctic and more recently the Tropics. Her main research focuses on measuring and interpreting biosphere-atmosphere-exchange fluxes of trace gases such as greenhouse gases (GHGs) including CH4, CO2, N2O, NO and ozone depleting gases (methyl halides and volatile organic compounds - VOCs) and the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in ecosystems.


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Julia Drewer
16:00 to 17:00
 
 
 
 
Oral Defense
PhD Oral Defense of Pansino Stephen Gregory: An Experimental Approach to Dike Propagation: The Effects of Stress, Solidification and Internal Flow

PhD Oral Defense of Pansino Stephen Gregory: An Experimental Approach to Dike Propagation: The Effects of Stress, Solidification and Internal Flow

Oral Defense
Speaker: Stephen Pansino
Date: Fri, 2019-10-11 15:30 to 17:30
Venue: N1.1-B2-01b

About the Event

This presentation addresses dike propagation from various vantage points, in order to construct a holistic conceptual model of how they behave in nature. Dikes are important to study, in that they are fundamental to magma migration. Most basaltic eruptions (e.g. the large 2018 eruption at Kilauea, Hawai’i and the 2014 eruption of Bardarbunga, Iceland) are fed by dikes. Recharge events, which supplies fresh magma from depth to shallow magma reservoirs and are associated to eruptions (e.g. the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, Philippines), are commonly considered to be fed by propagating dikes.

I will discuss dike propagation dynamics in terms of their internal flow, their form of propagation, their response to external stresses and thermal effects that affect the form of magma supply; indeed there are many factors at playing controlling how dikes propagate. The research focuses on analogue modeling, which involves constructing simplified, small scale versions of behaviors that are observed in nature. For example, injecting oil into a block of solid gelatin generates an experimental dike that represents a buoyant magma, ascending through the crust. In order to compare the experimental results with nature, I use various dimensionless numbers, which ensure that there is similarity between the two analogous systems by maintaining proportionality between various forces.

This defense provides a broad view on the factors controlling dike propagation and evolution, from analysis on the driving forces of propagation to the effect of the stresses in the medium to the thermal viability and vulnerability to solidification. Since magmatic dikes propagate in response to such various processes, this approach offers valuable and fundamental insights into their nature.

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Oral Examination Committee:

  • Associate Professor Pham Quang Cuong, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Chairman)
  • Associate Professor Adam Switzer, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Oral Examiner)
  • Associate Professor Fidel Costa, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Mentor)

Advisors:

  • Assistant Professor Benoit Taisne, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Dr Lorenzo Masia, University of Twente


Stephen Pansino

Stephen Pansino received his B.A. in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and an MSc in Geology from SUNY at Buffalo (USA). His Master’s work involved performing analogue experiments examining two-phase bubbly and slug flow in a volcanic conduit, with application to volcanoes with lava lakes. Stephen joined NTU as an IGS student in 2014, working with Dr. Benoit Taisne. He received a grant from the Dr. Stephen Riady Geosciences Scholar Fund to attend a field course in Alaska and perform experiments on dike propagation near a pressurized magmatic reservoir. During his Ph.D., he used analogue experiments to study various behaviors associated to dike propagation.


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Stephen Pansino
15:30 to 17:30
 
 
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Symposium First Japan-Singapore Volcanology PhD Symposium

First Japan-Singapore Volcanology PhD Symposium

Symposium

Date: Mon, 2019-10-14 09:00 to Tue, 2019-10-15 17:00
Venue: Earth Observatory of Singapore

About the Event

The Earth Observatory of Singapore will host the inaugural Japan-Singapore Volcanology PhD Symposium, in partnership with the Integrated Program for Next Generation Volcano Research and Human Resource Development launched by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The Symposium will feature 15 oral presentations and four poster sessions. More details can be found in the programme below.




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09:00 to 17:00
 
 
 
 
Seminar
The effects of absorbing aerosols and greenhouse gases on tropical precipitation

The effects of absorbing aerosols and greenhouse gases on tropical precipitation

Seminar
Speaker: Xin Rong, Dr.
Date: Fri, 2019-10-18 16:00 to 17:00
Venue: Teaching Lab / Classroom 1 (N1.1-B2-01b)

About the Event

Greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosols warm the climate system by absorbing radiation. At the same time, aerosol particles also have the potential to significantly alter cloud microphysics. This talk explores the implications of the radiative and microphysical perturbations on the probability distribution of tropical rainfall, tropical cyclones, as well as cold surges over the Maritime continent.

The main findings are as follows:
1) Using idealized cloud-resolving simulations, we expect atmospheric heating to reduce mean precipitation on fast time scales (days to months) mainly through reducing weak, rather than strong, precipitation events.
2) Using a global climate model capable of resolving tropical cyclones, we find that free-tropospheric black carbon is much more effective than boundary layer black carbon in altering TC statistics. The atmospheric heating of BC leads to larger reductions in TC intensity as compared to carbon dioxide.
3) Cold surge precipitation over the Maritime Continent is expected to increase under surface warming.

The physical understanding obtained by the combination of theory and models will guide policymakers in planning for rainfall under a changing climate.



Xin Rong, Dr.

