Giraffes, elephants, zebras, camels, hippos: check out the splendid views of Mpala that Vinicus Amaral, a research intern this summer, shot from a drone over the past two months! Fast forward to 1:09 for an impressive look at the Caylor Lab flux tower!
Last week Lyndon Estes and Kelly Caylor were in Italy to help teach a new course on UAS for Environmental Monitoring, which was organized by Kelly and Salvatore Manfreda, and run under the aegis of the University of Basilicata. Xurxo Gago from the Universitat de les Illes Balears provided instruction on multicopters and estimating crop water use from thermal imagery. The classes were held in the ancient city of Matera, while flight training and data collection practicals took place in farmland to the south near Metaponto. Read more
Adam Wolf from the Caylor Lab, along with researchers at Princeton University and other institutions, just published a new article in Science. In this paper, the authors studied a tree-ring database of 1338 forest sites from around the globe. They found that forests exhibit a drought “legacy effect” with 3 to 4 years’ reduced growth following drought. During this postdrought delay, forests will be less able to act as a sink for carbon. Incorporating forest legacy effects into Earth system models will provide more accurate predictions of the effects of drought on the global carbon cycle.
Researchers from the Caylor Lab and the University of Indiana’s Ostrom Workshop worked with Textit, a company that builds SMS and voice applications, to design a crop failure early warning system for use among African smallholders. The system uses a series of short survey questions texted to farmers throughout the growing season to collect information on perceived climate dynamics, crop yields and agricultural decisions. The researchers are hoping to use this information, along with environmental data collected through a field-based sensor network, to better understand how smallholders respond to climate shocks and to predict when crop failures may be imminent.
Textit profiled the system and a pilot project conducted in Zambia in a recent blog post. Click below to see the article!
Former lab member Stephen Good, currently doing a post-doc at the University of Utah, and about to start a professorship at Oregon State University, just published an article in Science. For this paper, Stephen and his collaborators used water vapor isotope data from TES along with other datasets, like the GPCP and OAFlux, to provide a global estimate of evapo-transpiration partitioning. While the details can be found in the paper, the general result is that: 64 % of the water is transpired by vegetation • 6 % evaporates from soils • 3 % evaporates from lakes, streams and rivers • The other 27 % are being intercepted by vegetation.
The article is already getting some press around the www (see here, here or here), and will without doubt be a key study for future research on ecohydrology at the global scale. A good summary of the article is also provided in the “perspective” article by Renee Brooks, published in the same issue of Science.