Jan 18

Coffee Hour with Richard Schroeder | MLK Day reflections | Climate change ethics course


low severity burn

The image above is of a low severity fire, the kind that can limit the severity of subsequent fires, according to research completed by Alan Taylor and Lucas Harris. As the Coffee Hour speaker on January 26, Taylor will talk about that research.



Coffee Hour: Richard Schroeder “Ode to the Extreme Huntress”
This presentation explores the emergence of trophy hunting as a new and embattled frontier in the culture wars surrounding notions of women’s rights and gender equity. The analysis centers on three specific domains: 1) video campaign materials produced by the National Rifle Association to encourage firearm use in general and hunting in particular among women (“Love at First Shot”; “Armed and Fabulous”); 2) an international hunting competition that bestows the title “Extreme Huntress” on its champion each year; and 3) a group of increasingly high profile celebrity women trophy hunters, including “Winchester Deadly Passion” reality TV star Melissa Bachman, “Extreme Huntress” winner Rebecca Francis, and Jen “The Archer” Cordero, among others. In each of these settings, I analyze the seemingly contradictory ways women have come to identify and express themselves as hunters, and how these complex modes of self-identification complicate our understanding of the act of hunting writ large.


New course to examine science, policy and ethics surrounding climate change
“Ethics of Climate Change” (Global Health/Religious Studies/Philosophy/Meteorology 133), a new interdomain course being offered at University Park this spring, seeks to introduce students to the science, policy and ethics of climate change so they can develop an understanding of its implications on the biosphere and human civilization.

Institute for CyberScience names spring 2018 distinguished visiting researchers
The Institute for CyberScience (ICS) will bring two acclaimed researchers to Penn State in spring 2018 through the ICS Distinguished Visiting Researcher Program. The program provides funding for accomplished scholars in computational science fields to visit, deliver seminars, meet students, and discuss potential collaborations with Penn State faculty.

Jan 18

Coffee Hour begins January 19 | Safe spaces at AAG | Online grads on campus


online grads at Dutton fall 2017Online Geospatial Program students and their families gathered for a reception at the Dutton Institute before attending the fall 2017 Commencement. For most, it was their first time setting foot on campus and meeting their instructors face-to-face. Graduating students are pictured. Front row left to right: Pamela Kanu, Ginger Anderson, Jaclyn Meade Cardillo, Ben Ogle, Angelo Podagrosi. Back row left to right: Jackie Silber, Tim Naegeli, Nate Roberts, Doug Sexton.


  • Anthony Robinson was featured in a College of EMS Twitter faculty video over the winter break.
  • Mallory Henig (’12) will be starting a career with Conservation International at their headquarters in Arlington, VA as a Development Coordinator. “I would also like thank Denice Wardrop and Joe Bishop for taking me to Peru and the Amazonia in 2011. Their faculty-led study abroad experience really helped me understand the importance of the natural environment around the world, and I do believe that firsthand experience assisted me and getting this new career opportunity.”
  • Weiming Hu was elected to fill the grad rep position fall and spring 2018.


The opening Coffee Hour for the spring 2018 semester will be January 19, 2018. The speaker will be Richard Schroeder. His talk is titled, “Ode to the Extreme Huntress.”


Creating Safe Spaces at AAG Meetings for All
Derek Alderman with Lorraine Dowler
Hollywood, The Hill, and the nation’s newsrooms have been exposed as spaces of sexual harassment, misconduct, and even assault. Yet, sexual harassment and discrimination are neither unique nor new to these highly public industries and this misconduct is unfortunately common to most workplaces. Indeed, conservative estimates suggest that 60% of all women have been victims of sexual harassment while a Harvard study found that number to be almost 90 percent for women ages 18 to 25.

From Coal Town to Trail Town
There’s a national story line about parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania that goes like this: as the steel and coal industries fade, small towns here are literally dying out. Young people move away because there’s a lack of jobs. But for the past twenty years, some entrepreneurs have quietly been working on a different narrative — one that harnesses the region’s natural beauty to build the economy. And their slow climb is starting to bear real fruit.


Health-environment futures: Complexity, uncertainty, and bodies
Nari Senanayake, Brian King
Progress in Human Geography
First Published December 27, 2017
The relationships between human health and the environment have captivated scholarly attention across a number of disciplinary and policy domains. This article reviews emerging health-environment research, which we categorize into three themes: complexity, uncertainty, and bodies. Although there have been robust contributions to these thematic areas from geography and the social sciences, we argue that integrating them into an analytical framework can extend geographic perspectives on scale, knowledge production, and human-environment relations, while also incorporating valuable insights from cognate fields. We conclude by reflecting on the normative contributions of this framework for research and policy.

Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in Temperate Forest Areas: New Measures of Exposure, Sensitivity, and Adaptive Capacity
Alexandra Paige Fischer & Tim G. Frazier
Annals of the American Association of Geographers Vol. 0 , Iss. 0,0
Human communities in forested areas that are expected to experience climate-related changes have received little attention in the scholarly literature on vulnerability assessment. Many communities rely on forest ecosystems to support their social and economic livelihoods. Climate change could alter these ecosystems. We developed a framework that measures social vulnerability to slow-onset climate-related changes in forest ecosystems. We focused on temperate forests because this biome is expected to experience dramatic change in the coming years, with adverse effects for humans. We advance climate change vulnerability science by making improvements to measures of exposure and sensitivity and by incorporating a measure of adaptive capacity. We improved on other methods of assessing exposure by incorporating climate change model projections and thus a temporal perspective. We improved on other methods of assessing sensitivity by incorporating a variable representing interdependency between human populations and forests. We incorporated a measure of adaptive capacity to account for ways socioeconomic conditions might mitigate exposure and sensitivity. Our geographic focus was the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. We found that fifteen of the region’s seventy-five counties were highly vulnerable to climate-related changes due to some combination of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Nine counties were highly vulnerable because they ranked very high in terms of exposure and sensitivity and very low in terms of adaptive capacity. The framework we developed could be useful for investigations of vulnerability to climate change in other forested contexts and in other ecological contexts where slow-onset changes might be expected under future climate conditions.

Dec 17

Previous burns and fire severity | Assessing water quality on Susquehanna



Undergraduate students who participated in fall 2017 UROC projects answer audience questions at the end of the final fall 2017 semester Coffee Hour.


This is the last DoG enews for fall semester 2017. DoG enews will return January 9, 2018. Send your good news, updates, publications, and photos from field work and travel to geography@psu.edu.
• Online Geospatial alumnus Loren Pfau (’13g) and Justine Blanford have published, “Use of geospatial data and technology for wilderness search and rescue by non-profit organizations in The Professional Geographer.
Carolynne Hultquist successfully passed her doctoral comprehensive exams.
• A multi-disciplinary research team, led by Alexander Klippel received one of ten seed grants to pilot programs that support Penn State’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan for his proposal, “Digital Innovation through Immersive Technologies: Establishing New Paradigms for Environmental Decision Support.”
Zach Goldberg received a research grant from the Africana Research Center for his project, “Organic Certification of Fig Production in Ouezzane Province, Morocco: Assessing Social and Cultural Impact.”
• The PAC Herbarium is looking for two interns during spring 2018. Interns will assist the Curator with imaging and databasing plant specimens as part of the Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis Project (MAM). Interested students should contact Sarah Chamberlain, Curator, at sjm20@psu.edu. What is the PAC Herbarium


Controlled burns limited severity of Rim Fire
Controlled burning of forestland helped limit the severity of one of California’s largest wildfires, according to Penn State geographers.

The researchers studying the Rim Fire, which in 2013 burned nearly 400 square miles of forest in the Sierra Nevadas, found the blaze was less severe in areas recently treated with controlled burns. See the research paper below.

Citizen scientists to help researchers gauge Susquehanna water quality
Using a network of up to 60 citizen scientists, a team of Penn State researchers will assess the levels of endocrine-disrupting compounds in the Susquehanna River next year, and in turn empower those volunteers to become part of the solution to water-quality problems related to emerging contaminants.


Previous burns and topography limit and reinforce fire severity in a large wildfire
By Harris, L., and A. H. Taylor
In Ecosphere 8(11)
Access DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2019
In fire-prone forests, self-reinforcing fire behavior may generate a mosaic of vegetation types and structures. In forests long subject to fire exclusion, such feedbacks may result in forest loss when surface and canopy fuel accumulations lead to unusually severe fires. We examined drivers of fire severity in one large (>1000 km2) wildfire in the western United States, the Rim Fire in the Sierra Nevada, California, and how it was influenced by severity of 21 previous fires to examine the influences on (1) the severity of the first fire since 1984 and (2) reburn severity. The random forest machine-learning statistical model was used to predict satellite-derived fire severity classes from geospatial datasets of fire history, topographic setting, weather, and vegetation type. Topography and inferred weather were the most important variables influencing the previous burn. Previous fire severity was the most important factor influencing reburn severity, and areas tended to reburn at the same severity class as the previous burn.

The political and social ecologies of energy, chapter
By Karl S. Zimmerer
In Handbook on the Geographies of Energy. eds. Barry D. Solomon and Kirby E. Calvert
Access: https://books.google.com/books?id=LupBDwAAQBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Political-industrial ecologies of energy, chapter
By Jennifer E. Baka
In Handbook on the Geographies of Energy. eds. Barry D. Solomon and Kirby E. Calvert
Access: https://books.google.com/books?id=LupBDwAAQBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Dec 17

Coffee Hour features UROC lightening talks | Apply now for spring 2018 UROC projects


5 dimentions of food acquisitionA portion of Courtney Rome’s research poster, “Food for Thought: Differences of Geographic Food Habits between Alaska and the Lower 48,” which won first place at the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences Undergraduate Poster Exhibition, held November 29, 2017.


Jiayan Zhao, Jiawei Huang, and Mark Simpson passed their candidacy exams.
Brian King published op-ed “Ending HIV While Isolation and Stigma Endure” in recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2017, in HIVPlusmag.com
Courtney Rome won first place in the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences Undergraduate Poster Exhibition with her poster, “Food for Thought: Differences of Geographic Food Habits between Alaska and the Lower 48” —Project advisers: Michael Nassry and Denice Wardrop
Luba Hristova, Danielle Ruffe, and Sabrina Yu Zhong won third place in the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences Undergraduate Poster Exhibition with their poster, “Fresno, California: Drought Impacts on Agriculture” —Project adviser: Guido Cervone
Karl Zimmerer published an article in The Conversation, “Fewer crops are feeding more people worldwide – and that’s not good.”


