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Vol 12, No 4 (2019)
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SPECIAL ISSUE "Urban environmental geography: Mosсow and other megacities" 

6-23 1332

The article studies current trends in Moscow population in context of socio- economic polarization strengthening between the capital city and other regions of the country. The study applies multiscale approach covering Moscow influence on Central Russia and other regions, interaction with the Moscow oblast and the level of internal population distribution within Moscow and particular settlements and villages in New Moscow territories. The gap in development is significantly noticeable for expanding Moscow and Moscow oblast against the background of depopulation in Central Russia regions and cities. Within the boundaries of Moscow the continuing model of extensive spatial growth of population has led to the most rapid growth of its periphery zone. Areas similar to bedroom communities in Old Moscow are forming in the municipalities of New Moscow located along the Moscow ring road (MKAD) and main radial highways, while large part of the new territories remain a typical countryside with villages and summer residents. Analysis of New Moscow suburban areas reveals the actual land use mosaics obscured by the official delimitation of Moscow and Moscow oblast and the formal division of population into urban and rural.

24-34 1124

Urbanization coincides with remarkable environmental changes, including conversion of natural landscapes into urban. Moscow megapolis is among the largest urbanized areas in Europe. An ambitious New Moscow project expanded the megapolis on extra 1500 km2 of former fallow lands, croplands and forests. The research aimed to monitor land use changes in New Moscow between 1989 and 2016 years. Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 images (30 m spectral resolution) and Sentinel – 2 images (10 m spectral resolution) were analyzed. All the images were collected for the similar summer period (from June to August). The images were preprocessed and classified by Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin in open source QGIS software to derive land cover maps. The following land cover classes were identified: water, built-up areas, bare soils, croplands and forested areas, and the total area covered by each class was estimated. The following land-use change pathways were reported: 1) reduction of the forested areas by 2.5% (almost 2000 ha) between 1989 and 1998; 2) partial reforestation (more than 1000 ha) and abandonment of croplands (more than 3000 ha) between 1998 and 2010 and 3) intensive urbanization (more than 11000 ha) between 2010 and 2016. New build-up areas and infrastructures were constructed on former forested areas and croplands. Although, some uncertainties in the absolute estimates are expected due to the classification errors, the general urbanization trend can be clearly distinguished as a principal outcome after the five years of New Moscow project.

35-56 2450

The paper presents an inventory of current forest formations and a map of forest vegetation in the Moscow region. To assess current forest formations, an approach integrating both ground- and remote sensing data was applied. The transformation of forests in the Moscow region was evaluated by the criteria of changing the quality, quantity and spatial configuration of forests, in accordance with the model SLOSS (Single Large or Several Small). The conceptual model "Pressure-State-Response" (hereinafter PRS) was used to develop appropriate tools for sustainable environmental management in the region. The use of this model made it possible not only to assess the state of forests but also to determine the main impacts affecting them, as well as the effectiveness of measures aimed at optimizing environmental management regimes in order to maintain forest biodiversity. Complex assessment of sets of indicators for each group of PRS criteria is performed for the integrated multicriteria assessment of sustainable forest management within the boundaries of urban districts. The average normalized score was calculated for each group of criteria. Correlation between the scores of the groups of criteria evaluated and classification of administrative units according to the ratio of groups of the K-means method criteria performed. As a result of component-by-component evaluation, the values of indicators are presented in form of tables and map сharts. Benchmarking of Specially Protected Natural Area (SPNA) system and reforestation activities is performed regarding to the forest biodiversity conservation in the urban districts. It is shown that single integrated assessment of the ecological value of the territory (the "State" criterion), an integrated assessment of impact factors (the "Load") and appropriate actions to maintain forest biodiversity (the "Response" criterion) can be considered as an expression of generalized information directly used in decision-making and assessment of current trends for a particular region.

