Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 2/14/17

Department of Geography (DoG) News and Events Where it's at!

FEB 17
Coffee Hour with Alfred Kalyanapu | WPSU’s women in science | Dowler elected AAG councilor


Larsen Ice Shelf

The Larsen Ice Shelf is situated along the northeastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. In the past three decades, two large sections of the ice shelf (Larsen A and B) have collapsed. A third section (Larsen C) seems like it may be on a similar trajectory, with a new iceberg poised to break away soon. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.


Lorraine Dowler was elected as a national councilor for the American Association of Geographers.

Coffee Hour with Alfred Kalyanapu: Flood Modeling in the 21st Century: Dealing with Challenges and Making Advances
On average 196 million people in more than 90 countries are exposed to flooding each year, while in the United States (US) by 2005, flood damages increased to USD 6 billion per year, causing managing these risks crucial for future growth. Addressing this flood risk needs modeling and simulating rainfall-runoff processes and floods, but it is a challenging task due to many sources of uncertainties. Computer models have been used to simulate floods for more than four decades, typically modeled in a one-dimensional (1D) fashion due to computational restrictions and ease of use for most modeling applications. However, 1D approach has significant limitations for simulating floods especially in urban areas.

Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
Coffee Hour to go webcast
Next time: February 24 with Charles Twardy
Local women in STEM-related professions to be highlighted in new WPSU web series
Carolina Pulido, a quality engineer, tests her company’s software in five different languages. Erica Smithwick, a geography professor, has traveled around the world conducting research on the environment.

The two are among the five women featured in a new video series through WPSU Penn State that promotes local women working in science, technology, engineering and math professions.

WPSU Penn State’s “Women in Science Profiles”  aims to inspire young women to enter STEM-related fields while dispelling misconceptions about STEM professionals and their lives.

Scholar’s Program offers discussion opportunities for Black History Month

The Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Development in Africa (AESEDA) and the Department of African American Studies at Penn State are sponsoring the Black History Month PSU Scholar’s Program.

Four panel discussions, highlighting scholarship by Penn State faculty members of African descent, will take place from Feb. 16 to 22 in Foster Auditorium of Pattee Library on the University Park campus.


Fire Disturbance, Forest Structure, and Stand Dynamics in Montane Forests of the Southern Cascades, Thousand Lakes Wilderness, California, USA
By Bekker Matthew F. , Taylor Alan H.
In Écoscience 2010 v.17 no.1 pp. 59-72pp. 14
We examined tree diameter, age structure, and successional trends in 100 montane forest plots to identify the effects of variation in the return interval, severity, and extent of fires on forest structure and dynamics in the southern Cascade Range, California. We classified 100 forest plots into 8 groups based on stand structural characteristics. Median point fire return intervals were shortest in lower montane mixed conifer and Jeffrey pine——white fir stands (13––25 y) and upper montane red fir——white fir stands (14.5––19.5 y), intermediate in lodgepole pine stands (50––76.5 y), and longest in high-elevation red fir——mountain hemlock stands (100 y). Fire severity was mainly moderate to high in all forest structural groups except red fir——mountain hemlock. In the late 19th century, large, mostly high-severity fires burned through all forests. Fire extent varied among structural groups, burning from 13% to 85% of plots in a group on average. Stands differed in composition, but size and age structures were similar across structural groups, with few trees > 100 y old and peaks of establishment between 1895 and 1955 for all groups except red fir——mountain hemlock. Distinct pulses of tree recruitment followed the most recent (1883, 1885, 1889, 1918) large and mainly high-severity fires. Suppression of fire since 1905 has increased understory density of shade-tolerant, fire-intolerant species and caused forest compositional shifts, particularly in lower-elevation Jeffrey pine——white fir and mixed conifer stands, and lodgepole pine stands on well-drained sites. Structural or compositional change is less pronounced in upper montane red fir——white fir and red fir——mountain hemlock forests. The combination of gently sloping terrain with few fire breaks, extensive, moderate- to high-severity fires in all forest types and gradient positions and fire suppression has promoted homogenization of forest structure that may lead to large and severe fires in the future.

A search for food sovereignty: Seeding post-conflict landscapes.
By Zimmerer, Karl
In ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America 26 (2): 32-34
Displaced persons in post-confict Societies throughout Central and South America have been finding an unusual source of  support: seed networks of food-growers who seek to strengthen agricultural projects and urban gardens.  These seed networks have operated successfully to strengthen independent food production, known as food sovereignty, in other parts of the world. For example, the 15th Garden, a Syrian-European network, supports the seed networks to provide food in war-torn Syria. The seeds can be regrown in the future, both amid the current conflict and eventually in the post-conflict phase. Food-growers then can continue to obtain the needed seeds through their own cultivation as well as personal exchanges and local markets. Displaced Syrians are also active in the 15th Garden seed networks. Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia offer other well-known examples where vigorous networks have been integral to the seeding of post-conflict landscapes.