Coffee Hour: UROC Lightening Talks
The final Coffee Hour for the fall 2017 semester will feature lightening talks from 10 undergraduate students on their Undergraduate Research Opportunities Connection (UROC) projects. UROC gives undergraduate students an opportunity to work on research projects for academic credit under the guidance of graduate students in the Department of Geography. Giving a presentation on their work is a requirement of the program. Projects include cartography, data analysis, and translation. Topics range from flood assessment to
agricultural change and rural livelihoods to international development.

Time to apply for spring 2018 UROC projects
Undergraduate students looking for a way to gain research experience as well as 1 to 3 credits, can apply for spring 2018 undergraduate research projects supervised by graduate students in the Department of Geography.

To view the new projects and apply, go to: https://sites.psu.edu/uroc/undergrads-apply-for-a-project/

Previous tasks have involved map making, GIS analysis, coding transcripts, programming, wrangling spreadsheets, or reviewing literature. It may not be glamorous, but it is a real research project to supplement your coursework, said Undergraduate Adviser and Gould Center Director Jodi Vender. “This is a valuable resume-building experience for undergraduate students and can be beneficial for both future employment and graduate school.”


Spatial-temporal analysis of prostate cancer incidence from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, 2000-2011
By Ming Wang, Stephen A. Matthews, Khaled Iskandarani, Yimei Li, Zheng Li, Vernon M. Chinchilli, Lijun Zhang
In Geospatial Health
Access DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2017.611
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among males, and the incidence in Pennsylvania, USA is considerably higher than nationally. Knowledge of regional differences and time trends in prostate cancer incidence may contribute to a better understanding of aetiologic factors and racial disparities in outcomes, and to improvements in preventive intervention and screening efforts. We used Pennsylvania Cancer Registry data on reported prostate cancer diagnoses between 2000 and 2011 to study the regional distribution and temporal trends of prostate cancer incidence in both Pennsylvania White males and Philadelphia metropolitan area Black males. For White males, we generated and mapped county-specific age-adjusted incidence and standardised incidence ratios by period cohort, and identified spatial autocorrelation and local clusters. In addition, we fitted Bayesian hierarchical generalised linear Poisson models to describe the temporal and aging effects separately in Whites state-wide and metropolitan Philadelphia blacks. Incidences of prostate cancer among white males declined from 2000-2002 to 2009-2011 with an increasing trend to some extent in the period 2006-2008 and significant variation across geographic regions, but less variation exists for metropolitan Philadelphia including majority of Black patients. No significant aging effect was detected for White and Black men, and the peak age group for prostate cancer risk varied by race. Future research should seek to identify potential social and environmental risk factors associated with geographical/racial disparities in prostate cancer. As such, there is a need for more effective surveillance so as to detect, reduce and control the cancer burden associated with prostate cancer.

U.S. Interstate Route 9; A Journey Through The ‘News’
By Wayne Brew (’81)
In PAST (Volume 40, 2017), p.35
Access https://indd.adobe.com/view/9ace40e5-d537-4207-9ef5-b7dd253bf26d
“Let’s begin again, begin the begin”
The road continues to call and speak to me. U.S. Interstate Route 9 runs from the intersection of Route 13 in Laurel, Delaware north to Champlain, New York where it ends with the intersection with Interstate 87 near the Canadian Border. Web sources do not agree on the total mileage for Route 9, but when Route 9W is included it is over 600 miles. According to correspondence with Richard F. Weingroff , historian at the Federal Highway Administration, Route 9W was created simultaneously in the late 1920s on the west side of the Hudson River paralleling 9 (sometimes referred to 9E) on the east side. Figure
1 shows Route 9 in red. The history of Route 9 shares a similar story with other first generation interstates where existing local and state roads were connected with improvements based on federal standards.

Territorial Ordering: A “new” mode of land use planning and a multi-scale idea for urban-rural integration and their implications for next-generation conservation
By Zimmerer, K. S.
In The Urban and the Territorial: Housing in Mérida, eds. D.E. Davis, J. Castillo, and R. Segovia

Bridging new sustainable development goals, global agendas, and landscape stewardship: The roles of politics, ethics, and sustainability practice
By Zimmerer, K. S.
In The Science and Practice of Landscape Stewardship, eds. Bieling, C., and T. Plieninger
Access https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316499016.031

Nov 17

Coffee Hour with Peter La Femina | ChoroPhronesis open house | Baka and the ethane cracker plant


view across the Rhine River

Meg Boyle sent this view back across the Rhine River to the venue on a typically gray, rainy day at the UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn (“COP23”). She says, “In general, the landscape and weather remind me a lot of State College, but I thought I would send an especially watery update home to landlocked friends! The responsibility of the shipping industry and the coal industry for climate action have both been big topics of discussion here over the past two weeks, emphasized by the coal barges that periodically float right by the conference center. On this particular day I was taking a brief break from the negotiations action to head across the river to a meeting hosted by a new platform for funders (The so-called”F20″ or “Foundations 20,” a catchy reference to the G20) convened in support of sustainable development.

Other links of interest:


TODAY ChroroPhronesis Open House on the second floor of Walker Building, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., with roughly a dozen immersive demos. Free event, no registration necessary.

November 29  informal networking session with alumna Kaitlin Walsh (’09) who is visiting campus as a judge for the EMS Poster Competition. Event is 3:45-4:30 p.m. in 229 Walker Building. Light refreshments will be served.

