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North, South, East, West: A Study of Microclimate

Student(s):Leah Stanevich
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Educator(s):Steven Frantz
Report Type(s):
Protocols:Surface Temperature
Date Submitted:05/03/2013
The problem of too short of a growing season is a problem faced annually by gardeners. The hypothesis for this research study is the south side of a building would be the most absorbent of sunlight, resulting in warmer temperatures and resulting in a longer growing season. Surface temperatures were taken on the north, south, east, and west sides of a house and a school. Out of the four directions south and west were the warmest side of both a house and school. It would be best to plant a garden on the south or west sides of a building according to the data. Doing a similar study on more buildings or for an entire year should confirm the validity of this research project.


This was an interesting project. What time of year did you collect your samples?
It would be interesting to find out how data is different with the change of seasons. Does it matter what you plant? Is the soil the same?
It would also be interesting to know whether time of day has an influence?

Also, would your results be different if you looked at air temperature instead of surface temperature? Which of those is more important for plants?

Is there a way that you can use GLOBE data from the area, along with information about the site definition, to extend the data set that you have to work with?
Do you have any thoughts as to why the warmest side of the building wasn't always the same? Do you think there are any other measurements you could make to help aide your research?
What a meaningful and interesting topic! I am curious if you considered the influence of moisture (like precipitation or soil moisture) in addition to temperature in your analysis or hypothesis? Also, what type of plants are you considering in your analysis, as some plants may like "full sun", which the south or west side may provide, but others may not thrive as well in long hours of direct sun like that.
I also noticed that in your graphs some days there is more spread between the surface temperatures you measured on each side of the building, whereas on other days the temperatures were very similar on all four sides. What do you think may have caused this?