• An Analysis of U.S. and World Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Consumption of Coal for Energy from 1980 to 2012

      Jessup, Stephen; Goz, Kadir; The College at Brockport (2015-05-08)
      The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from U.S. coal consumption for energy on total global anthropogenic CO2 emissions from coal from 1980 to 2012. This study investigated whether the U.S. to world proportion of CO2 emissions from coal have been greater than expected when compared to global CO2 emissions on a per person basis over this time period. Data was obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (U.S. E.I.A.), U.S. Census Bureau, IHS Global Insight, Inc., and Population Reference Bureau for U.S. and global coal consumption, CO2 emissions from coal, and population. This data was used to create percentages for each year of the study, which were then graphed and analyzed. The results of the study found that the U.S. has emitted more CO2 than expected for a country of its population and that U.S. CO2 emissions from coal have been decreasing with no influence on the recent increasing trend of global CO2 emissions. The driving force behind the recent increases was China. A secondary study involved analyzing the negative correlation between CO2 emissions from U.S. coal and natural gas consumption from 1980 to 2012. Data from the U.S. E.I.A. for coal and natural gas consumption was tested using graphical analysis and Pearson’s correlation coefficient tests. The results were that there was no significant negative correlation of CO2 emissions between coal and natural gas consumption. The findings of the study confirmed the first research question of the U.S. having a disproportionate influence on global CO2 emissions from coal, while rejecting the secondary question of the negative relationship between CO2 emissions from coal and natural gas consumption in the U.S.
    • Assessment of the Stratigraphic Controls on Deltaic Subsidence in the Mississippi River Delta

      Autin, Whitney J.; DeRose, Nicole; The College at Brockport (2015-05-08)
      Louisiana’s coastlines are being lost due to a rise in sea level and land subsidence. This study isolates one aspect of land subsidence, called autocompaction, to access its contributions to overall subsidence. Autocompaction is the process where a growing sequence of sediments collapses due to an increasing overburden load. A total of 36 sediment cores from the Sale-Cypremort deltaic lobe were analyzed. Each core was divided into facies units of natural levee, marsh, poorly drained backswamp, and bay mud. A soil analysis was conducted along with the sediment cores. Each soil was identified as a facies type. By identifying facies, geotechnical parameters based on facies type were applied in an equation that solved for consolidation settlement, also called autocompaction (Sm). Autocompaction measures the decrease in layer thickness by vertical compression. The autocompaction values were compared to depth of facies, thickness of facies layers, as well as depth to Pleistocene. Results show that as thickness of facies layers increases, compaction increased. As depth to Pleistocene increased, compaction had a slight increasing trend. Natural levee facies can be considered firm and nearly incompressible, while marsh, poorly drained backswamp, and bay mud facies are soft and compressible.
    • Climate Change in Buffalo, NY

      Autin, Whitney J.; Stanonis, Jennifer; The College at Brockport (2013-05-03)
      The climate is changing globally and in the northeast United States. Evidence of climate change should also be found in Buffalo, New York, located along the eastern shore of Lake Erie. My hypotheses are that average winter temperatures and snowfall should be increasing, Lake Erie should be freezing at a later date, and Lake Erie’s ice cover should affect snowfall amounts. The warmer temperatures would lead to Lake Erie’s surface water temperature being higher, resulting in less ice cover. The lack of ice would lead to more lake effect snow over Buffalo. The city of Buffalo, New York has experienced a limited change in climate over the past 67 years. Winter snowfall and December snowfall and temperatures have increased over time when a three year moving average is used to reduce the high variability in the raw data. Winter temperatures and January and February temperatures and snowfall amounts have not changed. Lake Erie’s ice date did not change over time. A correlation test of the Lake Erie ice cover and winter snowfall did show a negative correlation.
    • Identifying Sinkholes Using a Geographic Information System (GIS)

