IEDRO Newsletter Jan Feb 2010

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IEDRO Newsletter Jan Feb 2010

  1. 1. International A Publication by the International Data Rescue News Data Rescue Organization Bi-Monthly Newsletter January/February 2010 www.burningissues.org TAKE AN ACTION JOIN US Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org www.IEDRO.org
  2. 2. Editor’s Note: How the Weather Affects History incurred while helping in the American Revolution and the Seven Years War. The government was in debt. Harsh winters caused crop failures. The resulting shortage of grain, consequently led to a rise in the price of bread. Because bread was the main source of nutrition for poor peasants, this led to starvation. The hungry populace was ready for extreme change. The French Revolution soon followed. * August 30, 1800 might have been Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 8 August 1588 by Philippe-Jacques de remembered as the day thousands of Loutherbourg, painted 1796. slaves in Richmond, Virginia, following http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_weather_history-1.html a man named Gabriel, rose up against W their masters, took the city armory, and e have all been victims of freed all the slaves. Instead, a violent meteorological mishaps: rainstorm kept the conspirators from Contents gathering long enough for word of the Editor’s Note: How the * Packing for the perfect weekend plot to get out. Weather Affects History 2 getaway, only to find that your plans Volunteer Spotlight: were ruined by a tornado watch or Studies have correlated climate changes Andrea Kobeszko 3 warning. with certaint human activities. Scientists IEDRO News 4 and climatologists analyze global warming * Your garden is destroyed by a sudden using sources from the past. From these Could Global Warming Freeze the Planet? 7 downpour or a late frost. sources, they can predict weather patterns. The Dust Bowl 8 Climate simulation results are published Yes, the climate can and does change which take into account both natural Caribbean Societal Impacts some of the mundane parts of our lives. processes and human activities. The of Weather Workshop 9 Even major historical events have collection of historic weather data helps IEDRO’s Data Search been drastically altered as a result of mankind prepare for and, even prevent Services 11 the weather. In fact, throughout time, extreme weather. About Weather Data: weather has shaped the course of history: Satellite Sensors 12 By saving data we can predict future events The Little Ice Age 13 * When George Washington became and save lives. Review: Historic Climate Commander of the American army, Data Helps Agribusiness his recruits consisted of volunteers www.livescience.com/history/top10_ Decision-Makers 14 who lacked uniforms and weapons. weather_history.html Interview with Andrew The British army, by contrast, was a Revkin 16 well-equipped fighting force. General uncp.edu Washington might have been defeated at the Battle of Long Island on August 22, 1776, had it not been for a thick fog that allowed the colonial forces to retreat unseen and fight another day. * France was already suffering from an economic crisis caused by the debt Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 1 2 www.IEDRO.org www.iedro.org
  3. 3. Volunteer Spotlight: An Interview with Andrea Kobeszko I EDRO welcomes one of our most online search for volunteer positions. recent volunteers: Andrea Kobeskzo. Since environmental causes are close Andrea helps oversee Public Rela- to my heart, and I felt a strong con- tions projects. Amongst her duties, she nection with IEDRO’s mission; it is Managing Editor of the IDRN news- seemed a perfect fit for me. I love letter, manager of IEDRO’s education volunteering, and as I recently be- series and coordinator of the website’s came a “stay-at-homer” after decades translation into foreign languages. of working at break-neck-pace organizations, I had a lot of time to Q: For those volunteers who do not fill. Andrea Kobeszko know you, can you tell us a little about currently lives in yourself? Q: What has been your best experi- Bartlett, Illinois with A: I’m a 32 year old stay-at-home mom, ence? her husband and currently based in Bartlett, Illinois with A: Everyday is a new experience. daughter, Charlotte. my husband and nine-month-old daugh- Working with Penny has been a real She’s worked for ter. I’ve accumulated several years of pleasure. She is great to collabo- over a decade in the customer relations management and rate with, and welcomes new ideas. marketing and ad- newsletter management experience We’re already cooking up some ministrative fields, before volunteering at IEDRO. I’ve also projects to work on in 2010. I look before turning her forward to seeing what the future written grant proposals and overseen attention to the fundraising activities for other nonprofit holds… needs of nonprofit agencies such as organizations. IEDRO. Q: How do you benefit from volun- Q: How long have you been volunteer- teering? Andrea is Assistant ing at IEDRO? A: It gives me a great