Internship Opportunity: Using GIS to Assess Climate Change Impacts From Regional to Global Scales

Center for Climate Systems Research, Earth Institute/Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Assist the climate impacts team in research, analysis and presentation of climate change impacts from the local to global scales, with particular emphasis on the use of geographical information to determine fine-scale risk assessment and management. Current projects include climate change studies of sea level rise, health, water resources and infrastructure in New York City and New York State; water resources and agriculture in Florida and Central America; as well as agricultural production and food trade around the world.  We employ a variety of interdisciplinary models and work closely with stakeholders to identify vulnerabilities and develop flexible adaptation pathways.

Skills Required: Experience with ArcGIS Geographical Information Systems software, basic knowledge of climate change, ability to work in fast-paced team environment.

Using Ecological Null Models to Assess the Potential for Marine Protected Area Networks to Protect Biodiversity

Semmens BX, Auster PJ, Paddack MJ

PLoS ONE 5(1): e8895. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008895, January 27, 2010

“Marine protected area (MPA) networks have been proposed as a principal method for conserving biological diversity, yet patterns of diversity may ultimately complicate or compromise the development of such networks. We show how a series of ecological null models can be applied to assemblage data across sites in order to identify non-random biological patterns likely to influence the effectiveness of MPA network design. We use fish census data from Caribbean fore-reefs as a test system and demonstrate that: 1) site assemblages were nested, such that species found on sites with relatively few species were subsets of those found on sites with relatively many species, 2) species co-occurred across sites more than expected by chance once species-habitat associations were accounted for, and 3) guilds were most evenly represented at the richest sites and richness among all guilds was correlated (i.e., species and trophic diversity were closely linked). These results suggest that the emerging Caribbean marine protected area network will likely be successful at protecting regional diversity even if planning is largely constrained by insular, inventory-based design efforts. By recasting ecological null models as tests of assemblage patterns likely to influence management action, we demonstrate how these classic tools of ecological theory can be brought to bear in applied conservation problems.”

Ghost Peaks Emerge from Antarctic Ice

…from National Geographic

“Hidden miles beneath the surface of an ice sheet (shown in blue), the so-called ghost peaks in the middle of Antarctica are finally coming into view, researchers announced last month.

“Ground-penetrating radar results from 2008 and 2009 have made possible the most detailed images yet (such as the one above) of the Gamburtsev Mountains—and it’s a surprisingly serrated range, the experts say.”

Modeling China’s Energy Consumption Behavior and Changes in Energy Intensity

Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 24, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 1293-1301

Hengyun Ma, Les Oxley, John Gibson, and Bonggeun Kim

“China’s demand for energy has grown to fuel its rapidly expanding industrial, commercial and consumer sectors. At the same time, China has become the second largest consumer of petroleum products having surpassed Japan for the first time in 2003. The environmental consequences of a continuation of these trends will have global implications. Government policies and consumers have become more environmentally aware, but the ability of governments to formulate policies has been hindered by the lack of data on inter-factor and inter-fuel substitution possibilities. In this paper Allen partial elasticities of factor and energy substitution, and price elasticities of energy demand are calculated for China’s industrial economy using a two-stage translog cost function approach for the period 1995–2004. The results suggest that energy is substitutable with both capital and labor. Coal is significantly substitutable with electricity and slightly complementary with oil, while oil and electricity are slightly substitutable. China’s energy intensity is increasing during the study period and the major driver appears to be due to the increased use of energy-intensive technology.”