I just came across a fascinating article titled "A Tale of Fire and Water- A NASA Scientist's Quest to Understand Rain in Africa". You can see this article at this link:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/IchokuRain/. You learn the story of a NASA scientist who grew up in southern Nigeria as a poor refugee child whose family was forced to flee their home because of a civil war that was raging in 1968. Not only is his story inspiring, but the use of various satellite data to explain Dr. Ichoku's research is really fascinating!
The article covers many decades of changing climate and the impact that these changes have on people's lives in Africa. One of the scientific questions that Dr. Ichoku and other climate scientists have been trying to answer is "What causes the droughts in Sahel"? They find that the most important natural factor seems to be the cyclical shifting of ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic ocean. While this is different from the El Nino-La Nina patterns, it is so interesting to see the impact of both natural and human factors and to learn about the consequences of these changes.
Read this article to find out how different types of data from all of Earth's spheres are being collected and used to learn more about our changing planet. Think about the data that your school is collecting, and how you could use that data to better understand not only the changes that are taking place in your region, but also to consider the impact on people's lives from these changes.