Home Archived May 24, 2016

Western Geographic Science Center

News Archive - 2010 (Archive: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012,  2011)

Evaluating Mitigation Investment Strategies for Earthquakes in Padang, Indonesia:

USGS Western Geographic Science Center researchers collaborated to present a workshop at Padang State University in Padang, Indonesia. The purpose of the workshop was to present a case study of the Land Use Portfolio Model (LUPM) for earthquakes to local mitigation stakeholders and to assess the applicability of the LUPM risk analysis tool in supporting mitigation decisions in Padang. Workshop participants included stakeholders from city and provincial government, international and local non-governmental organizations, and academia. (Laura Dinitz, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4953)


Monitoring the Earth's Landscape with Low-Cost High Tech:

rian Bogle pictureEach year, Geography Awareness Week is recognized nationally during the third week of November to increase public awareness of new developments that are constantly taking place in the field of geography.  On Nov. 18, USGS remote sensing specialist Rian Bogle is participating in the monthly USGS Evening Public Lectures Series in Menlo Park, CA by presenting "Silicon, Software, and Science" describing how scientists are using low-cost field and aerial imaging technologies to monitor the Earth's landscape.  Bogle will be explaining how USGS scientists are developing and testing new systems, sensors, and methodologies, while fostering critical domestic and global partnerships to fully utilize the rapidly evolving science and technology of remote sensing.  See: http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar   (Rian Bogle, Flagstaff, AZ, 928-556-7212)


Phenology Research and Observations of Southwest Ecosystems Symposium:

Cynthia Wallace pictureOn Oct. 1, USGS scientists are participating in the Phenology Research and Observations of Southwest Ecosystems Symposium in Tucson, AZ by presenting results of their research. The symposium is co-organized by the National Phenology Network and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. See: http://www.asprs.org/southwestus/html (Cynthia Wallace, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5589)


US-Mexico Border Environmental Health Initiative Showcased:

Laura Norman pictureOn Oct. 12, USGS interdisciplinary scientists are co-hosting a U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Health Initiative showcasing "Investigations of the Santa Cruz Watershed" in Tucson, AZ. (Laura Norman, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5510) USGS at International Conference on Urbanization and Global Environmental Change: On Oct. 16, USGS scientist Laura Norman is participating in the International Conference on Urbanization and the Global Environmental Change, in Tempe, AZ by presenting 'Collaborative Work for Flash-Flood Forecasting at Ambos Nogales' during a session on 'Adapting Border Cities to Climate Change' (Laura Norman, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5510) Global Land Project Open Science Meeting: USGS scientist Laura Norman is participating in the Global Land Project first Open Science Meeting, Oct. 17-19, in Tempe, AZ by presenting information about ecosystem services, binational water management, and decision support in the Santa Cruz Watershed. (Laura Norman, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5510)


Community Vulnerability to Hurricane Storm-Surge Hazards:

There is concern that climate change, specifically potential increases in sea level, could influence the impacts of future hurricanes on coastal communities. USGS and Pennsylvania State University scientists published an assessment of societal exposure to current hurricane storm-surge hazards and to storm-surge hazards enhanced by sea level rise scenarios in Applied Geography. Assessment results suggest that the addition of sea level rise scenarios to existing hurricane storm-surge hazards effectively causes population and asset exposure to be equal or greater than what is in the hazard zone of the next higher hurricane category. This suggests that even if climate change does not cause hurricanes to become more frequent or intense, sea level rise will still increase the impacts of storm surge. (Nathan Wood, Vancouver, WA, 360-993-8951)


Community Vulnerability to Multiple Coastal Hazards on the Oregon Coast:

Nathan Wood picture USGS scientist Nathan Wood was invited to give two October 22 presentations on coastal hazards to the Oregon Coastal Planners annual meeting in Florence, OR. One talk focuses on the influence of climate change on coastal erosion hazards and subsequent changes in community vulnerability to erosion; the other talk is on geospatial techniques to identify and map variations in demographic sensitivity to tsunami hazards related to a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. (Nathan Wood, Vancouver, WA, 360-993-8951)

USGS scientist Nathan Wood was interviewed for an Oct. 19 Emergency Management magazine article about the new USGS Hazards, Risk, and Resilience mission area, the role of vulnerability research at the USGS, and effective risk-communication and warning-messaging techniques. http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Risk-USGS-Nathan-Wood.html


USGS Software Improves is Access to HAZUS-MH Model Results:

