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Security cameras can keep us safe and teach us about rain
The quantity and quality of precipitation data are crucial to hydrological research, water resource management, and analysis of global change. Rain gauges collect raindrops at ground level and are a classic approach to measuring rainfall. However, rain gauges are usually spatially sparse; thus, they cannot adequately capture the spatial variability of precipitation, especially in topographically challenging areas, such as mountainous or urban areas. Cities like Chongqing are both urban and mountainous regions, which make the collection of accurate precipitation data especially taxing. Recently, esteemed environmental science journal Water Resources Research published a paper by Professor Zheng Yi’s research team from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (SESE) at Southern University of Science and Engineering (SUSTech). The paper, entitled “Advancing Opportunistic Sensing in Hydrology: A Novel Approach to Measuring Rainfall with Ordinary Surveillance Cameras,” sought to examine the use of the Internet of Things for the hydrological sensing. A summary of the paper was also published on Earth and Space Science News Research Spotlight that reports on a small number of important research results. “Opportunistic sensing” represents an appealing idea for collecting unconventional data with broad spatial coverage and high resolution, but few studies have explored its feasibility in hydrology. As we enter the era of the Internet of Things, “anything may become data” has become a common meme. The density of CCTV cameras has led to researchers considering their use for a wider range of purposes. Visual data from surveillance cameras is more informative, intuitive, and achievable, with commercial applications in areas such as traffic management. CCTV cameras can quantify rainfall intensity through rain streaks, and researchers have developed algorithms for attempting to better understand rainfall intensity. However, that research had not yet provided accurate measurements in real-world environments that are visually complex. Professor Zheng Yi’s research group proposed a novel approach for using CCTV cameras to measure environmental data. They developed a rain print extraction and segmentation algorithm for videos of rainfall. The algorithm combined geometric optics and raindrop spectrum analysis, thereby providing high-frequency, fixed-point rainfall estimations. This algorithm was proven to provide low cost, high resolution and real-time results, thereby allowing for the dense collection of closed circuit television cameras in urban areas to be used as a rainfall monitoring network. Tracking of real-time rainfall data will assist scientists, researchers and institutions in simulating climate change, flood forecasting, water resources management and other water environment monitoring purposes. The research team is currently working with local meteorological authorities to apply the new method across Shenzhen. Ph.D. candidate Jiang Shijie of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at SUSTech (co-cultivated with National University of Singapore) is the first author and Professor Zheng Yi is the correspondent author. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the State Key Laboratory for Comprehensive Prevention and Control of Surface Water and Groundwater Pollution in Environmental Protection Watershed, and the Guangdong Key Laboratory for Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Soil and Groundwater Pollution. Report link: https://eos.org/research-spotlights/ordinary-security-cameras-could-keep-an-eye-on-rain Paper Link: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2018WR024480
Prof. Yan Zheng’s group attended the 10th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge
The 10th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge(ISMAR10)was held in Madrid during May 20-24, 2019. ISMAR10 featured 20 MAR related topics including MAR as a key climate change adaptation measure, sustainable MAR in developing countries, water quality and related hydrogeochemistry aspects, modelling, management of clogging and MAR and economic aspects etc. Researchers, practitioners and regulators from dozens of countries from all five continents presented research that advances in MAR from theory to practice. At ISMAR 10, our project is represented by graduate students Meng Ma (PKU/SUSTech) and Wensi Guo (SUSTech/HKU), post-doctoral trainee Yunjie Ma (SUSTech) and Jakub Modrzynski (GEUS), and Professors Jens Aamand (GEUS), Shisong Qu (U Jinan),Weiping Wang (U Jinan) and Yan Zheng (SUSTech). During the 10th ISMAR, attendants from MAR-China project communicated and discussed widely with other MAR researchers. Professor Yan Zheng co-hosted a workshop in which she described new environmental and social sustainability indicators that she has developed for a forthcoming UNESCO publication co-edited by her on MAR. She also hosted Session 3 on new regional case studies. Professor Weiping Wang hosted Session 20 on training on MAR and he also gave a presentation on specific types and adaptability zoning evaluation of managed aquifer recharge for irrigation in the North China Plain (NCP). Professor Shisong Qu gave a presentation on water quantity and quality risk assessment of the Karst aquifer recharge with multi-source water in Yufu river of Jinan, China. In terms of water quality, Jakub Modrzynski presented his recent work on simulating removal of organic contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs) through reactive MAR barriers. Yunjie Ma gave a presentation entitled ‘Antibiotic removal during riverbank filtration of reclaimed water’, shedding insights on biogeochemical processes responsible for antibiotics removal during riverbank infiltration of reclaimed water in Beiyun River of the NCP. PhD student Meng Ma presented his research on assessment of the fate of an antibiotic, sulfamethoxazole, from a push-pull experiment conducted in an experimental site in suburban Beijing of the NCP. In terms of recharge quantity, PhD student Wensi Guo presented her regional groundwater flow model results in Baoding Plain of NCP, testing scenarios of using newly available water from South to North Water Diversion. Finally, during the IAH-MAR Commission Plenary session, Professor Yan Zheng was elected as its Co-Chair. She was received a certificate of appreciation issued by International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) to recognize her exceptional services to advance the objectives of IAH-MAR Commission for her leadership role on MAR for sustainable development  
