26 Feb '15, 8pm

A Web of Sensors Enfolds an Entire Forest to Uncover Clues to Climate Change

studying natural cycles is called phenology , and it is the core of the Harvard Forest mission. Every year since 1990, Harvard investigator John O’Keefe has been noting when the leaves of dozens of tree species first bud in the spring and when they change color and die in autumn. Now his role is in danger of being usurped by cameras mounted high above. Harvard biology associate professor Andrew Richardson first put a digital camera on a tower at the Harvard Forest in 2005, to “get some pretty pictures to illustrate lectures.” But he soon realized that by comparing colors in time-lapse photos, he could track and identify seasonal changes. The dozens of “phenocams” he has installed at 12 locations around the United States have captured more than 5 million images. “We’re doing what satellite remote sensing does,” says Richardson. “But we’re doing it with cameras that cost a c...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/conservation/a-web-of...

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