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By Dixon Matlock Butler, posted 8/30/18 2:50 AM

In GLOBE, there are two major perspectives on the global environment – the spheres and the Earth system. The Teacher’s Guide and the new sphere pages build on the approach that examines Earth as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere. The study of Earth System Science focuses on the cycles that connect the spheres – the Energy, Water, and Biogeochemical. The Honor Roll provides recognition of those who report in depth in one area or another. There are three honor rolls recognizing Atmosphere measurement reporting; one for Hydrosphere;, and two each for Biosphere and...


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math Field Campaigns: Carbon Cycle SMAP El Niño Surface Temperature GPM GLOBE Science Topics: Earth as a System Earth System Science

Learning science involves learning important concepts, conducting experiments to see first-hand how researchers discovered and confirmed some elements of science concepts, and learning how to think scientifically. With this complete approach to learning science, students are well-prepared to deal with the natural world around them and to make wise decisions when confronted with various choices. The ability to think scientifically is a valuable skill in almost all aspects of life and doing science teaches scientific habits of mind. Students can do science through research projects...


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math STEM GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science General Science Scientist Skills GLOBE Working Groups: Science Working Group General News Topics: Competitions Virtual Science Fair Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Hydrosphere Earth As a System Pedosphere (Soil) Biosphere Primary Audience: Country Coordinators Partners Students Teachers

Observations of daily precipitation have been a part of GLOBE from the beginning. At the start, GLOBE’s participation model was that schools would take measurement following all of the original 17 protocols. Atmosphere temperature, precipitation, cloud, and soil moisture measurements were to be collected daily at a site easily accessible to the school. A permanent installation of an instrument shelter containing a max/min thermometer mounted to a post along with a rain gauge was the expected norm with other measurements taken nearby. Daily temperature and precipitation measurements were...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: El Niño GPM GLOBE Science Topics: GLOBE Protocols GLOBE Working Groups: Science Working Group Education Working Group Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Primary Audience: Country Coordinators Partners Students Teachers Trainers Teacher's Guide: Protocol Specific Documents

From the start, the measurement of daily maximum and minimum air temperature within one hour of local solar noon has been a key GLOBE protocol. The low cost approach was to use a U-tube thermometer housed in a wooden instrument shelter facing away from the equator. The U-shaped tube contained mercury with pins on either side of the mercury. As the air temperature warmed the pin on one side would move while the other pin stayed in place; when the air cooled, the pin on the other side would be pushed up. The pins were held in place by magnetized strips behind the thermometer tube so that...


Posted in: Curriculum: Technology STEM GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change GLOBE Protocols Earth as a System Earth System Science GLOBE Working Groups: Science Working Group Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Primary Audience: Alumni Country Coordinators Partners Scientists Students Teachers Trainers

As Earth science has a single uncontrolled object of study, the first rule is to take today’s data today. While ice and sediment cores and fossils can reveal past conditions, the observations that can be made right now cannot be replaced by ones taken later. This goes well with the Native American adage, “You can’t step in the same river twice.” The environment is constantly changing and doing so on a wide range of time and space scales. In a recent video post, Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “One of the great things about science is that it is an entire exercise finding what is true. You...


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math Event Topics: Campaigns and Projects (IOPs, Webinars, etc) GLOBE Learning Expeditions Science Symposia and Fairs Field Campaigns: SMAP El Niño GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change General Science Earth as a System Earth System Science Investigation Areas: Earth As a System Primary Audience: Alumni Students Teachers

Consider the rain gauge used in GLOBE, CoCoRaHS, and other citizen science programs. Just four pieces plus 2 mounting screws – an inner graduated cylinder, an outer cylinder, a cap/funnel, and a mounting bracket. The area of the outer tube is exactly 10 times the areas of the inner tube and the cap/funnel, so the graduations on the inner cylinder can be spaced ten times further apart. Thus, 0.2 mm of rain fills the inner tube to a depth of 2.0 mm, which one can read. In addition, if heavy rainfall fills the inner cylinder, the rest of the rainfall overflows into the outer cylinder,...


