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GISN & STEM Professional's Blog

The GLOBE International STEM Network (GISN) and STEM Professional's 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.
 


 

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The newpaper article is below. Take a look. It was very nice of Sebastian to translate it into English. Getting from Switzerland to Cologne, Germany After our meeting with the teachers and student at the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium in Konstanz, Germany, we made our way up to Cologne, Germany so I could attend and present at the International Geographical Congress (IGC) meeting. I’ve posted pictures of the trip and the cities we visited. I included a little about each city so you can get a sense of the countryside. Tirol Region of Austria We started by ...


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August 19, 2012 We went to a glacier in central Switzerland. It is a tourist attraction. It was the most unsustainable tourist place I have been to in my life. Usually, at tourist places, they try to have you do things that preserve the site. In the United States at the parks, you are not allowed to take anything away. Dunes are protected at the parks that have dunes along Lake Michigan, etc. But, here, there are thousands of tourists walking on the glacier, there is a cave that they carved out of the glacier, there is even a sledding area. The sledding area may not be too bad ...


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August 16, 2012 Yesterday after we arrived in Frankfurt, we walked around the city. It is an amazing city. It is big enough that there is a lot of business but it is small enough that the streets are not clogged with cars. Maybe one of the reasons is that so many people ride bicycles. There were bikes everywhere. Sometimes the people walking have to be careful not to get run over by the bikes. We went down to the old part of Frankfurt which is near the River Main. The old town area is very cool to visit. I found it interesting that much of the old town had to be rebuilt ...


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Tree-of-heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ) is spreading widely throughout West Virginia and threatening the native forest ecosystems in Appalachia.  This invasive plant was introduced to the United States from China in the 1780s. The same exotic tree species was also introduced to Japan in 1860s but is not aggressive in this country. In Japan, particularly in the Kyushu Island, tree-of-heaven is rarely found in natural forest ecosystems but a few trees may be found growing in university campuses (i.e. Kyushu University), school premises and house backyards. Tree-of-heaven was initially ...


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Establishment and proliferation of invasive species in an environment where they were introduced is becoming a worldwide problem. During my trip to Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan in 2008 for a research fellowship, I was able to observe the same plant species that is also considered invasive in the United States. It is called the tree-of-heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ). This trip initiated a project involving a more in-depth investigation of the competitiveness of Ailanthus as an invasive plant. With the involvement of undergraduate students in the Department of Land Resources at ...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: GENERAL SCIENCE   Investigation Areas: EARTH AS A SYSTEM


Finally, I am now connected with the Globe program. Very exciting. Looking forward to getting more involved in this program.


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I'm at the 16th Annual GLOBE Partner meeting. It is a great time to meet with old friends and make new ones. Kevin


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Sometimes, part of being a scientist is dealing with the unexpected. During research projects, scientists might get very surprising results. Or, something might happen to completely change the scope of the project. This is exactly what happened to a group of scientists in Chile . Scientists were studying how man-made armoring, such as seawalls, impact the ecology of beaches in Chile and California. They had surveyed 9 beaches in Chile when something very unexpected happened on 27 February 2010– an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit . Seawall before and after the earthquake ...


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This post is the second in a series called “Trees in Trouble”.  To see the first post in this series click here . Climate impacts so many things on this planet, most notably the types of flora and fauna that live in a specific region.  And for those creatures that have annual cycles tied to the local climate, such as the hibernation of bears, migration of birds, and life cycles of insects, a change in climate can shift their way of life and even have subsequent consequences on the environment they live in. Take the pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) for ...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: GENERAL SCIENCE CLIMATE CLIMATE CHANGE


Many of the world’s glaciers, such as the Exit Glacier in Alaska, United States and Pasterze Glacier in Austria, have lost mass due to melting over the past few years. One such glacier, Exploradores in southern Chile, is also disappearing.  This glacier is a sight to behold – a 20 kilometer frozen mass that is filled with cliffs of luminescent blue and indigo ice. A view from inside the Exploradores Glacier, from Nature A view from inside the Exploradores Glacier, from Nature The Exploradores Glacier is one of many glaciers in the Patagonian Ice Fields ...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: CLIMATE CLIMATE CHANGE


Just over four years after my first visit to Australia (From drought to flood down under: Part I), the tides have turned and the country has gone from experiencing the driest decade on record to having the wettest two-year period on record in 2010-2011.  These recent rains have been both a blessing and a curse.  The good news is that they helped the region of southeastern Australia start to recover from the long drought (see Figure 1).  The bad news is that the rains came on heavy and strong.  In January 2011, devastating floods occurred across southeastern ...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SCRC   GLOBE Science Topics: GENERAL SCIENCE CLIMATE


A fun and easy way to be involved in the Student Climate Research Campaign (SCRC) is by participating in the Climate and Land Cover (CLC) Intensive Observing Period (IOP).  This quarterly IOP focuses on documenting and uploading land cover data into the GLOBE database.  Scientists are then able to use these data to validate land cover in climate models.  Knowing the right type of land cover is important to climate models, because it plays a role in both the energy and hydrologic cycles.  For example, land cover plays an important role in how much solar energy is ...


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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 ...


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 ...


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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 ...


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 ...


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) ...


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 ...


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 ...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE GLOBE PROTOCOLS   Investigation Areas: HYDROSPHERE   Primary Audience: STUDENTS