Tag Archives: geography

Underestimated Sea-Level Rise

From Sensors and Systems

A map shows sea-level change resulting from Greenland ice melt, derived from NASA GRACE measurements. Black circles show locations of the best historical water-level records, which underestimate global average sea-level rise due to Greenland melt by about 25 percent. (Credit: University of Hawaii/NASA-JPL/Caltech).  A new study using NASA satellite data finds that tide gauges—the longest and highest-quality records of historical ocean water levels—may have underestimated the amount of global average sea-level rise that occurred during the 20th century.

A research team led by Philip Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Manoa, evaluated how various processes that cause sea level to change differently in different places may have affected past measurements. The team also included scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.

“It’s not that there’s something wrong with the instruments or the data,” said Thompson. “But for a variety of reasons, sea level does not change at the same pace everywhere at the same time. As it turns out, our best historical sea-level records tend to be located where 20th century sea-level rise was most likely less than the true global average.”

One of the key processes researchers looked at is the effect of “ice melt fingerprints,” which are global patterns of sea-level change caused by deviations in Earth’s rotation and local gravity that occur when a large ice mass melts. To determine the unique melt fingerprint for glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, the team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites on Earth’s changing gravitational field, and a novel modeling tool (developed by study co-author Surendra Adhikari and the JPL team) that simulates how ocean mass is redistributed due to ice melting.

One of the most fascinating and counter-intuitive features of these fingerprints is that sea level drops in the vicinity of a melting glacier, instead of rising as might be expected. The loss of ice mass reduces the glacier’s gravitational influence, causing nearby ocean water to migrate away. But far from the glacier, the water it has added to the ocean causes sea level to rise at a much greater rate.

Click here to read the full paper.

AAG Launches New Undergraduate Student Affinity Group

The American Association of Geographers will launch a new affinity group specifically for undergraduate students. The Undergraduate Student Affinity Group (USAG) will be an international community of students studying geography, offering opportunities to network and socialize, get advice on graduate study and careers, and take part in academic events.

USAG will work closely with the Graduate Student Affinity Group (GSAG) to plan and develop joint events and workshops that are run by students for students. These may include mentoring and advice on applying to grad school.

USAG membership is open to undergraduate students at a college or university anywhere in the world who are studying geography or a closely related subject (e.g., environmental studies, urban and regional planning, GIScience, geoscience, global studies, or social science education), and are members of the AAG—joining AAG and USAG can happen simultaneously.

Undergraduate students can join the AAG for just $38 and receive full membership benefits including access to scholarly journals and publications, exclusive access to the Jobs in Geography listings, participation in the knowledge communities, and reduced rates for Annual Meeting and other event registration. They can join USAG for an additional $1.

We are also looking for a few students to form the inaugural board of USAG and shape the future of this group. Nominations are welcome throughout the fall and winter, and officers will be selected during the first Business Meeting of USAG held during the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston, April 5-9, 2017. Please let us know if you know particularly enthusiastic students in their sophomore or junior years who might be keen to serve as an officer of this group for two years.

For further information please visit www.aag.org/usag or contact Jenny Lunn (jlunn [at] aag [dot] org).

Blame Geography for High Housing Prices?


It’s not just land use restrictions that are responsible for steep rents in cities like San Francisco and New York.

It’s become something of a mantra among urban economists: Increasingly unaffordable housing prices in cities like New York, London, and San Francisco are very often the consequence of onerous and out-of-date land use regulations. Whether it’s restrictions on the height of buildings or the density of development, these regulations effectively constrain the supply of housing. This year’s Economic Report of the President flagged such land use regulations as a major factor in skyrocketing housing prices and growing urban inequality. Another study I wrote about last year estimates that restrictive urban land use policies cost the U.S. economy around $1.6 trillion a year.

But something much more enduring than zoning and land use is also contributing to the deepening housing affordability problems of leading superstar cities and knowledge hubs. According to a recent study by Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, part of the explanation lies in the geographic characteristics of cities and metros—mountains, lakes, coastlines, etc.—that make it all but impossible to expand and add more housing.

Continue reading Blame Geography for High Housing Prices?

Census to Hire 40 Geographers!!

