Archive for April, 2010

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing News

Friday, April 30th, 2010

You can tell a lot about people by what they are reading. So, to give you some insight into what I think (scary?!) as an editor, I want to call your attention to a blog by our publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing News.

Along with stuff only a geek editor could love, there is some good info. Take a look at “Optimizing Abstracts for Search Engines.” Advice along these lines appeared in this bolg on Marcy 17, 2009 and subsequent postings. This, however, adds some sound advice for fine-tuning to suit search engines.

Nonstationarity Workshop

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Screen shot 2010-04-28 at 4.25.36 PMFor those interested, information about the workshop held in connection with our in-the-works featured collection on nonstationarity is online. You can get a preview from the agenda.

17 of the presentations are scheduled to become papers in the collection, with half of them in review as I write. (There is, of course, no guarantee all will be accepted, and experience tells us not all 17 will actually submit manuscripts.)

One insight from the initial submittals is that we humans, ever since the invention of fire, have been busily imposing our own nonstationarity upon natural hydrologic processes. Some effects have been engineered, including dam building and channel modifications in the modern age. Land clearing, habitat destruction, waste disposal, and fossil fuel burning also have had their unplanned effects.

Stationarity or not?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Earth Day, 2010, an appropriate time for us to start receiving manuscripts for a new Featured Collection on nonstationarity. Julie Kiang, Rolf Olsen, and Reagan Wascom are the Guest Associate Editors.

Once, we thought 30 years of data was enough to characterize the statistics at a streamflow station. Climate change made that concept obsolete. This new collection of papers will examine how you deal with statistics when the underlying distribution itself may be changing.

All the models show greenhouse gas emissions forcing a small but steady temperature increase. The rise, however, is masked by huge year-to-year natural variations, cycles within cycles, with periods from decades to perhaps millennia. Even without human “help,” climate is not constant.

We must keep in mind Earth’s climate has been very good to our technological society for the past several thousand years, and there’s no guarantee it will continue to be so. Not for nothing is the present period called “interglacial!” Understanding change will be a critical skill for the future.

Satellite Rainfall over South America

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

April 2010 Article: “Satellite Rainfall Estimates Over South America – Possible Applicability to the Water Management of Large Watersheds,” by Augusto J. Pereira Filho, Richard E. Carbone, John E. Janowiak,

Figure from article

Figure from article

Phillip Arkin, Robert Joyce, Ricardo Hallak, and Camila G.M. Ramos.

This article, part of our Featured Series on Satellite Hydrology, analyzes high-resolution precipitation data from satellite-derived rainfall estimates over South America, especially over the Amazon Basin. The goal is to examine whether satellite-derived precipitation estimates can be used in hydrology and in the management of larger watersheds of South America. The results show the correlation between satellite-derived and gauge-measured precipitation increases with accumulation period from daily to monthly, especially during the rainy season.

Satellites show a complexity to the precipitation pattern not easily observed by conventional rain gauge networks. The figures give examples of a well-defined diurnal cycle of convection over the Amazon Basin.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

15-year-old Riparian Buffer

Friday, April 16th, 2010

April 2010 Article: “Water Quality Functions of a 15-Year-Old Riparian Forest Buffer System,” by J. Denis Newbold, Susan Herbert, Bernard W. Sweeney, Paul Kiry, and Stephen J. Alberts.

Figure from article

Figure from article

Long-term studies can have particular value in seeing effects which may not appear in shorter spans of time. This study in Pennsylvania found evidence that the effectiveness in removing nitrate increased approximately 10 years after the buffer in question was established, corresponding to the onset of rapid tree growth. Even over this relatively long term, however, the authors noted temporal variations in nitrate input fluxes and precipitation prevented a conclusive assessment of the role of tree growth.

When you think about it, a 15-year study is about a third of a way through a typical scientific career. It takes a rather unique and far-sighted program to carry on research like this.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

Musical Authors

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I’m not talking about Lerner and Loewe. Rather, I’m talking about manuscripts where the authors change from submittal to publication.

It’s not too unusual to add an author, especially if reviewers raise concerns which require bringing in more expertise. As long as the new author makes a contribution to the work, that’s fine.

Somewhat less common is removing an author as reviews proceed. Awkward, but sometimes necessary. In the best case, a co-author realizes their contribution is minimal — e.g., revisions eliminated the section they wrote — and asks their name be removed. Yes, there are honorable people like that! Sometimes, a graduate student is named as a co-author, then runs off to see the world — leaving no forwarding address! This makes it very difficult to secure copyright permission.