Posted in: Curriculum: STEM Field Campaigns: El Niño GPM GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science GLOBE Protocols Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Primary Audience: Alumni Students Teachers

In most scientific research an important test is whether the results of an experiment can be repeated, typically repeated by another lab and research group. A result that cannot be confirmed in this way is generally viewed as invalid. This is a great test for controlled experiments where virtually identical experimental conditions may be achieved. In Earth science research involving observations of the natural world, experimental conditions cannot be reproduced. For environmental research the standard must switch for repeatable to intercomparable – capable of being compared. Research...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science General Science GLOBE Protocols Earth System Science Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Hydrosphere Pedosphere (Soil) Biosphere Primary Audience: Alumni Scientists Students Teachers Trainers
By Dixon Matlock Butler, posted 10/20/16 12:00 PM

Yesterday, I visited Bell Multicultural High School and Lincoln Middle School, which share a campus near my home. It was inspiring, and I saw good science teaching with students doing research experiments dealing with bioremediation of soils. In discussions, I found myself talking about GLOBE and the many aspects of what the Program offers. Students were experimenting with plant uptake of soil contaminants and were planning to take water samples from the Anacostia River bordering the area where they had collected soil samples. Their insight into the soil could be greatly expanded...


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A heat lamp and reflector socket with a spring clamp may be purchased on-line for as little as $26. The amount of time required to dry samples depends on many things including the wetness of the initial sample, the soil characteristics, the relative humidity, and the temperature to which the sample is heated. GLOBE protocols specify that samples are not to be heated above 105 o C. In using a heat lamp, the temperature to which the sample is heated depends on the wattage of the bulb and the distance between the heat lamp and the sample bag. I have tried drying a sample using this...


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GLOBE students measure the current values of many environmental properties, but the Precipitation Protocol measures the total amounts and the Max/Min Atmosphere and Soil Temperature protocols measure the extremes that have occurred during the previous 24 hours. At the beginning of GLOBE, the time of day for these daily measurements was chosen as within one hour of local solar noon. The thought was that the middle of the school day would be an easy time to have students go outside and take data. Today in GLOBE, the air and soil temperatures can be measured with the digital multi-day...


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By Dixon Matlock Butler, posted 5/19/15 3:15 PM

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission has engaged with GLOBE to obtain surface soil moisture measurements from student citizen scientists. These measurements will become part of SMAP’s calibration/validation effort. Gravimetric soil moisture measurements are the gold standard for this environmental variable, and these may be taken by almost anyone. Through GLOBE, the resulting data can be reported and archived and put to use by the SMAP Science Team. SMAP scientists have indicated that measurements from clusters of 10 sites within a 10 km radius circle are particularly...


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By Dixon Matlock Butler, posted 11/26/14 8:08 PM

Citizen science is scientific research conducted by amateur or nonprofessional scientists. Formally, citizen science has been defined as "the systematic collection and analysis of data; development of technology; testing of hypotheses; and the dissemination of the resulting information by researchers on a primarily avocational basis. When students do science, it is citizen science. This is true when students take measurements and report their data or analyze data taken by themselves and others. It is particularly true when they complete research projects by reaching evidence-base...


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By Dixon Matlock Butler, posted 11/5/14 8:58 PM

In the early 1980’s, I chaired a group of scientists exploring the idea of a comprehensive satellite mission to study all aspects of the global environment. The group was diverse with expertise covering the range of Earth science disciplines from geology, ecology, oceanography, limnology, glaciology, and atmospheric science and their various sub-disciplines.  Their first recommendation was take today’s data today. In all of Earth science there is the recognition that we have only one Earth to study. How Earth works is revealed by watching it change in a comprehensive manner and...


Posted in: Primary Audience: Students Teachers

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/11/20/globe-and-adaptation-to-climate-change/ One of the most significant technology improvements in modern life is our ability to accurately forecast future events. Weather forecasts now routinely extend for five days. The recent flooding on the East Coast of the United States was forecast days in advance. The cause was an unusual merger of two storms to create a super storm – Super Storm Sandy. Atmospheric models correctly predicted that a winter storm coming from the north and a...


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This week we have a guest blogger, Dr. Dixon Butler. Dr. Butler was the GLOBE Chief Scientist from 1996-2003 and now works as a consultant to NASA. Students working on GLOBE Hydrology Protocols The general explanation of the scientific method focuses on comparing two situations that differ in only one clearly defined way. One case serves as the control while the other is the experiment. The results must be replicable as a check that the measurements were made correctly and that any other differences between the control and experiment are insignificant. This is an ideal,...


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math Field Campaigns: SCRC GLOBE Science Topics: General Science