Climate and Land Cover Project – beginning July 1, 2011!

Starting tomorrow, July 1, 2011, the Climate and Land Cover (CLC) Project will commence! This project is a joint research effort between GLOBE schools around the world and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in the United States. The purpose is to use data collected by students to improve current land cover classifications, which can also improve climate models that need to use land cover data. As a fellow atmospheric scientist once said to me, if you put bad data into your model, you’re going to get bad data out. So an improvement in land cover should help improve the model, even if only slightly.

Why is it important to participate in this project? First, by collecting land cover data, you will be contributing scientific data for global climate research. By having GLOBE schools in over 111 countries, the potential is there to collect a wide variety of land cover data. In the following video, Dr. Sandy MacDonald, GLOBE’s first Director and lead NOAA project scientist, talks about the value of student-collected data.

In addition to contributing to scientific data, students are able to develop their understanding of scientific research, land cover, and climate science. By participating in this project, we hope that students will understand standardized scientific methods for observing, classifying, and recording land cover data; understand several different land cover classification schemes based upon satellite imagery of Earth’s surface; and understand how ground-based observational data can be used to verify satellite imagery of Earth and refine climate models.

If you’re a school that has a GLOBE trained and certified teacher, you can participate in this research project! If there are no GLOBE teachers in your school, you can find information on how to become a certified teacher on the GLOBE website.

This project is scheduled to run from July 1 through July 31, 2011. GLOBE schools are asked to collect and upload land cover data through pictures of one or more study sites throughout this Intensive Observing Period (IOP). This IOP will recur approximately every three months, and schools that participate now are strongly encouraged to re-photograph their land cover site during each subsequent IOP.

To find more information about this project, and meet the scientists involved, be sure to visit the CLC project page.

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