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Did the El Nino Event Impact Our Temperature and Precipitation in Nov., Dec., and Jan.?

Organization(s):GPM Satellite Mission
Student(s):4th grade students: Colin Henry, Bryan Altman, William Emmet, Camila Sanchez,, Jalayna Sharpe, Rayyaan Dasti, and Kevin Miller 3rd grade students: Arth Babbar, Edwin Cho, Ian Harper, Taylor Hooven, Abby Hubbard, Christian Pak, and Maddie Sera
Grade Level:Upper Primary (grades 3-5, ages 8-11)
GLOBE Teacher:Dorian Wood Janney
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Presentation Poster: View Document
Optional Badges:Be a Collaborator, Be a STEM Professional
Date Submitted:03/10/2016
We noticed that we were having warm weather around Halloween, and we wondered why the weather seemed to change. We learned about a weather event called the "El Nino" that might change our weather this winter. We decided we could collect our own temperature and precipitation data using GLOBE protocols, and supplement that data with data for the closest airport to us that the National Weather Service collects. For the months of November, December, and January, we collected data, and in February we worked on analyzing the data, writing our research report, and communicating our findings to each other. We are planning to have a school-wide assembly and have invited Jason Samenow, a local meteorologist, to come speak and hear the results of our research. He said he would come!


Student research report was well written for grade 4 students. You have a great testable research question and a nice way of testing hypothesis. I hope you all keep doing your great work. I would like to ask you a question.
(1) What would happen to the temperature and precipation other months of the year (different season)?
All the parts of your student research report impressed me a lot. I hope that not only you have had learned new things but you also had a great time! My questions for your team are:
1) Have you thought of other possible causes of the observed weather change than El Nino?
2) Do you think that the revealed weather pattern change is caused by El Nino?
3) Using the other schools data, which you mentioned in your report that you contacted, could you find similar weather pattern shifts elsewhere?
Thank you in advance for answering my questions!
(1) What would happen to the temperature and precipitation other months of the year (different season)?We spent a lot of time talking about the answer to this question. We know that as our seasons change, it will get warmer because it always does. We realized that most of us don't really understand why our seasons are so different, so Ms. Janney will teach us more about that next time she comes. We looked up what is supposed to happen to the weather patterns in our area because of the El Nino. The NOAA website said that we will most likely have warmer temperatures but average amount of precipitation through May. After that the El Nino will probably stop impacting our weather patterns. We also learned that we may have a La Nina in the fall, so we want to learn what that means for our weather too.
Have you thought of other possible causes of the observed weather change than El Nino?

The kids talked about this and had several things to say. Some though climate change and the warming of temperatures could have a part in why we saw warmer temperatures. Some said that they did think it was just because of the El Nino. One student's father thinks we may be getting closer to the sun each year, and that might be warming Earth. We took some time to look at a website that showed us that the sun's position to Earth and its energy wasn't really changing enough to cause any significant differences.
Using the other schools data, which you mentioned in your report that you contacted, could you find similar weather pattern shifts elsewhere?

We looked at data from a school in Croatia and saw they had three record high temperatures for January, and they had a lot less precipitation than they usually do in January. We were surprised to see how warm it was in Brazil, and Ms. Janney explained that it is summer there when we have winter, and we didn't really understand that very well. Then we wondered how they stay on Earth if they are in the Southern hemisphere, and Ms. Janney explained to us about gravity and told us to try spinning a bucket of water around fast to see if it falls out. We looked at three months of data from New York and found that they also hard warmer temperatures like we did for Nov., Dec., and Jan.
Hi Dorian and students. Great answers. Thank you for answering my questions. Keep doing all your great work.
Hi Dorian, hi others! Full marks for your answers! Great team - great project!
You guys did a wonderful work!! Questions are well answered and the motivation is really high. I trust that the future you plan for this project will engage more collaborations among you and your fellows from other continents... You definitely got my "A"!!!!