December 2 is the “Thinking Within Symposium” with keynote speakers from Penn State, Vanderbilt, and Johns Hopkins. It will be in Stuckeman, Jury Space, starting at 9 am. Registration is required: http://sites.psu.edu/thinkingwithin2017/

Jenn Baka spoke on a panel at a League of Women Voters event in Pittsburgh on November 13. The topic was on her work on the Pittsburgh ethane cracker plant, which is sponsored by PSIEE and Ryan Faculty Fellow research grants. The panel has gotten a bit of press coverage as well, additional news links:

Call for grad rep nominations
As the semester comes to an end, so does Lauren Fritsche’s time as a grad rep. We are soliciting nominations for her replacement. The new grad rep will join Megan, Eden, and Carolynne. The position runs from Jan – Dec 2018. Send nominations to Lauren Fritsche  by December 1.


Coffee Hour: Peter La Femina
Up, Up, and Away: Interactions between Magmatism, Tectonics, and Climate in Iceland
Iceland provides a unique and dynamic environment to investigate the geodynamics of a mid-ocean ridge, including ridge-transform and magma-tectonic interactions and the role of central volcano – fissure swarm systems in accommodating divergent plate motion. We have been studying the deformation of the Hekla central volcano to investigate magmatic processes and the interaction between central volcanoes and the mid-ocean ridge system. In addition to magmatic and tectonic systems, Iceland is home to Europe’s largest icecap, Vatnajökull, as well as several smaller ice caps. Significant historical mass loss from these ice caps has resulted in extensive uplift across Iceland. We present a new horizontal and vertical velocity field based on GPS data from 1994 to the present. This velocity field indicates, 1) North America – Eurasia plate motion dominates the horizontal signal; 2) broad uplift across all of Iceland, except in the northwest fjords where there is subsidence; 3) up to 3 cm/yr, but on average 2 cm/yr, uplift west and southwest of Vatnajökull; and 4) a decrease in uplift with distance away from Vatnajökull.

SWIG sponsors a CCWRC Family
For the last few years, the Penn State chapter of Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) has committed to sponsoring a family through the Centre County Women’s Resource Center (CCWRC) Holiday Sponsorship Program. The program provides gift baskets to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. These families are often living in the shelter or temporary housing in Centre County. Our responsibility is to purchase gift cards for each family member and a small basket of gift items for the holidays!

This year SWIG is sponsoring a family of five, and will need to raise $250 to fulfill our commitment to CCWRC. Last year we raised over $300! Cary Anderson will collect money through Tues, December 5. Her office is in 210 Walker Building, or feel free to also leave donations in the envelope in her mailbox in 304 Walker Building.

Centred Outdoors, interdisciplinary project benefits environment, community
Rob Brooks is a project collaborator
This past summer, nine outdoor locations around Centre County were teeming with residents ready to experience nature firsthand. Responsible for this increased activity in Centre County parks and natural areas was Centred Outdoors, a project implemented by Clearwater Conservancy and the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) and funded by a Centre Foundation grant.


Politics of presence: women’s safety and respectability at night in Mumbai, India
By Aparna Parikh
In Gender, Place and Culture
Access http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/jUwATNVUi5iGDTvCfJv5/full
This article focuses on women’s mobility in urban public space in Mumbai, India while working night shifts in outsourced call centres. The outsourced call centre industry is heralded as the beacon of modernity, and its entry was facilitated under a neoliberal political economy. This industry disproportionately employs women relative to India’s broader Information Technology sector, resulting in high numbers of women commuting at night. The state has reworked safety-centred policies for women working night shifts in call centres, which have been differentially implemented by companies. Expanding on this variegation, I sketch out the nightscape of transportation and mobility around outsourced call centres. This article analyses how women conceive of safety, as well as its interplay with convenience and considerations of respectability while making decisions about navigating urban public space at night. Women working in call centres find themselves in the crosshairs of narratives that demonize them as ‘bad women’ for being out on the street at night, while working in industries that specifically seek women willing to work in night shifts. Their navigation of this paradox exposes contradictions within the neoliberal modernization of Mumbai and the meaning of public safety for women who make this modernization possible through their labour.

Visualizing a country without a future: Posters for Ayotzinapa, Mexico and struggles against state terror
By Melissa W. Wright
In Geoforum
Access https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.10.009
On September 26, 2014, Mexico police forces ambushed several student buses from a rural teachers college in southwestern Mexico, killed several and abducted forty-three others. These forty-three have not been seen since and now pertain to the country’s bulging numbers of the forcibly disappeared. All of the students were young men studying at a rural teaching college, called a Normal School, and they are typically referred to as “normalistas” (student-teachers). Within a week of this massacre/disappearance, protests erupted across the country to demand their “live return” and to inspire international support of a growing social justice movement. In support of the activism, Mexican artist-activists organized an exhibition and catalog of political posters submitted from around the world. In this paper, I use a critical geographic lens to frame a discussion of these posters, and of the political poster as an activist artform more generally, as I examine these them within the many paradoxes that activists navigate in their struggles at the nexus of racism, misogyny, and neoliberal terror.

