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We link scientific innovation to the benefit of every day people: climate adaptation, biochemistry, biotechnology

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Water Quality Monitoring and Tectonophysics

August 23, 2018

 

We focus this post on adjusting for a scientific bias in previous posts. Question received: why always talk about chemistry and biology, what about physics and climate action? 

 

Point well taken. We hereby discuss the benefits of tectonophysics which is a combined discipline of geology and physics that examines movements in the Earth's surface (crust).  

 

These are the scientists who can explain the giant sinkholes that suddenly gobble up buses and lorries. 

 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/east-african-great-rift-valley-crack-spd/

 

They also like to model data to see if they can forecast movement. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing enable them to create topographical maps that facilitate calculations. Example: if the top of the hill is 600meters above the ground and the underground acquifer spills from the top of the hill down the western facing side at a rate of 5 cubic metres per minute, how much water flow will reach the village at the bottom of the hill during extended drought conditions? 

 

http://www.jsu.edu/depart/geography/mhill/phylabtwo/lab7/discharge.html

 

http://www.appropedia.org/index.php?title=How_to_measure_stream_flow_rate&mobileaction=toggle_view_desktop

 

In a field of study called Earth Sciences, armed with strange sounding terms such as geomorphology and geodyamics, tectonophysicists help us understand our vulnerability to natural and human made hazards such as pollution and Climate Change 

 

https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/research/marine-geology-geophysics/ldeo-surface-processes-group

 

https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/research/seismology-geology-tectonophysics

 

Evidence of trends in daily climate extremes over southern and west Africa (2006)

 

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2005JD006289

 

Yes, they do perform multidisciplinary research and collaborate with chemists. For example, something that both a technophysicist or a chemist can do is track nitrate movement patterns in flowing water. You can use radiolabeled isotopic markers such as Oxygen 17 or Nitrogen 15 to identify the position of the nitrates as they move. 

 

https://www.radiolabeling.org/theory/synthesis.htm

 

https://www.radiolabeling.org/theory/

 

Those of you who love computing can design environmental sensors using isotopic markers that help us pinpoint the origin and destination of chemical pollutants. 

 

Estimating Discharge and Nonpoint Source Nitrate Loading to Streams From Three End‐Member Pathways Using High‐Frequency Water Quality Data (2017)

 

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017WR021654

 

 

Dynamics of nitrate concentration‐discharge patterns in an urban watershed (2017)

 

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017WR020500

 

You can then facilitate improved water quality management by contributing the observed readings to Kenya's Open Data project 

 

http://www.opendata.go.ke/datasets

 

http://www.isonose.eu/home/

 

Here is a dataset specific to Athi River which has a very high level of industrial activity. 

 

http://www.opendata.go.ke/datasets/water-sanitation-coverage-of-the-athi-river-water-and-service-board

 

 

Along with social scientists you can create a groundwater reclamation district 

 

http://www.rd108.org/rd-108-groundwater-committee-meeting/

 

http://old.grida.no/aeo/fig2s8.htm

 

Or, facilitate improved implementation of green infrastructure 

 

https://www.budapestwatersummit.hu/sustainability-and-inspirations/water-and-sustainability/green-infrastructure-effective-and-sustainable-solutions-in-water-management-759/

 

We hope you agree there are lots of ways to Explore the reactions in life and industry using physics as a tool for environmental improvement!  

 

Feel free to share your favourite ideas... 

 

 

 

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 CSTI - What inspires us:

 

We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners who believe that the scientific and technological knowledge we develop is a legacy trust we create for the community.

Some people are artists, others give inspirational speeches.  We deliver understanding that can be adapted to solve ecological and industrial problems.  The eagerness with which this understanding is received and used is what inspires us to do our work.

We  must treat the earth well. It was not given to us by our parents, it is loaned to us by our children.

Mtunze ardhi vyema. Hamkupewa na wazazi, bali mlikopeshwa na wazawa wenu. (Swahili)

 csti milestones: 

 

Sept 16, 1998:   Micro-Science kits were developed for schools and are still in use.

 

1997 to 1999:  Micro-Science kits were developed for schools and are still in use.

 

2010:  Conclusion of our Sakai Community Resilience to Drought project in which over US $300,000 total funding was leveraged to develop a replicable model for community resilience to drought.  The model was adopted by Kenya government. (See IISD website for additional details)

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