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This paper presents 66 radiocarbon (14C) dates obtained at 33 key sites from the Polish part of the European Sand Belt. These calibrated dating results were compared to 34 high-resolution 14C dates obtained from a fluvial-aeolian sediments to identify pedogenic phases from the late Pleniglacial interval to the early Holocene. These identified pedogenic phases were correlated with Greenland ice-core records, revealing high sensitivity of the fluvio-aeolian paleoenvironment to climate changes. Two pedogenic phases were identified from the late Pleniglacial interval (Greenland Stadial GS-2.1b and GS-2.1a), three from the Bølling-Allerød interstadial (Greenland Stadial GI-1), one from the late Allerød–Younger Dryas boundary, and at least one from the Younger Dryas. The ages of these pedogenic phases reveal a distinct delay of 50–100 calendar years after the onset of cool climate conditions during GI-1, reflecting gradual withdrawal of vegetation. Soil horizons from the early Holocene do not show any clear relation with climate change, where breaks in soil formation were caused by local factors such as human activity.
At relatively high frequencies, highly sensitive grating sidelobes occur in the primary beam patterns of low frequency aperture arrays (LFAA) such as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). This occurs when the observing wavelength becomes comparable to the dipole separation for LFAA tiles, which for the MWA occurs at
MHz. The presence of these grating sidelobes has made calibration and image processing for 300 MHz MWA observations difficult. This work presents a new calibration and imaging strategy which employs existing techniques to process two example 300 MHz MWA observations. Observations are initially calibrated using a new 300 MHz sky-model which has been interpolated from low frequency and high frequency all-sky surveys. Using this 300 MHz model in conjunction with the accurate MWA tile primary beam model, we perform sky-model calibration for the two example observations. After initial calibration a self-calibration loop is performed by all-sky imaging each observation. We mask the main lobe of the all-sky image, and perform a sky-subtraction by estimating the masked image visibilities. We then image the main lobe of the sky-subtracted visibilities, which results in high dynamic range images of the two example observations. These images have been convolved with a Gaussian to a resolution of
arcminutes, with a maximum sensitivity of
. The calibration and imaging strategy demonstrated in this work opens the door to performing science at 300 MHz with the MWA, which was previously an inaccessible domain. With this paper we release the code described below and the cross-matched catalogue along with the code to produce a sky-model in the range 70–1 400 MHz.
We present a calibration component for the Murchison Widefield Array All-Sky Virtual Observatory (MWA ASVO) utilising a newly developed PostgreSQL database of calibration solutions. Since its inauguration in 2013, the MWA has recorded over 34 petabytes of data archived at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. According to the MWA Data Access policy, data become publicly available 18 months after collection. Therefore, most of the archival data are now available to the public. Access to public data was provided in 2017 via the MWA ASVO interface, which allowed researchers worldwide to download MWA uncalibrated data in standard radio astronomy data formats (CASA measurement sets or UV FITS files). The addition of the MWA ASVO calibration feature opens a new, powerful avenue for researchers without a detailed knowledge of the MWA telescope and data processing to download calibrated visibility data and create images using standard radio astronomy software packages. In order to populate the database with calibration solutions from the last 6 yr we developed fully automated pipelines. A near-real-time pipeline has been used to process new calibration observations as soon as they are collected and upload calibration solutions to the database, which enables monitoring of the interferometric performance of the telescope. Based on this database, we present an analysis of the stability of the MWA calibration solutions over long time intervals.
The monitoring of the populations’ iodine status is an essential part of successful programmes of iodine deficiency elimination. The current study aimed at the evaluation of current iodine nutrition in school children, pregnant and lactating women as a marker of the effectiveness and sustainability of mandatory iodine prophylaxis in Poland.
The following iodine nutrition indicators were used: urinary iodine concentration (UIC) (all participants) and serum thyroglobulin (pregnant and lactating women).
The study was conducted in 2017 within the National Health Programme in five regions of Poland.
The research included 300 pregnant women, 100 lactating women and 1000 school children (aged 6–12 years).
In pregnant women, median UIC was 111·6 µg/l; there was no significant difference in median UIC according to the region of residence. In 8 % of pregnant women, thyroglobulin level was >40 ng/ml (median thyroglobulin 13·3 ng/ml). In lactating women, median UIC was 68·0 µg/l. A significant inter-regional difference was noted (P = 0·0143). In 18 % of breastfeeding women, thyroglobulin level was >40 ng/ml (median thyroglobulin 18·5 ng/ml). According to the WHO criteria, the investigated sample of pregnant and lactating women was iodine-deficient. Median UIC in school children was 119·8 µg/l (with significant inter-regional variation; P = 0·0000), which is consistent with iodine sufficiency. Ninety-four children (9·4 %) had UIC < 50 µg/l.
Mandatory iodisation of household salt in Poland has led to a sustainable optimisation of iodine status in the general population. However, it has failed to assure adequate iodine nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.
We describe the design and performance of the Engineering Development Array, which is a low-frequency radio telescope comprising 256 dual-polarisation dipole antennas working as a phased array. The Engineering Development Array was conceived of, developed, and deployed in just 18 months via re-use of Square Kilometre Array precursor technology and expertise, specifically from the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. Using drift scans and a model for the sky brightness temperature at low frequencies, we have derived the Engineering Development Array’s receiver temperature as a function of frequency. The Engineering Development Array is shown to be sky-noise limited over most of the frequency range measured between 60 and 240 MHz. By using the Engineering Development Array in interferometric mode with the Murchison Widefield Array, we used calibrated visibilities to measure the absolute sensitivity of the array. The measured array sensitivity matches very well with a model based on the array layout and measured receiver temperature. The results demonstrate the practicality and feasibility of using Murchison Widefield Array-style precursor technology for Square Kilometre Array-scale stations. The modular architecture of the Engineering Development Array allows upgrades to the array to be rolled out in a staged approach. Future improvements to the Engineering Development Array include replacing the second stage beamformer with a fully digital system, and to transition to using RF-over-fibre for the signal output from first stage beamformers.
The redshifted 21cm line of neutral hydrogen (Hi), potentially observable at low radio frequencies (~50–200 MHz), should be a powerful probe of the physical conditions of the inter-galactic medium during Cosmic Dawn and the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR). The sky-averaged Hi signal is expected to be extremely weak (~100 mK) in comparison to the foreground of up to 104 K at the lowest frequencies of interest. The detection of such a weak signal requires an extremely stable, well characterised system and a good understanding of the foregrounds. Development of a nearly perfectly (~mK accuracy) calibrated total power radiometer system is essential for this type of experiment. We present the BIGHORNS (Broadband Instrument for Global HydrOgen ReioNisation Signal) experiment which was designed and built to detect the sky-averaged Hi signal from the EoR at low radio frequencies. The BIGHORNS system is a mobile total power radiometer, which can be deployed in any remote location in order to collect radio frequency interference (RFI) free data. The system was deployed in remote, radio quiet locations in Western Australia and low RFI sky data have been collected. We present a description of the system, its characteristics, details of data analysis, and calibration. We have identified multiple challenges to achieving the required measurement precision, which triggered two major improvements for the future system.
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