UC Geographers Present Research on Climate Change, Day Laborers and More at National Conference

on February 21, 2012 4:11 PM EST

Antartica
UC geographers present research on climate change, day laborers and more at national conference (Photo: Flickr.com/HamishM)

University of Cincinnati geography faculty members and graduate students will present research at the Feb. 24-28 national meeting of the Association of American Geographers.

The UC research presentations will focus on water management and climate change at an ancient Maya city, changes to the globe's glaciers, U.S. manufacturing location decisions in China, research related to airline hub locations, "food deserts" or urban communities without easy access to grocery stores and more.

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Below is a round up on the UC research to be presented.


XCOCH: WATER MANAGEMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE AT AN ANCIENT MAYA CITY

The ancient Maya city of Xcoch, which is located in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, had significant numbers of inhabitants as far back as about 800 BC, and over the centuries, the city's inhabitants relied on a system of reservoirs and household cisterns to supply water needs. Investments in the reservoir system correlate with periods of drying climate and episodic droughts.
UC presenters: Nicholas Dunning, University of Cincinnati
Eric Weaver, University of Cincinnati
Co-authors: Michael Smyth, Foundation for Americas Research
Philip van Veynen, University of South Florida

DAY LABOR HALLS CAN BE A NIGHTMARE OF RULES FOR WORKERS

UC research examines day labor halls in the recession. The research provides a grim snapshot of the work and jobs usually provided to ex-convicts, immigrants and others on the lowest rungs of the economy, for whom the day labor halls are often the only viable work option.
UC presenter: Colleen McTague, University of Cincinnati


REFINING TEST RESULTS THAT ASSESS CHANGE IN THE FRAGILE POLAR REGION OF ANTARCTICA

Various tools have traditionally helped researchers monitor environmental changes in the Antarctic, e.g., ice-surface topography and annual changes in ice-sheet thickness. For instance, satellite imagery from NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) has been used for years as well as a more recent tool - the Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM), introduced in 2009. There are some discrepancies between the resulting data sets because of variations in tools' resolution quality. UC researchers applied statistical analysis to help refine the available data and provide a more accurate picture of environmental changes in the region. Their analysis was evaluated against LVIS LiDAR data (data obtained by NASA by means of a scanning laser altimeter instrument that is flown, by aircraft, over target areas). The end result: the UC analysis proved effective.
UC presenters: Wenkai Guo, University of Cincinnati
Hongxing Liu, University of Cincinnati
Co-authors: Kenneth Jezek, Ohio State University
Jaehyung Yu, Texas A&M University


HOW TO ADVANTAGEOUSLY LOCATE AN AIRLINE'S HUB

The decision on where to locate an airline hub has traditionally been something of a guessing game. UC research aims to provide reliable data on how such decisions have worked out in the past by studying data on air-passenger flow for 50 major airports in the United States from the year 2000-2010. The researcher examined changes of hub locations in the airline industry and then used spatial analysis and modeling to compare performance at these locations vs. theoretical hub locations. Finally, they propose a more realistic model for deciding on future hub locations.
UC presenter: Changjoo Kim, University of Cincinnati
Co-authors: Hyun Kim, University of Tennessee
Jiyoung Lee, University of Seoul


DECADES' WORTH OF DATA SHOW MELTING RATE OF GLACIERS IN ANTARCTICA

One of the vital controls that dictate the ice-discharge rate and mass-balance state of an ice sheet is the velocity fields of outlet glaciers and ice streams. If ice-flow velocities are increased, outlet glaciers and ice streams will deliver more ice to the ocean, thus increasing the outward ice flux and reducing the ice volume stored in the ice sheet. An understanding of the long-term dynamic behavior of these outlet glaciers and ice streams is therefore critical for estimating the mass balance of the ice sheet and predicting future sea-level changes. By applying multi-scale robust image matching method to high-resolution satellite images and digital aerial photographs, dense ice-velocity fields for several outlet glaciers over the past decades are derived. Temporal variations in flow velocity and mass flux are evaluated to detect possible accelerations (surges), decelerations and stagnations for these outlet glaciers.
UC presenters: Hongxing Liu, University of Cincinnati
Wenkai Guo, University of Cincinnati
Co-authors: Lei Wang, Louisiana State University
Kenneth Jezek, Ohio State University


"FOOD DESERTS" IN HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO

"Food deserts" refer to urban communities without easy access to a traditional supermarket carrying affordable and nutritious food options. Typically, food deserts exist in lower-income communities while higher-income communities have supermarket options for meeting needs for healthy, affordable food. Lack of access to supermarkets in food deserts can lead to higher rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and some cancers as residents rely on the food choices in a "quick stop" store. UC researchers used Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to measure access to food in Hamilton County, Ohio. The research could allow for better targeting of food aid and programs that help alleviate food insecurity.
UC presenter: Jingwei Ning, University of Cincinnati


AN EXAMINATION OF PRECISELY WHERE, IN CHINA, U.S. MANUFACTURERS ARE LOCATING AND WHY

UC researchers analyzed the location decisions of more than 2,000 U.S. manufacturing firms that relocated to China between 1983-2008 to determine where those manufacturers opted to locate and why. They pursued the research because China is an important destination for U.S. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2010, China was the fifth-most important destination for U.S. investment in manufacturing ($29.5 billion worth) vs. 14th-most important ($7 billion) a decade earlier. The researchers studied 143 Chinese cities for urban attributes like population size, wages, urban infrastructure, Chinese location policies for foreign firms and more. They also studied product type and its effect on location decision. Their findings:

  • Wage variation in China was not a factor in location decisions by U.S. firms.
  • Size of population was only a factor for U.S. firms producing value-added products.
  • Most-common factors affecting location decisions were urban infrastructure like communications, urban fiscal expenditures, firm agglomeration (other firms have located in a locale) and Chinese location policies for foreign firms.

UC presenters: Robert South, University of Cincinnati
Changjoo Kim, University of Cincinnati
Yucong Haung, University of Cincinnati


HOME RUNS IN THE CITY: CORPORATE ATTEMPTS TO REVIVE BASEBALL IN AMERICAN INNER CITIES

According to its mission statement, the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program seeks to "increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth" and to "promote greater inclusion of minorities into the mainstream of the game." This effort to include more minority participation in baseball and softball extends across racial and socioeconomic lines. This research analyzes the methods in which this program operates through discourse analysis of evaluations of these baseball and softball facilities to determine further spatial distribution. The racial and/or ethnic motivations behind the promotion and inclusion of the participation within this program are the purpose for this research. The conclusions within this research are that the discourse used to promote this program is representative of the best language to satisfy corporate sponsorship for the purpose of including the targeted demographic. Likewise, the location of the appropriate facilities is established in areas that best suit the target audience to secure the appropriate corporate sponsorship.
UC presenter: Patrick Threatt, University of Cincinnati


MONITORING FOR DROUGHT VIA SOIL MOISTURE MEASUREMENTS IN THE OHIO RIVER BASIN

Using satellite data, UC researchers analyzed soil moisture patterns and variation in the Ohio River basin to see if the data would be useful in drought monitoring and assessment.
UC presenters: Qiusheng Wu, University of Cincinnati
Hongxing Liu, University of Cincinnati
Richard Beck, University of Cincinnati
Kenneth Hinkel, University of Cincinnati
Emily Kang, University of Cincinnati

Source: University of Cincinnati

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