Aaron Bell's Personal Web page for

Mission 2006


Solving Complex Problems

Team Five: Land

"Land, without it we have nothing to stand on!!"

Wednesday, October 9, 2002
This week I have spent much of my time in acquiring maps of the amazon, in hopes of better grasping the basic layout of the region we are dealing with interest not only of soil, or landscape, but also population, resources, effectiveness of agriculture, and a number of other important factors.

Population dynamics and the assessment of land use changes and deforestation
Erosion mapping using high-resolution satellite data and geographic information system. Pilot study in Brazil
Nation Facts
National Geography overview
Series of South American Maps
Includes Amazon water shed maps
Good resource, covers a plethora of areas, may be useful to all groups

"Land, the foundation of our planet!!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2002

These are some of the resources that I have been looking into, with a quick description of each.  I am in the process of acquiring some hard copy data, the old fashioned way.  Feel free to send me any information you stumble upon that I may find useful.
http://www.lagamar.com/Pages/ama_geog.html     this is a good overview of the Amazon's major geographical features, which ties that in with the flora, fauna, and climate
http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/century5/reference/html/Century/exp-c-distrib.htm     data on carbon in the soils, relevant to meeting 4's discussion, with specific Rain forest examples
http://www.fao.org/docrep/T1765E/t1765e00.htm#Contents     detailed discussion of erosion, how to cope with and counteract erosion, and several case studies of regions and how they dealt with erosion (perhaps             useful to alternative development in reference to farming practices)
http://www.atb-potsdam.de/abteilungen/abt1/pdf/amazonas2.pdf     Good info on N2 levels in the Amazon Basin, probably most relevant to Eva's focus
http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/~leal/amazon.html     Satellite imagery of amazon flood plain showing geomorphic features
Hydrology, sediment transport, sedimentation, and geomorphology in the Amazon River Basin. Current work includes:
(i) Mapping of continental-scale precipitation, runoff and evaporation fields to define the water budget of the Amazon Basin. Development of a mathematical model of the budget and of the migration of runoff through the valley system of the Amazon to generalize the results to altered climatic and land-use conditions. The work involves extensive use of GIS for analysis of field data and presentation of model results. Funded by NASA. Collaboration with Brad Newton (Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UCSB.)
(ii) Prediction of sediment supply to the Amazon River from the Andes Mountains, routing of sediment along rivers of the Amazon lowland, and hydraulic and sedimentation processes in floodplains. The work involves analysis of field data, remote sensing, and mathematical modeling of flow and transport. Funded by NASA. Collaborators are: Dr. J. L. Guyot (ORSTOM, Brasilia); Dr. Leal Mertes (Geography, UCSB); Rolf Aalto (Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Washington). Routing of sediment constitutes the PhD thesis of Rolf Aalto.
Recent publications
J. E. Richey, L. A. K. Mertes, T. Dunne, and five others!, Sources and routing of the Amazon River flood wave; Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 3, 191-204, 1989.
L.A.K. Mertes, T. Dunne, and L.A. Martinelli, Channel and floodplain geomrphology along the Solimoes-Amazon River, Brazil; Geological Society of America Bulletin, in press, 1996.
T. Dunne, L.A.K. Mertes, R.H. Meade, J.E. Richey, and B. Forsberg, Sediment transport and sedimentation along the Solimoes-Amazon River, Brazil, submitted.
(iii) Channel network incision and the origin and evolution of geomorphological process zones in the Bolivian Andes. This research constitutes the PhD thesis of Elizabeth Safran (Geological Sciences, UCSB), who has been/is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA.
        I am in the process of hunting down these articles themselves, they sound promising
http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/j/m/jmh280/title.html         Study of farming's effects in the amazon, it also sets a simple baseline for Amazon flora, fauna, soil, and climate.  Linked to similar information regarding                         ranching, mining and oil extraction
http://www.solcomhouse.com/rainforest.html         An overview of rain forest deforestation, with a good collection of related images and maps (as well as satellite photos)
http://library.thinkquest.org/26993/consequences.htm         Very general about loss of the rain forest, but with a blurb on the loss of soil fertility

Thoughts on our progress, where we are and where we are going:
       I heartily agree with Eva that at this point, Group Five needs to come up with quantifiable data that can be used to track and monitor changes in the Amazon basin.  Geography may turn out to be far easier that I had suspected, since satellite data can be used to interpolate the nature of many geographical features, saving extensive time and manpower, as well as allowing a virtually continuous record of the changes from the start of our observations.  Erosion is also a major factor that needs to be monitored.  The presence of erosion means that the root structure holding the earth in place has disappeared.  This indicates that the flora has changed, which in turn will lead to changes in the fauna, which means that the entire nature of the micro climate has shifted.  Being able to identify the points of origin of erosion events will help to recognize trouble spots and hopefully address them before they have progressed to the "point of no return".  In very few cases is erosion in the Amazon a good sign, the majority of the time, it is a harbinger of doom.  It is also my hope to begin discussing the hydrology of the soils with someone from Water (Group 6), and continue diversifying within my area of  research.

Week of September 30, 2002

At the most recent team meetings we came to the conclusion that our research was too detached in its nature.  As a result, we are researching with a new incentive, keeping in view the necessity of drawing a cohesive image of rain forest land such that could be utilized both by our selves in further data collection and comparison, and by other teams in their pursuit of the solution.  More in depth, amazon specific research is required; the time for general information is past us.  It is now necessary to lock ourselves into a library for several hours a day ...

            The majority of my research with in the group has been dedicated to exploring the science of Geomorphology, and how it plays in to Team Five, as well as the entire mission's research.  First, what is Geomorphology?  Geomorphology is the study of how the earth's surface changes over time, with heavy emphasis on erosion and other forms of weathering.  Within the science, the material most relevant to our research falls under "Process Geomorphology", which looks at the more modern and contemporary processes and effects  changing the visible landscape.

Much useful information was found on the web for this general search:

Rhodes W. Fairbridge, M.A., Ph.D.
"Geomorphology," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2002
http://encarta.msn.com 1997-2002 Microsoft Corporation


Data Specific to the Amazon:

http://eces.org/articles/static/98990280082136.shtml                                  Rate of deforestation
http://www.eduweb.com/agriculture/ag1.html                                              Pro slash and burn article, contrary to popular belief, but not clearly backed up with solid scientific datahttp://philosophy.la.psu.edu/ethics/past_events/Hecht_overview.htm      Interesting paper suggesting alternative ways to "preserve" the rain forest environment
Amazon Soil Data

These links are were working, they had some interesting information , and  I just recently recovered them (October 13, 2002)

http://www.idrc.ca/books/reports/1997/19-01e.html     Mercury in the Amazon
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/236276.stm             CO2 fluctuations in the Amazon 
http://www.ei.educ.ab.ca/sch/sht/Destruction-Rain-Forest.html     Brief description of factors leading to destruction of the Amazon Rain forest.

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With questions or comments, write to page creator Aaron Bell at ahbell@mit.edu .
Last Updated: Sunday, 13 October, 2002

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