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Hurricane Sandy, one of the most damaging hurricanes to strike the United States, tested the monitoring ability of the ForWarn system. Detecting any disturbance is difficult during the spring and fall because vegetation is actively changing due to normal seasonal dynamics. Normal variation in weather can advance or retard the progress of these transitions by a week or more making it hard to know if observed change is from an early fall or an event. Hurricane Sandy struck the North Atlantic... (read more)
ForWarn's MODIS satellite-based products go back to 2000, and this allows us to observe the effects of wildfire and recovery since early in the decade. In exceptional cases, areas can reburn and this provides us with long-term monitoring insights into how vegetation is affected by a return in frequent fire. A portion of Santa Fe National Forest near Los Alamos, NM is one such area that has been reburned by wildfire in recent years. Portions of the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire were reburned in 2011... (read more)
The spring of 2012 was exceptional across much of the eastern US because it occurred weeks earlier than normal. Yet some forests also experienced strong spring hail storms that left leaves in tatters and set spring growth back. Forwarn successfully captured this localized hail event that struck the City of Asheville watershed in early May. Hail intensity varied over short distances as is shown here and confirmed in the field. By June 14, new leaves were already emerging to replace those... (read more)
ForWarn's ability to capture short and long-term change is shown by this animated image pair that provides two different temporal contexts for the same date in May of 2012. The "all year" baseline shows change since 2000. Note the patchy forest loss from strip mines in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Twin tornadoes also show up, and these occurred in March 2012. As expected, they also appear on the second image that shows change since May 2011, but most of the strip mine activity does... (read more)
Over the last 15 years, Mountain Pine Beetles have killed large tracks of ponderosa pine across the Black Hills of South Dakota. Beetles thrive with continuous stands of dense trees, and decades of fire exclusion have led to that landscape and stand-level condition. That favorable habitat may help explain why the current epidemic of this native insect has been so severe. In this summer 2010 aerial photograph, the patchy structure of recent and older tree mortality shows up well around Harney... (read more)