STEM Network Blog Intro

STEM Professionals' Blog


The GLOBE International STEM professionals Network (GISN) Blog is an online collaborative effort where scientists associated with GLOBE post their thoughts, comments, and philosophies about a variety of science topics.

GLOBE strongly encourages positive and productive discussions to further advance the scientific understanding of all involved with The GLOBE Program.

Scientist Blogs Aggregator




All over the United States, spring flowers such as daffodils and crocuses began blooming nearly a month ago due to an unseasonably warm winter.  Some of my friends from many parts of the country have been mentioning how beautiful their gardens are and enjoying the warm weather.  Even my family and friends from the Mid-Atlantic region have been sending photos showing off their beautiful home gardens. Daffodils in bloom in late February Many think it’s really nice to see green grass, budding trees, and flowers in bloom in late February, as it’s a spirit lift after a...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science Climate Earth System Science

One important part in the scientific inquiry process that often gets overlooked is the step to communicate and share your research findings.  There are many ways that scientists share their research with each other and the community, including writing reports and publications, presenting research at conferences and meetings, and sharing their science with the community via the media.  The Internet age provides a number of great new ways for us to share science information, such as with blogs, online discussion forums, webinars, and by sharing videos. To encourage everyone to...


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In December 2007, I arrived in Australia for the first time ever.  It was a critically dry period for the region, as they were in the midst of a terrible drought.  Immediately upon my arrival, there were signals of a community in dire straits.  Instead of advertisements for products and services, the signs in the airport were encouraging water conservation.  My hotel bathroom had a message affixed to the mirror asking me to limit my shower time and water usage.  The dams were drying up and many communities faced running out of water in just mere months.  As a...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SCRC GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Climate

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, but it is...


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

Since the end of January 2012, Europe has been experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls.  Temperatures are dropping to -40°C (-40°F) and below in Europe.  The canals of Venice are freezing over (the first time since 1991) and sections of the Black Sea have frozen (the first time since 1977).  And, Rome has received its first substantial snowfall since 1986. A small boat cuts through the ice along a canal in Venice. Photo by Marco Sabadin/AFP/Getty Images The frozen Black Sea in Ukraine (Reuters photo) So, why is it so cold...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SCRC GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Change Climate Investigation Areas: Atmosphere

Communities in the Sahel region of Africa depend on trees for firewood, food, building materials, and even medicine.  Anecdotal observations in this savannah climate, a transition region to the south of the Sahara Desert, have suggested the number of trees is decreasing.  A recent study by a group of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley has provided scientific support indicating that trees are indeed dying and the decline is being attributed to climate change.  Scientists looked at aerial photos dating back to 1954, satellite images, climate change...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SCRC GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Change GLOBE Protocols

If you’ve seen the science news headlines in the past few weeks, you may have noticed stories summarizing how 2011 ranked in climate history.  What is interesting is that the headlines have been a bit contradictory.  For example, if you’ve read the story as reported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the headline reads “NASA finds 2011 ninth-warmest year on record”, which to me implies it was another record hot year given that it made the top ten list.  Nonetheless, another story reported in ABS news touts that the world wasn’t quite as...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SCRC GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Climate

From January 22 to 26, 2012, scientists from around the world gathered for the American Meteorological Society annual meeting, which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Scientists from the GLOBE Program stayed next to the beautiful Mississippi River. The Mississippi River in New Orleans (photo courtesy of Dr. Donna Charlevoix) The Mississippi River is the lifeblood of New Orleans and has so impacted the city that the city was actually developed around it. The first buildings were constructed around the river edge, which has the highest ground, and now gives the city a...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Earth System Science GLOBE Protocols Investigation Areas: Hydrosphere Primary Audience: Students

Last week’s GLOBE Scientists’ blog, “Peculiar weather – just because it sounds odd doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!” talked about inquiry-based learning.  If you have a great question and decide to investigate further, how can you share your results?  Sharing results is an essential part of the scientific method.   If scientists didn’t share their work, how would we know what has already been done?  Or what is already known?  One of the best options for young scientists to share results is to participate in a science fair.  Science fairs often occur in the...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science

I have always been passionate about the weather.  When I realized that to fulfill this passion I had to have a career in atmospheric science, I started acquiring all sorts of books, charts, movies, and other weather related things.  One of those books was a book from the early 1990’s called It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes by Jerry Dennis.  It was really interesting to me because it discussed all of the different seasons and some different phenomena that different parts of the world experience during the seasons.  As I continue to blog for The GLOBE Program, my mind keeps...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science General Science

