Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

George Hurtt


We assessed the use of GLAS data as a tool to quantify large-scale forest damage. GLAS data for the year prior to and following Hurricane Katrina were compared to wind speed, forest cover, and MODIS NPV maps to analyze senor sampling, and changes in mean canopy height. We detected significant losses in mean canopy height post-Katrina that increased with wind intensity, from ∼.5m in forests hit by tropical storm winds to ∼4m in forests experiencing category two force winds. Season of data acquisition was shown to influence calculations of mean canopy height. There was insufficient sampling to adequately detect changes at one degree resolution and less. We observed a strong relationship between delta NPV and post storm mean canopy heights. Changes in structure were converted into loss of standing carbon estimates using a height structured ecosystem model, yielding above ground carbon storage losses of ∼30Tg over the domain.