Kellie Swadba, 2017, Geosciences

This summer I assisted a geoscience professor and his graduate student with a project involving simulation of cloud coverage over a deforested region of the Amazon Rainforest. Studies from the 1990’s reveal uniform cloud coverage over Rondonia, Brazil. Since then, however, larger sections of forest have been cleared. The graduate student’s previous work had revealed that the newer intermediate-scale deforestation generated a distinct pattern of cloud formation during the dry season. My goal was to determine if similar patterns were generated during the wet season. To accomplish this, I needed to download large quantities of publically available Gridsat data, particularly infrared and visual data, which give information about temperature and albedo (reflectivity of the earth’s surface), respectively. I gained invaluable experience working with MATLAB to download the data, and improved my analytical skills as I mapped and interpreted the data. I was able to work independently to understand concepts and generate code; but also sought help and engaged in discussions with the professor and grad student when problems required a team response. I look forward to using the skills I’ve acquired this summer as I complete my junior projects this year.