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.




Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/03/06/connecting-pollutants-and-air-temperature-in-the-maldives/ With climate change, there are many relationships that are understood, and many others that are not.  Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan from The Scripps Institute  in San Diego has spent the last fifteen years in the Maldives, a nation south of India that is comprised of over 1,200 islands, studying the relationship between air pollutants, cloud formation and air temperature. The Maldives are a great location for...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: Carbon Cycle GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change General Science Investigation Areas: Atmosphere

A couple of years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the Climate and Global Dynamics Division  (CGD) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research  (NCAR) on how climate change is threatening the survival of wolverines ( Gulo gulo ).  This scientist, Synte Peacock from CGD, painted a gloomy outlook for this ferocious creature after using a climate model to examine changes in spring snow cover and summer air temperatures.    However, recent legislative proposals may make the future a little brighter.   A...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/02/21/capturing-plant-green-up-through-your-lens/ This week we have a guest blogger, Jessica Taylor . Jessica has been active as a GLOBE observer and trainer since 2001 and is a Master Trainer at NASA Langley Research Center. She conducts regular GLOBE Teacher Workshops in the areas of atmosphere and phenology investigations and works with several NASA missions to integrate GLOBE activities into their educational outreach efforts. Whenever I talk with teachers about studying...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Earth as a System Investigation Areas: Biosphere » Green-Up / Green-Down

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/02/13/globe-and-the-landsat-launch/ This week we have a guest blogger, Jennifer Bourgeault .  Jennifer, a member of the GLOBE Land Cover/Biology Team for 10 years, is the North Country Education Services (NCES) New Hampshire GLOBE Partnership coordinator and Master Trainer in the Land Cover/Biology protocols.  She thinks everyone should know how to use the Modified UNESCO Classification (MUC) Field Guide to classify land cover and how to use Multispec to look at change over...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Earth as a System Investigation Areas: Biosphere

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/02/06/how-does-globe-improve-your-community-show-us-2013-earth-day-video-competition Earth Day has been inspiring demonstrations and projects for a healthier, more sustainable environment for more than 40 years.  The first Earth Day, celebrated on 22 April 1970, featured over 20 million Americans joining together in auditoriums, parks and streets across the country to show solidarity in the fight against oil spills and toxic dumping, protecting wildlife and their habitats, and...


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The cold weather this last month has led to Lake Erie developing ice cover. This past week, the temperature has been averaging about 20 F (-6 C). Even with temperatures in the 50s and 60s F (10 C to 15 C), ice has formed. See the Figure 1 below. As you can see in the picture, the ice on Lake Erie is broken up into things that look like islands. The wind blows the ice around and breaks it up. There is a straight line through Lake St. Clair that extends down into Lake Erie. What do you think caused this straight line? Usually, on Earth, straight lines are produced by humans. Figure...


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Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/01/30/an-interesting-relationship-soil-temperature-and-climate-change/ It seems common place that warmer air temperature leads to warmer soil temperature. And while this relationship seems intuitive, the effect isn’t always studied, especially with respect to the response from microorganisms. That is why researchers are investigating what happens when the soil temperature increases. An intricate network of soil microorganisms From: Commonwealth Scientific and...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change Investigation Areas: Pedosphere (Soil) » Soil Temperature

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/01/23/trees-in-trouble-what-affect-does-tree-mortality-have-on-climate-change/ Through our trees in trouble series, we’ve examined trees in the Sahel zone in Africa and the United States .  This problem, climate change and dying trees, has been seen on every continent, the only exception being Antarctica, due to the lack of vegetation on the frozen continent.   Scientists have recently found that there is an alarming loss rate of big, old trees, whose ages range from...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change General Science Investigation Areas: Atmosphere Biosphere

Blog previously posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/01/16/a-tale-of-two-extremes/ Weather extremes have become a common theme in the news headlines the past few weeks. For example, nearly every part of the United States has been experiencing one of two extremes – either frigid cold or record-breaking high temperatures. Places like Arizona and California experienced below-freezing temperatures, which can have potential impacts on the crops grown in these typically balmy regions. In contrast, cities in the Southeast U.S., such as Atlanta,...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change Investigation Areas: Atmosphere

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2013/01/11/globe-at-ams-sharing-our-community/ This week I attended the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Austin, TX.  I started attending eight years ago as a senior undergraduate meteorology major at Millersville University.  That first year, I'll admit, was very overwhelming - great minds from various expertises within the Earth Sciences came together to share ideas and present their recent research.  The meeting brings many...