      Richards, Paul L.; Kita, Andrew; The College at Brockport (2018-05-09)
      Sinkholes are closed depressions in soil or bedrock that form through chemical dissolution of carbonate rock in karst regions. Several studies have identified geologic and hydrologic features that promote sinkhole formation and influence their spatial distribution. This study used a GIS to analyze the relationships between sinkholes and proximity to faults, proximity to streams, and soil thickness in Genesee County, NY. It was hypothesized that a higher frequency of sinkholes (more than half of the number of sinkholes) would occur 1,000 meters or less from a fault, 150-450 meters from a stream, and in areas with one meter or less of soil thickness. Each factor was evaluated individually using previously mapped sinkholes within the study area. A Euclidean distance function with a ten-meter resolution was used to calculate the distance from each sinkhole to the nearest fault and stream. In the study area, 38% of the sinkholes were located within 1,000 meters of a fault, and 22% of the sinkholes were located within 150-450 meters of a stream. These results do not support the hypothesis. However, 50% of the sinkholes occurred less than 450 meters from a stream. Sixty-three percent of the sinkholes occurred in areas with thin (one meter or less) carbonate soils, which supports the hypothesis. The results of this study suggest that: 1) proximity to faults and streams as well as soil thickness may be useful parameters for predicting the likelihood of sinkhole formation in karst regions, and 2) mapping these factors may be a useful strategy for identifying sinkholes remotely in a GIS.
    • Interactions Between Land Use and Local Lithology on Phosphorus Distribution in Northrup Creek Sediments, Monroe County, New York

      Noll, Mark; Napieralski, Amanda; The College at Brockport (2012-12-12)
      Phosphorus, a key nutrient in many aquatic systems that limits the growth of algae, plays a key role in the occurrence of eutrophication and toxic algal blooms. Past research has shown that land use and lithology are major contributors of phosphorus in a creek. High levels of organic phosphorus occur in agricultural areas of a watershed, and high levels of inorganic phosphorus occur in residential areas, especially near waste water treatment plants. The bedrock of an area also influences the chemical composition of stream sediment. Limestone bedrock results in high levels of calcium associated phosphorus. Northrup Creek, a mixed land use watershed in western Monroe County, New York, was examined to determine the main contributors of phosphorus in the creek. Fluvial sediment samples were collected from eleven sites in the Northrup Creek to determine if phosphorus levels in the creek were correlated to the type of land use occurring in specific sections of the watershed. Phosphorus fractionation was performed to analyze the phosphorus distributions at each site, focusing on organic phosphorus, iron-manganese, aluminum, and calcium associated inorganic phosphorus. Land use land cover data was used to determine the land area percentages and hectares of agricultural and residential land in each stream segment. The phosphorus concentrations and percentages from the total phosphorus level were correlated to land use data using a Kendall Tau correlation coefficient. Linear regressions were also run to test the statistical significance of the relationship between phosphorus concentration and land use. The results were not statistically significant and could not be used to support the hypothesis statement that agricultural areas of the catchment would have high levels of organic phosphorus and residential areas would have high levels of inorganic phosphorus.
    • The Effect of Urbanization on the Intensity of Heavy Rainfall in the Midwestern United States

      Jessup, Stephen; Kremer, Adrianna; State University of New York College at Brockport (2020-09-15)
      In recent years, the global population has become more concentrated in cities and this urbanization has influenced a number of changes in climate and land use. While some studies have examined how urbanization impacts precipitation, most of these studies have examined precipitation patterns rather than intensity. Increases in the intensity of precipitation can increase the risk of flooding and flash floods, which can have devastating impacts. Stage IV multi-sensor precipitation data was used to examine heavy rainfall events during the warm-season (May-September) from 2003-2017 in Midwestern cities to examine how urbanization influences rainfall intensity. NCEI precipitation data was also used to create a climatology regarding warm-season precipitation. Results show that in most cases, areas downwind of the urban environment tend to experience heavier rainfall, thus it is likely these areas experience a greater rainfall intensity. Further research regarding specific parameters of rainfall would be beneficial in understand the precipitation modification that occurs due to urbanization.
    • The Role of Topography on the 7 June 2012 Tornadic Supercell near Wheatland, WY

      LaFlamme, Danielle; The College at Brockport (2013-05-09)
      This paper discusses a case study of an EF2 tornado that occurred with a supercell thunderstorm on June 7th, 2012 near Wheatland, WY. It is hypothesized that the topography of the Rocky Mountains played a role in this storm’s formation, based on another study that showed that the mountains created low-level flow channeling and banners of strong potential vorticity that enhanced another storm near Laramie, WY and made it become tornadic. This study intended to find out whether these two tornadoes occurred under similar conditions. Stability, shear, low-level and upper-level environmental conditions, and radar and satellite imagery were used to asses this storm’s formation and strength using the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Event Review, as well as the NCDC NEXRAD Data Inventory. The storm’s path was also tracked over the terrain of the region. There were high instability values and low shear values, as well as synoptic forcing, a front at the surface and a dryline. The conditions turned out to be somewhat different from the other case, and in the case of the Wheatland storm, a synoptic scale upper-level trough and associated shortwave contributed, and banners of potential vorticity