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Investigating Impacts from Super Storm Sandy
Start Date: 1/24/2014Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 1/24/2014End Time: 1:00 PM

Event Description:
Mary Beth Adams, research soil scientist with the USDA Forest Service, will speak on "Investigating Impacts from Super Storm Sandy: Damage Assessment and Ecosystem Processes" at 12 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, in 334 Percival Hall.

In the early hours of October 30th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and mixed with an arctic frontal system, becoming what is known as “Superstorm Sandy.” In addition to the high winds and storm surges that battered the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts, Sandy also had a strong impact on inland regions. Between October 28th and 31st, up to 3 feet of snow fell on central Appalachian forests. Damage was extensive to the Fernow Experimental Forest (FEF) in West Virginia. Because the Fernow EF has more than 60 years of research, Forest Service scientists used this incident for research on accurately quantifying the extent and intensity of forest damage from such unusual storms.

Forest Service scientists conducted plot level damage assessments in spring/summer 2013, focusing on 26 long-term silvicultural research plots, for a total of 3,550 trees assessed. This data on tree damage will be used in conjunction with detailed satellite imagery to develop models to predict storm damage in a spatially explicit manner. Initial results show that over half of all trees on these growth plots were damaged. Tree species most affected were red and striped maples, as well as beech and oaks, which had not yet shed their leaves. Multi-spectral remote sensing methods provide a powerful avenue for assessing the spatial extent and intensity of forest damage. The damage maps can then be used to make spatially explicit measurements and predictions of ecosystem processes and services. Also because these are tied to such intensively measured long-term growth plots, other important processes such as reproduction and mortality can be assessed through time. Because such storms may become more frequent under a changing climate, and because of the significant financial, ecosystem, and human impacts in the regions affected by such storms, it is critical that we assess and predict damage efficiently.

This project has involved scientists from the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, and faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Results have already been showcased in undergraduate research seminars at West Virginia University, and in presentations by faculty.
Location Information:
Evansdale Campus - Percival Hall  (View Map)
355 Oakland Dr
Morgantown, WV 26506
Contact Information:
Name: Mary Beth Adams
Phone: 304-478-2000 Ext.130
Other Details:
The lecture is free and open to the public.

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