Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 10/18/16

OCT 16

Coffee Hour with Christelle Wauthier | Menominee and Penn State Collaborate | CAUSE trip reflections


Cappelli visits 361

Alumnus Chris Cappelli (’88), director of global sales and business development at Esri, and a member of our online Geosptial Programs advisory board, visited Cindy Brewer’s GEOG 361 “Maps and Map Construction” class, and also stopped by the GeoVISTA Center this month to talk with students about careers in geography.


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Coffee Hour on October 21 with Christelle Wauthier
“Volcanic and tectonic processes revealed by radar remote sensing”
Knowledge of the location and volume of intruded magma is key for both eruption forecasting and the interpretation of volcano structure and dynamics. Volume change and source location of magma reservoirs and pathways may be assessed through modeling of geodetically-imaged deformation sources. Modeling tools and techniques are evolving rapidly to provide much greater spatio-temporal resolution of surface deformation, as well as better insights into sub-surface processes through more mechanically robust numerical models. Volcano geodetic data are particularly valuable when combined with other independent geophysical and geochemical datasets. Here, we will show example of synergistic volcano geodetic studies at Kilauea Volcano, HI, Nyiragongo Volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as at Central America Volcanoes.

Climate change impacts on Menominee nation’s forest home focus of NSF funding
A Native American tribal nation in Wisconsin faces cultural and economic challenges as climate change impacts its forest home. A $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation will study this relationship and how it could inform decision-making about forest management. Erica Smithwick, associate professor of geography and associate in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Penn State, is the principal investigator on the five-year project, funded from the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program.

On the hunt for wetlands, retreating glaciers and climate-change knowledge
Clutching large research instruments, they made their way across sphagnum moss, dense sedges, low shrubs and fallen trees trunks. Deep in the temperate rainforest of southeast Alaska, 12 undergraduates from Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Science, along with faculty, navigated boot-sucking muskegs to collect methane and peat samples that will provide carbon storage and emission information about wetlands in landscapes with retreating glaciers. The students were on the front lines researching climate change this summer as part of the college’s 2016 Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies (CAUSE) course.


Grappling with Geography’s Existential Dilemma: The Legacy of William Torrey Harris
By Roger Downs
In Geographical Review
Geography’s existence as a school or college subject has never been a given. While geographers make cases for geography’s importance, acceptance of those cases rests not on impassioned rhetoric but on the social and intellectual contexts into which disciplines fit. Contexts are contested and they change. From a seemingly secure position at the beginning of the twentieth century, geography’s role in American schools has been eroded and diminished by corrosive forces. Geographers need convincing answers to the existential question lest the subject disappear entirely. Geography’s enviable position was in large measure the work of William Torrey Harris. Harris made a compelling existential case for geography and his vision, its implementation, its rejection, and its fate offer a model from which geographers can learn. Understanding how to respond to a social and intellectual context is crucial to geography’s future.

Using Social Media and Satellite Data for Damage Assessment in Urban Areas During Emergencies
By Guido Cervone, Emily Schnebele, Nigel Waters, Martina Moccaldi, Rosa Sicignano
In the Chapter “Seeing Cities Through Big Data,” Part of the series Springer Geography pp 443-457
Environmental hazards pose a significant threat to urban areas due to their potential catastrophic consequences affecting people, property and the environment. Remote sensing has become the de-facto standard for observing the Earth and its environment through the use of air-, space-, and ground-based sensors. Despite the quantity of remote sensing data available, gaps are often present due to the specific limitations of the instruments, their carrier platforms, or as a result of atmospheric interference. Massive amounts of data are generated from social media, and it is possible to mine these data to fill the gaps in remote sensing observations.