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New study reveals the dynamics and future trends of the seasonally frozen ground on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Seasonally frozen ground (SFG) is a critical component of the Earth’s surface that affects energy exchange and the water cycle in cold regions. However, the estimation of SFG depth has generally required intensive parameterization thus hindering the assessment in data-scarce regions such as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP).Recently, a group led by Prof. Chunmiao Zheng (School of Environmental Science and Engineering, SUSTech) proposed a simplified yet robust model based on soil heat transport to estimate the temporal dynamics of vertical temperature distribution and SFG depth. Using this approach, the group assessed the historical spatiotemporal patterns of the seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Further, it projected the future evolution of the SFG depth under climate change scenarios. The results provide an important basis for evaluating the hydrological cycles (e.g., surface water-groundwater interactions) in cold regions under changing climatic conditions.This work entitled “Dynamics of Seasonally Frozen Ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau: Historical Trend and Future Projection” was published in Environmental Research Letters, a high-impact journal in environmental science and ecology.The Yarlung Zangbo River is located in the south of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, often referred to as the “Asian Water Tower.” It is the longest plateau river in China and the highest river in the world (Figure 1). The Yarlung Zangbo River provides water resources to support the agricultural and economic development in the region that it flows through. It has formed a huge valley in the south of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, an important barley producing area of China. After entering India (where it is called the Brahmaputra River), it flows through a large tea producing area. The Yarlung Zangbo River is also rich in hydropower reserves, second only to the Yangtze River in China. Therefore, the investigation of the water resources and hydrology in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin is of great significance to the socio-economic development of this region. However, approximately 70% of the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin is covered by seasonally frozen ground (Figure 2). The soil freezes in winter and thaws in summer, altering the hydraulic and thermo-mechanical properties of the soil layer, affecting the regional hydrological cycles and ecosystem functions (e.g., rainfall infiltration, groundwater recharge). Hence, quantifying the spatiotemporal dynamics of the seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin provides an important basis to evaluate the hydrological cycles in this region and their response to global changes.Figure 1. Source region of the Yarlung Zangbo River (a.s.l. 5500 m, photo by Chunmiao Zheng)Figure 2. Spatial distribution of the seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River BasinProf. Chunmiao Zheng’s group established a ground temperature transfer model and investigated the dynamics of soil temperature at different depths. The maximum frozen depth is then defined as the maximum soil depth with temperature lower than 0 ◦C. This model is termed the “GT-SFG depth” model (GT and SFG stands for ground temperature and seasonally frozen ground, respectively). They first calibrated the “GT-SFG depth” model using the measure ground temperature and SFG depths at meteorological stations (Figure 3). Then, they assessed the spatiotemporal patterns of the SFG depths during the historical period (1980-2010) for the entire Yarlung Zangbo River Basin using the (adjusted) GLDAS surface temperature data as model inputs (Figure 4). The impacts of soil type, soil moisture, and spatial heterogeneity of vegetation on the soil thermomechanical properties were considered as well. Finally, the authors made future projections for the seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin under different climate change scenarios using climate products of CMIP5 (Figure 5). The results demonstrate that the SFG depth in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin has decreased during the historical period due to climate warming with higher rates of decrease in the northwest than in the southeast. This study projected that the seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin will continue to degrade in the future. If not considering the transition of permafrost to seasonally frozen ground, the current seasonally frozen ground in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin is likely to disappear by 2180 under the RCP 8.5 climate change scenario (with the basin average SFG depth equal to ~0.1m).Figure 3. The “GT-SFG depth” model calibration and temporal dynamics of ground temperature at different depths at the Dangxiong meteorological station.Figure 4. (a) Spatial distribution of SFG depth in 1980; (b) Decadal changes of SFG depth from 1980 to 2010.Figure 5. Temporal dynamics of simulated basin average SFG depth in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin from 1980 to 2300. The average SFG depths were evaluated up to the year of 2300 based on projected climate scenarios of RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5.The Ph.D. student Fang Ji is the first author of this paper, and Prof. Chunmiao Zheng and Dr. Linfeng Fan are the corresponding authors. The Southern University of Science and Technology is the only corresponding institute. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Integrated Surface Water-Groundwater Pollution Control of China.Article link:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abb731
School of Environmental Science and Engineering celebrates its 5th anniversary
