Reference my post Why the Colors of Fall. This year here in East Central Wisconsin one can really see a difference in the colors of fall. The wet year we’ve had has produced variations in leaf color and the recent mild temperatures have slowed the change. But if you look closely, here and there you’ll find some bright oranges and beautiful golden yellows.
In September 2018, NASA launched an instrument, via the ICESat-2 satellite, called ATLAS which measures many ecological surfaces to determine the health of the world’s resources. This laser-like device measures the satellite’s position, the angle and how long it takes the laser beam to bounce back from the surface it is measuring. They’ve been measuring the elevation of the Earth’s ice, land, water, clouds, and now trees. Here’s where citizen scientists come in.
NASA would like citizen scientists to help validate the tree measurements they are taking from space. By knowing the height of trees, researchers can estimate the health of the Earth’s forests and calculate the amount of carbon dioxide they store.
The NASA GLOBE Observer app is user-friendly. Besides measuring trees, among other things, it also measures the landscape around you and mosquito habitats. It has a tutorial and helpful hints.
Once you’ve selected your straight tree and staked out a spot about 25 to 75 feet away, you hold the phone in front of your face and angle it to measure the base and then to the tree’s top. Then you take a picture, count your steps to the tree, log your position at its base and the app will calculate the tree’s height. (Verge)
Thanks to the Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) for making me aware of this great app.
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), often referred to as Red Twig Dogwood is another striking shrub because of the red highlights in its growth. This multi-stemmed shrub has red stems which are at their most brilliant in the late winter when the sun begins to shine longer in anticipation of spring. [Read more…]
The other day my husband John and I were having breakfast on the deck, overlooking the prairie, and he asked “are those red things on the dogwood berries?” Nope, they were not, but from a distance the bright red stems left from the Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) fruits sure did stand out.