Faculty Research

The hurricane of 1938 was a disaster – would it be more of a disaster today?

From the Concord Monitor (www.concordmonitor.com/hurricane-of-1938-concord-nh-12614754)

 

Frank Magilligan of Dartmouth can help you picture it: “Imagine a bigger, windier, slower-moving Irene.”

You remember Hurricane Irene, which moved up the Connecticut River valley in late August of 2011 after doing damage along the Eastern Seaboard.

Even though it had been downgraded to a tropical form by the time it arrived, Irene rampaged through Vermont, killing six people, cutting off all access to 13 separate communities, and causing tens of millions of dollars worth of damage to build ings, roads and the power system, some of which was not fully repaired for years.

New Hampshire was much less affected because of the way hurricanes work. Since hurricanes change as they interact with the jet stream in the Northeast, and produce much more rainfall on the western side of the storm – in Irene’s case, on the Vermont side. Almost all of the damage was caused by flooding rather than high winds.

New commuting map of USA wins top planning research award

A ground-breaking map of the United States that defines mega-regions by commuting patterns has won the UK’s top planning research award.

It is one five winners at yesterday's RTPI Research Excellence Awards ceremony, held during the 2017 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference.

Mega-regions in the USA have long been understood in geography as cities connected by their economies and infrastructure, but this way of conglomerating places are increasingly unable to reflect what is happening on the ground

Instead, the researchers analysed the daily work journeys of more than 130 million Americans over five years to better understand the changing economic interdependence between cities and their surrounding areas.

The study illustrates the value of big data such as commuting data in helping to understand how places really work, which can be highly useful for policy makers and planners to make strategic decisions, from infrastructure and transport investment to how boundaries should be drawn up for elections.

Intense Rainfall More Common in last 20 Years

Intense rainfall events, like the one that triggered flash floods throughout the region and a mudslide in southern Vermont on Monday, have become much more common in the last 20 years, according to researchers at Dartmouth College.

Though the jury is still out on whether climate change is behind the trend, the findings, which were published last month, do suggest that what we think of as 100-year flood events might actually be much more likely to happen than conventional wisdom suggests, said Jonathan Winter, who joined Dartmouth colleagues Huanping Huang and Erich Osterberg on the research team.

Winter found that intense rainfalls — generally thought of as 2 or more inches of precipitation in a 24-hour period — are 53 percent more likely to happen than they were before the mid-1990s.

And current conditions in the Upper Valley are likely to increase the impact of those heavy rains.

Excellence in Geomorphological Research

Congratulations to Frank Magilligan, Buraas, E.M., and Renshsaw, C.E., 2015. The efficacy of stream power and flow duration on geomorphic responses to catastrophic flooding, Geomorphology, 228: 175-188) was selected for the 2017 G.K. Gilbert Award for "Excellence in Geomorphological Research” awarded by the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the AAG.  

 

Stephanie Spera, Neukom Postdoctoral Fellow

Stephanie is interested in how and to what extent humans are modifying the landscape, what is driving these changes in land cover, and how are these changes affecting the environment. Back on earth, she completed an interdisciplinary doctoral dissertation at Brown University through the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society where she focused on how and why land cover had changed across the Cerrado of Brazil since 2000.

Julie L. Commerford Visiting Professor

Julie Commerford is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography.

Julie’s research focuses on disentangling the drivers of ecosystem change in North America throughout the last 10,000 years. She uses a variety of field, laboratory, and geospatial techniques in her work, including analyzing pollen and other proxy data in lake sediments. She is currently working on a multi-year pollen monitoring project that aims to quantitatively evaluate modern-day drivers of grassland vegetation change (such as human disturbance, fire, and climate). With that knowledge, we can achieve better-informed interpretations of how grassland ecosystems responded to past changes.

NIH Grant Awarded for Environmental Health Research

Jonathan Chipman and Xun Shi are part of a large multidisciplinary team recently awarded a $42 million National Institute of Health grant.  The project, led by Margaret Karagas of the Geisel School, will assess environmental influences on child health.  Geography's Shi and Chipman will be using geospatial data to study the health effects of exposure to "greenspace" and other aspects of the natural and built environment through which children move during their daily lives.  For more information:

http://geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/news/2016/nih-grants-awarded-to-geisel-and-dartmouth-hitchcock-for-pediatric-research/?utm_source=Dartmouth+News+Weekly&utm_campaign=9df3f9563c-dartnews_weekly_2016_09_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b7afd736b-9df3f9563c-391353485

Pages