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Workshop Equips French-Speaking GLOBE Educators and Students for Climate and Air Quality Research

In September 2009, Danielle DeStaerke, Country Coordinator of France, led the annual GLOBE CALIPSO workshop in Cayenne, French Guiana. Approximately 30 teachers from France and French Guiana attended this event to present GLOBE student projects completed throughout the school year and discuss future plans for implementation of GLOBE.

Approximately 30 teachers from France and French Guiana attended the workshop
Approximately 30 teachers from France and French Guiana attended the workshop

International guests included Dr. Dianne Robinson, CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) Director of Outreach from the United States, and GLOBE teacher Gloria Faus from Mexico. Projects presented by teachers focused on comparisons of ground and atmospheric measurements of airborne particles such as dust, haze, smog, smoke, and volcanic emissions, known as aerosols. Ground measurements are derived from sun photometers –in the hands of GLOBE students- pointed upward, whereas satellite measurements are derived from lidar instruments with passive infrared and visible imagers pointed downward over the clouds and aerosols they pass over. The combined set of measurements provides new insight into the global distribution and evolution of clouds and aerosols that will lead to improvements in weather forecasting and climate prediction.

French Guiana is one of many countries affected by a phenomenon known as African Dust. Scientists estimate that the wind picks up 700 million metric tons of dust per year over North Africa alone. Of this, wind lifts roughly 2 million metric tons high in the troposphere, enabling dust to travel thousands of miles. GLOBE students in many countries affected by African Dust have incorporated aerosol research into their classrooms through the use of data gathered from sun photometers.

Workshop discussions focused on the expansion of the Sun Photometer Aerosol Campaign on African Dust to include countries in Africa in addition to French Guiana, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

 Workshop attendees visited the Kourou Space Centre
Workshop attendees visited the Kourou Space Centre

In addition, correlations between ground and satellite measurements stimulated discussion of the impact of aerosols on the environment and health. One presentation, complemented by a visit to the Kourou Space Center, located in Kourou, French Guiana, examined the impact of spacecraft launches on the air quality of Guyana.

The overall goal of this workshop was to instruct teachers in the use of sun-photometers so that they can encourage their students to gain experience using the instrument throughout the school year prior to the Student Research Campaign on Climate 2011-2013. Toward this goal, GLOBE France plans to invite a significant number of teachers and scientists from these countries to attend a workshop during the summer of 2010.

Read these Stars about past French GLOBE activities related to their CALIPSO activities. CALIPSO is a satellite gathering atmospheric data to help us learn more about how clouds and aerosols play a part in regulating the Earth's weather, climate and air quality, and is a joint effort of NASA in the U.S. and CNES in France. Teachers and students in the U.S. and France are participating with the mission by collecting sun photometer data and making direct cloud observations. All student data will be reported on the GLOBE website.

Read more about CALIPSO by visiting the following links:〈=en&nav=1

21 December 2009