newsletter
DGE Newsletter, May 2009
Field & Berry Lab Groups
Seminars

May 4: Claire Lunch practiced her PhD thesis defense that is about Primary productivity in an annual grassland ecosystem: Response to global change and local environmental variation. She has compared the annual productivity of 12 plots on the Jasper Ridge Experimental Site in response to variations in rainfall and temperature over a ten year period. Notable was that rain increased plant growth the most when it fell late in the growing season. The amount of labor and creativity that Claire has devoted to this project was impressive!
May 11: Alex Nees & Bill Anderegg described Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD) where groves of these trees (Populus tremuloides) are dying throughout many parts of the American West for unknown reasons. They plan to study the problem in Colorado this summer and described for us previous studies of these trees' mysterious death.
Tasting: Bill & Alex prepared guacamole from three different avocado brands — Commercial, Hass Organic, & Bacon. Each batch was prepared at the same time and with the same ingredients (tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, etc) except for the avocados. There were indeed subtle differences.

May 4: Klaus Hasselmann, Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, Hamburg and European Climate Forum spoke about Climate Change, Climate Policy and the Financial Crisis - Challenges and Opportunities. He covered the history of the
IPCC Working Group from 1990 and its relationship to the current financial crisis. In general, he is optimistic that we shall overcome the 'business as usual' (BAU) atmosphere of recent years and move on to create a new system-dynamic, agent-based assessment models of climate change.
May 19: Dr. Linda Mearns, Director of the Institute for the Study of Society and Environment (ISSE), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO spoke to the title: The use and abuse of high-resolution climate change scenarios.
Another title she added was The Importance/Unimportance of High Resolution Information on Future Regional Climate for Coping with Climate Change. She emphasized the difficulty of managing decision-making when there is a mismatch of scales.
May 12: Claire Lunch successfully defended her Dissertation described above in the large Braun Chemistry Auditorium. Note the Experimental Site where an enormous amount of work took place. Soon she will be on her way to a Post Doc position at Woods Hole, MA.
May 26: Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Senior Scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland & Adjunct Faculty at Genoek Center for Biosafety, Univ. Tromsö, Norway introduced the International
Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a global assessment of hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and sustainability. The report was developed by a multi-stakeholder bureau of governments and civil society. Her presentation focused on the multifunctionality of agriculture and its connections with society and the environment. She also highlighted the current disconnect between agricultural production and hunger and poverty. More information on the report can be found at http://www.agassessment.org
May 18: Carolyn Snyder spoke about Extreme Events & Climate Change. She is exploring this subject in relation to her dissertation that she hopes to complete by June, 2010. She described several Models and particularly Spacial vs Temporal examples.
Tasting: Carolyn brought six brands of sharp cheddar cheese with crackers. It wasn't decided what ingredient makes for sharpness. The fat-free cheddar was the least flavorful, but also questionable whether there is such a cheddar cheese that is normally 40% fat almost by definition.
May 22: Congratulations to Kyla Dahlin, who has just been named a recipient of a  3-year Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship. These fellowships are part of new University-wide program to encourage interdisciplinary activities and are both very competitive and prestigious.
May 26: Jens Johnson introduced us to a computer model (MFL IV) that she is testing and hopes to use to study an ecosystem's response to climate change. Her title was A biogeochemical model of terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. She led us through formulas showing how plants might allocate nitrogen and phosphorus in relation to CO2 and H20 changes.
Tasting: Jens brought three packages of different chocolate-coated berries recommended for their antioxidant qualities. The berries were raisins (dried grapes), blueberries, & dried Goji berries (famous in the Himalayas for their medicinal qualities). The chocolate overwhelmed any difference in flavor between the raisins & Goji berries, and the moister blueberries were delicious.
Asner Group

May 6: Guayana Paez Acosta has recently been to the Andes Amazon Region to meet with key institutions with whom she and Greg are working to use the CLASlite system, a user-friendly forest monitoring tool developed by the Asner Lab. CLASlite V2 is now ready, and the training sessions are scheduled as follows: - 2 in Lima, Peru, May 20, 21 - in coordination with Cayetano Heredia University - Research Center for Environmental Sustainability. -1 in Lima, Peru, May 27 - in coordination with the Andean Community, a Subregional (Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia) organization, and which will take place within the REDD (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Regional Seminar. -1 in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, May 29 - in coordination with the Regional Government of Madre de Dios Region. -1 in Rio Branco, Brazil, June 1 - in coordination with Acre State Environmental Affairs Office. After this first round of training, we expect to have trained roughly 85 people from 40 different region-based institutions. Then, other countries will follow...
May 13: Greg Asner presented a Seminar titled
Answers to Some Fundamental Ecological Questions from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory before Stanford's Department of Environmental Earth System Science. He highlighted some of the fundamental ecological questions considered by the CAO program in its initial two years of study, and how the results are changing what we know about ecosystems.

Michael Mastrandrea fills a new position as Project Scientist with the IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit (TSU). The TSU is coordinating Working Group II activities (related to climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability) during the

Caldeira Group
Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) cycle (while Chris Field is Co-Chair). In addition to the AR5 report (to be completed in 2014), they will also be leading the preparation of a Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (to be released in 2011). He will be providing scientific capacity to these and other activities, in addition to pursuing related research projects.
Most recently, Mike was a Research Associate at the Woods Institute over in Y2E2, where he worked with Stephen Schneider and other faculty on projects related to climate change vulnerability and risk management. Also, he was a Ph.D. student at Stanford and graduated from the IPER program in 2004.
May 1: The Caldeira Lab Group visited the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a San Mateo County park located in Moss Beach about an hour south of San Francisco. The tide was out, and they got some fine photos of tide pools, seals and birds.

May 20: Ken Caldeira was on NPR’s Morning Edition where the topic was President Obama's tougher new fuel efficiency standards. He said, "These cuts are important as an act of political leadership, but in themselves will not produce any significant climate effect."

May 20: Caldeira organized an all afternoon seminar/discussion around the subject Atmospheric CO2 Removal and Engineered Albedo Increases: Perspectives on Geoengineering. First, Steve Schneider, Mike MacCracken, and David Keith offered their perspectives on engineered removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and engineered increases in planetary albedo. Their short talks, touching on everything from engineering challenges, climate science, governance issues, and morality were followed by a general discussion. Several Carnegie Post Docs participated in the latter.
Alumni Outreach

May 8: Elliott Campbell on NPR's Morning Edition — Some U.S. companies currently convert corn and other crops into ethanol, which is burned in cars. But a new study shows that it would be more energy-wise and better for the environment to burn biomass in boilers and make electricity — then use the electricity to power cars, from article published in Science online. The May 13th Issue of the Stanford Report also featured Co-Authors, David Lobell & Chris Field.

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Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu