In an award-winning paper, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute’s (CCSI’s) Forrest Hoffman, Jitendra Kumar, and Richard Mills, along with William Hargrove of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, present a quantitative methodology that establishes an optimal sampling strategy for collecting environmental data by classifying spatial areas based on their environmental characteristics. This method provides a framework for using sparse field measurements to best represent entire ecoregions and an approach for integrating models and data.
Climate science researcher Daniel Hayes of the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with Eric Kasischke of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Maryland, co-chaired the science definition team charged with formulating the research plan for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). Stan Wullschleger, CCSI scientist and lead principal investigator for the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments–Arctic (NGEE–Arctic), also served on the ABoVE science definition team. ABoVE is a large-scale study of environmental change in the Arctic and boreal region of western North America and its implications for ecological and societal systems.
Complex systems are difficult to understand, yet complexity is a fundamental characteristic of climate, ecology, biology, and seemingly unrelated fields involving neutrons, transportation technology, and material sciences. In an attempt to bring scientists and engineers from these disciplines together, two Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) investigators, David Weston and Stan Wullschleger, organized a four-part series of Brown Bag discussions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on complex systems. Each week a different question was posed to the audience including:
CCSI Researcher’s Work on Photosynthesis in Jungle Leads to Crowdsourcing Data at Home
Last year Lianhong Gu, an ecosystem scientist, and Anthony Walker, an ecological modeler, both with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), journeyed to the Parque Natural Metropolitano rainforest reserve in the heart of Panama City. They were on a 2-week scientific expedition. The goal: to measure photosynthesis in various tree species to provide climate models with more accurate input data.
They worked high above the forest floor, in a cage ringed with infrared gas analyzers and held aloft by an industrial crane. The gas analyzers charted the rate of photosynthesis in specific tree leaves against the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a measurement from which Gu and Walker could derive important information on how the plant conducts photosynthesis—essentially examining the “photosynthetic engine” of the plant.
Above: Rainforest canopy at the Parque Natural Metropolitano. Photo provided by David Weston.
Data scientists Ranjeet Devarakonda, Giri Palanisamy, and Biva Shrestha with the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators with the US Department of the Interior United States Geological Survey (USGS) have jointly developed the USGS Science Data Catalog for earth science data. CCSI worked on the database index, search engine, and user interface for the project, which began last November under an interagency agreement between the two organizations.
The catalog service allows users to efficiently browse and discover USGS datasets through searches by keyword, data source, scientist name, or geographic information system. The catalog’s records describe datasets, data collections, and observational or remotely sensed data stored in national systems. Some collections in the catalog contain information dating as early as the 17th century.
Above: USGS Library. To deliver a wealth of USGS data collected over decades in easy-to-access formats for researchers around the globe, CCSI scientists and USGS collaborators developed the USGS Science Data Catalog, with which users can access earth science data through online searches.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Climate Change Science Institute researcher, Bai Yang, is a co-author of a Nature Climate Change article “Net carbon uptake has increased through warming-induced changes in temperate forest phenology” published on June 1. The paper analyzes seasonal shifts in plant life cycles, known as phenology, in select eastern United States forests using long-term data from ground observations, satellites, and terrestrial biosphere models. Yang and ORNL’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center provided meteorological and ecosystem carbon flux records for sites analyzed in the paper. The paper concludes that earlier springs and later autumns are resulting in increased carbon uptake, a process that may reduce the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and slow the rate of global warming.
The ORNL DAAC is pleased to announce the release of Daymet: Daily Surface Weather Data on a 1-km Grid for North America, Version 2. This data set provides Daymet output data as mosaicked gridded estimates of daily weather parameters for North America, including continuous surfaces of day length, precipitation, shortwave radiation, snow water equivalent, maximum air temperature, minimum air temperature, and water vapor pressure. The Daymet data product was derived from selected meteorological station data by interpolation and extrapolation algorithms.
Thomas Wilbanks, a corporate fellow with the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was one of a dozen experts selected to brief the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report on May 7. He answered questions related to urban infrastructure, energy supply and use, the Southeastern region of the United States, and climate adaptation.
“All in all, everybody involved in putting together the briefings was very pleased that the NCA is being received with so much positive interest,” Wilbanks said.
Scientists at the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), including Thomas Wilbanks, Steve Fernandez, Peter Thornton, Virginia Dale, and Benjamin Preston, were among the 240 authors who contributed to the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) report. The report, released on May 6, is an important resource for communicating the science and impacts of climate change in the United States and helps policy makers form decisions on climate change-related issues by providing information on past, present, and future climate trends based on technical reports.
Above: (From left) CCSI contributors to the National Climate Assessment are Benjamin Preston, Thomas Wilbanks, Virginia Dale, Steve Fernandez, and Peter Thornton.
JULY 11 DEADLINE EXTENSION. The Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is sponsoring two Early Career Awards to support travel to the “Next Generation of Methods and Techniques to Address Global Change Problems” workshop organized as part of the 99th ESA Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California. The awards are intended for early career scientists working in the area of climate change and hence promote academic and professional development. A workshop description and agenda and application form are attached to this announcement. The workshop is being organized by Santonu Goswami, Xiaofeng Xu, and Dan Hayes of CCSI.