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Most trees obtain water through their massive root systems, but did you know that some trees can absorb water through their leaves as well? This ability is called foliar uptake. Scientists recently discovered that trees in cloud forests use foliar uptake to obtain water. A cloud forest is a forest that has persistent or seasonally persistent fog or low-level cloud cover. Cloud forests are usually in the tropics or subtropics, have evergreen trees (trees that don’t lose their leaves) and tend to have a lot of mosses and vegetation in the understory of the trees. Cloud Forest...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Earth System Science Investigation Areas: Earth As a System Biosphere

GLOBE’s Earth as a System investigation area cultivates students’ awareness of an intricate web of global connections. Similar to real world scientists, students explore life science concepts, learning that “ organisms can only survive where their needs are met. ”  The Earth as a System investigation area encourages students to observe patterns and connections, such as through phenology. Phenology is the study of how living organisms respond to seasonal changes in their environment. Only through observing and measuring can we notice if changes are occurring and how they occur. ...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Earth System Science Investigation Areas: Earth As a System Biosphere » Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/12/19/the-chicken-and-egg-story-of-global-warming-and-extreme-droughts-a-lesson-on-climate-feedbacks/ I recently read that the extreme drought in western North America during 2000-2004 actually resulted in more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. In the article in Nature Geoscience , it explained that such droughts can further enhance global warming. When a drought occurs, the plants wither and die and no longer uptake carbon dioxide (normally living plants serve as a...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change

Storm Coming Across US If you live in the United States, you probably have heard of the snow storm crossing the country right now. There will be mountain snow in the Rockie Mountains, a potential for a blizzard from Nebraska to Wisconsin and then some snow to the Great Lakes states. The National Weather Service (NWS) definition of a blizzard is: "A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer: Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and Considerable falling and/or...


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Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/12/12/the-common-thread-between-science-and-art-creativity/ When you examine a seashell, a crystal, the skin of a snake or the wings of a butterfly, what do you think about?  Art?  Science? Or the obvious connection between the two?  At the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA last week, thousands of scientists, including myself, found ourselves examining the intersection of science and art through a wide variety of...


Posted in: Curriculum: Language Culture and Arts Science and Math

Lane Community College will be embarking on a comprehensive water quality study for Russel Creek Watershed.  It owns property near the headwaters of the creek and it passes through sensitive wetlands that LCC also owns.  We will monitor water quality monthly upstream and downstream from the campus as instruments are acquired.  Russel Creek is an ephemeral stream.  First measurements 12-07-12 at the upstream sampling site near the LCC Learning Garden (our SWS-06 site).  


Posted in: Field Campaigns: Watersheds Investigation Areas: Hydrosphere Learning Activities: Hydrology

The GLOBE surface temperature field campaign started this week with some record warm temperatures in the United States. Students in much of the United States enjoyed short sleeve weather for several days. Schools have started to post observations on the GLOBE website. The GLOBE website has been changed dramatically over the last year. The GLOBE Program Office will be adding all teachers in a bulk transfer from the old database in the near future. Many teachers have also signed up on the GLOBE webpage http://www.globe.gov and the help desk has set them up so they can enter data. The...


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Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/11/28/enso-basics-whats-up-with-the-weather/ In the first post in this series, we looked at what ENSO is. Remember that the atmosphere and oceans are always moving, and in general, those movements follow a specified pattern. When the movement deviates from normal, to either an El Niño or La Niña, weather conditions in different regions of the world will respond. But who feels these effects first? Usually, equatorial countries that border the Pacific Ocean. But even these countries...


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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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Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/11/14/esno-basics-what-is-it/ Through many posts here on the Scientists’ Blog, we, in one way or another, discuss ENSO.  ENSO, or El Niño-Southern Oscillation, is a quasi-periodic climate pattern that occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  When the conditions change, the atmosphere responds in many different ways.  In certain locations, it is cloudier and it rains more, while in others it’s clear and dry.  Through our “ENSO Basics” series, we’ll take a look at ENSO in...