57-73 1008

The article examines changing volumes of emission from vehicles by administrative and municipal districts of Moscow. In Moscow automobile transport is the general source of pollution, it produces more than 93% of allover, and this is the absolute maximum of impact for Russian cities and regions. In 2011-2017, it was the first time when the growth of motorization was noticed against background of reduce of pollution due to modernization of car park and new quality of petrol. Total gross emission from vehicles decreased four times. Shifts in the factors defining spatial specifics of distribution of pollution from vehicles are revealed. Assessments of air pollution based on information of all Moscow streets provides estimations for 93 thousand low-level city areas. One of the research result revealed a high correlation between changes of pollution density and changes in transport infrastructure including developing of public transportation, modernization of car park structure. Spatial uniformity of pollution from vehicles has become the main trend of recent years. Programs of the new housing construction and large-scale projects aimed at the transformation of the districts increase the transport connectivity of the city. Administrative decisions on the traffic intensity reduction in the central districts decrease territorial differentiation of pollution. Transport and planning structure at the level of the city, the district, and the area is the defining characteristic. An attempt to solve the transport problem through the transformation of the street road network complicates the application of innovative techniques for combatting air pollution in Moscow.

74-95 1909

This study compares three popular approaches to quantify the urban heat island (UHI) effect in Moscow megacity in a summer season (June-August 2015). The first approach uses the measurements of the near-surface air temperature obtained from weather stations, the second is based on remote sensing from thermal imagery of MODIS satellites, and the third is based on the numerical simulations with the mesoscale atmospheric model COSMO-CLM coupled with the urban canopy scheme TERRA_URB. The first approach allows studying the canopy-layer UHI (CLUHI, or anomaly of a near- surface air temperature), while the second allows studying the surface UHI (SUHI, or anomaly of a land surface temperature), and both types of the UHI could be simulated by the atmospheric model. These approaches were compared in the daytime, evening and nighttime conditions. The results of the study highlight a substantial difference between the SUHI and CLUHI in terms of the diurnal variation and spatial structure. The strongest differences are found at the daytime, at which the SUHI reaches the maximal intensity (up to 10°С) whereas the CLUHI reaches the minimum intensity (1.5°С). However, there is a stronger consistency between CLUHU and SUHI at night, when their intensities converge to 5–6°С. In addition, the nighttime CLUHI and SUHI have similar monocentric spatial structure with a temperature maximum in the city center. The presented findings should be taken into account when interpreting and comparing the results of UHI studies, based on the different approaches. The mesoscale model reproduces the CLUHI-SUHI relationships and provides good agreement with in situ observations on the CLUHI spatiotemporal variations (with near-zero biases for daytime and nighttime CLUHI intensity and correlation coefficients more than 0.8 for CLUHI spatial patterns). However, the agreement of the simulated SUHI with the remote sensing data is lower than agreement of the simulated CLUHI with in situ measurements. Specifically, the model tends to overestimate the daytime SUHI intensity. These results indicate a need for further in-depth investigation of the model behavior and SUHI–CLUHI relationships in general.

96-113 1745

Road dust is a composite substance formed due to wear of different components of transport infrastructure and motor vehicles. In 2017, 214 road dust samples were collected in Moscow to analyze pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and organic carbon (Cоrg) content that controls the ability of dust to fix pollutants. The road dust was dominated by sand and silt size particles (the share of PM10 particles varies from 2.3% to 39%) and had alkaline pH (6.4–8.1), high EC (33–712 μS/cm) and Cоrg (0.17–6.7%). The road dust is alkalinized by detergents and particles formed by abrasion of roadways and blown out from construction sites. A three-fold excess of the EC over the background values (dust in parks) is mainly due to the use of the de-icing agents and roadway maintenance. But the concentration of Cоrg in the Moscow’s road dust is on average 2 times lower compared to the background values; the increased content of Cоrg in the courtyards is associated with the application of organic fertilizers. The most significant factor that determines the physicochemical properties of the dust was the type of a road. The dust on large roads including the Third Ring Road had higher pH (7.0–8.0) and EC (98–712 μS/ cm); it contained higher proportions of the fine particle-size fractions compared to other roads. The Cоrg content in the road dust was minimum on Moscow’s major radial highways due to the insignificant contribution of soil particles. The spatial trends in variability of the physicochemical properties of the dust in Moscow were not evident as they were to a large extent masked by other factors: proximity to industrial zones and large forest parks, differences in the de-icing agents used, unequal frequencies of road cleaning, and the various contribution of soil particles that vary in composition and genesis in different parts of Moscow.