I wish the School of Environmental Science and Engineering of SUSTech to play a more significant role in the construction of a beautiful China and Shenzhen! ——SUSTech University Council Chairperson Yurong GUO First-class universities are inseparable from first-class environmental disciplines. Congratulations to the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the School of Environmental Sciences of SUSTech! ——SUSTech President Shiyi CHEN On June 24, the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE or the School) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) celebrated its 5th anniversary, as part of the 10th anniversary of SUSTech’s anniversary. ESE’s slogan of “Working together to build a world-class university and a beautiful China” has accompanied its commitment to serving environmental science. Its alumni have played active roles in the development of the School and SUSTech. ESE was established to meet the major strategic needs for better national environmental protection, hence its launch in May 2015. Chair Professor Chunmiao ZHENG, an internationally renowned expert in the field of groundwater research, served as the founding ESE Dean. ESE has always sought to carry out cutting-edge academic research and cultivate high-end talents in hydrology and water resources, soil pollution and remediation, air pollution and prevention, industrial ecology, and global environmental change. It is committed to R&D into advanced technologies that meet the urgent societal needs. ESE technologies include areas such as novel wastewater treatment and desalination technologies, energy-saving and emission reduction technologies, and environmental remote sensing technologies. ESE has developed a high-quality talent pipeline with 66 full-time faculty members. Among them are members of the National Academy of Sciences (United States), Royal Academy of Engineering, the American Geophysical Union, four recipients of the National Outstanding Young Science Fund, four experts from the State Council Special Allowance, three recipients of the National Excellent Young Science Fund and 13 other national talents. ESE operates two undergraduate majors. The majors are “Environmental Science and Engineering,” and “Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering.” The former major is a key program in Guangdong Province, which emphasizes a solid foundation of professional knowledge while encouraging innovations in the field. So far, there have been 89 undergraduates that have graduated from the School and 108 undergraduates studying within the programs. In May 2018, SUSTech officially became a doctoral degree and a master’s degree-granting unit. With that honor, it began to independently recruit doctoral and master students in 2019. SUSTech has continued to conduct joint-doctoral training with top overseas universities. Students trained under these programs obtain degrees from partner institutions. Twenty students have graduated from such programs so far, with another 160 students enjoying the benefits of these dual degree programs. They have worked hard to develop high-quality scientific rigor among the entire ESE community. Over 700 SCI articles have been published, including in high-impact academic journals such as the families of Science, Nature, and PNAS journals. ESE has applied for over 100 patents and received authorization for more than twenty patents. They have participated in over two hundred scientific research projects at all levels, with total funding of more than 300 million RMB. The employment rate for the first two batches of undergraduates is 100%. While some students have opted to continue their academic pursuits, the majority of students are employed in top enterprises around China. The current ESE Dean is Professor Xin YANG, an expert in atmospheric chemistry and air pollution. ESE seeks to become a training base for top innovative talents in environmental science and engineering in China in both the medium and long-term. It also aims to become a world-class scientific research center in the environmental center and a national platform for research, development, and industrialization of advanced environmental protection technologies. The School seeks to cultivate environmental research and management talents with innovative thinking, global outlook, and interdisciplinary background. The 5th-anniversary celebration represents a new stepping stone for ESE in its journey. It will seize the historic opportunities of the dual development prospects of the pioneering demonstration zone of Shenzhen and the industrial transformation of the Greater Bay Area. They will continue to inspire their community to contribute to the development of China. Link to the official website of the School of Environment: http://ese.sustech.edu.cn
ESE Professor wins 2nd prize in 2019 Environmental Protection Science and Technology Award
In recent days, Professor Qing HU (Environmental Science and Engineering) won second prize in the 2019 Environmental Protection Science and Technology Award. She earned the award for participating in the project, “Key Technology and Application of Groundwater Pollution Risk Monitoring and Emergency Response” (the project).The project sought to overcome the scientific problems and technical difficulties faced by China’s groundwater pollution monitoring and early warning and emergency response. It is based on the migration path of groundwater, to examine the source, pathway, and target of pollution. The project is focused on overcoming three key technologies. Those technologies are China’s groundwater pollution-risk source identification, pollution monitoring and warning, and emergency response.The Environmental Protection Science and Technology Awards are the highest accolades in ecological environment science and technology. The Awards Committee approved 39 achievements and awarded four 1st prizes, thirty-three 2nd prizes, and two Science Popularization Prize.Professor Qing HU is the director of the SUSTech Engineering Innovation Center (Beijing). She has won many awards and sits on several expert committees.
