March 2010


Mar. 2: John Harte, Professor Energy & Resources Group, Dept. Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Univ. California, Berkeley spoke to the title: Maximum entropy predicts realistic patterns in the distribution and abundance of species. Using concepts borrowed from Physics and the Maximum Entrophy Principle, he is developing a theory of Macroecology to measure the distribution of species across broad landscapes. His goal is to be able to estimate species extinction rates under habitat loss, biodiversity, and the abundance of species for assessing conservation status.

New Faces Welcome

Jean Baptiste Feret joined us from the Geophysics Institute of Paris, France where he had recently completed his PhD in Physical Fundamentals in Remote Sensing. His dissertation is entitled Use of radiative transfer models to assess leaf pigment content by optical remote sensing, and he worked at the leaf and canopy scale. Here, he is currently working on the application of model inversion at the canopy scale (using radiative transfer modeling) to retrieve the biochemical, and structure properties of the vegetation. This work is mainly based on the processing of the CAO data, and aims at mapping the canopy species. JB is supported by Carnegie plus a contribution from the French Space Agency Project called CHLORuS.

Eric Kissel is currently working with the Technical Support Unit of Working Group II at the IPCC. He will be supporting Chris Field and the rest of Working Group II as it gears up for Assessment Report 5.
Prior to the IPCC, he served as the Managing Director of Live Climate, a San Francisco based non-profit that promotes carbon offset projects in developing countries

March 22: If you tuned in to NPR (KQED), you might have heard Ken Caldeira discussing ways to cool our planet via bioengineering. <>






Field & Berry Groups

March 5: The Lab Group continued the discussion begun on Feb. 26 of possible new joint projects using sensors. Adam has researched various types that may be purchased or put together, and with Kyla, will decide what might be best to buy for a project at Jasper Ridge.
Tasting: Adam Wolf brought two lemon curds (custards). Each was prepared by a different procedure and with slightly different ingredients (e.g. whole eggs or only the yolks). Their tastes were similar but had very different textures—one much thicker than the other.

March 12: Over lunch, Adam Wolf elaborated on his previous research into making and/or buying and using remote sensors. Chris Field spoke about writing a grant proposal to obtain funds for buying new instruments, including a different type of gas analyzer that will be more economical than the traditional mass spectrograph for determining isotope ratios. He asked members to submit a paragraph supporting such a proposal before April first.

March 19: Chris Field led the discussion of a paper from Nature (2/11/2010) titled The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment by R. H. Moss et al. The authors describe a new process whereby climate change scientists from the physical, biological & social fields may coordinate their findings in parallel to improve their models much faster.
Tasting:Chris brought four bags, each with a different variety of tangerine. The Honey Tangerine had many seeds, but sweet flavor and might be great for juice. The very large Sequoia Minneola were nearly seedless, but not as flavorful. The other two were very small. All tangerines peel easily and, of course, are very nutritious.

Asner Group

Greg reminds us of a new paper (desantis_etal_RSE_2010.pdf) mapping California fire severity. This paper is unique in that it focuses on the detailed spatial patterns of fire severity in a more physically-based approach and covers the big Indians and Basin Complex fires of 2008.  You might remember the smoke.


Editor: Click on photos to enlarge them.
Jan Brown,