sense of joy Public Relations Man- A: It’s just been a few months, but it and satisfaction knowing I can make ager and is IEDRO’s already seems much longer, and I mean a contribution, no matter how hum- Newsletter Managing that in a good way! ble, at an organization I believe in. Editor. Q: How have you contributed to Q: What is it about IEDRO that IEDRO? makes you want to keep volunteer- A: I’ve been working closely with ing? Penny as Assistant Manager of Public A: Besides the chance to work with Relations. I’ve written two articles and wonderful people? IEDRO’s pur- edited others contributed by IEDRO pose of rescuing and digitizing data volunteers. I’m currently overseeing the toward solving so many environmen- Educational Slideshow Series, the web- tal issues is a cause definitely worth site’s translation into multiple languages, contributing to. I’m honored just to and was just recently made manager of be a part of it. the IEDRO newsletter. Q: How much longer do you intend Q: How did you hear about IEDRO and to volunteer? what made you want to volunteer? A: Forever! A: I stumbled across IEDRO during an Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 Jan/Feb 2010 3 www.IEDRO.org
  4. 4. IEDRO News Strip-Chart Digitization Software Program L arry Nicodemus and Drs. Ed Root and Rick Crouthamel attended the Ameri- can Meteorological Society annual meeting in Atlanta at the end of January. Larry presented a paper on the strip chart digitizing software program that Ed developed. Jean-Paul Miller, Larry and Ed are working on ways to enter metadata in each chart more quickly. Rick will be submitting a funding request to cover the program’s fu- ture development. He will also request the funds to hire a few part-time subcontrac- tors to begin the digitization work we already have in the pipeline from Malawi and El Salvador (approximately 6,000 charts) 2010 Voluntary Cooperation Funding Proposals Rick completed a global hydrometeorological data rescue and digitization funding proposal, and has submitted it to the National Weather Service’s International Activ- ity Office. The proposal spans six project areas, including maintaining our existing 12 sites, adding three new ones and entering the digitization arena. Give a day--paint a community build- Operations ing, and get a Disney Malawi Day. New volunteer, Ben Johnson, visited Malawi. He carried a number of replacement digital cameras for Project Manager, Martin Munkhondya, which will replace inop- http://themeparks. about.com/od/ erative ones in Tanzania. Ben also carried a Lenovo notebook computer that will be disneyparks/a/Dis- on permanent loan to Martin, to facilitate his work on our behalf. neyDayVolunt.htm Tanzania Tanzania is experiencing difficulty imaging their PIBAL charts (upper-air weather observations.) The data was written in very faint pencil, and was too faint for the camera to pick up. Rick suggested that Tanzania Fed Ex their original paper records to IEDRO Headquarters, where, hopefully, our sensitive scanner will image the records and allow the data to be read by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin- istration (NOAA) digitization contractors. Zambia IEDRO just received another CD with over 1000 PIBAL images from this project. ClimateZoo Project This is a cooperative project funded by the United Kingdom Meteorological Of- fice and IEDRO (if we receive funds). The project’s goal is to work with Oxford University to set up a process similar to their GalaxyZoo.org project that uses internet volunteers to classify galaxies. ClimateZoo will use volunteers to digitize hydrometeorological data found in ship’s logs. Jean-Paul Miller will be working on IEDRO’s version to get internet volunteers to digitize weather data from our projects. (Cont on p. 6) Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 3 4 www.IEDRO.org www.iedro.org
  5. 5. IEDRO Joins HandsOn Network and Disney: Participate in the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" Program On September 9, 2009, Disney Parks announced a new program designed to cel- ebrate the spirit of volunteer service: the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” promo- tion. Hoping to inspire families everywhere, Disney is offering one million people, performing volunteer services at participating organizations, a free one-day admis- sion ticket to a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Disney has partnered with HandsOn Network, the nation’s largest volunteer net- work, to facilitate sign-ups for eligible volunteer projects. Part of the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network has 250 volunteer action centers, as well as a network of over 70,000 nonprofit, corporate and faith organizations. When IEDRO joined with HandsOn Network and Disney to participate in “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” Pennell Paugh (Penny), Public Relations Manager said, “We’re thrilled to be a part of this program. There are so many people out there willing to help. The Disney free-pass program is a fun way of saying thank you, and a gift anyone would enjoy!” For those of you who volunteer for IEDRO, please visit http://www.disneyparks. com. Once your service has been verified, you will receive an email from Disney containing a voucher for one free ticket to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Penny at pen- nellpaugh@gmail.com, or visit our website at www.iedro.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disneyland_Park_%28Anaheim%29 Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 5 www.IEDRO.org