SUSTech environmental scientist offers perspective on ending arsenic exposure from well water
In 2010 the U.N. agreed to a resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” The safety of drinking water is a vital issue for many communities around the world. Chair Professor Yan Zheng, School of Environmental Science and Engineering from Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) was invited to publish a perspective article, titled “Global Solutions to a Silent Poison” in Science (IF = 37.2). Her article accompanied “Global Threat of Arsenic in Groundwater” by Joel E. Podgorski and Michael Berg of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyYan Zheng is an expert in water and health, with a focus on groundwater quality. Her experience extends from a Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences from Columbia University to a water and sanitation specialist for the United Nations Children’s Fund in Bangladesh. She has held academic appointments at Peking University, City University of New York (CUNY), and Columbia University. She has been named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.Zheng’s article in Science discussed widespread drinking water arsenic exposure stemming from reliance on domestic wells for supply in many rural communities around the world. There is a desperate need for screening for arsenic in domestic well water in these communities, even in wealthy countries like the United States of America. Her article called to identify people suffering from arsenic exposure as part of a larger plan to eliminate arsenic exposure in drinking water.Zheng had previously covered this issue in a paper she wrote with her former student Sara V Flanagan (Columbia University) and former colleague Richard B Johnston (now with the World Health Organization). Their paper was titled “Arsenic in tube well water in Bangladesh: health and economic impacts and implications for arsenic mitigation.” That paper was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (IF = 6.8). In that paper, the authors found that 45 million people were drinking well water containing unsafe levels of arsenic. It was leading to 1 death in every 18 adult deaths (about 6%). Yet, incomplete data meant that global information on this problem was highly inconsistent.Zheng’s article in Science also looked at the most recent WHO provisional guideline values for drinking water at ten micrograms of inorganic arsenic per liter. It is encouraging that many countries have revised their drinking water standard down from 50 micrograms per liter, with several adopting more health-protective five micrograms as their standards. However, in Bangladesh, and parts of India, and even China, the less health-protective 50 microgram standard is still permitted for dispersed rural population due to the lack of high-quality water sources.The diverse range of standards is highly concerning, given that inorganic arsenic is highly toxic. It has been listed as a class I carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer for many years. Its colorless, tasteless and odorless nature, when dissolved in water, has given it the unfortunate title of “the king of poisons” and “the poison of kings.”Long-term exposure of inorganic arsenic has been shown to affect the development of the fetus and infants, with long-lasting effects later in life. Plenty of studies have shown adverse health effects on many parts of the human body, possibly involving the epigenome as a mechanism of inorganic arsenic’s toxicity.Yan Zheng assessed the Podgorski and Berg paper that was also published in today’s issue of Science. Their paper compiled more than two hundred thousand well water arsenic data points in 67 countries. They developed a statistical model that suggested that between 94 and 220 million people, 94% of which live within the Asian continent, are at risk of drinking well water that contains more than ten micrograms of arsenic per liter.Their model also identifies potential areas around the world where the local water supply exceeds five micrograms of arsenic per liter. However, few countries carry out national arsenic screening of their domestic well water supplies, so this study highlights the gap between known and unknown arsenic screening.In closing her article, Yan Zheng emphasizes the desperate need to screen for arsenic in domestic wells, particularly in predicted high-risk areas. The development of sensitive, reliable, inexpensive, and user-friendly testing methods will improve screening methodologies while identifying exposed populations. It is also cheaper to minimize the impact of arsenic through prevention, rather than treat the impact of arsenic exposure.Article link: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6493/818Yan Zheng’s homepage: http://faculty.sustech.edu.cn/yan.zheng/en/
Reduced springtime rainfall in southern China linked to human activity