My concern as Editor is to make sure (only) deserving contributors get proper credit and that we have necessary copyright permission to publish the article. Whenever authorship changes, it’s important to explain the situation in a cover letter. If you have any questions in this regard, it’s always best to discuss them with me right away.

Role of Riparian Vegetation

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

April 2010 Article: “ The Role of Riparian Vegetation in Protecting and Improving Chemical Water Quality in Streams,” by Michael G. Dosskey, Philippe Vidon, Noel P. Gurwick, Craig J. Allan, Tim P. Duval, and Richard Lowrance.

Figure 1 from paper

Figure 1 from paper

Most Featured Collections feature at least one literature review, and this comprehensive one lists 5 pages of citations on the subject. The authors’ emphasis is on the role that riparian vegetation plays in protecting streams from nonpoint source pollutants and in improving the quality of degraded stream water.

The authors go beyond merely listing recent publications. Their conclusions offer some valuable insights. “Despite a large body of research into water quality functions of riparian zones and the existence of large programs that promote restoration of permanent riparian vegetation in developed landscapes, there have been few direct studies of the responses of stream water chemistry to the loss of riparian vegetation and to its restoration. Our analysis suggests that the level and time frame of water quality improvement depends on the type of pollutant and the processes that act on it, site conditions that determine how important each process is, and the amount of degradation in these processes that occurred prior to restoration. Legacy effects of past vegetation can continue to influence water quality for many years or decades and control the potential level and timing of water quality improvement.”

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

Ecologically Functional Floodplains

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

April 2010 Article: “Ecologically Functional Floodplains: Connectivity, Flow Regime, and Scale,” by Jeffrey J. Opperman, Ryan Luster, Bruce A. McKenney, Michael Roberts, and Amanda Wrona Meadows.

Recent stream restoration efforts seem to place a lot of emphasis on designing to a single characteristic such as bankfull flow. The ideas in this article offer a more complex, nuanced view which looks at the flood regime in its totality.

The authors propose a conceptual model encompassing three basic elements: (1) hydrologic connectivity between the river and the floodplain, (2) a variable hydrograph that reflects seasonal precipitation patterns and retains a range of both high and low flow events, and (3) sufficient spatial scale to encompass dynamic processes and for floodplain benefits to accrue to a meaningful level.

For streamflow, the authors consider three kinds of representative floods. The “floodplain activation flood” is a small-magnitude flood that occurs relatively frequently and supports many of the processes ascribed to overbank flow pulses. The “floodplain maintenance flood” is a higher magnitude flood capable of performing geomorphic work including bank erosion and deposition on the floodplain that creates and maintains floodplain surfaces and contributes to heterogeneous floodplain topography. The third kind, “floodplain activation floods,” are rare, high-magnitude events that result in extensive geomorphic changes.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

Modeling Stream Shade

Monday, April 12th, 2010

April 2010 Article: “Modeling Stream Shade: Riparian Buffer Height and Density as Important as Buffer Width,” by David R. DeWalle.

This article is a nice little exercise in applying basic physics and geometry to explore buffer zone shading characteristics of small streams. Using a path-length form of Beer’s law to represent the transmission of direct beam solar radiation through vegetation, the author calculated impacts of varying buffer zone height, width, and radiation extinction coefficients (surrogate for buffer density) on shading for E-W and N-S stream azimuths.

DeWalle’s model suggests that at least 80% shade on small streams up to 6-m wide can be achieved in mid-latitudes with relatively narrow 12-m wide buffers, regardless of stream azimuth, as long as buffers are tall and dense. Although wider buffers may have other benefits, he suggests greater emphasis should be placed on tall, dense buffers to maximize stream shading.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

Was I really there?

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

One of the Orlando authors whom I invited to turn his presentation into a JAWRA paper, asked if I was really at the session, or if I just sent invites to all the presenters. I can definitely confirm I was there in

Ken Lanfear and "Skeeter"

Ken Lanfear and "Skeeter"

Orlando — see photo, taken at NASCAR night at Universal Studios. My contract calls for me to attend all AWRA conferences, though GIS is a subject which holds particular interest for me.

I flit from session to session (the venue permits that) to catch what I see as the most promising talks while scribbling cryptic notes on my program. My secret fear is I’ll miss an introduction and write, “Bob, I enjoyed your talk” when his coauthor Joe substituted for him at the last minute. Oops! When two prospects are scheduled simultaneously, I often can recruit from my network of informers to see if a talk was worthwhile. If not at a talk, I always make a point of saying so in my note.

The last thing I’d want to do is send a form invitation to all presenters. That’s just asking for a load of mediocre papers, as many otherwise excellent talks or posters are just not journal material. Maybe we’d raise our rejection ratio, but it would be a lot of work and not at all fair to the authors.