Now showing 1 - 10 of 42
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    The 2020 Hpakant jade mine disaster, Myanmar: A multi-sensor investigation for slope failure
    (2021)
    Lin, Nina Yunung
    ;
    ;
    Wang, Yu
    ;
    Quek, Yu Pin
    ;
    Lim, Jana
    ;
    Alcantara, Enner
    ;
    Ho, Huu Loc
    A quarry failure along the slopes of the Wai Khar open-pit jade mine in Hpakant, Myanmar has led to the deaths of at least 172 jade miners on 2 July 2020. This paper conducts a systematic investigation of the incident by integrating data from multiple sensors, including high-resolution optical imagery, Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, unmanned aerial system (UAS) footage, SRTM and ALOS digital elevation models (DEMs), soil moisture product from multi-spectral Landsat-8 satellite and precipitation records from the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS). Optical imagery, UAS footage and DEMs allow us to build a comprehensive mapping of tailing areas and quarry scarps from 2010 and reconstruct the 2D pit geometry prior to failure. Deformation signals from multi-temporal SAR interferometry (MTInSAR), soil moisture variations and precipitation trends further allow us to identify possible failure causes. To evaluate the quality of deformation obtained from different distributed-scatterer phase estimators, we develop an empirical mapping function based on areal fraction values to facilitate the comparison of temporal coherence values that are differently formulated in each phase estimator. The comparison shows that phase linking algorithm outperforms the small baseline subset method in terms of signal recovery and phase reliability. Our investigation points out that the mining site is under aggressive mining cycles that are exacerbated by frequent, uncontrolled landslides. Seepage failure, which involves the expulsion of water from rapidly compacting tailings, may be a critical factor in the 2020 incident. Instead of extreme weather, the failure had occurred under normal to drier conditions. This means that the sliding planes were already in a critical state, which is evident from the accelerated deformation around the collapse area since the beginning of 2020. Based on these findings, we provide recommendations to improve mining site regulations and management practices for safer open-pit mining in Myanmar and probably in similar contexts outside Myanmar.
    WOS© Citations 10  64Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    The 2020 Hpakant Jade Mine disaster, Myanmar: A multi-sensor investigation for slope failure
    (2021)
    Lin, Yunung Nina
    ;
    ;
    Wang, Yu
    ;
    Quek, Yu Pin
    ;
    Lim, Jana
    ;
    Alcantara, Enner
    ;
    Ho, Huu Loc
    A quarry failure along the slopes of the Wai Khar open-pit jade mine in Hpakant, Myanmar has led to the deaths of at least 172 jade miners on 2 July 2020. This paper conducts a systematic investigation of the incident by integrating data from multiple sensors, including high-resolution optical imagery, Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, unmanned aerial system (UAS) footage, SRTM and ALOS digital elevation models (DEMs), soil moisture product from multi-spectral Landsat-8 satellite and precipitation records from the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS). Optical imagery, UAS footage and DEMs allow us to build a comprehensive mapping of tailing areas and quarry scarps from 2010 and reconstruct the 2D pit geometry prior to failure. Deformation signals from multi-temporal SAR interferometry (MTInSAR), soil moisture variations and precipitation trends further allow us to identify possible failure causes. To evaluate the quality of deformation obtained from different distributed-scatterer phase estimators, we develop an empirical mapping function based on areal fraction values to facilitate the comparison of temporal coherence values that are differently formulated in each phase estimator. The comparison shows that phase linking algorithm outperforms the small baseline subset method in terms of signal recovery and phase reliability. Our investigation points out that the mining site is under aggressive mining cycles that are exacerbated by frequent, uncontrolled landslides. Seepage failure, which involves the expulsion of water from rapidly compacting tailings, may be a critical factor in the 2020 incident. Instead of extreme weather, the failure had occurred under normal to drier conditions. This means that the sliding planes were already in a critical state, which is evident from the accelerated deformation around the collapse area since the beginning of 2020. Based on these findings, we provide recommendations to improve mining site regulations and management practices for safer open-pit mining in Myanmar and probably in similar contexts outside Myanmar.
