Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Monthly temperature and precipitation data from 41 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were compared to observations for the 20th century, with a focus on the United States Pacific Northwest (PNW) and surrounding region. A suite of statistics, or metrics, was calculated, that included correlation and variance of mean seasonal spatial patterns, amplitude of seasonal cycle, diurnal temperature range, annual- to decadal-scale variance, long-term persistence, and regional teleconnections to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Performance, or credibility, was assessed based on the GCMs' abilities to reproduce the observed metrics. GCMs were ranked in their credibility using two methods. The first simply treated all metrics equally. The second method considered two properties of the metrics: (1) redundancy of information (dependence) among metrics, and (2) confidence in the reliability of an individual metric for accurately ranking models. Confidence was related to how robust the estimate of the metric was to ensemble size, given that for most of the models only a small number of ensemble members (i.e., realizations of the 20th century) were available. A cursory comparison with 24 CMIP3 models revealed few differences between the two generations of models with respect to the statistics analyzed.