  6. 6. IEDRO News (Cont from p. 4 ) Upcoming Future Developments Events Products for Data Owners Publications Bill Thompson, retired meteorologist, is working with members of the Technical Team to find software programs. These programs may generate sponsor countries IEDRO volunteer, with products, which could, in turn, create funding for project sites with the digi- Toni Rosati, has tized data generated from working with IEDRO. written an article entitled, “Public Horizons for the Digitizing Software Program Perceptions of It is IEDRO’s primary goal to advise, assist, convert, and preserve these deterio- Tsunamis and Tsunami Warn- rating data formats and convert them into digital images and digitized records. ing Signs in Los IEDRO has developed a way to automate digitization of daily precipitation charts. Angeles,” that is We also are considering automating other data types. Figure 1 shows manuscript scheduled to ap- records of surface observations. pear in The Front Page, Blog of the American Mete- orological Soci- ety, http://blog. ametsoc.org/, April 2010. Figure 1: Uruguay Manuscript Records Hydrometeorological “strip charts” record changes in parameter values over time. Observational data, such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, precipitation, stream flow, wind direction, speed, etc. are recorded as a pen trace on a grid. These charts are mounted on cylinders that rotate at a constant speed, and a pen, attached to a mechanical device, records the changes in parameter val- ues over time. Depending on the speed at which the cylinder turns, the charts may represent parameter changes over a 24-hour period or 7-day week. Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 6 www.IEDRO.org
  7. 7. Could Global Warming Freeze Our Planet? C urrent weather patterns have Some scientists believe this domino a lot of people scratching effect could throw Europe into their heads. With the weather another “little ice age,” similar to growing frigidly colder over certain the one that struck the 16th through parts of the globe many are wonder- the 19th centuries. The worst case ing if we are indeed victims of global scenario would be a great ice age, warming, or if we could, in fact, be overtaking the entire globe. heading toward some sort of abrupt cooling period, essentially another ice Other scientists give weight to an age. The common belief regarding upcoming ice age, but discount global warming is that it causes just global warming as a cause. History that: global warming. In fact, that’s has proven that ice ages of vary- only a part of the big picture behind ing severities occur cyclically. The the theory. Scientists who back glo- last major ice age was 11,500 years bal warming are referring to long- ago, leaving many scientists to say term climate changes. Advocates say we are simply overdue for another global warming will not just cause large one. These theories, like glo- warm weather, but weather of every bal warming and so many others, extreme, including hotter summers, have yet to be fully proven. colder winters, stronger storms and longer droughts. Scientists agree on one thing: it is imperative that we continue to Al Gore mentioned the melting of gather and study historic environ- Greenland glaciers in his film, An In- mental data to understand today’s convenient Truth. According to some and tomorrow’s climate changes, scientists, the ramifications of this and truly prepare for the future. catastrophe are frightening. Melting ice caps could theoretically produce http://www.informationclearing- enough water flow into the North At- house.info/article15809.htm lantic Ocean to affect the Gulf Stream http://www.commondreams.org/ siberpopphotos.com surface current. views04/0130-11.htm http://www.dailymail.co.uk/scien- The Gulf Stream is responsible for cetech/article-1242011/DAVID- transporting waters that warm both ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts- Europe and northeastern North here.html America, and is a major part of the blueridgeoutdoors.com Great Conveyer Belt. The pouring of cold water into this belt could af- fect the delicate balance of these two flows: warm water from the Pacific and the cold, salty water beneath it, effectively shutting the belt down. Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 2010 Jan/Feb Jan/Feb 2010 4 7 www.IEDRO.org www.IEDRO.org www.IEDRO.org www.iedro.org
