Graduate Students honored at American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting

The 2017 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, December 11-15, 2017 and featured more than 22,000 talks and poster presentations by earth and space science researchers from around the world.

Photo Courtesy of Smart Meetings

Three UC Santa Barbara Geography graduate students, Brandi Gamelin, David Miller, and Erin Wetherley were honored with prestigious Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs). According to AGU’s website, OSPAs are awarded to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. Typically the top 2-5% of presenters in each section are acknowledged.


Photo Courtesy of Joe McFadden

Miller’s presentation was titled, “Gross Primary Productivity and Vegetation Light Use Efficiency of a Large Metropolitan Region based on CO2 Flux Measurements and WorldView-2 Satellite Imagery.”

“David leveraged rare urban CO2 flux measurements with high resolution satellite imagery and lidar. This allowed him to answer the question of whether urban land-use types differ in carbon uptake primarily due to vegetation condition (uptake per unit vegetated area) or due to differences in the amount of vegetation cover,” stated Joe McFadden, advisor to Miller and Wetherley. McFadden is a Professor of Geography at UC Santa Barbara and was one of four people convening the Urban Areas and Global Change session at the Fall Meeting.

Photo Courtesy of Joe McFadden

Wetherley gave a talk titled “Evaluating Vegetation Type Effects on Land Surface Temperature at the City Scale.” She used remote sensing to create a landcover map of all of urbanized Los Angeles, and then used that map to study patterns in vegetation temperatures to enhance our understanding of urban climate and water use.

“Erin’s paper is really groundbreaking because it uses remote sensing at the scale of large metropolitan regions to separately quantify the effects of vegetation and environmental drivers on urban heat, despite the incredible heterogeneity of the city,” said McFadden.


Photo Courtesy of Brandi Gamelin

Gamelin’s presentation was titled  “Tropopause Ozone and Water Vapor Concentrations during the South American Monsoon System with AIRS Satellite Observations and MERRA-2 data.” Gamelin is focusing her study on subtropical South America, a region where we observe one of the deepest and most intense convective storms in our planet.

“Brandi has been investigating a very intriguing and relatively unexplored problem in atmospheric sciences: the influence of deep and organized convective storms on the lower-stratospheric ozone. The hypothesis is that deep convective storms have strong updrafts that can transport water vapor to the lower stratosphere, and this water vapor can play a role in stratospheric ozone depletion,” shared her adviser, Leila Carvalho, Professor of Climate at UC Santa Barbara. “Moreover, this is an area of intense agriculture and livestock, and ozone depletion can increase ultraviolet radiation at the surface with impacts on food production and human health. Brandi has been using multiple data sets and methods to decipher the mechanisms explaining these relationships.”


Photo Courtesy of Brandi Gamelin

Pictured above (left to right) are fellow Geography graduate students: Sari Blakeley, Brandi Gamelin, Fernanda Figueiredo Ribeiro, Deanna Nash.