Human activities produce large amounts of atmospheric pollutants, which can also have complex impacts on climate. A team of researchers from Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has found that human activity may have significantly reduced the amount of springtime rainfall over Southern China since the 1980s. On February 29, Professor Tzung-May Fu‘s research group from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) at SUSTech published a paper in the high-impact academic journal, Geophysical Research Letters (IF = 4.58), a leader in Earth sciences. It was published under the title, “Anthropogenic Aerosols Significantly Reduce Mesoscale Convective System Occurrences and Precipitation over Southern China in April.” Since the 1980s, aerosols emitted by human activities into the atmosphere in China have doubled. Aerosols can affect precipitation and climate, both directly by scattering solar radiation and indirectly by changing cloud microphysics. However, due to the complexity of convective systems (weather systems where heavy rainfall comes about due to the vigorous upward motion of warm air), the impact of aerosols on convective systems and convective precipitation has been an important unresolved scientific question in climate research. Mesoscale convection systems (MCSs) cause severe weather such as heavy rain, hail, and strong wind, all of which can be very damaging to people’s safety and livelihood. Observations indicated that late spring precipitation in South China had decreased significantly since the 1980s, with 90% of that precipitation coming from MCSs. Professor Tzung-May Fu ‘s research group put forward a hypothesis based on the significant increase in aerosol emissions in China in recent decades. The increased aerosol emissions may have caused changes in springtime MCSs over Southern China, which led to the reduced rainfall. The research team compared the rainfall records in South China during the relatively cleaner period of 1979 to 1989 with those during the relatively polluted period of 2001 to 2011. They found that rainfall in South China had decreased by 25% in April between the two periods, which was mainly manifested by decreased occurrences of heavy rain (Figure 1a). The team applied the meteorology-chemistry model, WRF-Chem, to carry out experiments and developed an objective diagnostic algorithm for MCSs. They found that the large increase in aerosol emissions since the 1980s led to the simulated occurrences of MCS to decline by 21% to 32% (Figure 1b). Figure 1. Simulated April precipitation in South China: (a) Probability distribution of precipitation intensity; (b) Hours of occurrences of mesoscale convective system (MCS). Through further simulations, the team was able to elucidate the mechanism by which aerosols reduced MCSs in South China (Figure 2). The increased aerosol in the regional atmosphere enhanced the scattering of short-wave radiation from the sun. At the same time, more aerosols formed more liquid cloud droplets, which increased the amount of solar radiation reflected by clouds. Both mechanisms reduced solar radiation reaching the surface, making the surface cooler and more stable. Ultimately, this suppressed the occurrence of MCS, thereby reducing regional rainfall. This paper is pivotal in pointing out that aerosols affect MCSs not only directly, but also indirectly by altering the interactions between MCSs and the ambient atmosphere. These findings help advance the scientific understanding of the impacts of aerosol on precipitation and climate. Figure 2. Schematic diagram of the effect of carbon emissions on the April mesoscale convective system in South China Zhang Lijuan, a doctoral student at Peking University and a visiting student of SUSTech, is the first author; Professor Tzung-May Fu is the corresponding author. The study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Article link: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL086204
Predicting rainfall-induced landslides becomes easier for all
Research led by the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) had discovered new mechanisms for predicting landslides related to intensive rainfall. ESE Founding Dean Chunmiao Zheng has cooperated with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) to develop a new model for simulating rainfall-induced landslides. This model combines catchment hydrology (flow of water in the catchment) and soil mechanics (mechanical properties and behaviors of soil) to investigate how rainfall intensity temporal patterns affect where a landslide may occur, where it is expected to go, and how it evolves. The outcomes of this research are of significant importance, both practically and scientifically, for predicting geological disasters. High-impact journal Geophysical Research Letters (IF = 4.58), a leader in Earth sciences, published the paper under the title, “Rainfall Intensity Temporal Patterns Affect Shallow Landslide Triggering and Hazard Evolution.” Rainfall-induced landslides are severe natural disasters that frequently occur around the world, causing significant losses to human life and properties. Rainfall-induced landslides are associated with rainwater infiltration that may load and weaken soil mantle and lead to a sudden mass soil release, also known as a landslide. The rainfall intensity temporal patterns may affect the rainfall infiltration process and soil mechanical responses to rainfall loading. It continues to exert a tremendous influence on landslide dynamics and hazard evolution. Previous research often focused on the role of rainfall duration and average intensity on landslide initiation, neglecting the effects of rainfall intensity temporal patterns on landslides. Chunmiao Zheng and his team addressed the question of: “How rainfall intensity temporal patterns affect landslide triggering and hazard evolution?” The researchers first employed a stochastic process simulation technique to generate artificial time series of rainfall intensity with different temporal patterns but the same volume of rain over the same period. Then, they used these artificial rainfall time series as input for a novel Landslide Hydromechanical Triggering (LHT) model to simulate the