Carnegie Science News - Department of Global Ecology

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plants convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy during a process called photosynthesis. This energy is passed on to humans and animals that eat the plants, and thus photosynthesis is the primary source of energy for all life on Earth. New research uses satellite technology to measure light that is emitted by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis

Monday, March 3, 2014

Video
In many ways, plants act as chemical factories, using energy from sunlight to produce carbon-based energy and taking nutrients from the soil in order to synthesize a wide variety of products. Carnegie scientists asked the question: How much does the portfolio of chemicals generated by plants vary, depending on the surrounding environment, and what can this tell us about how we interact with forests? The answer involved climbing into the Amazonian canopy, resulting in the discovery that the forest's chemical portfolios form a rich mosaic that varies with elevation and soil content.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Audio
The pace of global warming over the last century has been about twice as rapid over land than over the oceans and will continue to be more dramatic going forward if emissions are not curbed. According to an analysis of 27 climate models by Carnegie’s Chris Field, if we continue along the current emissions trajectory, we are likely facing the most rapid large climate change in the last 65 million years. This will clearly pose great challenges for a variety of terrestrial ecosystems.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christopher Field, the founding director of Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology and co-chair of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group 2, has been awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Audio
Forest conservation is an issue of major concern to communities large and small around the globe. But gathering the monitoring data needed to make the right decisions has proven extremely prohibitive for individuals to entire governments. Carnegie’s Greg Asner is hoping to change that by making advanced forest monitoring tools available to the public, free of charge, and putting the power to monitor forests directly into the hands of people around the world. Today the Department of Global Ecology launched the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom hosted by Stanford University Online Learning. It will allow non-commercial users to learn how to use the revolutionary CLASlite software for detecting deforestation and other forest disturbances.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Video
Government calculations of total U.S. methane emissions may underestimate the true values by 50 percent, a new study finds. The results cast doubt on a recent Environmental Protection Agency decision to downscale its emissions estimate. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What are our forests really made of? From the air, ecologist Greg Asner uses a spectrometer and high-powered lasers to map nature in meticulous kaleidoscopic 3D detail -- what he calls “a very high-tech accounting system” of carbon. In this fascinating talk, Asner gives a clear message: To save our ecosystems, we need more data, gathered in new ways.

Greg Asner’s mapping technology produces detailed, complex pictures of how humans’ activities affect our ecosystems.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Video
For the first time, researchers have been able to map the true extent of gold mining in the biologically diverse region of Madre De Dios in the Peruvian Amazon. The team, led by Greg Asner, combined field surveys with airborne mapping and high-resolution satellite monitoring to show that the geographic extent of mining has increased 400% from 1999 to 2012 and that the average annual rate of forest loss has tripled since the Great Recession of 2008. Until this study, thousands of small, clandestine mines that have boomed since the economic crisis have gone unmonitored.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Video
A great deal of research has focused on the amount of global warming resulting from increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But there has been relatively little study of the pace of the change following these increases. A new study by Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira and Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures concludes that about half of the warming occurs within the first 10 years after an instantaneous step increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, but about one-quarter of the warming occurs more than a century after the step increase.