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Gordon Heisler

Former Employee
Urban Forests, Human Health, and Environmental Quality
c/o SUNY ESF, 5 Moon Library
Syracuse, NY 13210
United States
Current Research
  • My current research, on applications of urban tree influences on urban climate, is within the Station's Urban Natural Resources Stewardship science theme.
  • The urban climate variables of interest include solar radiation, especially the ultraviolet (UV), air temperature, wind, and humidity.
  • The general research question is: How can we quantify tree influences on microclimate in the highly variable environments of cities and specify optimum urban forest management to increase benefits? Most of my research involves modeling of tree influences based upon measurements. Measurement of UV radiation is challenging because although photons in the UV have large influences on biological systems, the energy content of UV radiation is low relative to the rest of the solar spectrum; small differences in wavelength may cause large differences in effects; and UV is widely scattered by the atmosphere so that the diffuse fraction is much greater than in the visible spectrum. All microclimate measurements are complicated by sampling problems in the highly variable urban structure in which the presence of people creates concerns of security and access to properties.
  • Current research is focused on measurements in and near Baltimore as part of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a Long-Term Ecological Research program, and especially in collaboration with the scientists from NRS-4952, Rich Pouyat, Ken Belt, and Quin Holifield, who are stationed in Baltimore. An ongoing study is aimed at modeling temperature differences between points in the metropolitan area as a function of upwind tree, water, and impervious cover; topography; and forcing weather conditions that influence atmospheric thermal stability. The goal is to develop the capability to map temperature patterns across the city.
Research Interest
My plans for future research include collaboration in developing models of urban tree influences on human comfort and UV exposure for use in the UFORE (Urban FORest Effects) model that is being developed by Dave Nowak and other researchers in NRS-4952.
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Ph.D., Forest Influences, 1970
  • The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, B.S., Forestry, 1961
Professional Organizations
  • American Meteorological Society,  Current
  • American Geophysical Union,  Current
  • International Society of Biometeorology,  Current
  • American Society for Photobiology,  Current
  • International Society for Optical Engineering,  Current
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF),  Current
  • Urban Ecosystems,  Current
Featured Publications
Other Publications