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An El Niño Connection, U.S. to Peru and Back


What do students in Lima Peru and Ida Michigan have in common? The answer is quite simple, the dramatic effects of this year’s El Niño. Thanks in part to The GLOBE Program’s worldwide reach in connecting schools with one another; mentorship from Dr. Kevin Czajkowski from the University of Toledo and the inquisitive nature of students from Ida Middle School.

Students from Mrs. Lanna Harmon’s 6th grade class of Ida Middle School in Ida Michigan reached out to work with students from ESD Coordinator Mrs. Milagros Gallegos’s 7th grade ESD Club from Colegio Altair School in Lima, Peru. The partnership started in March 2015 when Ida students skyped their counterparts in Lima. In a skype call in June, students from Colegio Altair noted how much warmer their winter was compared to previous winters. This was the beginning of the phenomenon we know as the 2015-2016 El Niño.

Ida students Ben, Caleb, Savannah, Trusten and Kelsey continue to record measurements during their lunch breaks in surface temperature, air temperature, relative humidity and precipitation dating back from March of 2015. The students were able to skype with their counter parts in Lime Peru once again in January before Colegio Altair went on summer break.

Image 1: Students at Ida middle School identifying clouds 

 

Image 2: Students making surface temperature measurements

What’s up next for the students? Ida Middle School is currently analyzing their data, coming up with answerable questions about their findings. With guidance from their mentor the students were able to visualize their data through graphs created by Dr. Czajkowski. So far they come to understand the significance of a warmer than usual 2016 winter season due in part to the El Niño. The students found that both surface temperature and max/min air temperature were much warmer in 2016 when compared to average years.

 

Fig. 1: Daily Max. Min. temperature vs Average temperature results

 

Fig. 2: Comparison of surface temperature for grass area 2015-2016

 

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