Peter Ng picture The Hazards U.S. Multi-Hazard (HAZUS-MH) is a nationally applicable standardized methodology developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that estimates potential losses from earthquakes, hurricane winds, and floods. USGS researchers have developed a HAZUS-MH Data Extractor tool that enables HAZUS users to extract HAZUS damage and loss estimates from multiple earthquake or flood analyses to a geodatabase and store the information for future use. Extracted data are available in spatial and non-spatial forms and can be applied to advance natural-hazards risk analysis studies. See: http://geography.wr.usgs.gov/science/hazusTool.html (Peter Ng, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-5541)


USGS Tool for Evaluating Natural Hazard Mitigation Strategies:

USGS researchers have published a report describing the Land Use Portfolio Modeler decision-support tool and providing a tutorial for an application of earthquake hazards in the San Francisco Bay Area. The tool implements a quantitative approach to examine the potential benefits of investing in alternative mitigation measures for multiple natural hazard scenarios, while taking into account the uncertainties associated with hazards and mitigation effectiveness. Evaluating natural hazard mitigation strategies is essential to decision-making at all levels of government, providing a basis for developing plans and policies for emergency preparedness and response. See: http://pubs.usgs.gov/tm/tm11c4/ (Richard Taketa, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4231)


USGS ARkStorm Presentations:

On Sept. 16, USGS scientist Anne Wein is presenting the ARkStorm winter storm scenario detailing physical and economic impacts of a catastrophic California storm, similar to an 1861-62 event, to emergency managers attending the California Emergency Service Association training and conference in Monterey, CA. On Sept. 18, Wein is participating in San Mateo County Disaster Preparedness Day in Menlo Park, CA by presenting the same information for the purposes of emergency management training and planning. (Anne Wein, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4263)


Science Communication and Policy Development Workshop:

Anne Wein picture USGS scientist Anne Wein has been selected to attend the Heinz Center Science Communication and Policy Development workshop at UC Davis, Sept. 19-24, where scientists will share their expertise in carbon sequestration and ecosystems services with policy makers. (Anne Wein, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4263)


Informed Decisionmaking Using Economic Analysis:

Richard Bernknopf picture On Sept. 8, USGS economist Richard Bernknopf is participating in the NASA Earth Sciences Directorate fall seminar series in Washington DC by presenting “Informing decisions with scientific information through benefit/cost analysis and the value of information”. Bernknopf will be describing quantitative, policy relevant approaches to establishing economic and other relevant societal values pertaining to earth and biological sciences, as well as to remote sensing data and information. Applications in both the private and public sectors will be provided in the form of case studies. (Richard Bernknopf, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4951)


Hydrology and Ecosystems of a Binational River:

Laura Norman picture USGS scientists have organized a session on "A Binational River: Watershed Hydrology of the Santa Cruz River" for the Arizona Hydrological Society's annual conference, Sept 1-4, in Tucson, AZ. The scientists are providing a forum for presenting an overview of Santa Cruz River hydrology and riparian ecosystems, and describing current monitoring and research studies being conducted to improve our understanding and management of this important watercourse in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Interdisciplinary issues being discussed include surface and groundwater hydrology, water quality, and the effects of climate and water management on the river flow, from headwaters astride the Arizona-Sonora border to its course through Tucson. (Laura Norman, Tucson, AZ, 520 670-5510)


Climatic Changes Effect Alaska Wild Sheep Habitat:

Edwin Pfeifer picturePredicted climate change is projected to cause temperature increases resulting in environmental changes likely to affect presumed indicator species such as Dall's sheep; wild sheep exhibit a suite of adaptations to glacier driven environments which may render them sensitive to environmental changes. Scientists are using satellite imagery, ground-based observations, and biological sampling to evaluate change Dall's Sheep habitat in Alaska resulting from climactic changes. Landsat imagery shows a 55% decline in glacial extent between 1979 and 2008 in the Denali National Park study area. This research is producing a set of management tools for the National Park Service, State of Alaska, and collaborating countries such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, and China to use in developing sustainable habitat and wildlife management plans. (Edwin Pfeifer, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5019)


USGS Terrestrial Lidar Workshop:

Christopher Soulard picture USGS scientists representing all disciplines will be participating in a workshop, Aug. 10-11, in Phoenix, AZ to coordinate USGS-wide terrestrial LiDAR activities. The objectives of this user meeting are to identify ground based LiDAR applications across the USGS, identify the strengths and limitations of the technology, and determine needs for technological development. Discussions will also include field and lab approaches, hardware and software options, and the scientific bounds of analysis based on current technologies. (Christopher Soulard, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4317)