A Comparison of Daily Temperature Averaging Methods: Spatial Variability and Recent Change for the CONUS
By Bernhardt, J., A.M. Carleton, and C. LaMagna
In Journal of Climate. Published Online: 20 November 2017
Access https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0089.1
Traditionally, the daily average air temperature at a weather station is computed by taking the mean of two values, the maximum temperature (Tmax) and the minimum temperature (Tmin) over a 24-hour period. These values form the basis for numerous studies of long-term climatologies (e.g., 30-year normals) and recent temperature trends and changes. However, many first-order weather stations– such as those at airports– also record hourly temperature data. Using an average of the 24 hourly temperature readings to compute daily average temperature has been shown to provide a more precise and representative estimate of a given day’s temperature. This study assesses the spatial variability of the differences in these two methods of daily temperature averaging (i.e., [Tmax + Tmin]/2, average of 24 hourly temperature values) for 215 first-order weather stations across the conterminous United States (CONUS) the 30-year period 1981-2010. A statistically significant difference is shown between the two methods, as well as consistent overestimation of temperature by the traditional method ([Tmax + Tmin]/2), particularly in southern and coastal portions of the CONUS. The explanation for the long-term difference between the two methods is the underlying assumption for the twice- daily method that the diurnal curve of temperature is symmetrical. Moreover, this paper demonstrates a spatially-coherent pattern in the difference compared to the most recent part of the temperature record (2001-2015). The spatial and temporal differences shown have implications for assessments of the physical factors influencing the diurnal temperature curve, as well as the exact magnitude of contemporary climate change.

Nov 17

Happy Geography Awareness Week!


This is Geographic Awareness Week: The theme is “The Geography of Civil Rights Movements” Several events are happening:
November 14  Penn State GIS Day —many events at the University Libraries
November 15  Central PA GIS Day—Harrisburg. Contact Jodi Vender  if interested
November 16  Mapathon for Puerto Rico, 6 p.m. in 229 Walker Building


Guido Cervone was appointed to the NCAR non-MSF proposal review panel.

• Welcome to our new department work-study, Taylor Mills. She starts on November 15 and will be in 302 Walker Building.


Coffee Hour updates
There is no Coffee Hour lecture this week or next, due to the impending Thanksgiving break. The next Coffee Hour will be December 1. The final Coffee Hour for the fall semester will be December 8. The December 8 Coffee Hour will feature short talks by Undergraduate Research Opportunities Connection (UROC) students about their projects. If you missed Richard Mbih’s talk on November 3, you can view the recording here: http://live-geog.psu.edu/Mediasite/Play/47c7c5f5378e407fa244fda4a9b98bc61d

Visualize the World’ program to be held at University Libraries on Nov. 14
Penn State University Libraries will celebrate GIS Day on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at an event aimed to the broad audience of the Penn State community — students, staff, faculty and community members — with interests in learning about how geospatial information is being used on campus and beyond.

From AAG
Profiles of Geographers Working in Civil Rights & Social Justice
Joshua Inwood and Melissa Wright are featured
The theme for Geography Awareness Week (GeoWeek) 2017 is “The Geography of Civil Rights Movements.” To commemorate this theme, the AAG has compiled this list of geographers who have been recognized by the AAG for their work in anti-racism, diversity, or social justice.


A comparison of daily temperature averaging methods: Spatial variability and recent change for the CONUS [Continental United States]
By Jase Bernhardt, Andrew M. Carleton, and Chris LaMagna
In Journal of Climate (in press)
Access http://journals.ametsoc.org/toc/clim/current
Traditionally, the daily average air temperature at a weather station is computed by taking the mean of two values, the maximum temperature (Tmax) and the minimum temperature (Tmin) over a 24-hour period. These values form the basis for numerous studies of long-term climatologies (e.g., 30-year normals) and recent temperature trends and changes. However, many first-order weather stations– such as those at airports– also record hourly temperature data. Using an average of the 24 hourly temperature readings to compute daily average temperature has been shown to provide a more precise and representative estimate of a given day’s temperature. This study assesses the spatial variability of the differences in these two methods of daily temperature averaging (i.e., [Tmax + Tmin]/2, average of 24 hourly temperature values) for 215 first-order weather stations across the conterminous United States (CONUS) the 30-year period 1981-2010. A statistically significant difference is shown between the two methods, as well as consistent overestimation of temperature by the traditional method ([Tmax + Tmin]/2), particularly in southern and coastal portions of the CONUS. The explanation for the long-term difference between the two methods is the underlying assumption for the twice- daily method that the diurnal curve of temperature is symmetrical. Moreover, this paper demonstrates a spatially-coherent pattern in the difference compared to the most recent part of the temperature record (2001-2015). The spatial and temporal differences shown have implications for assessments of the physical factors influencing the diurnal temperature curve, as well as the exact magnitude of contemporary climate change.

Nov 17

Coffee Hour with Joshua Inwood | UROC for spring | Environment education game-changer


Major discovery night graphicCome discover geography as a major at Discovery Night at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, on Tuesday, November 7, 6:00 p.m in 22 Deike Building or via Zoom at https://psu.zoom.us/j/158547326

Please join current Earth and Mineral Sciences students to learn about majors and minors in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Students will share their unique experiences in majors, minors, internships, global experiences, research, and more. Refreshments available.


Megan Baumann, Eden Kinkaid, Ramzi Tubbeh, Jamie Peeler, and Julie Sanchez passed their candidacy exams.
• Alumnus Sterling Quinn and undergraduate student  Doran Tucker co-authored an article “How geopolitical conflict shapes the mass-produced online map,” appearing in the open access journal, First Monday.
Missy Weaver accepted our offer to return to Geography for the Undergraduate Administrative Assistant position and started on Monday, November 6.


