Planet Texas 2050 - Published Research

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 30
  • Item
    Hurricane Scenario Generation for Uncertainty Modeling of Coastal and Inland Flooding
    (Frontiers in Climate, 2021-03-15) Kim, Kyoung Yoon; Kutanoglu, Erhan; Hasenbein, John; Wu, Wen-Ying; Yang, Zong-Liang
  • Item
    Climate Vulnerability in Austin: A multi-risk assessment
    (Austin Area Sustainability Indicators & Texas Metropolitan Observatory of Planet Texas 2050, 2020-02-05) Bixler, Patrick; Yang, Euijin
  • Item
    Assessing the potential for greater solar development in West Texas, USA
    (Energy Strategy Reviews, 2020-05-13) Devitt, D.A.; Young, Michael H.; Pierre, J.P.
    As population and economies continue to grow on a global scale, so too does the demand for energy. To improve reliability and independence of energy supplies, the U.S. and many other countries are seeking internally-sourced renewable energy; solar is one such renewable-energy source that meets these criteria. However, all energy sources exert some environmental impacts. In the case of solar, direct impacts stem mostly from alteration of land needed to host infrastructure. Understanding the environmental upside and downside potential of solar energy systems allows a more comprehensive, side-by-side comparison with different energy sources. In this article, we focus on the solar energy potential of West Texas, USA, a large arid to semi-arid region with a rural population and favorable climatic conditions. Texas is an interesting and important region to study given its unregulated and independent grid operation and the additional (and substantial) sources of regionally produced energy. Herein, we assess the geographic and environmental attributes, constraints to (e.g., incoming solar radiation, slope, habitats, ecoregion, water availability, etc.), and the potential environmental impacts on land resources from utility-scale installations of different types of solar energy generation systems. Our assessment points to the balance needed to expand solar energy to gain flexibility in energy sourcing on the one hand, while carefully considering future locations and technology to avoid regional impacts to land and environmental resources.
  • Item
    Exploring Groundwater Recoverability in Texas: Maximum Economically Recoverable Storage
    (Texas Water Journal, 2020-12-10) Young, Michael H.; Kreitler, Charles W.; Thompson, Justin C.
    The 2017 Texas state water plan projects total supply deficits of 4.8 and 8.9 million acre-feet under drought-of-record conditions by the year 2020 and 2070, respectively, driven by a growing population concurrent with declining available water supplies. Reductions in groundwater supply account for 95% of anticipated declines in total water supply. Meanwhile, restrictive groundwater management plans may be creating a regulation-induced shortage of groundwater in Texas, given the significant groundwater storage volumes that are unutilized under many management plans. However, these estimates do not account for many of the physical and none of the economic constraints to groundwater recoverability. We report an analysis of groundwater extraction feasibility and simulate maximum economically recoverable storage for conditions representative of the central section of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer under economic constraints associated with agricultural uses. Two key limitations are applied to simulate recoverability: (1) the value of water pumped relative to pumping costs and (2) the capacity of the aquifer and well to meet demand. Our results indicate that these constraints may limit certain uses to as little as 1% of current groundwater availability estimates. We suggest that Texas groundwater managers, stakeholders, and policymakers assessing groundwater availability need an alternate approach for estimating recoverability.
  • Item
    Communicating in Three Dimensions: Questions of Audience and Reuse in 3D Excavation Documentation Practice
    (2019-08-18) Rabinowitz, Adam
    After excavating the Praedia of Iulia Felix at Pompeii in 1755, architect Karl Weber published the building with an axionometric illustration that showed the remains in three-dimensional perspective. In doing so, Weber communicated additional information about the form of the building in a manner that was both visually accessible to a lay audience and sufficiently “scientific” for a scholarly one. By contrast, digital 3D documentation methods in current archaeological practice can reinforce a division between “scientific” models intended for internal consumption by the project that produces them, and external communication in the form of lower-quality online digital displays. Using recent fieldwork at the Greek colonial site of Histria in Romania as a case-study, this paper explores the space between high-resolution contextualized 3D documentation used only by an internal audience and down-scaled, decontextualized 3D content designed for public consumption. In particular, it explores whether measurable 3D models derived from photogrammetric capture are useful in communicating excavation results to non-specialists – and if so, in what ways. It presents several scenarios for the role of high-quality 3D documentation in both formal and informal scholarly communication and discusses the potential for the reuse of such documentation to answer new research questions.