High-Resolution Ambos Nogales Watershed Land-Use Map:

Laura Norman pictureThroughout history, residents of Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, AZ have been affected by flooding in the Ambos Nogales Watershed. Currently, the primary method for regulating watershed runoff is to build a series of detention basins in Nogales, Sonora while the municipality also considers land-use planning to help mitigate flooding. A new USGS publication provides a high-resolution land-use map of the area, derived from 2008 aerial photos of the Nogales, Sonora Watershed for modeling impacts of the detention basin construction and in support of an “Early Warning Hazard System” for the region. See: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1156/ (Laura Norman, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5510)


Mendenhall Post Doctoral Candidates for USGS Southwest:

The USGS Southwest Geographic Science Center has won two USGS Geography Mendenhall Fellows, Michael Marshall and Joel Sankey. Marshall, who won with the proposal "Water productivity mapping for irrigated crops in California using farm-level assessments and remote sensing" will be based in the Flagstaff Science Center with Prasad Thenkabail and Dennis Dye. Sankey, who won with the proposal "Post-wildfire phenology: biogeomorphic implications for the Great Basin", will be based in the Southwest Geographic Science Center with Cynthia Wallace and USGS-NPN Director Jake Weltzin. Both Mendenhall Fellows will begin their tour of duty in February, 2011. (Prasad Thenkabail, Flagstaff, AZ, 928-556-7221; Cynthia Wallace, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5589)


Understanding Vegetation Disruptions at Point Reyes National Seashore:

USGS geographers are co-hosting a series of workshops with National Park Service resource managers April 29, June 7, and July 16 to better understand vegetation history at Point Reyes National Seashore. Successional vegetation trajectories, such as meadows converting to grasslands and then to shrublands or forest are subject to anthropogenic disruptions from land use activities and changing climates. Improved understanding of historic and current vegetation trajectories is expected to help resource managers make more informed restoration decisions. (Alicia Torregrosa, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4091)


The Effect of Climate Change on Sierra Nevada Plant and Animal Distribution:

On May 6, USGS Geographer Christopher Soulard will meet with USGS and University of California colleagues in Merced, CA to discuss methods for leveraging independent meadow change detection efforts in the Sierra Nevada. Meadow change, consisting of meadow condition and footprint, is being measured to determine the role of climate change on plant and animal distributions across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. USGS research is centered on meadow-mammal interactions in the alpine zone, whereas external efforts are underway to determine how meadow change impacts amphibians in Yosemite National Park. (Christopher Soulard, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4317)


Land Cover Change and Carbon Dynamics:

On April 20, USGS scientist Christopher Soulard will participate in the "Workshop on Natural Resource Needs Related to Climate Change in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert" in Las Vegas, NV by discussing measurement of land-cover change in basin-and-range ecoregions using Landsat satellite imagery, and the role of such change on carbon dynamics. During the last few decades the footprint of change across the basin-and-range ecoregions has resulted in nearly 9000 km² of direct loss to grasslands and shrublands, with possible implications for future management of livestock and rangeland carbon resources. The U.S. Global Change Research Program will be able to apply these rates of change along with other Land Cover Trends metrics to assess progress in balancing carbon sources and sinks, while the LandCarbon Project can use Land Cover Trends data to help estimate land-use and land-cover change over time. (Christopher Soulard, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4317)


Thirty Years of Landscape Change in California:

USGS scientists have published “Estimation of late twentieth century landscape change in California” in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, summarizing and detailing the types, rates, and drivers of land-use and land-cover change using multi-temporal analysis of Landsat imagery. Results show overall stability in the amount of agriculture in California, with the greatest losses to statewide land-cover occurring in grasslands and forests; developed lands increased nearly 40 percent. This publication is a culmination of more than 5 years of effort from a wide-ranging team of researchers. See: http://springerlink.com/content/17173232522221g5/?p=6edbe40f5de64952b39e5f09f7a1d8a8&pi=0 (Tamara Wilson, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4247)


Proposal to Study Tropical Forest Response to Climate Change:

USGS geographer Dennis Dye in collaboration with scientists at the University of Arizona, UC Berkeley, and several Brazilian institutes, submitted a proposal in response to the NASA ROSES research announcement on “The Science of Terra and Aqua”. The proposed 3-year project is titled “Scaling photosynthesis in tropical systems: from forest to savanna, from seasons to extreme events”. The proposed research is designed to answer fundamental questions about the vulnerability of tropical forests to climate change, and to resolve a recent scientific controversy regarding forest responses to seasonal drying and interannual drought. (Dennis Dye, Flagstaff, AZ, 928-556-7029)


