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  1. In the southwestern United States, non-native grass invasions have increased wildfire occurrence in deserts and the likelihood of fire spread to and from other biomes with disparate fire regimes. The elevational transition between desertscrub and montane grasslands, woodlands, and forests generally occurs at ∼1,200 masl and has experienced fast suburbanization and an expanding wildland-urban interface (WUI). In summer 2020, the Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains burned 486 km 2 and prompted alerts and evacuations along a 40-km stretch of WUI below 1,200 masl on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, a metropolitan area of >1M people. To better understandmore »the changing nature of the WUI here and elsewhere in the region, we took a multidimensional and timely approach to assess fire dynamics along the Desertscrub-Semi-desert Grassland ecotone in the Catalina foothills, which is in various stages of non-native grass invasion. The Bighorn Fire was principally a forest fire driven by a long-history of fire suppression, accumulation of fine fuels following a wet winter and spring, and two decades of hotter droughts, culminating in the hottest and second driest summer in the 125-yr Tucson weather record. Saguaro ( Carnegia gigantea ), a giant columnar cactus, experienced high mortality. Resprouting by several desert shrub species may confer some post-fire resiliency in desertscrub. Buffelgrass and other non-native species played a minor role in carrying the fire due to the patchiness of infestation at the upper edge of the Desertscrub biome. Coupled state-and-transition fire-spread simulation models suggest a marked increase in both burned area and fire frequency if buffelgrass patches continue to expand and coalesce at the Desertscrub/Semi-desert Grassland interface. A survey of area residents six months after the fire showed awareness of buffelgrass was significantly higher among residents that were evacuated or lost recreation access, with higher awareness of fire risk, saguaro loss and declining property values, in that order. Sustained and timely efforts to document and assess fast-evolving fire connectivity due to grass invasions, and social awareness and perceptions, are needed to understand and motivate mitigation of an increasingly fire-prone future in the region.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 26, 2022
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  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  7. Abstract We present morphological classifications of ∼27 million galaxies from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Data Release 1 (DR1) using a supervised deep learning algorithm. The classification scheme separates: (a) early-type galaxies (ETGs) from late-types (LTGs), and (b) face-on galaxies from edge-on. Our Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are trained on a small subset of DES objects with previously known classifications. These typically have mr ≲ 17.7mag; we model fainter objects to mr < 21.5 mag by simulating what the brighter objects with well determined classifications would look like if they were at higher redshifts. The CNNs reach 97% accuracy tomore »mr < 21.5 on their training sets, suggesting that they are able to recover features more accurately than the human eye. We then used the trained CNNs to classify the vast majority of the other DES images. The final catalog comprises five independent CNN predictions for each classification scheme, helping to determine if the CNN predictions are robust or not. We obtain secure classifications for ∼ 87% and 73% of the catalog for the ETG vs. LTG and edge-on vs. face-on models, respectively. Combining the two classifications (a) and (b) helps to increase the purity of the ETG sample and to identify edge-on lenticular galaxies (as ETGs with high ellipticity). Where a comparison is possible, our classifications correlate very well with Sérsic index (n), ellipticity (ε) and spectral type, even for the fainter galaxies. This is the largest multi-band catalog of automated galaxy morphologies to date.« less
  8. Conventional wind turbines are equipped with multi-stage fixed-ratio gearboxes to transmit power from the low speed rotor to the high speed generator. Gearbox failure is a major issue causing high maintenance costs. With a superior power to weight ratio, a hydrostatic transmission (HST) is an ideal candidate for a wind turbine drivetrain. HST, a continuous variable transmission, has the advantage of delivering high power with a fast and accurate response. To evaluate the performance of the HST wind turbine, a power regenerative hydrostatic wind turbine test platform has been developed. A hydraulic power source is used to emulate the dynamicsmore »of the turbine rotor. The test platform is an effective tools to validate the control strategies of the HST wind turbine. This paper presents the high fidelity mathematical model of the test platform. The parameters of the dynamic equations are identified by the experiments. The steady state and transient operations results are compared with the experimental data. The detailed control architecture of the start-up and shut-down cycle is described for the test platform.

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