Coffee Hour with Joshua Inwood
Civil Rights Geographies: Property and Whiteness
On January 2, 2016, armed anti-government protestors took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) in rural Oregon. The takeover of the MNWR is part of a larger, much longer set of movements called the Sagebrush Rebellion that has come to define contemporary white contestations about the federal regulation of lands in the American West. Specifically, we argue that the armed takeover of MNWR is revelatory of the way white supremacy intersects with place in important and consequential ways. In addition, we examine the politics of place and property to interrogate the way settler imaginaries affords settlers a perceived right to property and the land.

Time to apply for UROC for spring 2018
Now is the time to ​submit projects for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Connection (UROC). Please ​apply for your projects here for​spring 2018 ​by November 8. Thanks to those who have already submitted.  Apply now

UROC gives you the opportunity to find interested and qualified undergraduates to work with you as research assistants. This can be for thesis and dissertation projects, or other work that you wish to jump-start. Need inspiration or ideas? Check out past projects conducted through UROC.

Graduate student recognized as environmental education game-changer
Geography graduate student Elham Nasr Azadani has been selected by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as one of their “EE 30 Under 30” for 2017.

Civil Rights Featured Theme of 2017 Geography Awareness Week, Nov 12–18
Established by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1987, Geography Awareness Week (GAW) is observed the third week in November every year. GAW promotes what geography is, why it is important, and the relevance of a geographic education in preparing citizens to understand and debate pressing social and environmental issues and problems. This year’s celebration is November 12-18, marking the 30th birthday of what has become an important tradition in our discipline.


When the archive sings to you: SNCC and the atmospheric politics of race
By Joshua F. J. Inwood, Derek H. Alderman
In cultural geographies, First Published November 2, 2017
Access https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474017739023
Through our engagement with the ‘Freedom Singers’, we advocate for approaching the archive through the racial politics of atmosphere to understand both the affective, emotion-laden practices of the past and the affective work carried out by contemporary researchers within the archive. This atmosphere provides an important pathway for identifying and analyzing the relationality and encounters that advance a fuller study of the black experience and define what (and who) constitutes critical actors in that story. The Freedom Singers and their politico-musical legacy, while lost to many members of the public and even many scholars, offer an important lesson in broadening our appreciation of civil rights practice, as well as the practice of archival research itself. This piece contributes to broader understandings of the archive as an affective space and the role of affect in analyzing archive materials.

Oct 17

Coffee Hour with Richard Mbih | GIS Day on Nov. 14 | 3 PSU geographers at UN climate talks


sea Level rise in NYC

A portion of a map of sea level rise in New York City created by Carolyn Fish based on research by climate scientists, including some from Penn State Meteorology, which was featured on Phys.org as well as a Penn State News story.


Carolyn Fish was awarded the Cartographic Perspectives Journal 2016 Student Paper Competition for an article co-authored with Kirby Calvert on solar energy web maps.

Three Penn State Geographers, Assistant Professor Kimberley Thomas and Ph.D. Candidates Carolyn Fish and Meg Boyle, will represent Penn State at the annual UN Climate Negotiations, hosted by Fiji and held in Bonn, Germany, November 6-17, 2017. Thomas will additionally be representing the American Association of Geographers. The meetings are intended to advance countries’ cooperative implementation of the Paris Agreement in order to avert catastrophic climate change. In their work at the Negotiations, our department’s delegates will be joining with representatives of universities and research institutions from around the world. On campus, Thomas currently studies the intersection of climate adaptation finance and water management infrastructure. Fish studies map-based communications of climate change in mass media. Boyle studies the Paris Agreement as a model of international cooperation. More information and real-time updates on the Negotiations are available at: https://cop23.unfccc.int
To reach out to our delegates during the meetings in their personal capacities, please contact:
Meg Boyle- Twitter: @mmboyle; email: mmb5966@psu.edu
Carolyn S. Fish- Twitter: @cartofish; email: fish@psu.edu
Kimberley Thomas- Twitter: @kimberleyanh; email: kimthomas@psu.edu


Coffee Hour with Richard Mbih “Pastoralism: Challenges and Perspectives in the Western Highlands of Cameroon”
Pastoralism is livestock production through extensive grazing on open access rangelands. It remains one of the oldest and main production systems in the world and is practiced mostly by semi-nomadic pastoral groups in Cameroon. Though pastoralism contributes immensely to the national revenue, food security, and employment opportunities, its future in the region is very uncertain. The government of Cameroon, like many other African governments, undermines nomadic culture through a land use policy that fails to implement adequate policies to protect pastoralism and foster sustainable agro-pastoral development. In the Western Highlands of Cameroon where this project is based, pastoralism is endangered by population growth and infrastructural development, agricultural expansion, creation of protected areas, climate change, and persistent farmer-herder conflicts between local farming communities and Fulani pastoralists competing over declining agro-pastoral resources.

‘Visualize the World’ program to be held at University Libraries on Nov. 14
Penn State University Libraries will celebrate GIS Day on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at an event aimed to the broad audience of the Penn State community — students, staff, faculty and community members — with interests in learning about how geospatial information is being used on campus and beyond.

This year’s program, “Visualize the World: GIS, Maps, Drones, Virtual Reality, Location Intelligence,” explores the pervasive nature of geospatial information across new and emerging technologies — including drones and virtual reality — and how the geospatial revolution of interrelated technologies is enabling greater interaction with geospatial information on a daily basis.


