Global change research in the fields of ecology and conservation biology primarily focuses on how changing climatic variables will directly impact species and ecosystems. Less attention is paid to understanding the potential impacts of human adaptation, even though history suggests these might be larger and more rapid than the more gradual effects of changing temperature and precipitation regimes. A recent paper in Conservation Biology by Lyndon and collaborators at Princeton (Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove, and Jonathan Green in the Woodrow Wilson School) and several other institutions provides an initial method for anticipating where agricultural land use shifts due to climate change are most likely to happen. The approach is based on quantifying the agricultural utility of land, which is strongly correlated with the likelihood that it be converted to farmland, and how this value is altered by climate change. Applying this measure to areas of conservation interest provides a framework for understanding how the pressure to transform these lands to agricultural uses might change under future climates. This method can be readily incorporated into existing conservation planning frameworks. The paper is available for download at the journal’s website, and more detailed summaries are available here and here.
In December 2013, Stephanie Debats and Drew Gower attended the first meeting of an 18-month modeling workshop series through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, Maryland. The workshop series is entitled “Towards Socio-Hydrologic Synthesis: Modeling the Co-Evolutionary Dynamics of Coupled Human, Water, & Ecological Systems”.
First International Workshop on Advances in Observations, Models and Measurements Techniques of Atmospheric Water Vapor Isotopes
Cynthia Gerlein gave a presentation at the First International Workshop on Advances in Observations, Models and Measurements Techniques of Atmospheric Water Vapor Isotopes hosted at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) in Gif-Sur-Yvette, near Paris, from October 16th to October 18th 2013. Her talk presented the first results of her project on rain-vapor equilibrium in Central Kenya.
The Center for Data Innovation‘s interest is in helping government agencies realize the interest of having data policy to push innovation and assisting them in shaping pragmatic public policies designed to enable data-driven innovation in the public and private sector.
We had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Thomas Fuchs from the Jet Propulsion Lab on October 2nd and 3rd. Dr. Fuchs is a machine learning expert who develops classification algorithms (using approximate bayesian computation, random forests, and other techniques) that are used to detect cancerous cells, to classify astronomical features, and to help guide JPL’s Mars Rovers (among other applications).