  • Item
    Science On Screen: Anthropocene w/ climate panel at Austin Film Society
    (2019-09-25) Houser, Heather; Banner, Jay
    Discussion with The University of Texas at Austin's Dr. Jay Banner, Professor of Geoscience and Director of the Environmental Science institute, and Dr. Heather Houser, Professor of English with a focus on environmental literature, for a discussion on climate change in our current time and how it is portrayed through the lens of the media. Drs. Houser and Banner are members of the Organizing Committee of Planet Texas 2050, a new initiative at UT Austin that is addressing challenges to Texas’s resilience in the 21st century. The unwieldy title, ANTHROPOCENE, refers to the current geologic age we occupy—the era of man's influence on climate. This rapturously beautiful and sometimes alarming film takes us to several sites in which climate change is changing the face of our planet.
  • Item
    Language and Groundwater: Symbolic Gradients of the Anthropocene
    (American Association of Geographers, 2020-09-04) Adams, Paul C.
    This article argues that geographers must study the power of words as integral parts of human–environment relationships, with particular attention to local meanings, to intervene more effectively in the Anthropocene. Words are important tools by which people come to understand environmental changes and develop plans to facilitate mitigation and adaptation or, alternatively, to postpone these responses. This project considers the portion of Texas underlain by the Ogallala aquifer as a system of communication, exploring stakeholder articulations through in-depth interviews. The semiotic concepts of gradients, grading, degradation, and grace are employed to facilitate consideration of how verbal articulations intersect with resource use, conservation, anthropogenic environmental change, and action within a highly conservative political context.
  • Item
    People, land, & water: stories of metropolitan growth
    (Texas Metro Observatory, 2019-09) Lieberknecht, Katherine; Oden, Michael; Leite, Fernanda; Bixler, Patrick; Felkner, Juliana; Richter, Stephen; Wu, Sarah
    TMO has brought together several data sets into our first report on metropolitan Texas, People, Land, and Water: Stories of Metropolitan Growth. In People, we analyze socio-demographic trends on diversity, education, poverty, and more, revealing several trends about the people of metropolitan Texas. In Land, the physical expansion of metros is analyzed against population growth, density, and imperviousness, finding that growth is both more efficient and increasingly intense. In Water, consumption patterns are examined by source and end-use, finding decreasing water use per capita; however, increasing population growth will outpace efficiency improvements.
  • Item
    Anti-colonial attunements to place in higher education: Thinking with radical relationality
    (2019-12) Nxumalo, Fikile
    This keynote address engages with the generative potentials and necessity of attunement to place in higher education. It focuses in particular on what radical relationality; conceptualized by bringing new feminist materialisms, Indigenous knowledges, and Black feminisms into conversation, might mobilize towards unsettling the anthropocentric priorities and inheritances of higher education. The engagements are situated with place within ongoing and intensifying anthropogenic environmental precarity that underlines the imperative of more relational ways of living and learning in always already more-than-human worlds. In bringing new materialisms into conversation with Indigenous knowledges and Black feminisms, Fikile mobilizes relationalities that unsettle human-centredness while also disrupting the universalization of the category of the human.
  • Item
    Decolonial Water Stories: Intergenerational Pedagogies at an Indigenous Summer Camp in Austin, Texas.
    (Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education, 2019-10-31) Nxumalo, Fikile; Odim, Nnenna; Montes, Pablo
    This paper is situated within a growing body of work in early childhood studies that suggests the need to firmly situate early childhood education within current ecological challenges and their unevenly inherited impacts. Through a participatory ethnography of an Indigenous summer program led by Indigenous elders, we engage with the question of how early childhood pedagogical practices might move away from dominant romanticized and developmental approaches to learning about the natural world. Attuning to transdisciplinary decolonial perspectives, we work with stories, Indigenous knowledges, and everyday pedagogical encounters to make visible possibilities for situated decolonial pedagogical engagements with more-thanhuman worlds.
  • Item
    Assessment of Texas water resources in the context of changing climate: toward alignment of research agendas and capabilities with stakeholder needs.
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-12-11) Banner, Jay; Nielsen-Gammon, John W; Tremaine, Darrel M; Gao, Huilin; Hoffpauir, Richard
    Long-range water planning is complicated by changes in climate, population, and water use. In Texas, the current approach is to maintain water supplies sufficient to provide adequate water through a repeat of the driest episode in instrumented history. However, the top-level state water plan does not take into consideration potential declines in surface water supply as a function of a drying climate and associated extreme weather events. In that context we review some of the climate factors that may have a large impact on water management. To illustrate how modeled predictions might serve to increase Texas water resiliency, we align these parameters the needs of a prototypical large surface water supplier. We examine the stakeholder perspective on different kinds of climate data, including actionable, incompatible, and unavailable information. Finally, we provide an example of a recent study that attempts to translate climate projections into actionable management information. While it is clear that stakeholders value the predictive capability contained in climate model outputs, we find that currently available data are generally insufficient for supporting true resilience across numerous economic sectors. Indeed, this requires a new suite of tools that provide both short and long-term, stakeholder-specific adaptive planning capacity.
