18 November 2023

Watching the Seasons Change in Albuquerque

Written by: Annika Benedetti

The months have quickly flown by here in the Burque, and I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving. Sometimes it feels like it’s still summer. Even today, the high was almost 70 °F and I need to turn on my A/C and fan just for an hour or two until the sun starts to set. Every day, I feel like I turn on my laptop and go to my weather app and it says New Record for today’s temperature. It might be recency bias, but I believe that last fall wasn’t this warm. As a Civilian Climate Corps Fellow, I can’t help but worry about the trends that I’m noticing.

This fall I got to go again to the amazing Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October. I had a blast! I enjoyed the festival atmosphere, the good food, the cultural shows, and seeing balloons ascend.

My work locating orphan oil and gas wells on National Wildlife Refuges in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona with remote sensing techniques is starting to wrap up. My coworker and I have started standardizing our data, which means that we must make sure our data table attributes, and naming conventions are identical. This makes it more likely that our remote sensing techniques to detect wells can be replicable in the future by other U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff. Also, another tool that helps our well detection become long-lasting is metadata, or data about data. This entails information like dates, geospatial coordinate systems, details about our methods, etc. Metadata can be very time consuming but it’s very useful for the longevity of our project. After we finished writing the metadata for all the refuges we analyzed for potential orphan wells, we published our data in ServCat, which is the USFWS’s data catalog. This is very exciting because this means our data can be accessible by a wider audience in the USFWS. I’m honored that my work can be used in the pursuit of remediation of wells on land meant for the conservation of our natural resources for generations to come.  


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