World Environment Day: Reducing air pollution key to better life
World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment, and occurs on June 5 every year. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. Above all, World Environment Day is the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth. That “something” can be local, national or global. It can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose. Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019 is “Air pollution”. Every World Environment Day has a different host country, where the official celebrations take place. The focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces and supports worldwide efforts to address them. This year’s host is China. With air pollution everywhere, we are sucking in tiny particles that attack our lungs, heart and brain at every moment. Host country China chose this theme, which invites the world to consider how to reduce the amount of air pollution produced and the impact of it on our health. Globally, 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and about 7 million people die each year from air pollution. Air pollution may cause many other problems, including a variety of illnesses and lower IQs. It is also intricately tied to global warming, another severe consequence of anthropogenic activities. Air pollution is preventable, and everybody needs to work together to reduce and eliminate it. With that in mind, the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has recruited scientist and professor Tzung-May Fu to its faculty. Her research focus is air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, and chemistry-climate interactions, with particular emphases on organic gases and organic aerosols. The Newshub spoke to Professor Tzung-May Fu to find out about her research, her interest in air pollution and what’s really important to know about it. After a short period as a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard, she continued on to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering. In 2010, Tzung-May Fu moved to Beijing to take a position as a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences at Peking University. Following her promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in 2016, she joined SUSTech in 2019 as a full Professor in the School of Environmental Science and Engineering. We asked Professor Tzung-May Fu why she chose to research air pollution. She said that it is a very personal science, because so many people suffer from the impact of it. The science of air pollution is also highly interdisciplinary, involving chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and other disciplines. Professor Tzung-May Fu spoke about the double threat of air pollution and climate warming, as well as the dilemma of the short term problems of trying to fix it. With the burning of fossil fuels, along with the industrial and residential use of fuel and many other anthropogenic activities, there is a common source for air pollution and the greenhouse gases that are associated with climate warning. Understanding this is more important than anything else. She also noted that there are some interesting interactions between both air pollution and climate warming. Professor Tzung-May Fu said that switching to cleaner fuel and adopting cleaner production processes would help control air pollution and combat global warming at the same time, giving us “double bang for the buck” and stronger incentive. Professor Tzung-May Fu’s research group is particularly interested in the role of organic gases and aerosols. This area of research is diverse, with tens of thousands of organics, as Professor Tzung-May Fu called them, in the atmosphere. Researchers are constantly finding new organics, working out what they do and how they react. This area of research is developing rapidly, with much of the research identifying different organics and the pathway for their formation in the atmosphere. Professor Tzung-May Fu explained that there is evidence for the presence of a large amount of organics in the atmosphere, but we do not know what they are, where they come from or how they are produced in the atmosphere, or the full impact of those organics to climate. She also noted that reactions can vary as a result of a wide range of factors. We were curious to know how China can continue to maintain its world-leading role in tackling domestic air pollution. Professor Tzung-May Fu acknowledged that China has done an excellent job at reducing PM2.5 emissions. China’s technological advantages mean that it can innovate in trying to reduce other forms of emissions, such as ozone and secondary organic aerosols, both of which are becoming increasingly important. “The technology to control SO2 (sulfur dioxide) is mature and the implementation of the technology has been done particularly well. This is why we’ve seen SO2 emissions come down so rapidly in the last 15 years in China. If we’re going to go after VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other harder to control pollutants, we need to develop new control or substitute technologies that will help us achieve that.” Much of Professor Tzung-May Fu’s research focuses on chemical reactions at the atmospheric level. She explained the difference between primary and secondary pollutants, with primary pollutants being those that we can easily control and secondary pollutants being emitted as precursors that may not be toxic by themselves, but become toxic or climate-relevant via atmospheric reactions. Professor Tzung-May Fu pointed out that Shenzhen is leading the country by being very close to meeting the second interim standard for PM2.5 recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), but to truly get below that level, Shenzhen needs to deal with secondary pollutants. The key to dealing with secondary pollutants is working out how they react and evolve in the atmosphere. “The atmosphere is like a flowing flask, with variable temperature, wind and humidity conditions that move throughout the flask at all times, depending on the atmospheric conditions.” We asked about how forest fires and bushfires act as a source of air pollutants. Professor Tzung-May Fu confirmed that fires are indeed important seasonal sources of air pollution. Great progress has been made in the past decade in trying to quantify the spatiotemporal variability of natural and human-induced forest fires and bushfires through satellite imagery. Techniques involving inverse modeling of surface and satellite observations have also helped. However, the amount of pollutants emitted from these fires are still very uncertain. Moreover, the occurrence of these fires are hard to forecast, which limits the accuracy of air quality in areas prone to these fires. Professor Tzung-May Fu also discussed how, while most air pollutants we care about are emitted by human activities, some organics are emitted by natural vegetation in large quantities. The  interactions between natural and anthropogenic pollutants is important. With her research specialty into organics, she noted that the eastern part of China is a unique ecosystem, with all sorts of emissions coming from this vast area. Many countries have specific areas that emit pollutants particular to industry and nature. However, the conglomeration of industry and nature in China means that everything is emitted throughout the whole region. Education is essential for helping people understand the importance of air pollution. Professor Tzung-May Fu believed that people have become more aware of air pollution and what it means. Society has moved a long way in the last few years in developing a better understanding of air pollution, in conjunction with climate change. Esteemed faculty members like Professor Tzung-May Fu believe that there is potential for everyone to breathe clean air in the future, but we must work hard together in an interdisciplinary fashion to find the best ways to solve our air pollution problems. Related articles: China to host World Environment Day 2019 on air pollution – http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201903/16/WS5c8c1e9fa3106c65c34eeeb5.html , https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/china-host-world-environment-day-2019-air-pollution  
Learning all the skills: Environmental Science Outstanding Graduate Li Yumin
With a wide range of traditional Chinese cultural interests spanning from chess and calligraphy to Chinese painting and martial arts, Li Yumin is also an academic superstar at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech). Having topped her class in the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (“School of Environment”), she has also published a paper as a first author at a meeting of the American Geological Society, and was subsequently offered the opportunity to complete a Ph.D. at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Li Yumin has the desire to learn all of the things and all of the skills, and we spoke to her to find out what makes her tick.   “I love nature.” Deciding to major in the environmental sciences was a prudent decision for Li Yumin. In her sophomore year, she entered the research group of School of Environment Founding Dean Professor Zheng Chunmiao, opening the door to environmental science. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary area, which is one of the reasons why she headed down this path. Her determination to major in environmental science came from a summer course in Washington that Prof. Zheng Chunmiao runs every year. Every year, he takes students such as Xuan Chen and Li Yumin to a soil and groundwater treatment company where they learn from environmental scientists about advanced foreign technology. They also enjoyed field trips to the Patuxent Wildlife Center and the Great Falls of the Potomac River. The students inspected pollution control sites as part of their trip. American scientists explained that the United States still needed to keep working on its river system governance, with the hope of making every river clean enough to swim in again. It was the words of the scientists and ducks swimming freely in clear water that inspired Li Yumin. She considered the rivers in China and water pollution in Shenzhen, which resulted in an idea in her heart and mind crystallizing into one, clarifying into a singular vision. “In this trip, I decided to study environmental science. I really love nature and the environment. I’m hoping to contribute to a better environment in China.”   A rapid pace for scientific research For the American Geological Society in 2017, Li Yumin conducted research on the loss of groundwater resources since the development of Shenzhen. The title of the paper was “Impact of Urbanization on Groundwater Resources in Shenzhen”. The research results were published at the annual meeting of the American Geological Society (GSA) 2017. From the fishing village to the reinforced concrete forests today, Shenzhen’s economic take-off has masked the regrettable fact that water resources are extremely scarce. 