  • Item
    Fossil bats’ (Myotis velifer) jaw morphology changes through time and with climate change in Hall’s Cave, Texas
    (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2020-01-04) Kemp, Melissa; Moroz, Molly
    The cave myotis, Myotis velifer, is a species of insectivorous bat distributed throughout the Southwestern US and Mexico. Fossils are known from several localities, including the well-known Hall’s Cave in Kerr County, TX. Hall’s Cave represents a continuous fossil record from the Last Glacial Maximum (18 kya) to the present, tracking significant warming and drying trends in local climate. Variation in body size across clines in M. velifer’s distribution has been observed in the present: bats in warmer, drier climates are smaller on average, while in cooler, wetter climates bats are larger. Previous studies capitalized on these modern trends and used linear measurements of fossils from Hall’s Cave as indicators of paleoclimate through time and found a trend of decreasing body size in M. velifer from the earliest occurrence to the present. Simple linear measurements of the skull may not capture changes in morphology, however, meaning that evolutionary change in skull morphology could have occurred without detection in this previous study; furthermore, recent studies of bat skulls have shown the importance of morphology for enhancing fitness. In this study, we use geometric morphometrics to quantify changes in M. velifer mandible shape through time in Hall’s Cave. Preliminary data shows that mandible morphology differs between the oldest and youngest M. velifer fossils in Hall’s Cave and that variation is greatest in the temporomandibular joint, which may have implications for changing bite force through time. By quantifying variation in mandible shape using geometric morphometrics, we can study the impacts of past and future climate change on this species.
  • Item
    Variations in Soil 87Sr/86Sr, and its Influence on Stream Water Geochemical Evolution in Eight Rapidly Urbanizing Watersheds in Austin, TX
    (2019-12-13) Banner, Jay; Manlove, Hunter; Beal, Lakin; Loewald, Anna M.; Mauceri, Alessandro
  • Item
    University of Texas geography professor to discuss water management from ancient Maya to ancient Romans
    (2020-02-12) Martin, Chuck
    Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Raymond Dickson Centennial professor of geography at the University of Texas at Austin, presents "Hydraulic Societies and Water Management: From the Ancient Maya of Mesoamerica to the Ancient Romans of the Mediterranean"
  • Item
    Tracking urban development impacts on Austin, Texas-area watersheds using endmember elemental (F-, Cl-) and isotopic (87Sr/86Sr) tools
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-12-13) Banner, Jay; Manlove, Hunter; Beal, Lakin; Mauceri, Alessandro; Loewald, Anna M
    Understanding the resilience of freshwater resources is imperative as urban development continues to degrade freshwater quality and quantity. Climate change and population growth alter supplies of available freshwater, making it increasingly important to quantify and mitigate acute urban water supply and quality challenges in the 21st century. We use geochemical and isotopic (87Sr/86Sr) tools to ascertain water sources introduced via urbanization (i.e., municipal water), and how the proportional contribution of each source evolves as urbanization continues. Relationships between municipal water indicators (F-, Cl-, 87Sr/86Sr) and urban density are assessed across six Austin, TX watersheds. Increases in F-, Cl-, and 87Sr/86Sr values in urban stream waters correspond to increases in urban land use throughout the studied watersheds. The least urbanized watershed (8% urban land use) exhibits the smallest range of F- concentrations (0.40-0.47ppm) and 87Sr/86Sr values (0.7080-0.7081), whereas the most urbanized watershed (95% urban land use) exhibits the largest range in F- concentrations (0.24-0.99 ppm) and 87Sr/86Sr values (0.7084-0.7090). Increases in urban stream water F-+Cl- concentrations and 87Sr/86Sr values are compared to geochemical models for fluid mixing between endmembers (rural stream water, municipal supply water, and waste water). Model results suggest 30-50% municipal supply and/or waste water influence on stream water geochemical composition in the least urbanized watersheds (<10% urban land use), and 10-99% influence on stream water geochemical composition in the watersheds with > 48% urban land use. This municipal (supply and waste) water influence on stream water geochemical composition increases with urban land use, which may be due to 1) increased leakage as pipe network density increases and ages and/or 2) irrigation with municipal supply water. This study demonstrates that municipal (supply and waste) water can enter natural stream water systems and result in geochemical evolution of stream water compositions, and that the significance of this process increases with urbanization.