Remote Sensing and California Land-Cover Change:

On April 8, USGS scientist Christopher Soulard is presenting a lecture on remote sensing classification methods, and the USGS Land Cover Trends Project, at San Jose State University (CA). Satellite imagery can be employed to document the rates, drivers, and consequences of land-cover change, providing information to assist managers and policy makers in making decisions about ecosystems and critical landscape changes. Discussion on the Land Cover Trends Project will focus on method development, and the measurement of temporal land-cover change in California using Landsat satellite imagery. (Christopher Soulard, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4317)


USGS at American Society for Photogrammetry Remote-Sensing Annual Meeting:

USGS researchers will host special sessions and presentations at the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing annual meeting, April 26-30 in San Diego, CA. On April 28, USGS research geographer Cynthia Wallace will be honored with a "Conference Management Award" recognizing exemplary achievements and conference organizational skills. This year's meeting theme, “Opportunities for Emerging Geospatial Technologies,” will bring together participants from government, industry and academia. See: http://www.asprs.org/SanDiego2010/index.html (Cynthia Wallace, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-5589)


California ARkStorm Scenario Presented to Water Environment Association:

On April 15, USGS staff Anne Wein is presenting the USGS ARkStorm winter storm scenario to the Santa Clara Valley Section of the California Water Environment Association during a meeting in Sunnyvale, CA. Wein is providing professionals working in the Bay Area wastewater industry with information about meteorological modeling, landslide susceptibility, and flood scenarios for future Atmospheric River conditions leading to a repeat of the catastrophic 1861-62 California storm, together with estimates of damages to buildings, lifelines, agriculture, and the environment. (Anne Wein, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4263)


USGS-National Park Service Partner for Ecosystem Research:

 On Feb. 4,  USGS scientists are participating in the National Park Service Natural Resources and Science Symposium in Sausalito, CA to present information on using archived historic aerial photography to describe landscape change and assist with ecological investigations.  The symposium is designed to inform Park Service staff, partners, and volunteers about natural resource and science efforts taking place in and around the National Parks of the San Francisco Bay Area.  A digital collection of aerial imagery, archived and maintained maintained at Point Reyes National Seashore, includes photos from 1943 through the present and will be used for interpretation of land use change to help inform decisions by resource managers and drive the development of USGS models for studying ecosystem dynamics.  See:http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/sfan/NR_Science_Symposium.cfm    (Alicia Torregrosa, Menlo Park, CA, 650-329-4091) 


Societal Vulnerability to Mount Rainier Lahars:

 On Feb. 8, USGS researchers are briefing city, county, tribal, and state officials on community vulnerability within Puget Sound to lahar hazards associated with Mount Rainier.  The briefing, hosted by the State of Washington Emergency Management Division at Camp Murray, WA is describing population and economic exposure to lahar hazards summarizing studies in USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5211 and a recent article in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.  Improved understanding of societal vulnerability to lahar hazards helps emergency managers and officials in their efforts to develop effective education, preparedness, and response plans to reduce the impact of lahar disasters.   (Nathan Wood, Vancouver, WA, 360-993-8951) 


Pre-Disaster Risk Analysis Training: 

 On Feb. 9, the USGS and the State of Washington Emergency Management Division will host a workshop at Camp Murray, WA to train city, tribal, and county officials in assessing societal risk from natural hazards.  This event will support hazard mitigation planning efforts in multiple jurisdictions across Washington as part of the USGS Multi-Hazard Demonstration Project in the Pacific Northwest.  USGS involvement in this interactive training will ensure the incorporation of current USGS hazard and vulnerability research into local hazard mitigation plans.    (Nathan Wood, Vancouver, WA, 360-993-8951) 


Pacific Northwest Transportation Infrastructure Vulnerability to Tsunamis: 

 USGS researchers are participating in the Northwest Transportation Conference, Feb. 9-11, in Corvallis, OR by discussing how damage to transportation infrastructure can amplify community vulnerability to tsunamis generated by a Cascadia Subduction zone earthquake.  The researchers will discuss how tsunami-related damage to road and waterway transportation networks can reduce the adaptive capacity of coastal communities during response and recovery efforts.   (Nathan Wood, Vancouver, WA, 360-993-8951) 


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