Centre for Climate Research Singapore


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Xin Rong, Dr.
16:00 to 17:00
 
 
Seminar
The effects of absorbing aerosols and greenhouse gases on tropical precipitation

The effects of absorbing aerosols and greenhouse gases on tropical precipitation

Seminar
Speaker: Xin Rong
Date: Fri, 2019-10-18 16:00 to 17:00
Venue: N1.1-B2-01b

About the Event

Greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosols warm the climate system by absorbing radiation. At the same time, aerosol particles also have the potential to significantly alter cloud microphysics. This talk explores the implications of the radiative and microphysical perturbations on the probability distribution of tropical rainfall, tropical cyclones, as well as cold surges over the Maritime Continent.

The main findings are as follows:

  1. Using idealized cloud-resolving simulations, we expect atmospheric heating to reduce mean precipitation on fast time scales (days to months) mainly through reducing weak, rather than strong, precipitation events. 
  2. Using a global climate model capable of resolving tropical cyclones, we find that free-tropospheric black carbon is much more effective than boundary layer black carbon in altering TC statistics. The atmospheric heating of BC leads to larger reductions in TC intensity as compared to carbon dioxide.
  3. Cold surge precipitation over the Maritime Continent is expected to increase under surface warming.

The physical understanding obtained by the combination of theory and models will guide policymakers in planning for rainfall under a changing climate.



Xin Rong

Xin Rong obtained her B.Sc (Applied Mathematics) from the National University of Singapore in 2014 and her PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from Princeton University in 2019. Her research interests include rainfall extremes, aerosol-cloud interactions and tropical climate.


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Xin Rong
16:00 to 17:00
 
 
 
Oral Defense
PhD Oral Defense of Fabio Manta: Multivariate Approaches To Infer Volcanic System Parameters, Timing, and Size Of Explosive Eruptions

PhD Oral Defense of Fabio Manta: Multivariate Approaches To Infer Volcanic System Parameters, Timing, and Size Of Explosive Eruptions

Oral Defense
Speaker: Fabio Manta
Date: Mon, 2019-10-14 09:30 to 11:30
Venue: N1.1-B2-01e

About the Event

Volcanoes can exhibit a wide range of activities: from effusive eruptions, low-energy bursts, and mild explosive Strombolian eruptions that can cause minor localized effects on human populations, to more severe Plinian eruptions, which are characterized by large emission of ash in the atmosphere with consequent regional to global impact on human life. To monitor the associated risk, volcanologists apply several ground-based and satellites techniques to analyse geophysical signals associated with the mechanisms happening deep inside the earth that can lead to an eruption. These techniques allow, with the appropriate instruments in place, to estimate the time and intensity of coming events and, in the case a large eruption is ongoing, can provide information on ash ejection rates and column heights. Despite technological advancements, many active volcanoes still lack an adequate permanent monitoring network; moreover, harsh climatic conditions can complicate the application of the existing remote sensing techniques. Therefore, there is the need for complementing volcano monitoring with new supportive tools to enhance the current systems. Accordingly, in this thesis we propose two different methods based on volcano tilt observations and ionospheric sounding, respectively for close field and remote sensing applications, to detect and characterize eruptions prior, and during the event. We propose a method to exploit the time series of tilt signals recorded by a single station during Strombolian explosions to forecast the time and magnitude of a coming event. This is achieved by estimating, by mean of the Bayesian statistics and a physics‐based model, the range of the controlling parameters. To validate the proposed model and test its uncertainties we performed analogue experiments in a controlled environment. The analogue approach helped also to shade lights on the interaction between bubbles linked to Strombolian eruptions and the elastic conduit. We finally focused on the development of a new tool that can support remote sensing techniques to detect and assess the intensity of eruptions. We tested whether the analysis of ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC) can provide additional information to complement the existing monitoring system. To this end, we mined GNSS data recorded during 22 volcanic eruptions to measure the ionospheric TEC perturbation associated with the acoustic-gravity waves generated by volcanic explosions. We evaluated the relationship between a metric related to the energy of atmospheric disturbances, called TEC Intensity Index (TECII), and several well-known metrics obtained by seismology, and satellite remote sensing. The results presented in this thesis support the use of techniques based on the analysis of tilt observations and ionospheric sounding as complementary methods for volcano monitoring. The synergy of these new techniques and the classic ones will augment the possibility of preventing losses of life and mitigating damages by providing useful information for volcano observatories and alert systems.

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Oral Examination Committee:

  • Associate Professor Fidel Costa, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Chairman)
  • Assistant Professor Amal Chandran, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Oral Examiner)
  • Assistant Professor Caroline Bouvet De La Maisonneuve, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Oral Examiner)

Advisor:

  • Assistant Professor Benoit Taisne, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 


Fabio Manta

Fabio Manta is a former Structural Geologist. In 2014 he moved to Singapore where he began his PhD at the Earth Observatory of Singapore in Geophysics applied to volcanology. The main subject of his work is the modelling of ground deformation related to explosive eruptions with the final goal of predicting the size and the intensity of future events. To this end, he applied both numerical approaches such as Finite element Method and analogue modelling by making gelatin models in the lab. Thanks to a collaboration developed with Prof Giovanni Occhipinti at IPGP he gained knowledge on GPS data analysis and ionospheric monitoring to introduce an alternative methodology for volcanic unrest-detection and tsunami risk estimation. Fabio's objective, after his PhD defense, is to continue to work on Ionospheric Seismology as post-doc at the IPGP.


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Fabio Manta
09:30 to 11:30
 
 
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