  • Item
    Changes in central Texas fossil herpetofauna
    (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2020-01) Kemp, Melissa; Ledesdma, David
    In the face of modern climate change and worldwide biodiversity loss, it is imperative that we work to better understand the impacts that environmental changes can have on extant populations over long timespans. The study of Quaternary fossils represents an important bridge to the past that grants us insight into how past biota responded to environmental fluctuations and how extant species may respond to future change. I use fossils from Hall’s Cave, located on the Edward’s Plateau in Kerr County, Texas, to reveal demographic and taxonomic variation in the herpetofauna during the late Quaternary. A reexamination of fossil herpetofauna from Hall’s Cave using apomorphic and diagnostic morphology resulted in a different list of herpetofauna taxa than had been previously reported. This result speaks to the merit of using these identification methodologies to provide strong support for fossil classifications and subsequent paleoecological interpretations. I determined the minimum and maximum number of individuals within 5-centimeter intervals for different reptile and amphibian taxa. The two abundance metrics exhibit similar trends through time with changes in abundances of frogs, snakes, and lizards occurring concurrently. Around 1,500-2,000 years ago, there are peaks in abundances of these taxa which coincide with wetter and cooler conditions as reconstructed from previous north-central Texas paleoclimate proxies. Herpetofauna abundances decrease after 1,500 and between 2,500-3,500 years ago, which correspond to warmer and drier time intervals according to published speleothem records. These preliminary results suggest that changes in herpetofaunal abundances from Hall’s Cave may be a consequence of past climatic change and provide a glimpse into changes in central Texas’ herpetofaunas during the late Quaternary.
  • Item
    Decolonial Water Stories: Affective Pedagogies with Young Children
    (2019-09-12) Nxumalo, Fikile
    This article is situated within ongoing efforts in early childhood education to unsettle extractive relations with the more-than-human world and efforts to situate children’s learning within current conditions of environmental vulnerability. The authors discuss some pedagogical and curricular interruptions that emerged from foregrounding Indigenous knowledges and non-anthropocentric modes of learning in an inquiry that focused on young children’s water relations. We focus in particular on the affective resonances that emerged from kindergarten children’s encounters with a creek in Austin, Texas. In conversation with Indigenous feminisms, we discuss these affective encounters in relation to their decolonial potentials. We argue for the mattering of affective pedagogies that nurture nonanthropocentric relations while centering Indigenous land and life.
  • Item
    LEAF: Logger for ecological and atmospheric factors
    (2019-09-16) Matheny, Ashley M.; Marchetto, Peter; Powell, Je'aime; Rechner, Austin; Chuah, Joon-yee; McCormick, Erica; Pierce, Suzanne A.
    The fields of meteorology, surface- and groundwater hydrology, and forestry are often decoupled despite the fact that they occur simultaneously at the intersection of living systems and the physical environment. In this work, we describe a system that allows concurrent measurement of canopy throughfall, transpiration, air temperature, pressure, and humidity at multiple heights, in addition to soil moisture and several surface water parameters. LEAF is designed to be generalizable to many other hydrology and meteorology applications, and is modular such that it is easily adaptable for use with additional, diverse environmental monitoring sensors. This low-cost, light-weight, solar-powered system is capable of simultaneous streaming telemetry as well as local data logging via SD card.
  • Item
    An intelligent interface for integrating climate, hydrology, agriculture, and socioeconomic models
    (2019-03) Garijo, Daniel; Khider, Deborah; Pierce, Suzanne A.; Hardesty-Lewis, Daniel; Dabrowski, Anna; Stoica, Maria; Peckham, Scott; Peckham, Scott; Tayal, Kshitij; Khandelwal, Ankush; Kumar, Vipin; Shu, Lele; Kemanian, Armen R; Duffy, Christopher J; Cobourn, Kelly; Mayani, Rajiv; Feldman, Dan; Vu, Binh; Pujara, Jay; Pham, Minh; Chiang, Yaoyi; Knoblock, Craig A; Ferreira da Silva, Rafael; Deelman, Ewa; Gil, Yolanda; Ratnakar, Varun; Khider, Deborah
    Understanding the interactions between natural processes and human activities poses major challenges as it requires the integration of models and data across disparate disciplines. It typically takes many months and even years to create valid end-to-end simulations as different models need to be configured in consistent ways and generate data that is usable by other models. MINT is a novel framework for model integration that captures extensive knowledge about models and data and aims to automatically compose them together. MINT guides a user to pose a well-formed modeling question, select and configure appropriate models, find and prepare appropriate datasets, compose data and models into end-to-end workflows, run the simulations, and visualize the results. MINT currently includes hydrology, agriculture, and socioeconomic models.