    WOS© Citations 10Scopus© Citations 11  55
  • Publication
    Open Access
    How the saline water intrusion has reshaped the agricultural landscape of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, a review
    (2021)
    Ho, Huu Loc
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    Low, Mindy Lixian
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    ;
    Tran, Duc Dung
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    Sangam Shrestha
    ;
    Yoon, Yong-Jin
    Once a key factor behind Vietnam's successful Doi Moi (restoration) economic reforms, the rice-centered agriculture of the VMD is now confronted by the new pressure of climate change impacts, including the intensifying salinity intrusion (SI). The SI menace has partly triggered the delta-wide emergence of new adaptive livelihood models across the VMD, including the prawn rice rotational crop (PRRC) that is arguably the most prominent. Research on the SI-driving factors is rapidly increasing in numbers, yet little synthesis has been done. Likewise, several studies have investigated the economic benefits of PRRC; less emphasis has placed on environmental and societal aspects, hence the questionable sustainability. This study, therefore, contributes a composite literature review, targeting two SI-related aspects: (i) key factors driving the intensification of SI in recent years across the Mekong Delta, and (ii) current understanding of the sustainability of PRRC. Results from the first review assignment highlight the four key SI-driving factors: riverbed incision, land subsidence, upstream dams, and sea-level rise. Also remarked are the critical absence of studies addressing multiple drivers and the need for a decoupling model to quantify the relative importance of each factor to strategize the adaptive measures. For PRRC, we reveal that while economic benefits have been widely reported, potential negative impacts of this model related to environmental and social aspects are lacking. Therefore, while the lucrative prawn trade might financially benefit the farmers', the economic benefit is marred by the underlying negative environmental impacts and social inequalities, limiting overall sustainability. This study also provides a case study to notify the spatial-temporal trends of PRRC in the last three decades and evaluate the associated geographical and social factors. Kien Giang province was selected as the study site since it is the largest PRRCacross the VMD. The lessons from Kien Giang can also be applied to other transformative agricultural models in both Mekong Delta and other deltas worldwide.
    WOS© Citations 31  296  8Scopus© Citations 45
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Soil moisture observations from shortwave infrared channels reveal tornado tracks: A case in 10-11 December 2021 tornado outbreak
    (2023) ;
    Lin, Yun
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    McFarquhar, Greg M.
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    Gu, Yu
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    Su, Qiong
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    Fu, Rong
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    Lee, Kee Wei
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    Zhang, Tianhao
    Satellite-based post-tornado assessments have been widely used for the detection of tornado tracks, which heavily relies on the identification of vegetation changes through observations at visible and near-infrared channels. During the deadly 10–11 December 2021 tornado outbreak, a series of violent tornadoes first touched down over northeastern Arkansas, an area dominated by cropland with rare vegetation coverage in winter. Through the examination of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer multi-spectral observations, this study reveals significant scars on shortwave infrared channels over this region, but none are captured by visible and near-infrared channels. The dominant soil type is aquert (one of vertisols), whose high clay content well preserves the severe changes in soil structure during the tornado passage, when the topmost soil layer was removed and underlying soil with higher moisture content was exposed to the air. This study suggests a quick post-tornado assessment method over less vegetated area by using shortwave infrared channels.
      130  40
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Intensifying saline water intrusion and drought in the Mekong Delta: From physical evidence to policy outlooks
    (2021)
    Ho, Huu Loc
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    Doan, Van Binh
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    Sangam Shrestha
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    Tran, Duc Dung
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    Vu, Hai Son
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    Nguyen, Hoang Thu Truc
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    Nguyen, Phuong Mai
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    Seijger, Chris
    This paper assesses the recently intensified saline water intrusion (SI) and drought in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD). While the existing literature predominantly points the cause of drought to the hydropower dams in the upstream of the Mekong Basin, we contribute new physical evidence of the intensification of saline water intrusion (through backwater effect) in the VMD caused by three anthropogenic drivers: riverbed incision (due to both riverbed mining and dam construction), sea level rise and land subsidence. Thereupon, we highlight that it is critical to not underestimate the impacts from the localized factors, especially the riverbed-mining which can incise the channel by up to 15 cm/year and amplify the salinity intrusion. Our analysis is based on the extensive sets of hourly-to-daily hydrological time series from 11 gauge stations across the VMD. First, several signs of significantly increased tidal amplification (up to 66%) were revealed through the spectral analysis of the hourly water level data. This trend was further validated through the changes in slopes of the rating curves at the tidal zones, implying the relationships between the shift of the backwater effects on the rivers in VMD and the lowered water levels caused by the riverbed incision. Finally, we introduce a novel approach using the annual incision rates of the riverbed to compare four SI driving factors in terms of their relative contributions to the balance between fresh and saline water in the VMD.
    WOS© Citations 64Scopus© Citations 72  281  307
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    New systematically measured sand mining budget for the Mekong delta reveals rising trends and significant volume underestimations
    (2022)
    Gruel, Charles-Robin
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    Switzer, Adam D.
