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Serotiny, Fires, and BioScience (plus Canadian radio)

posted Dec 10, 2013, 5:13 PM by Brian Buma

Some colleagues and myself published a paper on serotiny in BioScience last month, in which we discuss the implications of changing fire regimes on serotinous tree species in North America.  It might seem obscure, but actually a large portion of the continent is covered by those trees- trees that require fire to reproduce (or at least strongly depend on them).  Think more fire = good thing?  Not necessarily (sometimes yes, sometimes no).  Paper is attached.

This work actually was featured on Quirks and Quarks, the excellent national Canadian radio show.  http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/quirksaio_20131026_24700.mp3


First images from new Landsat show Boulder, Ft Collins fires.

posted Mar 26, 2013, 7:41 AM by Brian Buma

The first images are in.  Checkout this cool display of the new Landsat:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/first-images-feature.html

Ready, set, burn...

posted Mar 17, 2013, 11:48 AM by Brian Buma

Writeup from Discover magazine today:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2013/03/16/ready-set-burn/#.UUYOlTmAKM8

Matches up with all the published things from folk like Westerling et al who are projecting increases in the fire season length (who he cites).  While there's debate about the effects of fire suppression in much of the West, and its role in actually lowering fire incidence in many places, the point that longer fire seasons/lower snowpack/warmer temperatures will make more fire is good to get out there.  If there was anybody that wasn't aware of this already...

Internet education resources

posted Mar 16, 2013, 11:49 AM by Brian Buma

I should post this:  The Climate Literacy Awareness Network (CLEAN), http://cleanet.org/index.html
 
A great resource I've been involved with for a while.  Basically, it collects online teaching resources and then vets them with associated experts.  A resource on the topic of important aerosols for climate change issues would be reviewed by an atmospheric scientist, for example.  I've reviewed many things on climate change and disturbances, and some management related topics as well.  Sources are scored based on accuracy, mainly, but also on things like how up to date the material is (and how often it will need to be re-reviewed, especially important for continually evolving subjects like insect mortality-fire relationships).  It's a great place. 
 
A good next step that I've been thinking about would be setting up an undergraduate review panel as well.  We could do before-after testing on the resource, and then also score these resources on how well our "test panel" did.  So they'd get a scientific score and an education score.  Ideally this would be education students, I would think... some group without direct knowledge of the subject matter already (so not ecology grad students), and some group that would also benefit from the exercise themselves.  Stay tuned, hope to set something like this up once I figure out where I'm going next.

Natural Disasters!

posted Feb 11, 2013, 12:28 PM by Brian Buma

Here's a cool animated map of disturbance/disaster risk throughout the US.  Pick your favorite spot and see what can go wrong!

http://pictures.picasion.com/pic64/2c4b5554ecf6c6dab68e4fc6b28e25e7.gif

New Landsat

posted Feb 11, 2013, 11:05 AM by Brian Buma

http://www.businessinsider.com/nasas-landsat-data-continuity-mission-launch-2013-2

New landsat mission is launching today.  Landsat is one of the coolest things we have going.  Continual (except recently) coverage of the entire planet for the past 40ish years.  Amazing.

Announcement poster for my colloquium talk

posted Feb 4, 2013, 8:02 PM by Brian Buma

I made up this poster for the talk on Friday. Hope you all can make it.

NOVUS / PROBE announcement

posted Jan 24, 2013, 8:17 AM by Brian Buma

Dr. Williams et al. did a nice little writeup for EOS regarding last years PROBE workshop, which was an excellent experience.
 
 
I am very excited to be part of this!  Lots to learn, lots to share.  Another workshop is coming up this spring, and it promises to be good as well.

Climate Change in your town

posted Jan 21, 2013, 1:05 PM by Brian Buma   [ updated Jan 21, 2013, 1:05 PM ]

There's a cool new website from New Scientist to track the warming climate where ever you'd like:

http://warmingworld.elasticbeanstalk.com/index.html

It seems to be fairly solid data, although it only goes back to 1951 as a result (in most places at least).  You can read more about the data set here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/   That site also has a rundown on some of the corrections that were made, such as urban heat island correction. 

Black Carbon project winding down

posted Jan 3, 2013, 10:09 AM by Brian Buma

The cause of carbon sequestration in forests- specifically forests that burn- has long thought that charcoal was a potential source of long-term C sequestration.  We did a REALLY EXTENSIVE survey of post-fire environments, looking at all the charcoal we could find.  On snags, on woody debris, in the soil.  The results are about to be submitted for publication.  The take home message is that we didn't really end up with any more black carbon (e.g. charcoal that is resistant to oxidation/degradation) than control plots (we digested the charcoal and the soils with a chemical oxidation procedure designed to isolate recalcitrant carbon stocks).  Surprisingly, as it's only nine-years post fire.

 We found that charcoal really didn't have as much carbon as expected, either.  Although we can't say much about total black carbon formation because erosion is unknown (but likely minimal, given the sites we chose), at least at the plot level it appears that the fire consumed as much charcoal as it formed.   These were quite severe fire sites (complete aboveground organic soil consumption and complete mortality, for instance) so perhaps lower severity sites would produce more due to a less intense fire.  Hopefully a proposal will be submitted soon to fund exploration in less severely burned areas.

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