Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 7/7/15

July 7, 2015

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Image of the Week


A beautiful rainbow appears to descend into the ocean surrounding St. Lucia, a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Send photos from your summer travels to (link sends e-mail). Photo by Rob Brooks.

Good News

  • Doug Miller has been promoted to Senior Scientist.
  • Kathy Cappelli, undergraduate student with dual majors in geography and journalism, has accepted an internship with Penn State Strategic Communications.
  • Alumnus Rob Roth (Ph.D. ’11) has an article in Cartographic, Vol. 50, No.2, summer 2015.

Send your good news to share to


Jet contrails affect surface temperatures
High in the sky where the cirrus ice crystal clouds form, jet contrails draw their crisscross patterns. Now researchers have found that these elevated ice cloud trails can influence temperatures on the ground and affect local climate, according to a team of Penn State geographers.
Yosemite forest fire example of possible things to come
Forest composition, ground cover and topography are the best predictors of forest fire severity in the Western U.S., according to Penn State physical geographers who also see that the long history of fire exclusion on federal lands leads to uncharacteristically severe burns and potentially changes the dynamics of forests and their recovery.
Penn State selected as Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences
Penn State was one of a select group of U.S. educational institutions to be named a Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences (CAE GS) by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This recognition cements Penn State’s reputation as a leading provider of geospatial science education, which includes mapmaking, spatial data analysis, visual analytics, remote sensing, geospatial intelligence, homeland security and geographic information systems (GIS).
Penn State researchers awarded funding for online learning innovations
Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) has announced it will fund seven new projects through its Research Initiation Grant program.

Recently (or soon to be) Published

  • Wu J., Tschakert P., Klutse E., Ferring D., Ricciardi V., Hausermann H., Oppong J., Smithwick E. A. H. (2015) Buruli Ulcer Disease and Its Association with Land Cover in Southwestern Ghana. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(6): e0003840. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003840