2 years after the study, Li Yumin is still stunned by the results of the study at the time. Li Yumin cares about environmental issues and thus combines theory with practice. SESE also encourages students to undertake practical applications of their theoretical knowledge, with educators combining their textbooks with field experience. SESE wants its students to experience everything from the topography to the landscape, in order to truly understand the magnificent natural environment. Li Yumin also undertook an internship at the Daya Bay Ecological Monitoring Station. She smiled and said, “I was conducting tests inside the station and could see a sea of clouds outside the window. There are not many scientific professions where you can also enjoy such a beautiful landscape.” There are many opportunities for internships for those that opt to major in the environmental sciences. However, it is not for everyone, with many scientists and researchers spending time truly in the field. Li Yumin accepted that spending time out and about was an important part of her development as a scientist, so she opted not to complain. Li Yumin enjoyed every aspect of every field trip with an open-minded attitude, encouraging her colleagues with her ambition and level-headedness. Li Yumin has received a doctoral offer from HKUST on a full scholarship, with which to start the next stage of her academic career. Whether she is studying the hydrological model, the atmospheric model, or atmospheric aerosol models that she will continue to study as part of her doctoral period, Li Yumin has long been interested in practical environmental issues. “Whether it was sewage treatment or air pollution, I want to do some real work. I hope that my future research will actually provide a real change for our environment.”   Her life is poetry in motion When not deep in her research, Li Yumin has a wide range of interests. She has been heavily involved in traditional culture as well as more modern pastimes. A clearly talented woman who is called by her friends as “a girl out of the Book of Songs,” referring to the one of the Five Classics of Chinese poetry. Li Yumin believes that she remains a “Hunan spicy girl,” referring to the fact that most people born and bred in Hunan province love to eat spicy food and have a hot temper. She remains lively and active while deeply immersed in a cultural life. She has found a slower, more peaceful life through the cultural influence of her family, filled with books like The Four Books, The Five Classics, the Three Kingdoms and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. “I was never forced to read them, but they were always there. I eventually found the interesting points in each book. She’s very different from other students, in that she’s not reliant on a mobile device. She sticks to calligraphy, painting and Tai Chi to relax her body and mind. A consistent routine has led to her finding her own happiness. “I can do scientific research and enjoy traditional culture at the same time. I have done well in my studies while enjoying my own hobbies. I want to integrate these hobbies into my daily life and become relaxed in my spare time.” In her spare time, Li Yumin also participated in the founding of the Academy of Calligraphy and Painting, and also organized various activities such as martial arts performances. She found that it was a great way to meet new people and teach people about different activities. Li Yumin also took part in several liberal arts courses, including the bronze jade appreciation course opened by Professor Tang Jigen of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Through her degree, many interesting liberal arts courses have filled up and increased in capacity to deal with student demand. She believes that SUSTech students have become more interested in the liberal arts curriculum, fundamentally improving campus culture. “Culture is not like science or technology. It is more about creating an atmosphere. If the way of thinking, talking and even the surrounding environment of the people around you have a cultural atmosphere, you can feel a strong cultural atmosphere.” As a traditional cultural enthusiast and Academy of Calligraphy and Painting, Li Yumin found that more and more SUSTech students are approaching and falling in love with traditional culture at SUSTech. Through the platform of SUSTech’s inclusive freedom, she was able to develop and pursue her heart. This is the story of Li Yumin.
Understanding of root trait relationships improves
Root foraging is essential for plant growth and ecosystem functioning. In most plants, the furthest points of the root systems, known as absorptive roots, undertake this function. There has been a substantial amount of research into the variations among these absorptive roots. Last week, Assistant Professor Junjian Wang from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology published a paper on root economics spectrum (RES), a common hypothesis about the relationship between the need to acquire resources and live a long life. The paper, titled “Nonlinearity of root trait relationships and the root economics spectrum,” was published in leading academic journal Nature Communications, in which it introduced his team’s latest research in plant ecology. Junjian Wang was one of the corresponding authors of the paper. The RES hypothesizes that roots trade-off between acquiring resources and conserving life. It suggests that roots should follow a trend from fast foraging and short lifespan (an acquisitive strategy) to slow foraging and long lifespan (a conservative strategy). At a global scale, the RES gradient has been used to understand root tissue function and in explaining responses of ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling to climate change. However, whether the RES exists was under debate as the previous root trait relationships in different studies are conflicting. Junjian Wang and his colleagues opted for a much broader spectrum of plant species from across the globe, in order to assess the validity of RES and find new ways of measuring the relationships. With more than 800 species, the team conjectured that the relationships between root tissue density (RTD), root nitrogen concentration (RN) and root diameter would not be linear. They also hypothesized that non-woody plants would have weaker root trait relationships than woody plants, due to the harsher environments than non-woody plants grow in. The team was able to show that there is an allometric relationship between the increase in the thickness of tissues outside stele (tToS) and the increase in stele radius with increasing root diameter for both woody and non-woody plants. Specifically, the thickness of the tToS increases at a faster rate than the stele radius does from thin to thick absorptive roots. This allometric relationship resulted in the non-linear relationships between the RTD, RN, and root diameter. These non-linear relationships suggest that traditional linearity-based methods can easily cause errors in understanding the root trait relationships. In addition, the study discussed how plant phylogeny, growth form, and mycorrhizal type altered the root trait relationships and the relevant ecological significance. The team also explains why the RES may not exist. According to the RES, roots either have lighter mass (i.e., less investment), shorter life, and high foraging capacity, or have heavier mass (i.e., more investment), longer lifespan, and low foraging capacity. However, both the model based on the allometric relationship and the measured data indicate that the dry mass of the root increases monotonously with increasing diameter and does not decrease as the root tissue density decreases. Furthermore, the thick absorptive root can have a thick cortex, low tissue density and high fungal infection rate, and thus high nutrient absorption capacity and high nitrogen concentration. Therefore, the thick absorptive root may have both a longer life span and a higher nutrient absorption capacity, which contradicts the prediction of the RES. The finding reconciles the debate on the relationship between RTD and root diameter for woody plant species. The studies reporting negative relationships included a higher proportion of species with thin roots and high RTD than studies reporting no relationships. This demonstrates that those studies reporting no relationships focus on the region of slow decrease of RTD with increasing root diameter. Therefore, nonlinearity of the root trait relationships could underpin how sampling bias from different parts of the nonlinear curves produces contradicting results as shown in recent studies. Deliang Kong (Shenyang Agricultural University), Junjian Wang (SUSTech), Huifang Wu (Henan University), Oscar J. Valverde-Barrantes (Florida International University) and Ruili Wang (Northwest A&F University) were co-first authors. DeliangK ong, Junjian Wang and Yulong Feng (Shenyang Agricultural University) were corresponding authors of the study. Hui Zeng (Peking University), Paul Kardol (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and Haiyan Zhang (Shenyang Agricultural University) participated in the study. The research was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation, and the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Prevention and Control. Original paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10245-6
Postgraduate students from Water Security Center of UEA visited SUSTech
Professor Dabo Guan, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Social Sciences in UK, and 5 master students from the Water Security Center of the University of East Anglia (UEA) has visited the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) between April 10 and 17. Vice Provost and ESE Founding Dean Chunmiao Zheng and ESE vice Dean Junguo Liu met with the delegation. ESE vice Dean, professor Junguo Liu gave the UEA masters students a briefing into the research background and projects of ESE, before giving a report on “Global Change and Water Security”. Later, Professor Dabo Guan presented an academic report on “Carbon Emissions of Climate Change and International Trade” to the SUSTech students, in which the research achievements of Dabo’s team in recent years have been introduced. Apart from academic workshop, both students and faculty members from UEA and ESE have visited many worldwide well-known enterprises and famous ecological gardens in Shenzhen during this period, such as China International Marine Containers (Group) Ltd. (CIMC), China Resources Power (Haifeng) Plant and Xianhu Botanic Garden. Thanks to these practical activities, the visiting group interviewed consultants and engineers from these related companies. The students acquired more knowledge on how these companies respond to climate change and water security issues in particular, and how to make effective use of water resources in Shenzhen. In recent years, UEA and SUSTech have carried out many joint-PhD training projects and it is the first time for this two universities carrying out the master-exchange and cooperation project. Earlier this month, UEA President David Richardson visited SUSTech and discussed the issue of cooperation on liberal arts with SUSTech President Shiyi Chen. During the event, David Richardson met with 5 UEA master students from this short-term exchange project, and 6 SUSTech PhD students from the SUSTech-UEA joint-PhD training projects.