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    Sonu, Kumar
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    Ho, Huu Loc
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    Sameh, Kantoush
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    Doan, Van Binh
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    Feng, Lian
    The river beds of the Mekong Delta are some of the most intensively sand mined places in the world. However, sand mining budgets remain limited to rough and indirect estimates. Here, we provide a first systematic, field-based estimation of the Mekong Delta’s sand mining budget. This budget overcomes the limitations of relying on officially declared statistics and bathymetric surveys of short channel reaches. We applied Sentinel-1 radar imagery to monitor the distribution of sand mining activities using boat metrics-driven mining intensity maps correlated with a field-based bathymetry difference map which were derived from two extensive bathymetric surveys conducted in 2014 and 2017. The two surveys cover ∼ 100 km in the Tiền River, reaching approximately 15% of the Mekong Delta. We then extrapolated the Tiền River findings to the broader Vietnamese Mekong Delta from 2015 to 2020 and measured a continuous increase of the extraction budget by ∼ 25% between 2015 (38 Mm3/yr) and 2020 (47 Mm3/yr). We estimated a total sand mining budget of 254 Mm3 during the 6-year study period with an average annual rate of ∼ 42 Mm3. Our field-based annual rates are higher than both official declarations provided and estimates from previous studies which implies that a substantial portion of the sand mining budget remains unaccounted for. Riverbed sand mining remains a key threat to the Mekong Delta as it contributes to a multitude of other environmental threats including dam construction effects on sedimentation, ongoing subsidence, sea level rise and recurring saltwater intrusion. This study offers a new approach that can be implemented elsewhere to allow for systematic monitoring and quantification of sand mining activities that are vital for assessing future projections on environmental impacts.
    WOS© Citations 13Scopus© Citations 15  49
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Use of a MODIS satellite-based aridity index to monitor drought conditions in the Pearl River basin from 2001 to 2021
    (2022)
    Niu, Kunlong
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    Qiu, Junliang
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    Cai, Shirong
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    Zhang, Wenxin
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    Mu, Xiaolin
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    Yang, Xiankun
    In recent decades, global climate change has made natural hazards increasingly prevalent. Droughts, as a common natural hazard, have been a hot study topic for years. Most studies conducted drought monitoring in arid and semi-arid regions. In humid and sub-humid regions, due to climate change, seasonal droughts and seasonal water shortages were often observed too, but have not been well studied. This study, using a MODIS satellite-based aridity index (SbAI), investigated spatiotemporal changes in drought conditions in the subtropical Pearl River Basin. The study results indicated that the inter-annual SbAI exhibited a significant decreasing trend, illustrating a wetter trend observed in the basin in the past two decades. The decreasing trend in the SbAI was statistically significant in the dry season, but not in the monsoon season. The drought conditions displayed an insignificant expansion in the monsoon season, but exhibited statistically significant shrinking in the dry season. The Pearl River Basin has become wetter over past two decades, probably due to the results of natural impacts and human activities. The areas with increased drought conditions are more likely impacted by human activities such as water withdrawal for irrigation and industrial uses, and fast urbanization and increased impervious surfaces and resultant reduction in water storage capacity. This study provided a valuable reference for drought assessment across the Pearl River Basin.
    WOS© Citations 5Scopus© Citations 5  40  52
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Soil salinization in agriculture: Mitigation and adaptation strategies combining nature-based solutions and bioengineering
    (Cell Press, 2024)
    Tarolli, Paolo
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    Luo, Jian
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    Barcaccia, Gianni
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    Masin, Roberta

    Soil salinization is among the most critical threats to agriculture and food security. Excess of salts adversely affects soil structure and fertility, plant growth, crop yield, and microorganisms. It is caused by natural processes, such as dry climates and low precipitations, high evaporation rate, poor waterlogging, and human factors, such as inappropriate irrigation practices, poor drainage systems, and excessive use of fertilizers. The growing extremization of climate with prolonged drought conditions is worsening the phenomenon. Nature-based solutions (NBS), combined with precision or conservation agriculture, represent a sustainable response, and offer benefits through revitalizing ecosystem services. This perspective explores NBS that can be adopted, along with their challenges and implementation limitations. We also argue that NBS could not be enough to combat hunger in the world’s most vulnerable regions and fully achieve the Sustainable Development Goal – Zero Hunger (SDG2). We therefore discuss their possible combination with salt-tolerant crops based on bioengineering.

    Scopus© Citations 1  4