Rebecca Lowy, 2016, Undeclared

This summer I conducted research on the effect of deforestation on precipitation in Central America. While several previous studies have analyzed the precipitation over long spans of time in the area, few include the recent decade. I accessed satellite data from NASA that measured rainfall in the Central American region, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), from 2001-2011. The analysis we conducted looked at Central America as a whole, as well as three distinct areas with different degrees of deforestation. I wrote code on MatLab to both access and analyze the data, which was a completely new experience for me as I have never written code before. I learned a great deal about tropical rainforests and their role in regional climates, and about how to use MatLab. The experience gave me an appreciation for the expanse of available data on the web and valuable skills in data analysis. My interest in the environment was reinforced, and I hope to use my new skill set in my future academic studies, which almost certainly will include geosciences.