Debating Unconventional Energy: Social, Political, and Economic Implications
By Kate J. Neville, Jennifer Baka, Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Karen Bakker, Stefan Andreasson, Avner Vengosh, Alvin Lin, Jewellord Nem Singh, Erika Weinthal
In Annual Review of Environment and Resources 2017 42:1, 241-266
Access https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102016-061102
The extraction of unconventional oil and gas—from shale rocks, tight sand, and coalbed formations—is shifting the geographies of fossil fuel production, with complex consequences. Following Jackson et al.’s (1) natural science survey of the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing, this review examines social science literature on unconventional energy. After an overview of the rise of unconventional energy, the review examines energy economics and geopolitics, community mobilization, and state and private regulatory responses. Unconventional energy requires different frames of analysis than conventional energy because of three characteristics: increased drilling density, low-carbon and “clean” energy narratives of natural gas, and distinct ownership and royalty structures. This review points to the need for an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing the resulting dynamic, multilevel web of relationships that implicates land, water, food, and climate. Furthermore, the review highlights how scholarship on unconventional energy informs the broader energy landscape and contested energy futures.

Harnessing the Power of Many: Extensible Toolkit for Scalable Ensemble Applications
By Vivek Balasubramanian, Matteo Turilli, Weiming Hu, Matthieu Lefebvre, Wenjie Lei, Guido Cervone, Jeroen Tromp, Shantenu Jha
In arXiv:1710.08491v1 [cs.DC]
Access https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.08491
Many scientific problems require multiple distinct computational tasks to be executed in order to achieve a desired solution. We introduce the Ensemble Toolkit (EnTK) to address the challenges of scale, diversity and reliability they pose. We describe the design and implementation of EnTK, characterize its performance and integrate it with two distinct exemplar use cases: seismic inversion and adaptive analog ensembles. We perform nine experiments, characterizing EnTK overheads, strong and weak scalability, and the performance of two use case implementations, at scale and on production infrastructures. We show how EnTK meets the following general requirements: (i) implementing dedicated abstractions to support the description and execution of ensemble applications; (ii) support for execution on heterogeneous computing infrastructures; (iii) efficient scalability up to O(104) tasks; and (iv) fault tolerance. We discuss novel computational capabilities that EnTK enables and the scientific advantages arising thereof. We propose EnTK as an important and unique addition to the suite of tools in support of production scientific computing.

The “Mundane Violence” of International Water Conflicts
Kimberly Thomas
In Education About Asia Volume 22:2 (Fall 2017): Water and Asia
Access http://aas2.asian-studies.org/EAA/EAA-Archives/22/2/1485.pdf
Statistics about water resources abound. Some, like the combined length of rivers in the United States (3.5 million miles), make for interesting but forgettable trivia. Others, like the number of people who experience severe water scarcity each year (four billion), declare an issue of urgent and global concern. The staggering magnitude and profound
implications of this water crisis alone are difficult to comprehend, and yet the calamity is even further compounded by climate change and international politics.
Climate change is augmenting the variability of a resource that is already unevenly distributed seasonally and geographically. Some arid regions like Mongolia are becoming drier, and humid areas such as Myanmar are receiving more rainfall. Glaciers have been described as reservoirs of fossil water because they are not replaced once melted, and
although glacier response to climate warming is not uniform, thousands of Himalayan glaciers are on track for dramatic retreat or disappearance.


Oct 17

Critical Geography Keynote with Minelle Mahtani | Cultivating connections | Job announcement: climate scientist


peat bog Lubec, Maine

This photo shows a raised peat bog near Lubec, Maine. It started forming after the glacier retreated from the area about 15,000 years ago. Photo: Andrew Carleton. The Department of Geography invites applicants for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Climate Science. Research emphases could include: hydro-climatology, climate variability and change, paleo-climate, climatic hazards, physical climatology. We encourage applicants with facility in approaches to climate analysis such as: proxy data, field climatology and instrumentation, remote sensing, GIS, statistical and/or dynamical modeling, attribution and regional-scale information applied to climate-change scenarios. For more information and to apply


• Where is Wayne? Alumnus Wayne Brew (’81), assistant professor of geography at Montgomery County Community College, was granted a sabbatical for fall 2017. He has been on a long road trip. Follow his travels and see daily Instagram updates here: https://www.mc3.edu/academics/faculty/highlights/wayne-brew
Brian King was interviewed on “The Academic Minute” about food scarcity and the treatment of HIV.


Coffee Hour is the Critical Geography Conference Keynote with Minelle Mahtani
Toxic geographies: absences in critical race thought and practice in social and cultural geography
In this talk, I suggest that social and cultural geography as a discipline and pedagogical stream needs to pay more detailed attention to the ongoing production of what I call toxic geographies, or emotionally toxic material spaces, for geographers of colour. I use the term “toxic” deliberately. I recognize that the word is a loaded one. Toxicity is often referred to as the degree to which a substance can destroy an organism. In geography, toxicity has sustaining, long-term implications not only for the lives of scholars of colour, but it also impacts the scholarship on race and difference.

Cultivating the connections between people and their environment
Geography graduate student Megan Baumann has been spending the last few summers in Nicaragua learning from farmers how they manage their land and crops. As the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, she hopes to continue her research in this area.

Sea-level rise, not stronger storm surge, will cause future NYC flooding
Rising sea levels caused by a warming climate threaten greater future storm damage to New York City, but the paths of stronger future storms may shift offshore, changing the coastal risk for the city, according to a team of climate scientists.


