IMAGE OF THE WEEK
A split photo of subject and photographers from Professor Emeritus Rob Brooks. “Becky took the image of Fenway and me as I took the Green-backed heron photo (in Maine),” Brooks said.
Mark Simpson will participate in a roundtable session on “Using Virtual Reality for Research and Teaching” 11:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, January 16, in 221 Chambers Building, hosted by the College of Education Technology Committee.
The Center for Climate Risk Management (CLIMA) will hold a seminar on “A nonstationary and non-Gaussian moving average model for solar irradiance downscaling,” 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 in 117 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building with Wenqi Zhang, University of Colorado, Boulder.
The National Park Service is hosting paid internship opportunities in the Bozeman,Montana office this summer. The intern will help gather information to support a water resources climate adaptation workshop for fisheries, hydrology and water quality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Information about eligibility, application process, and the project.
Carol Bouchard, who received her bachelor’s degree in geography in 1987, got married in October 2019. Her husband Glen works in Las Cruces, New Mexico, while she is caring for her dad full time on Cape Cod. “Penn State gave me the proverbial golden foot in the door when I entered on duty at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (and its predecessor organizations) back in 1989,” Bouchard said.”I retired after a wonderful 30-year career, having visited 135 UN countries.”
Matthew Popek, who earned his bachelor of science in geography in 2009, received his American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification during the Fall 2019 cycle.
Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) surpassed its goal for the 2019 Centre Safe Holiday Sponsorship. SWIG collected $350 ($100 more than the original goal) to spend on the sponsored family, a mother and two teen children.
The Penn State Center for Security Research and Education (CSRE) has announced its spring 2020 grant program to support security-related scholarship and educational programs at Penn State. University faculty and researchers are eligible to apply by Feb. 14, 2020. For the first time, CSRE will offer a $50,000 Impact Grant, a $50,000 Homeland Security Grant, and open-topic grants with maximum awards of $15,000. Applications should be submitted online.
The Thinking Within Symposium will he held March 28, 2020 at the Penn State Pattee Library, University Park campus, Pa.
Mei-Huan Chen and Zachary Goldberg have been selected as new grad reps for the term ending in December 2020. They will be joining current reps Ruchi Patel and Connor Chapman.
Peter Backhaus has been certified as a Wetland Professional in Training (WPIT) by the Society of Wetlands Scientists Professional Certification Program.
The first Coffee Hour lecture for spring 2020 will be January 31. Arturo Izurieta, executive director of the Charles Darwin Foundation, will give a talk on Working on an old question “How many visitors can the Galapagos hold? Finding a sustainable model”
Is there a way to turn waste into a useful resource and at the same time reduce environmental degradation from closed mines? That’s what visiting South African scholar Nemapate Ndivhuwo wants to find out.
Ndivhuwo visited Penn State during fall semester 2019 from the University of Venda, in Limpopo Province, South Africa, as part of its University Capacity Development Programme.
Have you ever dreamed of traveling to a remote, ancient village in Europe, but never had the time or money? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to perform lung surgery without ever setting foot in a hospital?
With Penn State’s new Center for Immersive Experiences, those experiences are becoming a virtual reality for students and faculty of all disciplines.
Alex Klippel directs the center, located in Pattee Library, which staffs a team of nine developers and five-10 student support workers. Together, they provide technology and learning tools to experience and create virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree video.
The Department of Geography’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Connection (UROC) program allows undergraduate students to gain valuable research experience and technical skills through collaboration on projects within the department and supervised by faculty and/or graduate students, as well as 1-3 credit hours to apply towards graduation (GEOG 494). This is a valuable resume-building experience for undergraduate students and can be beneficial for both future employment and graduate school.
The following projects have openings for Spring 2020:
- Project SP20a: Mapping post-fire tree cover using object-based image analysis
- Project SP20b: The Lived Experience of Environmental Change: Centre County Snapshots
- Project SP20c: Mapping irrigation districts in Tolima, Colombia
Growing Season Synoptic and Phenological Controls on Heat Fluxes over Forest and Cropland Sites in the Midwest U.S. Corn Belt
Hiestand, M.P. and A.M. Carleton
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Spatial variations in land use/land cover (LULC) in the Midwest U.S. Corn Belt — specifically, deciduous forest and croplands—have been suggested as influencing convective rainfall through mesoscale circulations generated in the atmosphere’s boundary layer. However, the contributing role of latent and sensible heat fluxes for these two LULC types, and their modulation by synoptic weather systems, have not been determined. This study compares afternoon averages of convective fluxes at two AmeriFlux towers in relation to manually-determined synoptic pressure patterns covering the nine growing seasons (1 May to 30 September) of 1999-2007. AmeriFlux tower US-Bo1 in eastern Illinois represents agricultural land use —alternating between maize and soybean crops—and AmeriFlux tower US-MMS in south-central Indiana represents deciduous forest cover. Phenologically, the latent and sensible heat fluxes vary inversely across the growing season, and the greatest flux differences between cropland and deciduous forest occur early in the season. Differences in the surface heat fluxes between crop and forest LULC types vary in magnitude according to synoptic type. Moreover, statistically significant differences in latent and sensible heat between the forest and cropland sites occur for the most frequently-occurring synoptic pattern of a low-pressure system to the west and high pressure to the east of the Corn Belt. The present study lays the groundwork for determining the physical mechanisms of enhanced convection in the Corn Belt, including how LULC-induced meso-scale circulations might interact with synoptic weather patterns to enhance convective rainfall.
