Swarming tornadoes

This post first appeared on the Florida State University’s Department of Geography News & Chair’s Blog. The violent winds of tornadoes are one of the most dangerous natural hazards on Earth. While relatively rare in any one location they often occur in swarms. I’ve been working with graduate student Zoe Schroder to answer the question of whether…

Climate Change’s Effect on Tornadoes

Tornadoes, with their potentially violent winds, are one of the most dangerous natural hazards on Earth. While tornadoes are generally pretty rare in any one location, they often occur in swarms. My research attempts to answer the question of whether or not climate change is making tornado swarms worse, and if so, how. Tornadoes can occur anywhere in the United States but are most common east of the Rocky Mountains (see Figure 1). Tornadoes form from large thunderstorms primarily during the months of March through May. These giant thunderstorms are capable of producing very destructive long lasting tornadoes. Swarms of tornadoes are…

Research Spotlight: Finding bright spots of hope for Caribbean coral reefs

Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on the planet. They are home to an incredible variety of marine life, including many beautiful and brightly colored fish, corals and other organisms, making them popular destinations for snorkelers and SCUBA divers. But coral reefs are not just a pretty place for tourists to…

Hindsight 2020: Hurricane Season & Climate Change

The 2020 hurricane season is here and is expected to be a busy one. We’ve already had three tropical cyclones and it’s still June! Forecasts are unanimous in calling for an active season: seven to ten hurricanes, with most of them likely to occur after August 10th. Cold waters across the eastern tropical Pacific ocean…

Policy Pub: Get Ready for more Sweaty!

Dr. James Elsner participated in the Policy Pub in September 2019. To listen to his pub navigate here. Summer is here and it’s hot. I love it. I loved summer in Milwaukee as a kid but it was always way too short. Not here. Summer starts in May and runs through most of September. Perfect….

Hurricanes: A Growing Threat to an Endangered System

As part of my Ph.D. research, I surveyed longleaf pine habitats before and after Hurricane Michael. My goals were to assess baseline conditions in habitats that were considered to be in exemplary condition and the subsequent damage caused by the storm. This information should help land managers and policy-makers be better informed while making decisions about recovery plans. In total, 0.3-0.4 million acres of longleaf pine habitat within the Florida panhandle were impacted by hurricane force winds, while up to 2.6 million acres experienced tropical storm force winds. My detailed surveys at four sites showed that the site nearest to the storm center experienced catastrophic losses with an estimated tree mortality of 88.7%. At the other sites further away, mortality ranged from 1.3 – 8.4%.

Faculty Book: Challenges Towards Ecological Sustainability in China

Our book is one of few English books focusing on the issue of ecological sustainability in China. It includes a selection of the best papers presented at the Jinan Forum on Geography and Ecological Sustainability held in Guangzhou, China, from 17 to 19 February 2017, as well as several invited papers.

What’s Driven the Dramatic Technological Change in the US Wind Power Sector?

As the world’s major energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter, the United States is striving to increase the share of renewable energy in its electricity supply so as to address climate change and energy security concerns. Among all renewable energy sources, wind energy has great potential to provide a significant share of electricity generation. During the last two decades, the United States has experienced tremendous technological change in wind power both in terms of cumulative installed capacity and generation performance of wind farms.  

Climate Change in Florida: Research and Realities

That was one of the purposes of the book we contributed to and the reports and peer reviewed articles we’ve published on this topic; to use the best available science, both physical and social sciences, to inform policy makers about the changes in Florida’s climate and give them the information they need to do something about it.