landslide triggering and hazard evolution under different rainfall scenarios. The results showed that rainfall intensity temporal patterns alter the total amount of rainfall infiltration into the soil and affect soil mechanical strength and behaviors. It resulted in a wide range of landslide volumes, even though the total applied rainfall amount and duration are the same (Figure 1). Figure 1. Rainfall intensity temporal patterns affect total amount of rainfall infiltration and landslide volume The team also discovered that advanced rainfall pattern (peak rainfall intensity occurring at the beginning of a rainfall event) are more likely to promote landslide initiation, compared with delayed rainfall scenario (peak rainfall intensity at the later stage of rainfall) (Figure 2). These results not only yield insights into the triggering mechanisms of rainfall-induced landslides but also provide a scientific basis for establishing regional landslide warning systems. Figure 2. Dynamic evolution of landslide hazard under different rainfall dynamics The first author and corresponding author of the paper was ESE Research Fellow Dr. Fan Linfeng. Other key centers involved in this research were the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Control, the State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Integrated Surface Water-Groundwater Pollution Control, and the Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics (STEP), Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics (IBP), ETH Zurich. The research received support from the National Key R&D Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Integrated Surface Water‐Groundwater Pollution Control of China. Paper link: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL085994    
Winds of Change: faster wind speeds over land spells good news for all
Recently, Associate Professor Zhenzhong Zeng from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), and his collaborators have made important progress in global change regarding terrestrial windspeed changes that were published in Nature Climate Change(IF= 25.170). According to the global surface observation network, global wind speeds over land has been falling steadily since 1960, known as “global terrestrial stilling”. Global terrestrial stilling will seriously affect the efficiency of wind turbine power generation. Previous studies have suggested that global wind speed will continue to decline in the coming decades. In their paper, Zeng and his collaborators discovered for the first time that after decades of global terrestrial stilling, global wind speeds over land reversed in around 2010, presenting a sharp upward trend, and recovered to levels around 1980 in a short span of eight years. The recent growth rate is three times the pre-2010 rate of decline, with North America, Europe and Asia showing the most marked changes. The team also examined potential causes underlying global terrestrial stilling and its reversal. Previous studies had suggested a correlation with increased terrestrial roughness caused by urbanization and/or vegetation changes. However, Zeng et al. (2018 Environmental Research Letter) rejected the hypothesis of vegetation growth and change before analyzing the impact of urbanization and rejected this hypothesis. Zeng and his global collaborators have found that the variation in wind speed is determined mainly by driving forces associated with decadal variability of large-scale ocean/atmospheric circulations rather than increases in surface roughness. If the present trend persists for at least another decade, power generated by wind turbines could increase by 37% by 2024, resulting in a +3% per decade increase of global-average capacity factor (mean power generated divided by rated peak power). This change is even larger than the projected change in wind power potential caused by climate change under multiple scenarios. These research results are of great value to the global wind energy field, as they will be conducive to the development of the industry, developing wind energy into a major pillar of renewable energy. This paper provides a road map for further verification of the dynamic mechanisms, in order to improve the simulation of surface wind speeds according to IPCC climate models and weather models. The lead and the corresponding author is Dr. Zhenzhong Zeng (Southern University of Science and Technology, Princeton University). The collaborators include Alan D. Ziegler at National University of Singapore, Timothy Searchinger and Eric. F. Wood at Princeton University, Long Yang at Nanjing University, Anping Chen at Colorado State University, Kunlu Ju at Tsinghua University, Shilong Piao at Peking University, Laurent Z. X. Li at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Philippe Ciais at Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Deliang Chen at University of Gothenburg, Junguo Liu at Southern University of Science and Technology, Cesar Azorin-Molina at Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación, Adrian Chappell at Cardiff University, and David Medvigy at University of Notre Dame. The research is supported by the following funding: the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the start-up fund provided by Southern University of Science and Technology and Lamsam-Thailand Sustain Development, Lamsam-Thailand Sustain Development, the National Key Research and Development Program of China, and National Natural Science Foundation of China. The link of the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0622-6.
