What's the Big Idea? — Remote Sensing Understand Climate Change

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Detailed Description

Zhuoting Wu, research ecologist at the USGS Western Geographic Science Center, explains how the USGS uses remote sensing technology to help Tribal communities better understand the effects of climate change.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:41

Location Taken: Flagstaff, AZ, US


My name is Zhuoting Wu.

I’m a research ecologist at the USGS.

We are the Western Geographic Science Center.

We are located in Flagstaff, Arizona.

So I was born and raised in China and I got
my undergrad in biology in China, then I moved

to the states, and I went to grad school in

In Flagstaff…Flagstaff is small, but there
is actually a real good ecology program in

Northern Arizona University and there are
a lot of people working on different aspects

of ecology.

They are looking at global change, climate
change, ecosystems, carbon and nitrogen and

all kinds of interesting things.

So, like I was intrigued by the research and
also just the experience of meeting new people

and living in a new environment.

So, I came here and got my PhD for a few years
and then the USGS had an opening for ecology

and I know the reputation of the research
of USGS and how the USGS has serviced not

just for science and research, but also for
applications, so I think the USGS is a perfect

fit after my graduation.

Recently, these days there is more technology.

There is LIDAR; we call light detection and
ranging so you can see a laser pointing out

to look at features on earth.

You have the third dimension of height.

There is radar; there is high resolution commercial

There are all sorts of new technology coming

When we talk about ecosystems, there are so
many different aspects and what I am looking

at is more trees, forests and woodlands and

We are looking at carbon stocks and how that
change interacts with climate and what we’ve

done is on the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

We are really fortunate to work with the local
tribe because they are really interested in

their Ponderosa Pine, that’s their chamber,
their economy and of course, they are facing

the drought and climate change.

My heart is that I want to learn about climate
change and how climate impacts eco systems,

so I think they are really interested in knowing
how much carbon is there, what kind of vegetation

is there, how that changes over time and what
they can do to minimize the impacts of adverse

impacts of climate change.