World Water Day 2019: SUSTech researchers investigating clean water for all
World Water Day is an annual United Nations (UN) observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater. It is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources around the world. This year’s theme is “Leaving no one behind,” encouraging people to consider marginalized groups as they are often overlooked and discriminated against when they try to access safe water. Focusing on clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) falls within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which calls for clean water and sanitation for all people. The official wording of SDG6 reads “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Many researchers around the world are working to find ways to improve water quality, testing different methods to improve the accuracy of their data. As a rapidly rising research university in China, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has been committed to improving water availability and water quality through the School of Environmental Science and Engineering since its inception in 2015. Just last week, SUSTech hosted the International Symposium on Water Security and Climate Change, in conjunction with Chinese Academy of Sciences and Gothenburg University in Sweden, and the conference co-chair, Professor Liu Junguo from SUSTech is a leader in the field. SUSTech is also home to several key laboratories that are working to stop and reverse water pollution problems. Founding Dean Zheng Chunmiao of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering heads the State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Integrated Surface Water- Groundwater Pollution Control. SUSTech is also host to the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Control. The major focus of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering is around water, with the majority of its faculty members examining hydrological matters in some capacity. Whether they are looking at groundwater depletion, watershed biogeochemistry, drinking water safety, waste disposal, or desalination techniques, faculty members and their research team are more often than not tackling some of the world’s biggest water problems. With water quality being an important issue around China and the world for everyone, Assistant Professor Lian Feng is conducting groundbreaking research that could provide far more information about water quality than in the past. His research focus is on the remote sensing of water environments and examining the impact of environmental changes of inland and coastal waters. Lian Feng is also redesigning satellite observations for the improved measurement of changes in the water around the world. Lian Feng is taking part in a major project in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, where he is hoping to measure the interaction between the mouth of the Pearl River and the South China Sea. The Pearl River is an enormous river system that comes together in the Pearl River Delta, and has become polluted through the rapid development of the region. With the Greater Bay Area hosting nearly 70 million people and a GDP of almost US$1.5 trillion in 2017, it is critical that water quality improves for everyone through this area. Lian Feng has adapted scientific methodology intended initially for monitoring the ocean surface for studying coastal and inland waters. At first, the oceanic studies would examine plankton reproduction and chlorophyll-a concentration. In more recent years, coastal and inland waters are believed to have been influenced more by humanity. The influences of humans on these areas are important issues for a wide range of academic disciplines. He uses remote sensing, or satellite data, due to its cost savings and increased quality of the data from satellites. He has published more than 50 papers about remote sensing and the use of satellite data in environmental evaluation. Remote sensing provides a range of data, including electromagnetic waves, infrared radiation and light from the visible spectrum. Lian Feng uses this data, as opposed to UAVs and submersibles, as a substantial cost saving measure. UAVs do provide a higher resolution than satellite but can only operate to a limited area. On the other hand, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that Lian Feng uses can provide images of more than two thousand square kilometers, a substantial improvement on what UAVs offer. The MODIS images are updated every one or two days, with other similar satellites providing full global coverage in just 16 days. Submersibles are also expensive, but Lian Feng is hoping to receive funding for a buoy in the Pearl River Delta that could provide real-time data. The project on the Greater Bay Area would use remote sensing to monitor the historical changes in water quality between the Pearl River and the South China Sea. He is seeking to link the changes to climate change, human activities or any other outputs. Working with Chair Professor Chunmiao Zheng, the study would look at the correlation between the difference in water quality and the output from the hydrological models. Two surveys have already taken place to calibrate the tests, to ensure that the research team understands what is happening in the water. Lian Feng’s breakthrough has provided critical datasets and important validation methods for advancing the hydrological models of Chunmiao Zheng’s team, resulting in more accurate predictive capabilities. Lian Feng likens his study to taking a photo. “At first, it’s like taking a photo with a black and white camera. You have to add hydrological models to get some color to the photo. Even if you have a blurry photo, you have some idea about what is happening. With the new models I have worked on with Chunmiao, the images are much sharper, and we can provide a much better analysis of what is happening in the water.” He reflected on his time in Cambodia with the School of Environmental Science and Engineering. Lian Feng pointed out that Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia is very similar to Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, particularly in terms of their environmental importance. He believed that there is enormous potential to help the people of Cambodia with the knowledge that he gains from his studies both in the Greater Bay Area and more broadly around China and the world. After this interview, Lian Feng led a team to the middle and lower Yangtze River Basin, starting at the Dongting Lake in northern Hunan Province and heading downstream through central China. He led the group of 10 other scientists to