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What the Flux

Climate change and world record atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are not new topics in mainstream media. An ample source of information on the planet’s current and future conditions is at our fingertips, but a resounding question from curious minds and climate-change deniers alike is: How do we know the climate is changing? We might have a long list of weather patterns at locations around the world, but how do we get them? And how do we make predictions? The answer would be flux towers.

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Standing on a flux tower 138 feet in the air.

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Terrible things that happen at University

After four years at university, I’m no longer naive to the fact that failing is part of life. If you got a degree without failing a homework, quiz or test, congratulations to you. For everyone else, here is my comprehensive list of almost everything that could go wrong and University and how to make it better.

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Sometimes my classmates don’t look like me.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

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Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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Hello, Madison!

Map of Wisconsin from Google Earth.

The pain of waiting for an answer is over: I’ve been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Land Resources. The bustling capital city is located between two frequently-kayaked and very fishable lakes, Monona and Mendota. The city is sustainable in that biking and walking are the main methods of transportation, and places to eat, live, study, and be entertained are all very close to each other. A highly centralized city like Madison is a great environment for a grad student without a car, such as myself. The average apartment here rents for around $800/month but according to students, the price of living is increasing as people are discovering this secret city. Here are some pictures from the plane, a map of Wisconsin, and the view of the “West Side” from the top of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) building at the University. Continue reading

Grad School Purgatory

Since urban dictionary doesn’t quite spell it out for you, I will: This is when applications have been completed and sent, but there is neither an acceptance nor rejection from anyone. There is little to no knowledge of when an answer will arrive, if ever. This is grad school purgatory.

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Michael Scott from Giphy.com.

 

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Hubbard Brook

 

On Sunday night we arrived back at the University from our trip to Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. There were around a hundred researchers who attended the annual conference there. And let me tell you, not a single one wasn’t in shape. The mountain was steep, with an occasional dirt path leading the way, but other times you had to bushwhack to get where you were going. Although I had no cell service or internet for miles around and people were scarce, the restaurants we ate at were pure heaven. In the picture above: Woodstock Station and Brewery, view from Shamrock Motel of the White Mountains, the lab, and view of the brook.   Continue reading

SU-mmer Studies

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Syracuse University Campus. Photo by Jess Turner.

Welcome to the beautiful campus that is my new summer home: Syracuse University (SU). Situated on an enormous hill next to the basketball dome and College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) this campus practically gleams. Continue reading