  8. 8. The Dust Bowl T he Dust Bowl was one of the worst that soil erosion was a problem not only for climatic events in the history of the farmers, but for the economies of rural areas United States. From 1930 to 1936 a and the nation overall. He aroused the na- period of severe dust storms caused major tion to the potentially perilous effects of soil ecological and agricultural damage to Amer- erosion and urged a new approach to farm- ican and Canadian prairie lands. The Dust ing to avoid similar catastrophes. Largely Bowl left the Great Plains without humus, in response to Bennett’s campaign for soil nutrients, or plant cover. It all but dried up conservation, U.S. Rep. James P. Buchanan an already depressed American economy, of Texas attached an amendment to the 1930 www.paranormalknowledge.com creating millions of dollars in damages. appropriations bill authorizing the U.S. De- partment of Agriculture to establish a series The phenomenon was caused by severe of soil erosion experiment stations. drought coupled with decades of extensive farming on prairie land. Farming practices The menacing conditions that produced the that would have been preventive were Dust Bowl of the 1930s could be prevented. lacking, including crop rotation and use of However, dust-bowl conditions are ongo- fallow fields and cover crops. ing in China, Australia, and Africa. One alarming report, made in 2007 by the World Although the disaster occurred in the mid- Changing website, states that China is turn- 1930s, its basis was laid in 1914 when the ing its productive land into desert at the rate Turkish Navy blockaded the Dardanelles of one million acres per year; producing and cut off the flow of Russian wheat to huge sandstorms. The population of graz- the rest of the world. To meet the sudden ing farm animals has quadrupled since the increase in demand, farmers on the Great 1960s, which is another cause of desertifi- Plains plowed under land that they had cation. To reduce the vulnerability of these not previously considered worthy of cul- regions to future droughts, it’s crucial to tivation, taking out loans to purchase the remember the severity of the drought that equipment needed to expand their work. once blasted the hope and hard work of When the price of wheat fell after the war, people in the Great Plains. they planted more and more acres, racing desperately to stay ahead of their debts. The complexity of current weather pat- Rainfall was irregular in the 1920s. When terns in addition to farming methods might the rains stopped altogether in 1932, no require different remedies than those used native ground-cover was left. Deep plowing in the Dust Bowl area. The collection of of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains had weather data throughout the world will help killed the natural grasses that normally kept mankind understand the causes of dust-bowl the soil in place and trapping moisture even conditions and, thus, help to develop spe- during periods of drought and high winds. cific solutions. The dust storms were so large they were experienced in Washington, DC and San http://weather.about.com/od/weatherfaqs/f/ Francisco. dustbowl.htm Because the nation’s politicians became aware of the problem first hand, a nation- wide effort was made to resolve the prob- weru.ksu.edu. lem. Hugh Hammond Bennett, who came to be known as "the father of soil conserva- tion” led the soil conservation movement in the 1920s and the 1930s. Through his work on soil surveys and investigation of declin- ing crop yields, Bennett became convinced Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 Jan/Feb 2010 5 8 www.IEDRO.org www.iedro.org
  9. 9. Caribbean Societal Impacts of Weather Workshop: Call for Applications T Please visit: http://www.sip. he National Center for At- will bring together diverse stakeholders ucar.edu/wasis/ mospheric Research Societal from the Caribbean region including caribbean/apply. Impacts Program announces forecasters, broadcasters, emergency jsp to learn the the call for applications for the first managers, academics, healthcare pro- application details fessionals, and other public and private Weather and Society * Integrated and to read more sector individuals. The workshop will about WAS*IS. Studies (WAS*IS) Caribbean work- shop to be held June 6-11, 2010, in feature capacity building activities If you have ques- San Juan, Puerto Rico. among a small group of moderators/ fa- tions about the cilitators, a set of expert topic present- WAS*IS Carib- WAS*IS is a grassroots movement ers, and 20 - 30 workshop participants. bean workshop, to fully integrate social science into please contact: meteorological research and practice. A variety of general topics will be dis- WAS*IS is doing this by: cussed that typically are covered in the Dr. Thomas traditional WAS*IS workshops. Con- Behler National 1. building an interdisciplinary com- cerns specific to the Caribbean region Center for Atmos- will also be addressed, including hurri- munity of practitioners, researchers, pheric Research canes and tropical storms, both gen- PO Box 3000, and stakeholders who are dedicated to the integration of meteorology eral and flash flooding, storm surges, Boulder, CO 80307-3000 and social science; and tsunamis, and the special concerns of behler@ucar.edu 2. providing this community with