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




Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/09/23/xpedition-day-two-basecamp-to-forest-camp/ Packed and ready for the journey   Today, Sunday, 23 September, the team packs up the vehicles and heads off on their journey.  Their itinerary for the day includes a few hours’ drive from basecamp followed by a 3 hour hike to Forest Camp, located at 2,438 m above sea level. Taking a quick break on the hike   The bloggers were asked the following question as they set off on their journey:  Did you do...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: Seasons and Biomes GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/09/22/xpedition-day-one-basecamp/ Mt. Kilimanjaro from a distance Today marked Day 1 of The Xpedition.  Before the team begins their journey through the biomes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, our bloggers were asked the following question:  What are your expectations--personally and scientifically--for The Xpedition? Maddy My expectations are very open-ended! I don't want to get my heart set on anything because I know the mountain is ever-changing and shows us a different trek...


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Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/09/19/students-teachers-and-scientists-explore-mt-kilimanjaro-through-globe-protocols-and-blogs/ Beginning on 23 September, five GLOBE students, teachers and scientists and one GLOBE alum will join commence on a journey through the biomes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. Known as, “the Xpedidion,” the 2012 trek marks the fifth year of this exciting journey. This year will be bigger than ever as a documentary film crew will join us. In addition, we will be sharing images via social media...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: Seasons and Biomes GLOBE Science Topics: Earth as a System Climate Climate Change

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/09/06/salute-to-teachers/ This week, we are taking a slightly different approach to our blog. At the highest level, our blog usually centers on science and education themes. This week, however, we are taking a step back to focus on the people who are on the front lines of teaching science and education … our teachers. If you have ever been inspired by a great teacher––an educator who had such a profound impact on you life by taking an interest in you, sparking your curiosity in a...


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Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog at http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/08/28/full-circle-superior-part-ii-studying-streams/ We have a guest blogger this week.  Mike Linke is posting his second blog in a series about his walk with his wife, Kate Crowley, around Lake Superior. This is the second in a series about the science of Full Circle Superior; a walk around the world’s largest freshwater lake.  You can read the first blog post here. My wife, Kate Crowley, and I determined that we would be the first couple to walk around this lake, trying to stay as...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Earth as a System Backyard Science Climate Investigation Areas: Hydrosphere Learning Activities: Land Cover/Biology Hydrology

  Cologne, Germany We stayed in Cologne, Germany for several days. While in Cologne, we stayed with Dr. Karl Schneider, his wonderful wife Karen and children. They are always such great hosts. Their son Karl said that he played football. I assumed he meant soccer because the people in the United States are the ones that call the game soccer. The rest of the world says football. But, I was wrong. He plays American football (in Germany). That is interesting. The younger Karl was an exchange student in the United States and played on the school’s football team. Or, I should say that...


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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 going to Reutte,...


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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 because...


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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 after World...


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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 example.  In...


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 located in the...


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 Queensland,...


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 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