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Observing Flooding Extent in South Florida from ‘Super Camera’ 700km above the Earth

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Author: Boya Zhang
Looking at the title, you must be thinking I am crazy. And you will confirm that I am crazy, if I tell you this will be part of my PhD dissertation. You may also be wondering what is ‘super camera’? Why it is flying or floating in the 700 km in the outer space? Even if it exists, why and how to use this strange thing to observe South Florida flooding? Let me solve the puzzle.
The ‘super camera’ is not like a Canon digital camera. Indeed, it is a radar, which is short for ‘radio detection and ranging’. Simply speaking, one of the basic tasks of radar is to detect the signal and measure the distance.But, detect what signal, and measure the distance of what? My research uses a special type of radar, and it has a very unfriendly name- ‘Synthetic Aperture Radar’ or SAR. (Let’s skip the meaning of the first two words of the name, because it may take another article to explain!) SAR is able to actively transmit microwave signal towards the Earth surface. Indeed, the signal w…

Do you know the history of your field site?

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Author: Cody EggenbergerFrom nukes to murder to drug smuggling, the Everglades have had an interesting history to say the least. Since moving to south Florida, apart from the deep love I’ve developed for the recreational fish species I am lucky enough to research, I’ve developed a fascination with the history of the Everglades. Unfortunately, very few places still exist in the US that are able to give you the feeling that you’ve time traveled to a prehistoric, untouched past, where reptilian dinosaurs larger than boats and monstrous schools of fish larger than humans lurk beneath the water’s surface. Anyone who knows anything about the terrible ideas us Homo SAPIENS have had in the past regarding the Everglades knows that the ecosystem has been drastically altered and much of the beauty we see today is a mere shadow of what it once was. From experience and communication, the trials and tribulations that always seem to coincide with field research often causes graduate students conduc…