Census Bureau Plans to Hire 40 Geographers: Students Encouraged to Apply

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The Census Bureau is looking to hire 40 geographers for positions in the Office of the Associate Director for Decennial Census. Details about the positions are available at USAJobs.gov and the link provided below.

In summary, the positions are listed as two-year term positions that can be extended to four years. The positions range from GS-9 to GS-12.  A GS-9 position typically requires post-graduate credits or a degree; however, candidates with a bachelor’s degree can qualify with experience. Students are encouraged to apply. Applicants should give themselves credit in their resumes and responses to the questions for any evidence of work they have accomplished, including internships, course exercises, fieldwork, volunteer work, etc. Initial evaluations will be done by professionals who are not familiar with the discipline; therefore, the choice of words is important in responses.

This announcement will remain open for several months, but the Bureau will begin processing applications in early March.

This opportunity affords graduates to gain experience in a world-class organization that has a diverse range of opportunities in the field of geography from “making” geography by delineating new geographies, to multiple uses of GIS skills, to determining standards and criteria for geospatial data quality, and managing other staff that support geographic operations.

To learn more, see the listing for Geographer, GG-0150-09/11/12, Census-DE-ICV at

7 Great iPad Apps for Learning Geography

From Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

November 26, 2015
Below are some great iPad apps to helps students in their geography learning. We have particularly focused on apps that provide interactive content to engage students and keep them motivated. These apps provide a number of interesting games, quizzes, reference resources and several other materials that can potentially bring life to geography learning. Have a look and share with us your feedback.

1- Learn World Geography

‘Wish you knew your world maps and capitals better? Brainscape helps you learn them faster than any other program, using the latest in cognitive science techniques. Rather than creating frivolous games or distracting quizzes to try to make learning “fun,” Brainscape provides a scientifically optimized algorithm to repeat flashcards in just the right pattern for your brain’s maximum absorption, based on YOUR confidence. ’

2- iLearn Geography

‘The iLearn Geography app is an amalgamation of our world’s most beautiful and interesting landmarks, brought to life by a wonderfully intuitive and creative user interface. These range from natural rivers, waterfalls and volcanoes, to manmade statues, buildings and cities.’

3- TapQuiz Maps World 

Continue reading 7 Great iPad Apps for Learning Geography

Seeking Geography Writer Interns


I am seeking one or two geography interns for the next few months to write articles here on Geography at About.com. Any undergraduate or graduate student in geography (or recent graduate) may apply. Students receiving academic credit will be given preference. The Geography at About.com interns will write one 600-750 word article about various topics in geography at least once a month from April through August 2014. Interns will be paid a small stipend per article and all articles will include the intern’s byline. The internship may lead to a paid contributing writer position on this site.  To apply, please send a me a cover email, resume, and writing sample to me at geography@aboutguide.com. I look forward to your application!

Geographers Should Learn to Code?

See the 4 Jan ’14 issue of Geographical Magazine (p77) for the entire article. A few paragraphs from Singleton’s article follow below. Do you see the need?

“In my opinion, a geography curriculum should require students to learn how to code, ensuring that they’re equipped for a changed job market that’s increasingly detached from geographic information systems (GIS) as they were originally conceived…

“The ability to code relates to basic programming and database skills that enable students to manipulate large and small geographic data sets, and to analyse them in automated and transparent ways….

“Geographers shouldn’t become computer scientists; however, we need to reassert our role in the development and critique of existing and new GIS. For example, we need to ask questions such as which type of geographic representation might be most appropriate for a given dataset. Today’s geographers may be able to talk in general terms about such a question, but they need to be able to provide a more effective answer that encapsulates the technologies that are used for display. Understanding what is and isn’t possible in technical terms is as important as understanding the underlying cartographic principles. Such insights will be more available to a geographer who has learnt how to code….”

Attend AAG Tampa–for free!

Conference assistants needed for AAG Annual Meeting

Eligible members are invited to get involved in the AAG Annual Meeting by donating some of their time as a conference assistant. Student members and AAG members who are unemployed or underemployed are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity to help offset their meeting registration costs. AAG Annual MeetingAAG Spring 2014