Against the Evils of Democracy: Fighting Forced Disappearance and Neoliberal Terror in Mexico
By Melissa W. Wright
In Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Access http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2017.1365584
On 26 September 2014, Mexican police forces in Iguala, Guerrero, attacked and abducted four dozen students known as normalistas (student teachers); some were killed on the spot and the rest were never seen again. Within and beyond Mexico, rights activists immediately raised the alarm that the normalistas had joined the country’s growing population of “the disappeared,” now numbering more than 28,000 over the last decade. In this article, I draw from a growing scholarship within and beyond critical geography that explores forced disappearance as a set of governing practices that shed insight into contemporary democracies and into struggles for constructing more just worlds. Specifically, I explore how an activist representation of Mexico’s normalistas as “missing students” opens up new political possibilities and spatial strategies for fighting state terror and expanding the Mexican public within a repressive neoliberal and global order. I argue that this activism brings to life a counterpublic as protestors declare that if disappearance is “compatible” with democracy, as it appears to be within Mexico, then disappeared subjects demand new spaces of political action. They demand a countertopography where the disappeared citizens of Mexico make their voices heard. Activists demonstrate such connections as they compose countertopographies for counterpublics across the Americas landscape of mass graves, prisons, and draconian political economies, mostly constructed in the name of democracy and on behalf of securing citizens. Understanding how Mexico’s activists confront the intransigent problems of state terror, spanning from dictatorships to democracies, offers vital insights for struggles against policies for detaining and disappearing peoples there and elsewhere in these neoliberal times.

State-level changes in US racial and ethnic diversity, 1980 to 2015: A universal trend?
By Barrett A. Lee, Michael J.R. Martin, Stephen A. Matthews, Chad R. Farrell
In Demographic Research
Access DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.33
BACKGROUND: Few studies have examined long-term changes in ethnoracial diversity for US states despite the potential social, economic, and political ramifications of such changes at the state level.
OBJECTIVE: We describe shifts in diversity magnitude and structure from 1980 through 2015 to determine if states are following a universal upward path.
METHODS: Decennial census data for 1980‒2010 and American Community Survey data for 2015 are used to compute entropy index (E) and Simpson index (S) measures of diversity magnitude based on five panethnic populations. A typology characterizes the racial/ethnic structure of states.
RESULTS: While initial diversity level and subsequent pace of change vary widely, every state has increased in diversity magnitude since 1980. A dramatic decline in the number of predominantly white states has been accompanied by the rise of states with multigroup structures that include Hispanics. These diverse states are concentrated along the coasts and across the southern tier of the country. Differences in panethnic population growth (especially rapid Hispanic and Asian growth coupled with white stability) drive the

Oct 17

Coffee Hour with Mark Guiltinan and Siela Maximova | Pub time online | Q&A Josh Inwood


MGIS pub time 2

MGIS students from Rhode Island, New Jersey, Ohio, and New Mexico working on their MGIS capstone projects were invited to participate in an online pub time on October 10, 2017. MGIS faculty (left to right) Justine Blanford, Beth King, and Jim Detwiler gathered after work at Whisker’s pub in The Nittany Lion Inn. They exchanged tips and ideas in an informal setting and connected with their fellow students. Through Zoom, students shared glimpses of their home life, kids and pets. Another pub/tea time will be announced soon.


Gian Rocco was elected Chair of the Amphibian and Reptile Technical Committee (ARTC) of the PA Biological Survey (PABS).
Eli Nasr Azadani has been recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education as one of their “Environmental Education 30 Under 30” for 2017. The program recognizes individuals in the U.S. and internationally, 30 years of age or younger, who are game changers in their communities.
Alumnus Tony Greulich (’96) was recently promoted to the position of Planner IV in the Development Review and Design Division of the Department of Planning for Henrico County, Virginia. He credits Roger Downs with setting him on the right career path.


Coffee Hour with Mark Guiltinan and Siela Maximova: Cacao for Peace: From Plant Genomics to Training Farmers in Indigenous Communities
Mark Guiltinan and Siela Maximova co-direct a program to study the molecular biology of cacao with the long-term goal of helping cacao farmers develop sustainable farms. Their work spans the gamut of the land grant university mission of research education and extension—from genome sequencing and functional genomics, educational programs for scientists from developing countries to hands-on teaching of farmers in cacao production methods—their program integrates multiple levels of the cacao production system. This talk will give an overview of the research program and focus on a specific program, Cacao for Peace, which aims to help cacao farmers in Colombia in the post-conflict era through integration of the land grant mission strategy.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Watch the webcast on Mediasite

[Editor’s note: The Summer 2017 GEOGRAPH Newsletter was published and mailed in August. We are placing the articles on the department website, and will highlight this content during the fall. Want to get your copy in the mail? Send your postal address to geography@psu.edu]

From the Summer 2017 GEOGRAPH newsletter
Q&A with Joshua Inwood
Joshua Inwood joined the Department of Geography in July 2016 as an associate professor and has a joint appointment as a senior research associate with the Rock Ethics Institute.
Q: What first inspired your scholarly interests in issues of place, social power, and inequality?
JI: I have always been interested in issues of justice and inequality, but it wasn’t until I got into graduate school and I began reading and thinking about social relations and the making of space and place that I realized how the organization of space and place is central to not only understanding inequality, but also how we might address structural inequality.

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