Observing Connections

In GLOBE, there are two major perspectives on the global environment – the spheres and the Earth system. The Teacher’s Guide and the new sphere pages build on the approach that examines Earth as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere. The study of Earth System Science focuses on the cycles that connect the spheres – the Energy, Water, and Biogeochemical.

The Honor Roll provides recognition of those who report in depth in one area or another. There are three honor rolls recognizing Atmosphere measurement reporting; one for Hydrosphere;, and two each for Biosphere and Pedosphere.

There is an honor roll for reporting sets of data that enable the study of connections in the cycles of energy, water, and biogeochemical cycles with pH serving as a proxy for the biogeochemical connections.

The temperatures of air, land surface, soil, and water all are measured in GLOBE and influence one another. Sunlight warms the surface of the land and water. The energy is stored in the soil, water, and air. The energy stored in the land and water is released into the atmosphere when the air is cooler than the surface. The different temperatures measured in GLOBE give data that anchor the Energy Cycle.

Precipitation is a major flux in the water cycle, while soil moisture and relative humidity measure how much water is stored in the soil and air. GLOBE provides observations of these major components of the Water Cycle.

The various chemicals in the environment alter the pH of the air, water, and soil, with the precipitation transferring these chemicals from the atmosphere to the surface. The pH of precipitation affects the pH of the soil and water and the soil and water influence the pH of one another. GLOBE measures key factors in this chemical connection in the Earth System.

In addition to rewarding observations of the energy, water, and chemical connections in the environment, the Honor Rolls suggest measurement that, taken together, provide comprehensive insights into Earth’s Spheres.

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