Tree Inventory and Weather data

Janette Thompson, Morrill Professor and professor of natural resource ecology and management, is coordinating a tree inventory in the Capitol East neighborhood.

Students from two ISU forestry classes, workers from the forestry division of the Des Moines Public Works department and neighborhood association volunteers have completed the initial fieldwork. The ISU students will use the data in their term projects.

The ISU Sustainable Cities research team is working with the data to get it ready for input into a conprehensive data model on energy use. The surrounding environment data is important in calculating the energy consumed by buildings. It is also an important component in simulating urban weather and resulting heat island effect. 

The inventory data will be analyzed to determine a number of different metrics to describe the role of neighborhood trees in each area for storm water absorption, avoid energy costs associated with air conditioning or heating in buildings, carbon storage and other ecological functions.

The tree population data will also be used in a comprehensive model that takes into account building and building-occupant behavior, and features exterior to buildings to predict their energy use profiles. 

A mobile weather station funded by a previous National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant will be used to measure the near-building environment (everything between buildings) through sensors connected to a data logger. The data will be used to determine the microclimate effects in the neighborhood.

The availabilty of accurate fine grain tree data will gear up our research for the coming months.