114-131 993

During the AeroRadCity-2018 spring aerosol experiment at the Moscow State University Meteorological Observatory the aerosol properties of the atmosphere and radiative aerosol effects were analyzed using a wide complex of measurements and model COSMO-ART simulations over Moscow domain. The program of measurements consisted of columnar aerosol AERONET retrievals, surface PM10, black carbon (BC) and aerosol gas precursors mass concentrations, as well as radiative measurements under various meteorological conditions. We obtained a positive statistically significant dependence of total and fine aerosol optical depth (AOD) mode (R2 ~0.4) with PM concentrations. This dependence has revealed a pronounced bifurcation point around PM10=0.04 mgm-3. The modelled BC concentration is in agreement with the observations and has a pronounced correlation with PM, but not with the AODs. The analysis of radiative effects of aerosol has revealed up to 30% loss for UV irradiance and 15% - for shortwave irradiance at high AOD in Moscow. Much intensive radiation attenuation is observed in the afternoon when remote pollution sources may affect solar fluxes at elevated boundary layer conditions. Negative (cooling) radiative forcing effect at the top of the atmosphere from -18 Wm-2 to -4 Wm-2 has been evaluated. Mean difference in visible AOD between urban and background conditions in Moscow and Zvenigorod was about 0.01 according to measurements and model simulations, while in some days the difference may increase up to 0.05. The generation of urban aerosol was shown to be more favorable in conditions with low intensity of pollutant dispersion, when mean deltaAOD550 was doubled from 0.01 to 0.02.

132-147 983

Although snow cover is studied as an efficient scavenger for atmospheric mercury (Hg), up to now little is known about Hg behaviour in urban snow cover impacted by thermal power plants (TPPs) during the winter heating season. This study is focused on quantification of Hg in the particulate phase in snow cover and estimation of atmospheric particulate Hg (HgP) depositional fluxes around urban TPPs in cities of Omsk, Kemerovo, Yurga, Tomsk (the south part of Western Siberia, Russia) to provide new insight into Hg occurrence in urban snow. The results demonstrate that the mean Hg content in the particulate phase of snow varied from 0.139 to 0.205mg kg-1, possibly depending on thermal power of TPPs and fuel type used. The estimated mean atmospheric HgP depositional fluxes ranged from 6.6 to 73.1 mg km-2 d-1. Around thermal power plants atmospheric HgP depositional flux was controlled by particulate load. Higher Hg contents in the particulate phase of snow and higher atmospheric HgP depositional fluxes observed in relation to the background values, as well as high enrichment factors determined for Hg in the particulate phase of snow relative to the mean Hg content in the Earth’s crust showed that the snow pollution with Hg is of anthropogenic origin. The coexistence of Hg and S observed for the particulate phase of snow indicated the possible presence of mercury sulfide in this phase. The parameters like Hg content in the particulate phase of snow and HgP atmospheric flux can be used as markers for the identification of coal combustion emission sources.

148-158 937

This article summarizes the data of the chemical composition and the acidity of the seasonal snow precipitation for the cold periods 1999-2006 (n=180), 2010-2013 (n=82) and 2018-2019 (n=18) in different parts of Moscow. Major ions content was measured, such as SO42-, НСO3-, Cl-, NO3-, Са2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+ and NH4+, also pH and sum of ions (mg/L) were measured. During the 2018-2019 season, snowpack samples were taken twice at 4 sites in Moscow: two in the North-East Administrative Okrug (NEAO) near the road and in the park at the distance of 3 km from each other, and two in the South- Western Administrative Okrug (SWAO) and in the Western Administrative Okrug (WAO) near the road and in the park at the distance of 6 km from each other. Samples were taken with a break of 5 days to determine the dynamics of the chemical composition within the beginning of the snow-melting. In each pair of sampling sites there was one that is located in the park and one located near the road. This experiment showed a slight variability of the chemical composition of snow during 5 days under the influence of the new snowfall. In general, there is a trend of changing the composition of snow from calcium carbonate to calcium chloride, which is mainly connected to the use of anti-icing reagents; for the same reason, the areas that are closer to the roads are the most polluted.