Advances in piezocatalysis through SUSTech-led research
Piezoelectric materials have promising potential for converting mechanical energy into chemical energy (i.e. piezocatalysis) by coupling the piezotronic effect with electrochemical processes. The piezopotential generated by an external force can efficiently separate free carriers (electrons and holes), allowing piezoelectric materials be directly used for renewable energy production and environmental remediation using weak mechanical force, such as noise and vibration from the surrounding environment. Recently, Professor Zhang Zuotai of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (SESE) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) led his research team to make significant progress in this field, publishing two papers in top international journal Nano Energy. The first paper is entitled “Enhanced catalytic performance by multi-field coupling in KNbO3 nanostructures: Piezo-photocatalytic and ferro-photoelectrochemical effects.” In this work, the team designed and synthesized two-dimensional piezoelectric KNbO3 nanosheets. Both experimental and theoretical calculations showed that the material has larger piezoelectric potential and better catalytic activity under applied stress. In addition, the photocurrent of KNbO3 nanosheets based photoelectrodes can be effectively modulated by the ferroelectric polarization. The team believes that the outcomes of this research could provide future guidance for the development of other piezo-/ferroelectric materials for solar/mechanical energy conversion. Visiting student Yu Dongfang was the first author of the paper. Professor Zhang Zuotai and Research Assistant Professor Li Shun were the corresponding authors. Original article – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211285519301053 The second paper is entitled “Few-Layer Transition Metal Dichalcogenides (MoS2, WS2, and WSe2) for Water Splitting and Degradation of Organic Pollutants: Understanding the Piezocatalytic Effect”. Two-dimensional layered transition metal disulfides (TMDs) have attracted much attention due to their unique electronic, mechanical and chemical properties. In this study, the research team prepared a series of two-dimensional TMDs (MoS2, WS2 and WSe2), and found that they can split water to produce hydrogen under ultrasonic mechanical force. The theoretical calculations showed that the catalytic efficiency is tightly related to the piezoelectric coefficient. In addition, the series of materials can also degrade tetracycline efficiently, which provides a new way for the treatment of emerging environmental pollutants. Their research may have profound implications in solving challenging energy and environmental issues by scavenging energy waste such as noise and vibration from the environment. Assistant Professor Li Shun, visiting students Zhao Zhicheng and Yu Dongfang are the first co-authors of the paper. Professor Zhang Zuotai and Assistant Professor Zhao Jinzhu of the Academy of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies are corresponding authors. Original article – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211285519307906 These works are supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Control, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee, and Shenzhen Clean Energy Research Institute.    
Professor Zheng Yi wins CSNR Outstanding Science and Technology Award
On September 21st, the China Society for Natural Resources (CSNR) held its 2019 Academic Annual Meeting at Ningxia University. Professor Zheng Yi from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) won this year’s “Outstanding Science and Technology Award.” The CSNR Outstanding Science and Technology Award was established in 2013 to recognize and reward scientific and technological talents who have made outstanding contributions in resource science and technology. The award seeks to promote innovation, collaboration and dedication to the cultivation of high-level scientific and technological talents that serve social and economic development. It is awarded every two years and Professor Zheng Yi is one of 20 recipients this year. Professor Zheng Yi received his Ph.D. degree in environmental science and management from University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Zheng joined ESE in January 2016. He is a recipient of the Excellent Young Scholars Award from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Dr. Zheng serves as an Associate Editor-in-Chief of Water Resources Research, a key international journal in water resources with high academic influence. He is also the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering-ASCE. Dr. Zheng has extensive experience of watershed management practice, both in the U.S. and in China. He held a water resources engineer position in an environmental consulting firm before he came back to China, and his tasks included watershed water quality modeling, and development and management application of decision-making systems. He was a key member in several water resources assessment and environmental planning projects contracted with state and local government agencies, including California Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Dr. Zheng was the correspondent author for a paper that used security cameras to advance our understanding of hydrology that was published in Water Resources Research and was later reported as a Research Spotlight on the website of Earth & Space Science News.