disadvantaged Caribbean population (303) 497-8492 opportunities to learn about ideas, groups. methods, and examples related to integrated weather-society work. Workshop Details: Building on the WAS*IS model, the * Applicants are limited to those cur- WAS*IS Caribbean workshop that rently living in the Caribbean region. * The National Center for Atmospher- ic Research will cover reasonable http://www.usatoday.com/weather/satpic/wsatcar.htm costs of travel, lodging, and meals for all participants who are NOT U.S. government employees. * The workshop will be conducted in English. Applicants must have a working knowledge of English. * Individuals will be responsible for meeting their own passport/visa re- quirements and costs associated with those requirements. See http://www. state.gov/travel for more information regarding passports and visas. Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 9 www.IEDRO.org
  10. 10. IEDRO News (Cont from p. 6) The process to extract information Figures 2a-2d provide examples of from these charts and digitize the strip chart formats we have locatedthat values over specific periods of time are in need of rescue. They include involves manually running a digitiz- relative humidity, temperature, wind ing pen over the trace on the chart movement and wind gust, station pres- arb.ca.gov which is mounted on a light table to sure data, solar radiation data [pyrohe- transfer the data onto a form. This liometer and incoming solar radiation manual process usually takes 15 -20 (or insolation)], as well as polar sea Volunteer minutes of effort. ice locations. Openings Mandarin, Farsi and Portuguese inter- preters to translate our website. Dreamweaver ex- pert to continue to develop, update and maintain our current website. Develop foreign language versions of our web- Figure 2a: Relative Humidity and Temperature Strip Charts site, in particular. HTML and Flash knowledge to de- velop an animated educational series of web-based trainings originally developed in PowerPoint. Blog and newsletter writers Figure 2b: Relative Wind Movement and Wind Gust Recording Charts Indesign graphic designers K-12 educators to help us develop an educational series. Figure 2c: Station Pressure and Solar Radiation (Pyroheliometer) Data (Cont on p. 11) Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 10 www.IEDRO.org
  11. 11. IEDRO’s Data Search Services robertnealmarshall.com “The further back you look, the further forward you can see.” -- Winston Churchill N eed weather data for your project? IEDRO will perform a search for a nominal donation. We perform a search using the National Climatic Data Center’s database. All donations received will directly support data rescue and digitization that IEDRO does in developing countries. To initiate a search, provide the following information: 1. A brief description of the project. 2. The geographic area for which data is needed, i.e., country or regional name. 3. The specific meteorological elements required and time frame (hourly, synop- tic, daily) Send your request to: l.nicodemus@IEDRO.org. IEDRO News (Cont from p. 10) Figure 2d: Polar Sea Ice Locations Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 11 www.IEDRO.org
  12. 12. About Weather Data Satellite Sensors W e read during these remotely sensed measurements do the previ- not represent single-point locations, but ous news- instead estimated conditions on a given letter how valuable generalized grid coordinate system. The radiosonde data can spatial dimension of the grid is known as be towards improving the spatial resolution, which can range our awareness of local from 30 square meters (LandSat) to 2.5 atmospheric conditions. degrees latitude and longitude (NCEP/ www.NASA.gov Through this process NCAR Reanalysis products). Only a few we can measure wind classified intelligence satellites may have speed and direction less than 1-meter resolution. The advan- combines multiple sensors from along with temperatures tage of high-resolution data is that it more participating operational satellites (a at multiple levels of the accurately resolves the observed condi- 7-channel 4-frequency special sensor atmosphere. Couple this tions, but the disadvantage is that data microwave and infrared imager) with information with rain space and storage can be extreme when available precipitation measurements gauges at the surface managing fine scale resolution over a from ground stations. Together these and a total understand- large region. two options provide valuable alterna- ing of meteorologi- tives to an otherwise discontinuous cal conditions can be Climate scientists often refer to gridded data record (in space and time). represented at spe- precipitation estimates for climate applica- cific locations. Unfor- tions when ground measurements are una- In a perfect world, where meteorologi- tunately, our globe is vailable. Two examples of such products cal conditions are recorded globally, not sampled at every are the National Aeronautics and Space we would not require remotely sensed location on the earth, Administration (NASA) Tropical Rainfall precipitation