Reorganization of atmospheric circulation between 1400-1700 CE as recorded in a South Pole ice core
Elena V. Korotkikh, Paul A. Mayewski, Andrei V. Kurbatov1, Daniel A. Dixon, Andrew M. Carleton, Kirk A. Maasch, Jefferson C. Simões, Michael J. Handley, Sharon B. Sneed, Douglas Intron
Earth and Space Science Open Archive
Here we present an ~2000 year high-resolution glacio chemical record from the South Pole. Significant changes in chemical concentrations, accumulation rate, stable water isotopes and deuterium excess records are captured during the period ~1400-1700 CE, indicating a reorganization of atmospheric circulation that occurred in two steps: ~1400-1425 CE and ~1650-271700 CE. Major declines in dust and SO42-concentrations are observed ~1400 CE suggesting poleward contraction of the southern circumpolar vortex and potential intensification of westerly air flow, accompanied by a sea ice decrease in the Weddell Sea and potentially also in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean. The changes in stable water isotopes, deuterium excess,NO3-31concentration and accumulation rate characterize a second shift in atmospheric reorganization between 1650-1700 CE,reflecting increased marine air mass intrusions and subsequent reduction of the katabatic winds, and a shift to a colder moisture source for South Pole precipitation. These internally consistent changes involving atmospheric circulations and sea ice conditions are also in line with those identified for the recent period, and include associations with the large-scale teleconnections of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).
The landscape-scale drivers of herbivore assemblage distribution on the central basalt plains of Kruger National Park
Young, C., Fritz, H., Smithwick, E., & Venter, J.
Journal of Tropical Ecology
The distribution and abundance of herbivores in African savannas are constrained by interactions between abiotic and biotic factors. At the species-level, herbivores face trade-offs among foraging requirements, vegetation structure and the availability of surface water that change over spatial and temporal scales. Characterizing herbivore requirements is necessary for the management of the environment in which they occur, as conservation management interventions such as fencing and artificial water provision consequently have effects on how herbivores address these trade-offs. We tested the effects of environmental attributes on the probability of presence of herbivore functional types at different distances to water in the Satara section of Kruger National Park over the period of a year. Hypotheses about species’ relative distribution and abundance were developed through a literature review of forage and water availability constraints on feeding preference and body size of herbivore. We expected strong seasonal relationships between vegetation biomass and quality, and biomass of water-dependent herbivores with increasing distance to water. Our analyses of herbivore distribution across the region confirmed broad-scale descriptions of interactions between forage requirements and water availability across a set of species which differ in functional traits.
The value of being there: toward a science of immersive virtual field trips
Klippel, A., Zhao, J., Oprean, D. et al.
With immersive experiences becoming a medium for mass communication, we need pedagogies as well as scientific, evidence-based design principles for immersive learning. To foster evidence-based designs of immersive learning, we detail an empirical evaluation of a geosciences field trip, common in undergraduate education across numerous disciplines. The study builds on a previously proposed research framework in which we detailed a basic taxonomy of virtual field trips distinguishing between basic, plus, and advanced immersive virtual field trip experiences. The experiment reported here expands the original evaluation of basic field trips into the realm of plus versions using pseudo-aerial 360∘ imagery to provide embodied experiences that are not possible during the actual field trip. We also refined our original experimental design placing a stronger focus on the qualitative feedback elicited from the students. Results show an overwhelmingly positive response of students to virtual field trips with significantly higher-valued learning experience and enjoyment. Furthermore, the introduction of pseudo-aerial imagery (together with higher image resolution) shows a significant improvement in the participants spatial situation model. As contextualizing and spatially grounding is essential for place-based learning experiences, plus versions of virtual field trips have the potential to add value to the learning outcome and immersive virtual field trip experience. We discuss these encouraging results as well as critical feedback from the participants, such as the absence of touch in virtual experiences, and lay out our vision for the future of immersive learning experiences across environmental sciences.
Neighborhood Walkability and BMI Change: A National Study of Veterans in Large Urban Areas
Elizabeth Tarlov, Abigail Silva, Coady Wing, Sandy Slater, Stephen A. Matthews, Kelly K. Jones, Shannon N. Zenk
Objective: Improving neighborhood walkability has been proposed as a policy intervention to reduce obesity. The objective of this study was to evaluate longitudinal relationships between neighborhood walkability and body weight among adults living in large urban areas.
Methods: In this retrospective longitudinal study of United States military veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs health care, Veterans Affairs clinical and administrative data (2007‐2014) were linked to environmental measures constructed from public (2006‐2014) and proprietary (2008‐2014) sources, and linear regression models with person fixed effects were used to estimate associations between walkability and BMI among 758,434 men and 70,319 women aged 20 to 80 years in 2009 to 2014.
Results: Neighborhood walkability was associated with small reductions in BMI. Effects were most pronounced among men aged 30 to 49 and 50 to 64. For women, differences were largest in the two youngest age groups, 20 to 29 and 30 to 49, though only estimates for all women combined were statistically significant. For women aged 30 to 49, effect sizes grew when the sample was limited to those who remained in the same neighborhood during the entire follow‐up period.
Conclusions: Investments in the built environment to improve walkability may be a useful strategy for weight control in some segments of the adult population.