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University Students Use GLOBE Data to Carry Out Climate Research

Second year meteorology students from Peru's National Agrarian University in La Molina carried out a research project concerning the latitudinal variation of the Earth's air temperature using data from GLOBE Schools located in different parts of the world. This research was conducted by students with the guidance of GLOBE Teacher and Master Trainer Claudia Caro Vera. Students used data gathered from schools located in countries along tropical, subtropical, and polar latitudes to analyze the variation of air temperature over a 15 year period, considering two lengths for each latitude demarcated by the Greenwich Meridian. In addition, this research provided an opportunity to examine the considerable amount of data taken by GLOBE Schools in different regions throughout the world.

Students found the research to be both entertaining and intriguing. Through graphic representation, it was easy to identify that most of the regions examined displayed no significant cooling trend in the last 15 years, while the North Pole and the Tropical Northwest region (Panama), showed a clear warming trend. It is important to note, however, that the amount of data analyzed is not adequate to make a generalization about the effects of climate on the planet.

According to Professor Caro, the most interesting thing about this work was that it not only created an opportunity for the analysis of issues related to temperature and climate, but it also served as motivation to make learning more meaningful for students throughout their college careers. She stated, "Through this project I had the opportunity to observe the interest of my students in areas related to climate research and to give practical meaning to the classes that they are taking in the university. I have witnessed how their knowledge in this area has grown, along with their motivation to participate in investigations. Now, they not only want to use data from the GLOBE website, they want to generate their own data."

Peru Country Coordinator Carlos Rojas, Director of Education, Culture and Citizenship Division of the Ministry of Environment stated, "This research is an expression of the exercise of global environmental citizenship by young people. It shows a whole generation of environmentally relevant information such as evidence of eco-efficiency combined with responsible consumption, as well as participation in environmental management and innovative enterprises."

Students benefitted greatly from the experience and made many positive reflections. The following student comments were presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of the GLOBE Program:

"This project has been very interesting because it has given me a notion of climate all over the world, through data from GLOBE Schools, and because it has served me as the basis for further research concerning this topic." Aldo Alessi

"The GLOBE Program has helped us to resolve several unknowns." Fidel Castillo

"GLOBE has opened the door to start this job, and thanks to its initiative to promote research, we have learned a lot." Gustavo De la Cruz

"It was interesting to observe the changes of the atmosphere, thank you to the GLOBE Program." Carlos Sanchez

"To explain the dynamic of the planet, it is important to use many variables. GLOBE promotes research by giving data to the students so that we can know what is happening in the world." Jonathan Paredes

Read about previous activities in Peru:

7 April 2011