estimates. IEDRO which makes having a Measurement Mission (TRMM) and the continues to support the worthwhile complete understanding NASA Global Precipitation Climatology cause of data recovery in an attempt of our planet’s mete- Project (GPCP). to provide valuable data that exceeds orological conditions the resolution constraints of precipita- impossible. Global cov- TRMM provides 3 hourly rainfall meas- tion estimates. In addition, recovered erage is restricted by urements at a 0.25-degree spatial scale data is integrated into programs, like human and economic from 50S to 50N. GPCP provides monthly the GPCP’s which merges it into their resources, as well as rainfall estimates from a 2.5-degree spatial precipitation estimate program to by physical geographic scale over the globe. improve the accuracy of their existing terrains that limit meas- products. Data recovery continues to urements at challenging The GPCP monthly record begins in 1979 be a vital link to unearthing hidden and unpopulated condi- and extends to the present, while a finer treasures that can help to answer key tions. scale 1-degree daily product from GPCP components of the climate puzzle. begins from 1997. TRMM is available However, global data from 1998. Additional information about TRMM can be accessed from and GPCP can be found at http:// multiple remote sensing To accomplish the task of producing trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/ and http://www. systems through satel- global rainfall estimates, TRMM uses an esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data. lite applications, thanks array of tools aboard its platform—pre- gpcp.html. to modern technology. cipitation radars, microwave imagers The downside is that and visible and infrared scanners. GPCP Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 12 www.IEDRO.org
  13. 13. The Little Ice Age F rom the 16th to the 19th cold winter of 1794 froze the river of centuries, there was a the Netherlands, allowing the French cooling period that af- army of Pichegru to march on them. fected the world, most notably in the northern hemisphere. By studying weather data, we can This is a period that scientists hypothesize on the causes of such refer to as the Little Ice Age. drastic changes to the weather. Study- Paintings from the 16th cen- ing levels of isotopes can help us un- tury depict scenes of people derstand whether solar activity con- in Great Britain and the Neth- tributed to the Little Ice Age. Looking erlands skating on rivers that at sulfur levels in conjunction with wikimedia.org were frozen deeply enough to winter temperatures allows us to see support them. Severe winters if volcanic activity played a role. By affected the crops of colonies gathering data on carbon dioxide in the Swiss Alps, Iceland and levels of the late 19th century, we can Greenland. Glacial expansions see whether the Industrial Revolution caused many to retreat and lose may have played a role in reversing their homes. In Portugal, there the Little Ice Age. By studying many were reports of heavy snow- of these factors, we can predict and fall in the winters of the 17th prepare for drastic weather changes in and 18th century, while such our future. weather activity is rare today. “Little Ice Age in Europe,” http://www2. The Little Ice Age affected sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_ human conflicts as well: the age.html uncp.edu patdollard Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 13 www.IEDRO.org
  14. 14. Review: Historic Climate Data Helps Agribusiness Decision-Makers C limate informa- Lamb, Peter J. Use of Climate Information by U.S. Agribusiness. Rockville, MD. tion is currently National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climate Program Of- being used exten- fice, Technical Report, Dec. 1985, 67. sively by agribusiness decision makers. This usage has increased Study Description substantially in recent years and occurs in the This study sought to identify the climate information uses and needs of agribusi- designing and planning ness decision makers in the U.S. It was conducted in three phases: of ongoing and future operations, monitoring 1. A nationwide mail questionnaire survey. Usable responses were obtained from of in-season conditions 107 individuals involved in nine types of agribusiness activity. and model-based pre- 2. A two-day workshop. Fourteen of the questionnaire survey respondents were diction of crop yields. used as primary participants. 