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GLOBE Student Data Tops 20 Million!

On 14 August 2009, data collected by GLOBE students reached the 20 million mark. Yes, you read that correctly! GLOBE students in 110 countries have now collected TWENTY MILLION scientific measurements in atmosphere, hydrology, soil, land cover and phenology investigations, using many different instruments: from sun photometers to soil color books, from cloud charts to hand-made clinometers, from data loggers to chemical test kits. These measurements now reside in the online GLOBE database and are actively in use by students and scientists throughout the world for significant real-world research!

Since the mid-1400s, when Copernicus first began recording measurements of the natural phenomena he observed, data have been a fundamental component of any scientific endeavor. Relatively recently, the development of software and computer systems and the invention of graphic techniques for multidimensional visualization have caused an explosion in visualization of data. Reading and interpreting visualized data is a key component of the GLOBE method because GLOBE students not only provide data, they conduct research based on critical analysis of their findings. As part of student investigation projects, students regularly create hypotheses, analyze data, draw conclusions, and report their results in a visually compelling manner.

GLOBE students share valuable findings with scientists and with each other. Most importantly, teachers play an integral role in every aspect of GLOBE student research. Over 50,000 GLOBE-trained teachers from more than 20,000 schools have worked with their students to contribute these 20 million measurements.

These data and the student investigation reports are available on the GLOBE Web site, organized by country in the GLOBE database.

What do GLOBE students do with all that data and why?

Students from the UK have created an entire series of videos about how they are implementing the GLOBE Program and why collecting data is important to monitoring climate change. Listen to primary and secondary school students talk about what can be gained from measuring the environment.

Students in Thailand have gathered precipitation and temperature data along with data from their local hospitals that monitor malaria outbreaks by month. Combining the data sets on a handmade graph they discovered, on their own, that Malaria outbreaks typically follow periods of rain, and they began a campaign in their community to eliminate pooled rainwater that could result in mosquito breeding.

Students in Cameroon have begun to raise local awareness about climate variability and how change might significantly affect the growing cycle of corn, their principal crop. As a result of a seven-year project to collect weather data in their village, they are noting a decreased rainfall trend, decreased humidity levels, and increased temperatures, all having a noticeable effect on crop yield and the economic well being of their area.

Third graders in Iowa, USA, observed the changes to a maple tree in their schoolyard, collecting data about the rate of color change and learning, at a very young age, that observation and data collection can help them make predictions about the dropping of leaves. Data collection helped them to think like scientists, using data to make predictions about the weather.

Ocean for Life students from the Near East-North Africa Region together with students from Armenia, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Norway and the United States, conducted activities related to GLOBE's atmosphere and hydrology investigation areas in 4 national marine sanctuaries in Florida and California. Research utilized the following GLOBE protocols: air temperature, clouds, water temperature, transparency, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, alkalinity and salinity. Their data provides tangible information about the health of the ocean.

Students from Argentina have been gathering precipitation and rainfall measurements along with tree ring data to study the relationship between rainfall and fires in their homeland. They have been sharing their research with Spanish-speaking students in New Mexico, USA, who have a similar interest in the forest fires. The students and teachers of both countries have created a bridge for cultural understanding based on mutual interest in the data and research.

GLOBE celebrates schools that provide high quality data through the Chief Scientists' Honor Roll, now delivered electronically. Please join this esteemed group of young scientists by contributing your data to the GLOBE database.

Congratulations to all students whose research has contributed to this significant GLOBE milestone: 20 million measurements!

17 August 2009