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DGE Newsletter, November 2006
Nov. 20: Ken Caldeira in collaboration with NASA-Ames, organized a workshop on Geoengineering over the weekend of Nov. 18-19. On the Monday morning following, many of those attending this workshop stayed on to hold further open discussions in Carnegie's main seminar room. First the field was described by Ken and three other speakers: Lowell Wood, Lawrence Livermore Nat'l Lab.; David Keith, Univ. Calgary; and Tom Schelling, Nobel Laureate in Economics 2005, currently Emeritus Prof., Univ. Maryland (Photo right). While the first speakers discussed the possible pluses and minuses of Geoengineering, Prof. Schelling emphasized the many uncertainties of predicting future outcomes of such a complicated subject in a global society that is changing so rapidly. However, his overall philosophy is to mitigate global warming and CO2 emissions as best we can while researching options such as bioengineering to offset catastrophe After a short break, eight other researchers presented brief papers followed by discussion.

Nov. 17: Prof. Martin Hoffert spoke about Neutralizing the Fossil-Fuel Greenhouse. Can geoengineering compensate for the radiative forcing caused by CO2 buildup? When he spoke to us earlier this year (see Archive for Jan. 2006), an Apollo-like alternate energy research and development program on a global scale was explicated.

Nov. 8: Prof. John Sperry from the Univ. Utah spoke about plant transpiration. His title was The Physiology, Ecology, & Evolution of the Plant Transpiration Stream. The metaphor of water flowing like a stream from soil to roots, up the stem or tree, and out through the stomata in the leaves was an apt starting point. From there he diverged to tell us about capillary forces, cavitation and suction pressure, emphasizing that the plant uses no internal energy source to move the water. He also discussed the differences between conifers and angiosperms or tracheids vs vessels.
Field & Berry Labs
The plan for this quarter (Wednesdays at 1 p.m.) will be to learn about the risk of future large carbon losses from vulnerable stocks. Each week we shall focus on a different potentially vulnerable stock.
Nov. 1: We discussed the role of peat-lands for carbon storage. Peat-lands have largely been ignored by climate modelers because of their complexity. The amount of carbon stored in peat varies with water content and temperature (location & fire).
We also welcomed Mark Gessner (right in photo below) from Switzerland who is working in Vitousek's lab for the year.
Ben Houlton provided the Tasting of five kinds of fruits, fresh paired with dried. The fruits were apple, banana, strawberries, grapes & blue berries. Naturally, both had their merits because of the concentration of sugar in the dried samples. The strawberries had been freeze-dried, and were less palatable in my opinion. The dried blue berries were like candy.

Nov. 14: Adam Wolf is in a village in Norway, home to a meteorological institute, where he is learning an atmospheric modeling tool which uses trajectories of air parcels to define source/receptor relations of trace gases. This helps link, for example, observations of CO2, H2O, methane or others with their probable sources. With Joe Berry, he is developing a tool to use the global network of CO2 monitoring sites to develop regional flux estimates.

Nov. 16: Asner's lab has kicked off the new Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) program, which brings together new remote sensing technologies on an airplane to study ecosystems at the regional level.  David Knapp, Matt Jones, Robin Martin,  Greg Asner, and a team of engineers successfully tested the CAO in-flight over their Hawaii ecosystem research sites.
Ken Caldeira is one of five Stanford scholars appointed to the newly formed Inter-University Training Program to improve understanding and communication between university researchers and California policy makers working on climate change. This initiative is a collaboration between the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford and the Univ. California at both Berkeley and Davis.
Chris Field spent Nov. 20-23 in London for an IPCC meeting.
Nov. 8: On the day after the national mid-term elections discussion was about the influence of politics on research, especially with relevance to climate change. We welcomed another visiter on sabbatical
Alumni News

From Natalie Boelman <nboelman@ldeo.columbia.edu>, "She finally packed her bags and checked out of Chez Natalie.  Introducing...Aline Nousha Waldhauser, Born Nov. 2, @ 8:48 pm, 7 lbs 2 oz, 21 inches looong. Everything went smoothly, we are back home and busy trying to keep our newest room mate satisfied."
Nov. 21: Dave Kroodsma from La Paz, the capitol of Bolivia, announces plans for a new Ride for Climate USA to begin in Boston on April 21, 2007.

leave, Erle Ellas (left in photo) from the Univ. Maryland. John Sperry (today's seminar speaker) also joined in the discussion. The Tasting, provided by Roland Pieruschka, was of eight varieties of raw nuts: Brazil, cashew, almonds, pistachio, macadamia, pecans, walnuts & peanuts. We learned that the nuts from Brazil are found only in that country and harvested from wild trees. It has proved impossible to cultivate (domesticate) these trees which are now protected by the government.
Nov. 15: Eben Broadbent led the discussion of the causes and effects of fires in tropical forests, especially in the Amazon. Most of it was centered around a paper in Nature (February, 2003) by Mark Cochrane. Angelica and Paulo were able to add some first-hand observations.
Nov. 29: Ten of us present discussed a paper by Randerson et al, and editorials by Schlesinger, et al. & by M. Granger Morgan related to carbon trading, storage and climate change published in Science recently. We welcomed back Jason Funk from his research project in New Zealand. Chris provided the Tasting from Whole Foods of six different chocolates from Venezuela with varying percentages of cocoa-mass from 73 to 34. Most of us preferred the 70% best.
Archives and PDF Archives of past Newsletters,
Click on photos for enlargement.
Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu