Variable temperature effects of Open Top Chambers at polar and alpine sites explained by irradiance and snow depth

first_imgEnvironmental manipulation studies are integral to determining biological consequences of climate warming. Open Top Chambers (OTCs) have been widely used to assess summer warming effects on terrestrial biota, with their effects during other seasons normally being given less attention even though chambers are often deployed year-round. In addition, their effects on temperature extremes and freeze-thaw events are poorly documented. To provide robust documentation of the microclimatic influences of OTCs throughout the year, we analysed temperature data from 20 studies distributed across polar and alpine regions. The effects of OTCs on mean temperature showed a large range (−0.9 to 2.1 °C) throughout the year, but did not differ significantly between studies. Increases in mean monthly and diurnal temperature were strongly related (R2 = 0.70) with irradiance, indicating that PAR can be used to predict the mean warming effect of OTCs. Deeper snow trapped in OTCs also induced higher temperatures at soil/vegetation level. OTC-induced changes in the frequency of freeze-thaw events included an increase in autumn and decreases in spring and summer. Frequency of high-temperature events in OTCs increased in spring, summer and autumn compared with non-manipulated control plots. Frequency of low-temperature events was reduced by deeper snow accumulation and higher mean temperatures. The strong interactions identified between aspects of ambient environmental conditions and effects of OTCs suggest that a detailed knowledge of snow depth, temperature and irradiance levels enables us to predict how OTCs will modify the microclimate at a particular site and season. Such predictive power allows a better mechanistic understanding of observed biotic response to experimental warming studies and for more informed design of future experiments. However, a need remains to quantify OTC effects on water availability and wind speed (affecting, for example, drying rates and water stress) in combination with microclimate measurements at organism levellast_img read more

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News story: UK Government reaction to GERS

first_img Scotland’s geographical share of North Sea revenues increased from £266 million in 2016-17 to £1.3 billion in 2017/18. This is up from a low of £50 million in 2015-16 and down from a peak in 2008-09 of £8.9 billion. Non-North Sea revenue in Scotland grew by 3.6% in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17, just marginally higher than the figure for the UK as a whole, at 3.5% (excluding reclassification of English housing association). This growth is driven by increased national insurance contributions and corporate tax revenues. Scotland’s tax contributions, at £11,052, continue to be around £300 per head less than the UK average, at £11,358. These Scottish Government figures show that at more than £13 billion, Scotland’s deficit at 7.9% as a share of GDP is four times that of the UK’s 1.9% as a whole. This is concerning. However these figures also confirm that being part of a strong United Kingdom – the 5th largest economy in the world – is worth nearly £1,900 for every single person in Scotland, which supports vital public services. Simply put, Scotland contributed eight per cent of UK tax, and received more than nine per cent of UK spending for the benefit of families across the country. The UK Government is investing directly in Scotland, including more than £1 billion in city and growth deals, and we are ready to work with the Scottish Government to boost the economy. Scotland’s share of UK total revenue has fallen over recent years. Since its peak at 9.7% in 2008-09, Scotland’s contribution to UK revenues has been on a downward trend in subsequent years and is currently at 8.0% of the UK total. Key points Scotland’s net fiscal balance as a share of GDP was -7.9%, compared to -1.9% for the UK overall. This decreased from -8.9% in 2016-17, compared to the UK overall, which came down from -2.3%. In absolute terms, Scotland’s deficit was £13.4 billion in 2017-18, down from £14.5 billion in 2016-17.center_img Using the Scottish Government’s own data, public spending in Scotland was nearly £1,600 per head higher than that of the UK average. In other words, in 2017-18 it was 13.2% higher than the UK average. Over the last five years, this gap has been between 10.6% in 2014-15 and 13.2% in the latest full financial year. Scotland’s deficit [or borrowing] was nearly £1,900 per person larger than the UK average in 2017-18. Commenting on the Scottish Government’s GERS figures, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: Scotland contributed 8.0% of UK tax and received 9.3% of UK spending in 2017-18 (Scotland’s population share was 8.2% in mid-2017), demonstrating how Scotland receives secure and stable levels of spending irrespective of the volatile tax revenues from the North Sea. While Scotland’s overall fiscal position improved in 2017-18, Scotland’s deficit as a share of its economy is over 4 times higher than that of the UK.last_img read more

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General Electric mulls launch of cross-border IORP

first_imgExxonMobil was also considering a move to Belgium.Den Bakker said the Dutch sponsor and employee representatives were now considering future options for the Dutch fund, which has €290m in assets.She added that the sponsor was awaiting a decision from employee representatives, and that, once their stance became clear, the fund’s future would be evaluated.The move comes after the Dutch fund suffered a decline in membership – nearly halving from 1,034 at the end of 2013 to around 650 – after GE sold off part of its Dutch business and moved production out of the country.Plans to transfer the pension benefits of employees at GE Artesia Bank, a provider of trade finance, to the main GE scheme were abandoned after they proved infeasible, Den Bakker said.GE Artesia Bank was recently revealed as one of the firms discussing the launch of a new ‘general pension fund’, or APF, covering companies within the financial sector.GE Pensioenfonds had close to 2,000 members at the end of 2014.As of late June, its policy coverage ratio stood at 105.6%.GE declined to comment when approached by IPE sister publication Pensioen Pro. General Electric is considering the launch of a cross-border pension fund based in Belgium.The plans, mentioned in the Dutch GE Pensioenfonds 2014 annual report, could see future accrual for several European countries shift to a Belgium-domiciled vehicle, according to pension fund chair Yvonne den Bakker.GE is the latest company to consider the launch of a cross-border fund for its Dutch scheme.Aon Netherlands recently angered employees after deciding to establish a vehicle in Brussels despite its workers’ council still debating the move.last_img read more

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