EDS Seminar Series
Extreme Events

Drivers of mangrove vulnerability and resilience to cyclones

Cibele Hummel do Amaral describes her work using multi-annual, remote sensing-derived databases and machine learning to understand how various drivers influence mangrove damage and recovery following cyclones in the North Atlantic Basin. 

Title: Drivers of mangrove vulnerability and resilience to tropical cyclones

Speaker/Facilitator: Cibele Hummel do Amaral (Earth Lab)

Abstract:   The North Atlantic Basin is seeing a significant increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones since the 1980s, with record-breaking seasons such as 2017 and 2020. However, little is known about how coastal ecosystems, particularly mangroves, are responding to these new “climate normals” at regional and sub-regional scales. Wind speed, rainfall, pre-cyclone forest structure, and hydro-geomorphology are known to influence mangrove damage and recovery following cyclones in the NAB. However, these studies have focused on site-specific responses and individual cyclonic events. Here, we analyze 25 years (1996-2020) of mangrove vulnerability (damage after a cyclone) and resilience (recovery after damage) for the entire NAB and its subregions, using multi-annual, remote sensing-derived databases. We applied machine learning to characterize the influence of 22 potential drivers that include previously researched variables and new under-represented ones such as human development and long-term climate trends. We show how cyclone impact, mangrove damage, and recovery, and the drivers of these responses vary across subregions and discuss the importance of placing mangrove ecosystem health as a fundamental Nature-based Solution for North Atlantic Basin society resilience to such natural hazards.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Cibele Hummel do Amaral is a Remote Sensing Data Scientist at Earth Lab Analytics Hub. She received her B.A. in Forest Engineering from the Federal University of Vicosa and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has seven years of professional experience in remote sensing, GIS, and machine learning. This includes a short-term post-doctoral researcher position at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and a six-year professorship position at the Federal University of Vicosa (UFV), in Brazil. During her career, she has also been visiting scholar at international institutions such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA GSFC), United States.