Poyang, Honghu, Futou, Liangzi, Tangxun, Dongting, Sanshan, Shijiu, Changdang, Taihu, Yangcheng, through 11 lakes in total. Satellites allow them to examine the levels of eutrophication and the color of the water, but on the ground, they will be able to get a much better idea of what is happening in each lake. This is the third field trip to these lakes conducted by the group. This research will further support his recent paper that was published in top international journal Remote Sensing of Environment last month, titled “Monitoring and understanding the water transparency changes of fifty large lakes in the Yangtze Plain based on long-term MODIS observations.” As a well-published young scholar, he has enormous potential to make a huge difference to ensure that governments and policy makers in China and even around the world can make better decisions. Water quality and sanitation for all is of critical importance, and having a better understanding of what specific activities are influencing water quality will provide billions of people the clean water they so desperately need.   -- This article is reprinted from SUSTech News Hub: https://newshub.sustech.edu.cn/?p=12355
Top water security experts from around the world gathered at SUSTech Symposium
Nowadays, international water security is a major challenge facing humanity, causing environmental, economic, social, and cultural issues. Ensuring water security, hence, plays a key role in achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) in different countries around the world. This week, the International Symposium on Water Security and Climate Change was held at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, China. World well-known academicians, fellows of academies, and scholars came together to discuss major issues related to international water security under continuing climate change. SUSTech Vice Provost (Global Strategy) and Founding Dean of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering Prof. Chunmiao Zheng attended the symposium with the current dean Prof. Zhang Youkuan. Renowned Prof. Junguo Liu convened the symposium and presided over the opening ceremony. The symposium aimed at ensuring water security in China and its neighbors, particularly Southeast Asian countries. Experts from multiple interdisciplinary research fields came to SUSTech to discuss the impact of climate change on water resources utilization in Southeast Asia.   There were a series of highly intelligent speeches during the symposium: Alexander J.B. Zehnder from the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) talked about the challenges of water security and the regional differences in water consumption; Steven Gorelick from the Stanford University (USA) explained arsenic pollution in Southeast Asian aquifers that is a serious safety problem for local groundwater use; Deliang Chen from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) talked about the current limitations of climate models, and how the new high-precision WRF models have improved water vapor transport simulations over the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; Dennis P. Lettenmaier from the American Academy of Engineering spoke convincingly of the strong relationship between extreme floods and water vapor transport, and how soil moisture influences flood generation processes; Jeffrey J. McDonnell from the Royal Canadian Academy of Sciences explained that the water balance of ecosystems at the basin scale requires a new water management approach; Chongyu Xu from the University of Oslo (Norway) examined the need to remodel the water cycle processes based on environmental modifications in response to climate change; Junguo Liu from SUSTech (China) believes that integrating human-made grey infrastructure with nature-based green infrastructure is a key to offset such water shortages. SUSTech (China) with the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) sponsored this symposium. Some of the participants were served as the consulting committee for the Climate and Water Resources Changes in the Great Rivers Regions in Southeast and South Asia Project (Great Rivers Project). This was co-chaired by Prof. Junguo Liu and Prof. Deliang Chen. The Great Rivers Project launched on 30 September 2018, acting towards the environmental development of the Belt and Road Initiative. It addresses the key environmental issues throughout Southeast and South Asia, with a focus on regional climate and water variability and change in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin. The Great Rivers Project will investigate both current and future climate change scenarios to understand the historical evolution and future of water resources in Southeast and South Asia. It mainly aims at explaining the natural and human driving mechanisms behind changes in water resource use. This knowledge will provide the scientific background and technical support to ensure water security throughout Southeast and South Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative.
School of Environment unveils core facility
The School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) celebrated the opening of its core facility for environmental analysis last week. Following a dedication ceremony, an open house succeeded in attracting dozens of faculty and students across campus to visit the facility. The online reservation system, the applications of instruments, and how the laboratory would operate on a day-to-day basis were topics of interest. The Core Facility Management Committee Chair, Professor Yan Zheng of the School of Environment presided over the ceremony that was attended by over 40 people. She shared experience of how to turn an idea of core facility to reality, and the plan for the next steps. the Notable attendees included the Executive Dean of the School of Environment Youkuan Zhang, the Director of the Office of Facilities Baoguo Wang, and Technology Transfer Center Deputy Director Zhang Zuotai. The core facility seeks to optimize sharing of equipment for cutting edge research to serve the needs in the School of Environment. It is also accessible by faculty and students across SUSTech campus and to researchers in the Greater Guangdong - Hong Kong – Macao Bay area.   The core facility benefited from financial support from a range of external sources and is crucial in supporting the missions of the following:  National Key Laboratory for Comprehensive Prevention and Control of Surface Water and Groundwater Pollution;  Guangdong Key Laboratory for Soil and Groundwater Pollution Prevention and Remediation;  Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Soil and Groundwater Pollution Control;  Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Solid Waste Recycling Technology and Management; and  Shenzhen Engineering Laboratory for Environmental Internet of Things. Source: School of Environmental Science and Engineering  
