Woods Hole Research Center

We were offered a tour of the new facility at Woods Hole, Mass. last week and jumped at it. From the outside the building looks quaint enough – a stylish mansion from the nineteenth century in typical Cape Cod fashion. The insides have been gutted and transformed into a state of the art laboratory full of brilliant minds working on brilliant research. Among many engineering marvels of the building itself, the heat from the computer servers in the basement (which connect several hundred terrabytes of information) is captured and used to heat the building. We met Joseph Kellendorfe, a jolly-German researcher who we had wine with the night before – he explained to us that the main project he is involved with at the Woods Holes Research Center right now is documenting the woody biomass (the trees) of the whole planet to a resolution of 15 meters, using satellite imagery. The result is amazingly beautiful maps that are incredibly detailed and clearly demonstrated oh so important and relevant science. Above is a picture I took of Puget sound in Washington – the red on the map represents areas of particular tree density. There are close to 300 billion trees left in America right now.

Categories: ESSAYS