The Earth is flat for climate modelers

Did you know that? Modelers don’t stop surprising us!!!

If you find this hard to believe, read the paper by Michael J. Prather and Juno C. Hsu, from the University of California, which has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA.

See the reference and the significance statement below the flat Earth

flat_earth

Reference

Prather, M.J. & Hsu, J.C. 2019. A round earth for climate models. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 116: 19330-19335.

Significance

Early climate and weather models, constrained by computing resources, made numerical approximations on modeling the real world. One process, the radiative transfer of sunlight through the atmosphere, has always been a costly component. As computational ability expanded, these models added resolution, processes, and numerical methods to reduce errors and become the Earth system models that we use today. While many of the original approximations have since been improved, one—that the Earth’s surface and atmosphere are locally flat—remains in current models. Correcting from flat to spherical atmospheres leads to regionally differential solar heating at rates comparable to the climate forcing by greenhouse. gases and aerosols. In addition, spherical atmospheres change how we evaluate the aerosol direct radiative forcing.

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Posted in Believe it or not, Research papers, Unvelievable!

Lost World’s biodiversity uncovered

The book about the biodiversity of the Conan Doyle’s Lost World will be issued in a couple of weeks. The title is “Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands” and is published by Elsevier-Academic Press.

Pantepui is a remote archipelago of sky islands with unique biodiversity and endemism patterns that constitutes one of the few pristine regions remaining in the planet. The biodiversity and ecosystems of this lost world have been generated by purely natural ecological and evolutionary processes, which turns Pantepui into a natural laboratory to study the origin and evolution of Neotropical biomes. The following video provides an outlook of the Pantepui landscape.

The book is subdivided into four parts, namely (i) general aspects, (ii) the photosynthetic world, (iii) animal diversity and (iv) biodiversity conservation, and the following chapters:

  1. Definition and characterization of the Pantepui biogeographical province
  2. Climatic and ecological history of Pantepui and surrounding areas
  3. Pantepui as a dynamic biogeographical concept
  4. Origin and evolution on the Pantepui biota
  5. Algae
  6. Vascular plants and bryophytes
  7. Plant communities
  8. Aquatic insects
  9. Butterflies
  10. Scorpions
  11. Land snails
  12. Amphibians and reptiles
  13. Birds
  14. Mammals
  15. Vertebrate parasites
  16. Conservation of Pantepui: between complex emergency and climate change
  17. Pantepui and global warming

The front matter can be freely downloaded and the book can be purchased here.

Reference

Rull, V., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, C. (eds.). 2019. Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine “Lost World” of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands. Elsevier-Academic Press, London. ISBN 978-0-12815-591-2.

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Posted in Books, My publications

New book on Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography

A new book entitled “The Quaternary: Ecology and Evolution with Glaciations” has been approved last week by Elsevier-Academic Press and will be published in 2020.

The book is intended for a wide audience including researchers, teachers, graduate students and people interested on how the study of the past can contribute to understand our present biosphere and help predicting its future. The language is affordable for a wide range of readers and the more specialized terms and concepts are explained for a better understanding. The book is subdivided into six chapters, with an introduction and an epilogue, and is profussely illustrated, with 100 full-color figures.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Climate: Continuous Variability and Impact on the Earth System
  3. The Organisms: Adaptation, Extinction and Spatial Reorganizations
  4. The Biodiversity: Diversification or Impoverishment?
  5. The Communities: Adjustements, Innovations and Revolutions
  6. The Humans: Occupation and Humanization of the Planet
  7. The future: Natural Cycles and Human Interference
  8. Epilog: The Missing Link between Ecology and Evolution

 

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Posted in Books, My publications, Science

Easter Island discovery: all options remain open

According to the current paradigm, the remote and enigmatic Easter Island, in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is thought to have been discovered and settled by Polynesian sailors between about 800 and 1200 CE. However, recent studies using the latest genomic, anthropological and paleoecological techniques have revived constroversy about a potential Amerindian discovery before Polynesian settlement.

The whole story can be read in a recent revision published in the journal Quaternary, where all the existing hypotheses on Easter Island discovery and settlement are reviewed and evaluated in light of the existing archaeological, anthropological, historical and paleoecological evidence. The reference and the abstract of this review are provided at following.

Reference: Rull, V. 2019. Human Discovery and Settlement of the Remote Easter Island (SE Pacific). Quaternary 2, 15.

