April 2010


April 15: Anna M. Michalak, Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences, University of Michigan spoke to the title: Towards a global carbon monitoring system: Assimilating in situ and remote sensing observations in a geostatistical framework. Anna & her colleagues have been measuring both CO2 concentrations and fluxes in the atmosphere across the United States and developing models that may predict future carbon balances.

April 19: Prof. David MacKay, FRS, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge and Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government on Energy and Climate Change spoke about Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air. To begin with, he based all forms of energy on kilowatt/hrs/day and stated that the average person in the USA burns 250 kw/hr/dy, the highest in the world. Then in a very lively, illustrated presentation, he covered four alternative (non- fossil fuel) sources of energy: Wind, Nuclear, Biomass & Solar, giving the plusses & minuses of each. In summary: "We shall need everything we can get our hands on." See <http://www.withouthotair.com/>

April 27: Dr. James Brown, Distinguished Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico "Metabolism is to Ecology as Genetics is to Evolution. He showed us how these concepts may be related to laws of physics.


April 14: Ken Caldeira
spoke about Intentional and Unintentional Climate Change: Using Global Models to Inform Public Policy to the Department of Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford where he holds a courtesy appointment.
April 16: Caldeira continues to speak out on Climate Policy, particularly bioengineering, on National Public Radio.

April 23: Greg Asner writes about the paper by Huang et al. out today on drought-induced carbon losses in Pinyon-Juniper woodlands, the third largest ecoregion in the conterminous United States.  This is our latest output from the North American Carbon Program (NACP). The paper is in Remote Sensing of Environment 114 (2010) 1471–1479.

April 28: Adam Wolf defended his Dissertation for the PhD Degree. His title was A Forward Model for Data Assimilation of Forest Ecology from Remote Sensing. Before an appreciative audience of Faculty, Parents & Friends, he spoke in his usual, casual, humorous, yet informative style. We'll miss him, but wish him well on his next adventures at Princeton Univ.

Editor: Click on photos to enlarge them.
Jan Brown, jbrown1@stanford.edu








Field & Berry Groups

April 2: Kyla Dahlin gathered part of the usual group together to critique a short talk that she plans to give on April 10 before a "Science & Technology in Society" Conference  to be held in Washington, D.C. Her talk is titled "Using web-based tools and ethical deliberation to stabilize the climate" and is based on a workshop she participated in back in 2008. She will describe Issues including social, technological, financial & ecological impacts on both spatial & time scales, and how the participates voted to prioritize different mitigation choices.
The Group also planned for some future Friday meetings.
Tasting: Kyla brought five brands of ketchup including Heinz, Del Monte, Hunts, Country, & Trader Joe's Organic. The Country and TJ's Organic were noticeably different from the big name brands.

April 5: We congratulate both Bill Anderegg & Jen Johnson, who were just awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, based on "outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as ... potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise."  This is great recognition, in a very competitive setting.
April 9: Chris Doughty gave us his first practice run of a talk he plans to give as part of a job application in a few weeks. He spoke about how the albedo or energy efficiency of crop plants may be increased by modifying their morphology.
Tasting: Chris brought three kinds of Brazilian jellies: guava, sweet potato & pumpkin that we spread on delicious crackers. Some of us liked the guava best.
Carolyn Snyder announced that she has accepted a position, starting in July, as Director for Clean Energy & Climate Policy for the State of Delaware.
April 16: Chris Doughty continued his practice for a job application by giving an introductory lecture on simple climate models and how forests affect climate. In return he received an active critique from his audience.
Tasting: Chris brought four kinds of bread including rye, whole wheat, potato & multi grain. Each had its unique flavor, but all contained wheat flour because it's the gluten that holds them together. Too bad for those allergic to gluten.
April 23: The Group discussed the final Chapter: Walker's World in the paper by Broecker/Peng — GREENHOUSE PUZZLES begun last month. Walker et al postulated the role of atmospheric CO2 as the chemical policeman controlling the flow of continental weathering products to the sea, and thereby maintaining a balance between the rate of outgassing of CO2 gas from our planet's interior and the rate of CO2 removal to sea floor sediments as calcite. The important consequence of this police action is its influence on Earth climate.
Tasting: Four people brought different soft cheeses that we spread on bread to taste. There were two Goat cheeses with different flavors mixed in and one mild Farmer's cheese. The different idea was Easy Cheese from Kraft. It comes in a pressurized can that can be released by bending the spout much like whipping cream from a can. It tastes like processed cheddar, but needs no refrigeration because it's pressurized under Nitrogen gas.
April 30: The Group met in the Shop for a lesson in Welding. Chris Field demonstrated different types and let those who wished practice. always with the proper mask for safety. Click on photo for another view.
Tasting: Chris brought a variety of plant leaves including not only lettuce & spinach but many others with exotic names and flavors.