Professor Chunmiao Zheng elected AGU Fellow
Professor Chunmiao Zheng from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), according to its official announcement on August 15. Among the 2019 class of AGU Fellows are 62 distinguished earth and space scientists from around the world, including 3 currently working in mainland China.                                                                                  Chunmiao Zheng AGU Fellows are an honor given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. According to the organization’s bylaws, no more than 0.1% of the total membership receives this recognition in any given year since the AGU Fellows program was established in 1962. “AGU Fellows are recognized for their scientific eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Their breadth of interests and the scope of their contributions are remarkable and often groundbreaking. Only 0.1% of AGU membership receives this recognition in any given year. On behalf of AGU’s Honors and Recognition Committee, our Union Fellows Committee, our section Fellows committees, AGU leaders, and staff, we are immensely proud to present the 2019 class of AGU Fellows,” said Robin Bell, AGU President.                                              From:  https://eos.org/agu-news/2019-class-of-agu-fellows-announced Zheng was elected as an AGU fellow for his exceptional contributions to understanding and modeling contaminant transport processes in physically and chemically heterogeneous subsurface media. In the early 90s, he developed the contaminant transport modeling code MT3D, which was widely accepted by researchers and practitioners alike soon after its release. With continuing improvements including the multiple-component version MT3DMS, the transport modeling tool would go on to become an international standard used in over 100 countries. A report of the U.S. National Research Council referred to Zheng’s transport modeling tool as a milestone in hydrogeology over the 20th century.                                     Zheng (middle) in the midst of a groundwater tracer field test at the well-known                                                                                                 Macro-Dispersion Experiment site (MADE site) in the United States. At the same time, Zheng devoted much of his attention to exploring and understanding solute transport processes at well-instructed tracer experiment sites. Based on the analysis of detailed field data, he and his collaborators were able to show that small-scale preferential flow paths exert a dominant control on solute transport processes and proposed new modeling and parameterization approaches to account for such preferential flow paths. This work has improved the predictive capability of solute transport modeling and provided new thinking on how to cope with the effects of heterogeneity on contaminant transport, a grand challenge for subsurface hydrology. Furthermore, Zheng collaborated with his colleagues to couple the transport code MT3DMS with the geochemical code PHREEQC2 to provide a versatile tool for analyzing and understanding contaminant transport under both physical and chemical heterogeneities. The coupled reactive transport model was evaluated through comprehensive field tests at the Hanford site, leading to invaluable new understanding and insights on the complexity of reactive transport in the subsurface. Since 2010, Zheng has been working mostly in China. He first established the Center for Water Research and then the Institute of Water Sciences at Peking University to tackle major water challenges in China. In 2015, Zheng moved to Southern University of Science and Technology to launch the then new School of Environmental Science and Engineering. In the four years since, the School has developed into a strong academic entity with 60 faculty members, nearly 250 undergraduate and graduate students, and three provincial- and ministerial-level research centers. Zheng has also served on the steering committees for two major research programs of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). These two programs, “An Integrative Study of Ecological and Hydrological Processes in the Heihe River Basin” and “Runoff Changes and Adaptive Management in the Headwater Region of Major Southwestern Rivers”, are vitally important for meeting China’s water resources management challenges under a changing climate.                                       Zheng served on the steering committee for the major research program “An                                                                                    integrated ecological-hydrological study of the Heihe River Basin” in northwest China. Zheng graduated from Chengdu College of Geology (now Chengdu University of Technology) in 1983. Afterwards, he went to study abroad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Ph.D. degree in hydrogeology with a minor in environmental engineering in 1988. He has both industrial experience as a consulting hydrogeologist at S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. and academic experience as a faculty member at the University of Alabama, Peking University, and Southern University of Science and Technology. For his outstanding contributions, he has received numerous awards and honors, including, John Hem Award from the National Ground Water Association (1998), Fellow of the Geological Society of America (1999), Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer of the Geological Society of America (1999), O.E. Meinzer Award from the Geological Society of America (2013), and M. King Hubbert Award from the National Ground Water Association (2013). Founded in 1919, the mission of the American Geophysical Union is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. The scientific disciplines represented by the AGU include Earth, ocean, atmospheric and space sciences. About AGU: https://www.agu.org/ Announcement about the 2019 Class of AGU Fellows: https://eos.org/agu-news/2019-class-of-agu-fellows-announced
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