UAS Environmental Science faculty and students were part of nearly a dozen presentations at the American Geophysical Union meeting December 15-19, 2008 in San Francisco. Physics professor Matt Heavner presented an interactive "melt model" and virtual tour of watersheds and glaciers in the SEAMONSTER sensor web project.* Heavner started attending the conference as an undergraduate, and has not missed the yearly event since 1993. The 2008 gathering at Moscone Center drew more than 16,000 scientists and academics from around the world.
Photo: UAS Environmental Science senior Josh Jones.
“It’s overwhelming, there is so much going on, people researching similar information, but going about it in different ways,” said first time participant and UAS ENVS senior Josh Jones. “It’s been both humbling and mind blowing.”
Jones presented his poster on using a computer model to calculate the melt from Lemon Creek Glacier to compare with measured runoff in Lemon Creek. “A Partially Glaciated Watershed in a Virtual Globe: Integrating Data, Models, and Visualization to Increase Climate Change Understanding” documented the use of the SEAMONSTER sensor web data as an input into Regine Hock’s glacial melt model, and provided visualized model output (as maps or graphs) in a format that can be used in Google earth. The output can be used to study glacial hydrology and dynamics relative to climate conditions, to study mathematical modeling of the environment, or generalize how climate change is affecting parts of the Juneau Icefield over the period that data is available.
UAS undergraduates Nick Korzen and Josh Galbraith also presented at the conference. Jones notes that UAS is the only university in the U.S. that is within several glacial watersheds. “If you want to do undergraduate environmental science research, UAS is the perfect place,” he said.
*The South East Alaska Monitoring Network for Science, Telecommunications, Education, and Research is a NASA-sponsored smart sensor web project designed to support collaborative environmental science with near-real-time recovery of environmental data. Initial geographic focus is the Lemon Creek watershed near Juneau Alaska with expansions planned across the Juneau Icefield and into the nearby coastal marine environment. http://robfatland.net/seamonster.