159-174 766

The paper describes approaches to assessing geohazards and georisk of economic losses in Moscow. It is shown that for surface construction, the principle geohazards in Moscow are karst-suffosion sinkholes, land subsidence, landslides, and waterlogging. The subsurface construction is endangered by karstification and fracturing of limestone, decompaction, and swelling of clay, quicksand phenomena, and groundwater breakthrough to tunnels. The different procedures for the assessment of geological risk in Moscow have been suggested for already existing urban infrastructure and for future planned construction. For existing surface urban infrastructure, geological risk is considered to be an integral parameter of probable damage caused by geohazards and the anthropogenic load on the specific territories. The main aim of risk mapping in this case is outlining the territories, for which restrictions and prohibitions should be imposed for further urban engineering development. For future subsurface urban construction, the risk-analysis consists in assessing the impact of geohazards on the engineering structure by comparing the future expenditures for the construction and operation under different engineering geological conditions. The procedures of risk mapping elaborated for both approaches are described; the typification schemes are listed; and the relevant risk maps built for the Moscow territory are provided. The risk maps will help planners to compare and make alternative project decisions in order to minimize the cost in future economic expenditures. Both approaches are successfully approved in Moscow.

175-187 860

The objective of the study is to assess changes of fractional vegetation cover (FVC) in Hanoi megacity in period of 33 years from 1986 to 2016 based on a two endmember spectral mixture analysis (SMA) model using multi-spectral and multi-temporal Landsat-5 TM and -8 OLI images. Landsat TM/OLI images were first radiometrically corrected. FVC was then estimated by means of a combination of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and classification method. The estimated FVC results were validated using the field survey data. The assessment of FVC changes was finally carried out using spatial analysis in GIS. A case study from Hanoi city shows that: (i) the proposed approach performed well in estimating the FVC retrieved from the Landsat-8 OLI data and had good consistency with in situ measurements with the statistically achieved root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.02 (R 2 =0.935); (ii) total FVC area of 321.6 km 2 (accounting for 9.61% of the total area) was slightly reduced in the center of the city, whereas, FVC increased markedly with an area of 1163.6 km 2 (accounting for 34.78% of the total area) in suburban and rural areas. The results from this study demonstrate the combination of NDVI and classification method using Landsat images are promising for assessing FVC change in megacities.


188-202 972

This study aimed to reconstruct the climatic moisture conditions of the Mid- Russian Upland through the Holocene. Surface moisture conditions in the study region were inferred from published pollen records from the Klukva peatland, in the north-west of the Mid-Russian Upland. Three climatic indices were derived from previously- published reconstructions of mean annual temperature and precipitation: the Climate Moisture Index, the Aridity Index and the Budyko Dryness Index. A simple modeling approach to reconstruct annual potential evapotranspiration and net radiation was developed and used to estimate the indices for different periods of the Holocene. The moisture indices were compared with independent proxies of climate moisture such as peatland surface wetness, reconstructed from testate amoebae and regional fire activity, reconstructed from charcoal. Results show that the surface moisture conditions in the study region were characterized by large variability. Periods of mild temperature and moderately wet conditions were followed by dry periods, which resulted in significant changes in palaeoenvironments. The method developed for calculation of potential evapotranspiration and indices of surface moisture conditions could be a useful tool for climate reconstructions. Our results demonstrate the detailed and nuanced palaeoclimate data which can be derived from pollen data.

203-211 783

Trends in the development of natural resources use in Russia for 1991-2017 are presented. The role of industries based on mineral resources has increased over the post-Soviet years. The use of renewable natural resources is increasingly shrinking into compact areas near “central sites” and main transportation routes. The inventory of implemented investment projects was used as the basis for compiling a small-scale map to display the main features of industrial and transport development of the territory of post-Soviet Russia. The article states that topical changes in the natural-resource sphere do not match the criteria of sustainable development.

212-229 1016

Shoreline changes are important indicators of natural and manmade impacts on inland waters and particularly lakes. Man-induced changes in Lake Sevan water level during the 20th century affected not only the ecological status of the Sevan water but also near-shore areas. This article considers a long-term study of changes in Lake Sevan shoreline that occurred between 1973 and 2015. The Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) was applied to delineate the Sevan shoreline changes according to periods of lake water fluctuation from multi-temporal Landsat images and Historical changes in shorelines were analyzed with help of the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) toolbox. Data obtained from the analysis have indicated that changes in the lake shoreline that occurred in different periods are similar to those in the lake water balance. Areas with the greatest shoreline changes have comparatively flat relief, so in the result of the lake water level raise vast forested areas were submerged. This study shows that application of multi-temporal spatial imagery and GIS methods can provide valuable information on time-and-space changes in the Sevan shoreline. Such information is important for monitoring Lake Sevan shoreline and nearshore changes.