3. Individual, day-long, post-workshop discussions. These were held with several Climate information is of the workshop attendees. used most by integrat- ed pest management consultants, the grain Implications, Conclusions and Recommendations trade, seed production and food processing Four types of climate information were considered: historical data, year-to-date ac- industries, and profes- cumulations, now-only conditions, and climate predictions. sional farm managers. The information used Climate information is currently being used extensively by agribusiness decision involves a relatively makers. This usage has increased substantially in recent years and occurs in design wide range of meteoro- and planning of ongoing and future operations, monitoring of in-season conditions, logical parameters. and model-based prediction of crop yields. Historical data is one Climate information is used most by integrated pest management consultants, of four types of cli- the grain trade, the seed production and food processing industries, and profes- mate information used sional farm managers. The information used involves a relatively wide range of by agribusiness deci- meteorological parameters. This is barely recognized by the atmospheric science sion makers. The other community. Its implications for the United States National Climate Program, the three are: year-to-date World Climate Programme, agribusiness, and the provision of climate services are accumulations; now- discussed. only conditions and climate predictions. Nonuse of climate information is found to stem from reservations about the avail- ability, utility, cost, value, and (in the case of climate predictions) accuracy of that material. To remove these impediments, substantial initiatives are needed in the areas of data acquisition/assembly, scientific research, information generation and dissemination, as well as user education. An in-depth consideration of these needs is presented. It includes an assessment of the most appropriate roles for federal and state government agencies, universities, private meteorological companies and agribusiness itself. The potential exists for a substantial and profitable increase in the use of climate information by the private agricultural sector. Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 14 www.IEDRO.org
  15. 15. Guest Interview with An Interview with Andrew Revkin Andrew Revkin A ndrew Revkin has reported for The New York Times for nearly 15 years, covering such environmental By: Andrea Kobeszko events as hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami. He now writes Dot Earth, a blog focusing on climate change and sustainability. Q: After over a quarter century of covering environmental events, you have witnessed firsthand what many people have only either seen or read about in passing. In your book, The North Pole Was Here, you wrote for a large audience: ages ten and up. You have mentioned that one reason for writing the book was to explain global warming to the next generation. Do you feel the next generation is any closer to understanding global warming than the last? A: I don't think it's a generation question; certainly not an age ques- tion. I wrote the book for kids be- cause I think I have to explore these issues for all generations who need to be part of moving to a sustainable energy future. That implicitly in- volves today's youth. I've met people from the age of 95 (Ted Kheel) to under 12 who are utterly focused on climate, energy, and building a fruitful human future on a thriving planet. Q: Do you think younger people are "getting it" more than us "fossils?" A: Not really. I see the same sub- set of engaged people, what I call "Generation E," in every population I encounter. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/ tag/generation-e/ Q: The North Pole Was Here was published in 2006. Have events since then changed your outlook on the future, for better or worse? A: Every day I start out optimistic and end up pessimistic; but as I rise in the morning each day, I have hope that we can chart a productive course. That hasn't changed at all. This is one reason I sometimes label myself a "despairing opti- mist"— a term coined by Rene Dubos, whose work I've followed since college. Andrew’s blog can be found here: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/ Nov.Dec 2009 IDRN www.iedro.org Jan/Feb 2010 15 www.IEDRO.org
  16. 16. International Data Rescue News Managing Editors Interpreters HTML Email Design Pennell Paugh Andrea Fudge and Mailing Andrea Kobeszko Aura Lawson-Alonso Joan Kauth Carolina Meza IEDRO Managing Officers Dario DiFranco International Environmental Janet Sansone, Chairman, Miriam Munoz Data Rescue Board of Directors Monica Vilpors Organization Richard Crouthamel, Sci.D., Brook Ngo 901 Main Street, Deale, MD 20751 Executive Director Shane Abeare Phone: 410-867-1124 Larry Nicodemus, Manager, Virginie Noel Fax: 410-867-9259 Technology Email: admin@iedro.org Pennell Paugh, Manager, Writing Staff Website: www.iedro.org Public Relations James Avery Andrea Kobeszko, Assistant Cameron Manager, Public Relations Gerald Hawkins Susan Callis, Manager, Operations Garry Reidister Rezwana Abed Graphic Designers Sandra Rutherford Jenny Witte Teddy Allen Georgette Esipila Virginie Noel Adam Kobeszko Woo Yun Pennell Paugh Judy Harter www.weru.ksu.edu Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/-International-Environmental-Data-Rescue-Organiza- tion-/147922398987?ref=ts Blog http://internationalenvironmentaldatarecoveryorganization.pbworks.com/ Twitter http://twitter.com/IEDRO Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2337122/

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