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DGE Newsletter, September 2007
From Adam Wolf in the Russian Arctic
Sept. 11: Professor Louise Fresco, Univ. Amsterdam and former Assistant Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations spoke on Biomass for food or fuel: Is there a dilemma?
Sept. 15: Today it is Saturday, and I have just three more days here.  I'll let you know how they turn out. (Parts of the following have been edited. Editor)
The Russians support a seasonal base of operations in Tiksi, at the mouth of the Lena river, where they have an operation reminiscent of Leland Stanford during the California Gold Rush.  However instead of mining the miners, they are doing something else to the bone-hunters.  I have an intuition that in a transaction between nomadic Evenki reindeer herders and ?.  Buying bones for probably kopecks, there is apparently a lucrative market in Moscow for mammoth bone.  Perhaps you can line your wine cabinet with it, as you can from logs long buried in the Erie canal. Perhaps an ecologically sensitive alternative to elephant ivory piano keys. Perhaps a critical mineral for cell-phone manufacture.  I picture this market saturating, but apparently mankind is just sort of captivated by this one extinct specie. I for one, got two bison, a caribou, and something ambiguous, but am not resting until I achieve mammoth. Must . . find . . mammoth . .
The Pleistocene hunters, returning from the field, are laden heavily.  The bones are about 42-48,000 years old according to radiocarbon dating from a previous excavation.  They sit to my left as I write.  I am not sure I can even take them to the States unfortunately.  Maybe one or two I hope.  A mammoth leg is pretty cool, but it does count heavily against your baggage weight allowance.
The last two million years or so have been dominated by this cycle of glacial-interglacial periods, taken together some of the coolest climate the earth has experienced. And dry.  It is called the Pleistocene.
I'm not sure you'll have patience for the story about how much organic carbon is stored in these ancient sediments, and how when they become unfrozen, that carbon may well end up in the atmosphere. But let it be said: it's a lot of carbon, and you can tell your friends.
Sept. 19: Dr. Claudia Tebaldi from the Institute for the Study of Society and the Environment, National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO has been visiting DGE since July and working with Dave Lobell to connect climate model projections with impact models; such as his crop yield models.
Today, she gave her farewell seminar titled Projected climate change: average changes and some extremes from multi-model ensembles. Modeling future temperatures gave fewer uncertainties than possible future precipitation changes.
Field's Group
Sept. 24: The Group welcomed four new members, Rob Genova (Programmer), Luis Fernandez (Visiting Researcher), Elliott Campbell (Post Doc), & Kyla Dahlin (Grad Student). Plans for future meetings (Mondays at Noon) were made. Except for Oct. 1 when several members will be attending the GCEP Meeting at Stanford, some aspect of Biofuels will be discussed.
Chris brought four spicy chocolate bars to Taste, and all agreed that our traditional Tastings should continue with the Speaker for the day responsible.
Sept. 28: Jason Funk recently returned from his research project in New Zealand to accept the Lokey/Stanford Univ. Fellowship at Environmental Defense in Washington, DC to work on conservation incentives in the US Farm Bill for a year.
Asner's Group
Sept. 14: The Group is developing a new canopy diversity mapping approach for tropical forests and savannas that uses integrated airborne hyperspectral and waveform-LiDAR remote sensing technologies.  This project is unique in that it builds, from the elemental/molecular levels to canopy/landscape scales, linkages between taxonomic, biochemical and spectral diversity.  The long-term goal is to advance the regional-scale science that links biodiversity and ecosystem function in tropical biomes.  Some day, we hope to have an airborne mapping approach for canopy diversity that matches our current space-based capability for rain forest disturbance and logging.
Please take a look at our new web site for this project: http://spectranomics.stanford.edu that is linked to our collaborative airborne remote sensing project: http://cao.stanford.edu. We're just getting started.  Stay tuned for updates.
Sept. 10-13: Chris Field gave a keynote presentation at the California Climate Conference in Sacramento.
Sept. 17: Chris lectured on "energy" and "biodiversity" at Lake Tahoe at a Stanford Business School executive training program on sustainability.
Sept. 26-29: Chris Field participated in a Workshop on Uncertainty in Greenhouse Gas Inventories at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna.

Congratulations to Hal Mooney, who has just been awarded the 2007 Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.  The Margalef Prize is the most prestigious award of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia.  Aside from the usual riches (especially with the strong Euro) and fame, the prize itself is a spectacular kaleidoscope, perfect for Hal's career.
Ken Caldeira will be teaching a Stanford Course on Energy and the Environment that meets twice a week during Fall Quarter at DGE.

Sept. 15: Alumnus David Kroodsma & Bill Bradlee finished their bike ride across the USA & Golden Gate Bridge. See <www.rideforclimate.com> and DGE's People page for more details. Yuka Estrada and Paulo Oliveira rode from the Bridge north to Fairfax and back south a long with a large group of bikers to welcome them. Dave plans to show us his slides on Oct. 2, 4 pm.
Archives and PDF Archives of past Newsletters,
Click on photos for enlargement.
Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu