The Franklin College is home to 30 departments and nearly 30 more centers, institutes and programs. That's a lot of news to keep up with. But our units do a great job of sharing their specific news, notes, headlines and quotes with the wider world. And what were formerly printed materials that units mailed out are now nice elctronic documents and websites that allow us to share more information than ever with a growing roster of friends, alumni, supporters and colleagues across campus and around the world.
Two of these just-published e-newsletters are from the statistics department and the department of geography. Working with publications staff in the college, these are terrific pieces from which to learn about and share information on what's going on at the action-level in the Franklin College. Check them out.
The devastating tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday has rightly taken up a lot of media oxygen over the last few days. The attention means faculty members in geography John Knox and especially current president of the American Meteorological Society J. Marshall Shepherd have been on call, non-stop. A sampling for Shepherd alone, just in the past two days:
Huffpost Live, XM Sirius B. Smith Show
NPR Science Friday on Friday.
Also quoted in following articles by Time, USA Today, etc.
The storm, its aftermath, sources and portents for the future hold a great deal of mystery that our faculty members help the public unravel. There remains a great amount of misinformation and perhaps willful denial about correlations between extreme weather events and climate change. Kudos and thanks to Shepherd and Knox on their work, the trust in which allows them to wade into contentious public debates with confidence and authority.
The fall 2012 issue of the ugaresearch magazine is out, and available online. It features some great stories on Franklin College faculty, including geography professor Steven Holloway and whole section devoted to the Civil War, with a focus on books by history facuty members Stephen Berry, John Inscoe and a forthcoming work by Kathleen Clark.
Great work all around.
How do we understand the potential of a megastorm like Sandy, currently battering the East coast of the U.S.? Geography professors Marshall Shepherd and John Knox explain in an Op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Advances in numerical weather forecasting during the past several decades have extended our ability to see into the future. In September 1938, before all of these advances, a hurricane devastated Long Island and much of New England. No hurricane warnings were ever issued prior to its arrival. Today, thanks to satellites, weather balloons, supercomputers and skilled forecasters, we are often able to anticipate hazardous weather up to a week in advance.
The computer forecast models are in consensus on the megastorm diagnosis at the time of this writing. The chance that the storm will treat us to a deviation out to sea is increasingly unlikely. But while we wait, the various scenarios provide a backdrop for addressing some critical issues facing the field of weather-climate analysis, as well as the safety and economic interests of U.S. citizens.
Thanks to these knowledgeable faculty members for getting their expertise out into the public to advocate on crucial policy issues in a timely manner.
woman with weather map The student chapter of the UGA American Meteorological Society welcomes weekend 'Good Morning America' meteorologist Ginger Zee to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in room 102 of the Miller Learning Center:
Zee is the Emmy Award-winning weather anchor of the "Good Morning America" weekend edition, which is broadcast from the ABC News studios in Manhattan, N.Y. She also reports on weather-related topics from around the country during the week. She joined the morning show in 2011 after working at WMAQ-Channel 5 in Chicago and WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich.
"Teachers and mentors encouraged me to do what I have done," Zee said. "So any time I can talk to students—even if I touch just one—it feels like I am giving back. I've been so fortunate to have the support of family, friends and all the people who told me I could do anything I dreamed."
The department of geography is full of great faculty and energized students, as this robust student chapter of the AMS attests. Public events like this bring students closer to aspirational figures in their fields and help de-mystify some the many paths to a successful career. Congratulations to our faculty for fostering this thirst for experience in students.
Overlapping constituencies have often been the bane of sustainable development practices. Even having the tools that allow different groups to share information and work together has long been a deficiency; and without them, marshalling agreement among competing interests has been that much more difficult and rare. Now, a new web tool from UGA researchers might begin to change that dynamic:
a team of University of Georgia researchers has combined several remote sensing technologies with historical data to create coastal maps with an unsurpassed level of accuracy.
In a study published in the August issue of the journal Tourism Management, they apply their technique to Georgia's Jekyll Island and unveil a new website that allows developers, conservationists and tourists access to maps and data on beach availability, tidal ranges and erosion.
"Policymakers, coastal managers and conservationists can use this information to help make more informed decisions about managing coastal resources," said lead author Byungyun Yang, a recent graduate of the geography doctoral program and current research associate at the UGA Center for Remote Sensing and Mapping Science, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Tourists can easily access the same data with their computers or smartphones to help plan their trip to the beach."
In widely reported findings, UGA climatologists and NASA independently confirm that during several days this month, nearly the entire ice sheet of Greenland experienced some degree of melting on its surface.
On average, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts in the summer. The new data—from three different satellites—show that an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.
"This is the first time we have witnessed almost all of the ice sheet melt in the three decades of satellite data," said Thomas Mote, professor and head of the department of geography in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "The last time this occurred was more than 100 years ago, long before satellite data were available."
A senior from Macon, Lauren Anderson is engaged with unique combination of opportunies at UGA to focus her studies at the confluence of U.S. foreign policy and the international politics of human rights.
A.B. in international affairs, A.B. in human geography, minor in African studies and anthropology
Very nice Q & A with the director of UGA's Atmosphereic Sciences program, Marshall Shepherd, on the University of Georgia homepage.
I developed two new courses when I came to UGA. One course, Applied Climatology in the Urban Environment, is one of my favorite courses because I get to teach theory, application, and hands-on field work on how cities impact weather, climate and other environmental factors. I also created a Mesoscale and Radar Meteorology course, which is an important course for any atmospheric sciences curriculum. We even had a Mobile Doppler Radar from FSU at UGA recently in support of that class. I also really enjoyed teaching one of the new First-Year Odyssey Seminars. It was such joy teaching freshmen about "Observing the Earth From Space." I had several NASA colleagues Skype into the class live. The kids were so thrilled.
The rest at the link, as well as links to a many other similar profiles of faculty from all over campus.
Image: University of Georgia
Very interesting finding out of the department of geography, a discipline that truly has no bounds:
Heat-related deaths among football players across the country tripled to nearly three per year between 1994 and 2009 after averaging about one per year the previous 15 years, according to an analysis of weather conditions and high school and college sports data conducted by University of Georgia researchers.
The scientists built a detailed database that included the temperature, humidity and time of day, as well as the height, weight and position for 58 football players who died during practice sessions from overheating, or hyperthermia. The study, published recently in the International Journal of Biometeorology, found that for the eastern U.S., where most deaths occurred, morning heat index values were consistently higher in the latter half of the 30-year study period. Overall, Georgia led the nation in deaths with six fatalities.
"In general, on days the deaths occurred, the temperature was hotter and the air more humid than normal local conditions," said climatologist Andrew Grundstein, senior author of the study and associate professor of geography in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.