SUSTech holds 2019 Spring Meeting on Strategic Planning Development
The first weekend of the spring semester saw Southern University of Science and Technology hold its 2019 Meeting Strategic Planning Development (the Meeting). The Meeting aims to explain the next stage of SUSTech’s development strategy. University Council Chairperson Guo Yurong and President Chen Shiyi joined heads of departments and research centers and nearly 400 other faculty members at the Meeting. The weekend long meeting was hosted by Vice Presidents Teng Jinguang and Tang Tao. Guo Yurong first spoke about working hard, consolidating the foundation, improving educational quality, and building a modern university governance system with Chinese characteristics. She reviewed SUSTech’s 2018 achievements, analyzed the new era faced by SUSTech and pointed out the unprecedented attention being paid to higher education at the 2018 National Education Conference. The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) has brought unprecedented new opportunities and requirements of Shenzhen's development. The new opportunities for new universities in China are also facing new opportunities and challenges. She hoped that everyone at SUSTech would insist on seizing opportunities and gaining new achievements. Guo Yurong noted that universities reflect a country's future, so SUSTech must follow the right direction under the governance of leadership. SUSTech should be responsible for making effective decisions and striving to build a high-quality faculty, an academic credit system, and a professional and efficient administrative management system. By working together, SUSTech can ensure smooth cooperation. Chen Shiyi talked about new directions, advantages, and breakthroughs in conjunction with the building of a world-class university, rooted in China. He reviewed the progress and challenges of the past, then analyzed the upcoming challenges. Chen Shiyi pointed out that 2019 will lead to the most critical stage of SUSTech’s development since its establishment. Consolidating existing achievements should lead to the promotion of improved faculty development, administrative management and internationalized standards across SUSTech. President Chen Shiyi put forward the 2019 action scheme for SUSTech’s development. He pointed out that SUSTech will implement the development plans set by the Board of Trustees, further accelerate the development of first-class disciplines by optimizing its subject arrangement. SUSTech will actively promote relevant academic departments and disciplines while preparing for constructing the School of Medicine. His program includes improving its talent pipeline, practically expanding its subject selection and strengthening the development of its faculty team. SUSTech will also accelerate its global vision, optimizing the undergraduate enrollment while cultivating postgraduate students. It will also continue to work on developing campus infrastructure while enhancing campus culture. Everyone on campus is expected to make breakthroughs in a variety of areas throughout 2019. University Council Vice Chairperson Li Fengliang reported on building a cooperative student work system. He examined the current problems in cultivating talent and the need to establish a new system. In order to better cultivate talented individuals and leaders, the strategic plans would need to see the realization of cooperation within and between departments, improving professional levels and establishing new synergies. Li Fengliang also pointed out that any new work system should be problem-oriented, while comprehensively promoting student work through established institutions. The cooperative relationship would help to create a collaborative education model for top-notch innovative talents with a global vision, comprehensive quality, and innovative ability while assisting with industry-university-research collaboration. Vice President Lu Chun addressed the audience about SUSTech’s Campus services. He talked about food, housing, and transportation, before expanding into the 2018 achievements in catering services, property services, power supply systems, and information development. Lu Chun said that in 2019, SUSTech’s general services would strive for continued professionalism, refinement, standardization, and internationalization, further improving SUSTech’s service work. Vice President Teng Jinguang spoke about building a world-class postgraduate training system. He elaborated on the training orientation and development goals of postgraduate education in institutions of higher education. Teng Jinguang took time to explain in detail the incentive mechanisms, based on key performance indicators (KPIs) for postgraduate training, and proposed specific concepts for the next postgraduate training work as the main challenge. Chief Financial Officer Ye Qin reported about SUSTech’s capital efficiency and innovation. Through his review of SUSTech’s financial work, Ye Qi evaluated existing problems and challenges, before putting forward measure to ensure the efficient use of funds. He also recommended expanded use of the financial system, while constantly strengthening financial security and improve the level of management services. Zheng Chunmiao, Vice Provost (Global Strategies) talked about the globalization of SUSTech. He introduced the internationalization, characteristics, and achievements of SUSTech so far, before addressing the challenges ahead. Zheng Chunmiao made several suggestions that addressed those problems. The 2nd morning saw participants take part in 6 sub-sessions to conduct in-depth research and discussion on several topics. The groups discussed issues like student development, performance appraisal, staff professionalization, international education, campus service and security, and capital efficiency. In the afternoon, the representatives of the six groups reported the results of their discussions to the Meeting. President Chen Shiyi summarized the meeting and commended the discussions, as they would lay a solid foundation for future work. Guo Yurong described the Meeting as enthusiastic, earnest and fruitful. She added that everyone present reflected the enthusiasm of the SUSTech community, and hoped that the future works of SUSTech would be carried out as planned. The convening of the Meeting symbolizes the start of a new journey. Everyone at SUSTech should work together towards the goal of building a world-class university, rooted in China.
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