Tuesday Noon Balloon with Natalie Boelman


Tundra is Burning! Estimating Burn Severity from Satellites

Natalie Boelman

Tuesday March 30th
Room 417 Schermerhorn Hall


Summary: Because tundra fires have been infrequent, small and of low burn severity in the recent past, little effort has been made to use remote sensing to study them. However, documented increases in shrub abundance, coupled with projected low effective moisture conditions, suggest that wildfires in tundra are expected to increase in both frequency and area burned throughout the Low Arctic region as global warming continues. In this study, we determine if tundra burn severity can be effectively estimated and mapped using spectral vegetation indices, which index (NBR, NDVI and EVI2) is best suited to do this, and how pixel size (MODIS, Landsat, Quickbird sensors) influences mapping and classification.

Natalie BoelmanNatalie Boelman is Storke-Doherty Lecturer and Doherty Associate Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  The lectureship is 4-year term faculty appointment awarded jointly by the Department and the Observatory.   Natalie is also a graduate of the deparment's Ph.D. program.  Her current research aims at improving understanding of the multi-trophic level consequences of climate warming, invasive species and urbanization in the ecosystems in which each is most acute.  She uses a combination of field surveys, remote sensing and bioacoustics to advance these research agendas. The topic of Natalie's Noon Balloon lecture relates to her project on assessing the ecological impacts of a recent tundra fire that burned on the North Slope of Alaska, in the summer of 2007. Natalie's other current research projects include: The impact of climate warming and changing seasonality on the interactions among vegetation, insects and songbird communities in an Arctic tundra ecosystem, on the North Slope of Alaska; how ecosystem structure and the influx of invasive floral and faunal species impact native and exotic bird communities on the Big Island of Hawaii (field surveys, hyperspectral airborne remote sensing, bioacoustics); and the impact of urbanization on native tree growth along an Urban-to-Rural Transect, in the vicinity of New York City (Manhattan to the Catskills).

Natalie received a B.Sc. in Physical Geography from McGill University and completed her Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

Future talks are scheduled for Tuesdays from 12:15-1:00pm in Room 417 Schermerhorn Hall.  Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

All are welcome to attend!