When you think about farms, you may think of the sounds you hear.  Those sounds may include both natural and manmade sounds, such as the rustling of produce in the wind or machines working the fields.  While these are expected sounds that can indicate farm health, scientists recently have been looking at another natural sound: songbirds. Farmers are becoming more interested in looking at the key connections between ecological, economic, and social components to managing their farms, according to Quest science blog.  It is then important to make sure that clear and easy to...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Change Backyard Science Climate Investigation Areas: Earth As a System Biosphere » Arctic Bird Migration

Nitrogen is an important molecule that makes up nearly 78 percent of the atmosphere.  Burning fossil fuels and using fertilizers for agriculture are two ways that this number can increase.  But the atmosphere isn’t the only place that nitrogen is found – it is also found in bodies of water.  Of the nitrogen that is spread in fertilizers, only 25-30 percent is absorbed by plants, so that leaves a lot of nitrogen left to either be absorbed by the atmosphere or into water.  Figure 1 shows the intricacies of the nitrogen cycle, from Physical Geography.net’s Fundamentals...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Change Climate Investigation Areas: Hydrosphere Hydrosphere » Nitrates

This week, we have a guest post from Dr. Angela Rowe – a post-doc with Colorado State University and the country of Taiwan examining radar data and monsoons.  Dr. Rowe received her undergraduate degree in meteorology from Millersville University, and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Colorado State University, focusing on the Asian and North American Monsoons.  This post is timely, as the monsoon was mentioned in many of the state of the climate of 2010 discussions for different GLOBE regions. When most people hear the word “monsoon”, thoughts of abrupt, intense rainfall...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science

In December 2009, Dr. Donna Charlevoix, of the GLOBE Program Office, attended the COP-15 (15th meeting of the Conference of Parties) meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Dr. Charlevoix gave a great summary of the meetings in five separate blog posts that began on 7 December 2009.  Some of you may have read these posts, and for those of you who haven’t, I encourage you to visit them, beginning with the first to get a better understanding of the importance of these annual meetings. This year’s meeting was titled COP-17 (17th Conference of Parties).  The meeting is...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Primary Audience: Scientists

Sometimes in a rapidly changing world, it is difficult to see the effects that small changes in human lifestyle can have on not only climate, but on ecosystems.  Various countries and international organizations are working to pass legislation to ensure change.  One such case of legislation working is being observed in the San Francisco Bay – the return of harbor porpoises.  This was recently reported in the QUEST biology blog. The map below shows the location of the San Francisco Bay, marked by the bubble with an A, from Google.  In 1972, the Clean...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Backyard Science GLOBE Protocols Investigation Areas: Hydrosphere

A few weeks ago, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) wrote about a report claiming that some of the fruit from native trees in Britain are ripening anywhere from 13 to 18 days earlier than they did a decade ago.  The report was from Nature’s Calendar, a data collection network in the United Kingdom.  While the cause isn’t specifically known, many believe it’s due to a change in climate. What does a change like this mean to the earth as a system? Scientists are interested in studying the connections between the different Earth processes – from how greenhouse gases are...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Earth as a System Backyard Science Climate Change GLOBE Protocols

2011 has been an interesting year in regards to rainfall for the GLOBE country of Thailand, as both the north and south portions of the country have seen significant flooding.  Let’s take a look at Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, which is located in the north, as well as Phuket, which is located in the south.  Here’s a map of the country for those who aren’t familiar with Thailand, with the cities of interest indicated by the red dots: Map of Thailand from Google   First, we’ll begin by examining the major flooding that occurred...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science

This week we’ll finish our look at the climate summaries for each GLOBE region with a focus on the Near East-North Africa region.  Remember that these annual reports provide a summary of the global climatic conditions and are a great benchmark for monitoring climate. Regional reports provide a tremendous amount of information. The temperature and precipitation climate summaries are highlighted here, but if you are interested, more information about the Near East-North Africa region state of the climate is available from this website:...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Change Climate Earth System Science

This week we’ll continue our look at the climate summaries for each GLOBE region, with a focus on the North America region.  These annual reports provide a summary of the global climatic conditions and are a great benchmark for monitoring climate. Regional reports provide a tremendous amount of information. The temperature and precipitation climate summaries are highlighted here, but if you are interested, more information about the North America Region state of the climate is available from this website:...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Climate Change Climate Earth System Science

This week we’ll continue our look at the climate summaries for each GLOBE region, with a focus on the Latin America-Caribbean region.  Remember that these annual reports provide a summary of the global climatic conditions and are a great benchmark for monitoring climate. You can use this data in your own GLOBE climate research projects! Regional reports provide a tremendous amount of information including temperature, precipitation, tropical cyclone activity, and notable events. Temperature and precipitation climate summaries are highlighted here; more information about the Latin...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Climate Change Climate Earth System Science