Abstract. The discovery and settlement of the tiny and remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has been a classical controversy for decades. Present-day aboriginal people and their culture are undoubtedly of Polynesian origin, but it has been debated whether Native Americans discovered the island before the Polynesian settlement. Until recently, the paradigm was that Easter Island was discovered and settled just once by Polynesians in their millennial-scale eastward migration across the Pacific. However, the evidence for cultivation and consumption of an American plant—the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)—on the island before the European contact (1722 CE), even prior to the Europe-America contact (1492 CE), revived controversy. This paper reviews the classical archaeological, ethnological and paleoecological literature on the subject and summarizes the information into four main hypotheses to explain the sweet potato enigma: the long-distance dispersal hypothesis, the back-and-forth hypothesis, the Heyerdahl hypothesis, and the newcomers hypothesis. These hypotheses are evaluated in light of the more recent evidence (last decade), including molecular DNA phylogeny and phylogeography of humans and associated plants and animals, physical anthropology (craniometry and dietary analysis), and new paleoecological findings. It is concluded that, with the available evidence, none of the former hypotheses may be rejected and, therefore, all possibilities remain open. For future work, it is recommended to use the multiple working hypotheses framework and the strong inference method of hypothesis testing, rather than the ruling theory approach, very common in Easter Island research.

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Posted in My publications, Quaternary Journal

I was in that garden

Posted in Tunes

Pre-order the book on Pantepui biodiversity

The book entitled “Biodiversity of Pantepui: the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands” (Eds., V. Rull, T. Vegas-Vilarrúbia, O. Huber and J.C. Señaris) has been finished and is now in production by Elsevier/Academic Press. Pre-orders with a 15% discount can be placed following this link. The expected date of release is July 1, 2019. Click here for a video of the unique Pantepui landscape.

The book provides the most updated and comprehensive knowledge on the composition, origin and evolution of the biota of the Pantepui biogeographical province. It synthesizes historical information and recent discoveries, covering the main biogeographic patterns and evolutionary trends. Written by international experts on the biodiversity, biogeography, evolution and conservation of this pristine land, this book explores the environmental and biogeographical factors, along with the characteristics that make Pantepui a unique natural laboratory to study the origin and evolution of Neotropical biodiversity using only natural drivers.

The book covers organisms living in Pantepui, including vascular plants, mosses, algae, aquatic insects, butterflies, land snails, scorpions, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, with later sections delving into the potential effects of global warming and current conservational efforts to combat these threats. This book will be an important resource for researchers, ecologists and conservationists who not only want to understand the biodiversity and history of this pristine land, but also help to help conserve and protect it from environmental and human damages.

Reference

Rull, V., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, J.C. 2019. Biodiversity of Pantepui: the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands. Elsevier/Academic Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780128155912.

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Posted in Books, My publications

Palynology and Vegetation History – new book

A new book has been published in the Frontiers Research Topic series entitled “Palynology and Vegetation History“, to commemorate the centenary of the first quantitative pollen diagram, produced by the Swedish geologist Lennart von Post, the founder of paleoecological palynology. The book has been edited by Valentí Rull (ICTJA-CSIC, Spain), Encarni Montoya (ICTA-CSIC, Spain), Thomas Giesecke (Georg-August Univ. Göttingen, Germany) and Jesse Morris (Univ. Utah, USA) and consists of 18 papers by 91 contributors from Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania.

The main aim of the book is to provide a thorough view of the use of palynology in aspects such as the reconstruction of Quaternary vegetation and environmental changes, the role of natural and anthropogenic drivers in the development of the Quaternary vegetation, the shaping of present-day ecological and biogeographical patterns, the potential application of this knowledge in biodiversity conservation and landscape restoration and the development of new methods of pollen analysis and data management. The Research Topic is subdivided into four main conceptual parts, namely (1) modern analog studies; (2) land cover estimates from pollen data; (3) vegetation dynamics reconstructions from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Oceania; and (4) large-scale reviews and meta-analyses. Hopefully, this Research Topic will serve to appraise the state of the art of modern palynology and highlight the usefulness of this discipline in long-term ecological research.

Reference

Rull, V., Montoya, E., Giesecke, T., Morris, J. L. (2019). Palynology and Vegetation History. Frontiers Media, Lausanne, 286 p. ISBN 978-2-88945-687-1.

The book can be freely downloaded here

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Posted in Books, My publications