230-242 613

Biogenic flow is the determining factor of ecological well-being of water bodies. It depends on a number of factors, such as weather conditions, soil and vegetation cover, agricultural use of the catchment area. Its simulation is possible based on a complex water quality model with parameters distribution. In this paper, we show that the model calculates the water flow with satisfactory accuracy and gives reliable values of phosphorus flow in the investigated river outlet. The influence of dryness of the year on the phosphorus flow is important and reduces dissolved phosphorus flow several times. The results of experiments with the model show a decrease of dissolved phosphorus flow subsequent to cease of fertilizing in range from 5 to 11%. The values of the surface and groundwater genetic components of phosphorus flow are comparable, while soil component amounts 65% of local phosphorus flow.

243-251 943

Air and soil contamination in developing countries exacerbates due to poor management of waste collection and serves as a morbidity and mortality factor. This study aimed to conduct an assessment of soil pollution level in Ulaanbaatar and establish а correlation between microbial contamination and registered occurrences of contagious diarrheal diseases among children (0-5 years old). This is a cross-sectional study conducted in Ulaanbaatar in June-September of 2016. Samples of soil and contagious diarrheal disease morbidity data in 0-5-year-old children were used. Samples were taken from the sites three times, in July, August, and September. The data analysis was done in the SPSS-21 program and relevant parametric and non-parametric tests were used. The highest level microorganisms were found in the samples taken from sites near major markets and then in the samples from ger areas. The analysis of the samples revealed that 111.78 microorganisms exceed the standard level 1.1 times in summer. The Escherichia coli (E.Coli) and Proteus also contaminated the ground water. All diarrhea occasions in Ulaanbaatar were analyzed by seasons and months, the prevalence was peaking in August. A correlation was found with the soil E.Coli titers and infectious diarrheal disease children under five years old morbidity. The number of microorganisms in soil tends to increase in summer. Diarrheal disease infections among children under five increase most in summer and autumn and correlate with soil contamination with pathogenic microorganisms.

252-271 685

Mercury is a widespread environmental pollutant becoming a crucial health concern as a result of natural and anthropogenic releases. Understanding Hg distribution pattern between different functional urban areas is needed for urban pollution control and health impact assessment. Therefore, in this paper urban soil Hg spatial distribution, pollution level evaluation, and mercury-induced health risks were studied, for different urban functional areas (355 samples) and kindergartens (18 samples) of Vanadzor. Geospatial mapping and the geostatistical analysis suggest that Hg concentration in the entire area of Vanadzor and its kindergartens has a natural origin, besides a certain anthropogenic impact on some urban sites. According to geoaccumulation index (Igeo), uncontaminated or moderately contaminated levels were detected only in 2 samples from industrial area and 5 samples from residential area, the remaining samples were classified as uncontaminated. In all kindergartens and the 22.15 of the city (270 samples) are characterized by low level potential ecological risk, whereas 3.85 (85 samples) correspond to moderate and for 1 sampling site high level of potential ecological risk. A non-carcinogenic health risk assessed for children and adults indicates health hazards neither in Vanadzor entire areas nor in kindergartens. The hazard index (HI) in each urban functional area is less than allowable level (HI <1) for children and adults. Obtained results are indicative and offer the ability for better management of urban soil and urban planning in terms of Hg pollution regulation in different functional areas.

272-284 867

Within the framework of the Russian-Armenian project “The Paleolimnological Aspect of Studying the Evolution of Ecosystems of High-Mountain Lakes of Russia and Armenia” in July-August 2018, we investigated four high-mountain lakes of Armenia. The research focuses on the lakes Kari, Umroi, Akna and Sev. All investigated lakes are located at the altitudes about 3000 m above sea level. We first time these lakes were investigated using a multi-proxy method that includes paleolimnological, geomorphological, hydrological, geochemical and biogeographic studies. The research offers the first statistical characteristics of lake depth distribution, water volume and other morphometrics. Lake sediments sequences and radiocarbon dates were received and analyzed for Armenian small lakes for the first time. We determined that all the studied lakes were formed during the Holocene. Sediments of Lake Kari were deposited in the last 4000 years, sediments of Lake Umroi – within the last 8000 years, while maximum thickness of sediments is around 1 m in both lakes. Hence, we assume low deposition rate in Armenian high-mountain lakes, however, it varied significantly in different periods of lake history.

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ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)