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

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/11/08/non-stationarity-new-vocabulary-for-a-changing-climate/ A few years ago I attended a workshop for early career scientists to discuss frontiers in integrated water-climate-society vulnerability and adaptation science. This interdisciplinary area of science focuses on the need for using scientific information to not only identify communities that are vulnerable to climate change, but to also help create effective approaches for communities to adapt to climate change. Since every...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate Climate Change

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/11/01/full-circle-superior-part-iv-changing-superior-changing-industry/ This week we pick back up on our Full Circle Superior Series.  In 2010 Mike Link and Kate Crowley chose to walk around the largest fresh water lake in the world – Lake Superior which has shoreline in both Canada and the United States. This 1555 mile/145 day walk was the first ever by a couple and the first to attempt to stay on the shoreline. Because Mike and Kate are educators in their sixties they wanted to...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science Climate Climate Change

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/10/24/as-the-last-leaf-falls/ This was my first year doing the Green-Down Protocol with GLOBE. I am trained as an atmospheric scientist, so I have taken many atmospheric measurements over the course of my career. I had not ventured into the world of phenology until I joined GLOBE. More so, I am intrigued by this field of Earth Science, since it is closely connected to climate and can be a very good indicator of a climate change. This year, as part of the GLOBE Phenology and...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: GLOBE Protocols

Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/10/19/supercomputing-and-climate-research-high-resolution-long-time-simulations-to-improve-our-understanding/ Have you ever watched a newscast and the on-air meteorologist mentions “according to our weather models, our best chances for rain will occur between the hours of 6 and 9 pm”? Have you wondered what exactly are those models they’re talking about? A weather model is a series of equations that take a look at an initial state of the atmosphere (such as the temperature,...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Climate General Science

Blog originally posted on The GLOBE Scientists' Blog:  http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/10/05/xpedition-review-reflections-back-and-looking-ahead/ To say that the journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro was a success would not do justice to the wonderful personal and scientific experiences the team had.  From taking the first steps toward the summit on Sunday 23 September to summiting the following week and boarding flights to return home, each team member gained something that will stay with them forever. Collecting data in the rainforest ...


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/2012/10/04/xpedition-day-ten-mweka-camp-to-park-gate/ Monday, 1 October was the final day of The Xpedition. After an exciting summit day, the team continues on their descent and is picked up to head back to Arusha, where they will enjoy a well-deserved meal. Unloading the equipment after a successful trip  Throughout the entire journey, the team relied on the use of porters, who are local Tanzanians who carry equipment up the mountain. These porters are essential to a...


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/2012/10/03/xpedition-day-nine-special-crater-camp-to-summit-to-mweka-camp/ On Sunday, 30 September, the team made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The summit sits at 5,895 m (19,340 ft) above sea level. What a fantastic accomplishment for the team!   Team at the summit Hiking on a glacier near the summit After the team spendt time celebrating their success, they began their descent, stopping at 3,200 m (10,498 ft) at Mweka Camp. To celebrate the...


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/2012/10/01/xpedition-day-eight-kosovo-camp-to-special-crater-camp/ As you may have noticed, the Scientist Blog was quiet for the past two days.  As is to be expected, things can change rapidly on the mountain and the ability for the team to send us their daily blogs was interrupted.  The team safely continued on their journey, and have sent us their blogs. Day Eight was Saturday, 29 September.  The team journeyed from 4,877 m (16,000 ft) to 5,608 m (18,399 ft).  This...


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/2012/09/28/xpedition-day-seven-karanga-camp-to-kossovo-camp/ Today the team continues on their journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro by traveling from the Karanga Camp, situated at 3,962 m (12,998 ft), to the Kossovo Camp at 4,877 m (16,000 ft). This leg of the journey takes the team back to the alpine desert biome. Part of the team stops for a photo While this biome is found on Mt. Kilimanjaro, it is also found in many other mountain ranges, including but not limited to...


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/2012/09/27/xpedition-day-six-lava-tower-to-karanga-camp/ A morning at camp  The team is now over halfway done with their trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  The journey began on Sunday 23 September as the team left Basecamp and hiked to Forest Camp.  You can read all about their journey starting here . A view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the trail  Today’s part of the trek up Kilimanjaro takes the team back down in elevation,...


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/2012/09/26/xpedition-day-five-moir-hut-to-lava-tower/ Today marks another transition between biomes – from heath zone to alpine desert.  An alpine desert is a harsh, dry, windy region that consists of mostly bare rock and ice.  Temperatures during the day can soar to 38°C, while at night can be below freezing.  The air is very thin, which results in labored breathing as well as more intense solar radiation.  The Lava Tower camp sits at approximately 5,029 m (16,499 ft). ...


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/2012/09/25/xpedition-day-four-shira-1-camp-to-moir-hut/ Today the team will hike from Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut (Shira 2 Camp on the map below).  This part of the journey will take the team further into the heath zone.  As discussed yesterday , the heath zone is a zone of sparse vegetation due to lower rainfall amounts.   The route the team is taking: the western approach route The team stops for a discussion about soils Today’s question focuses on...


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/2012/09/24/xpedition-day-three-forest-camp-to-shira-1-camp/ Today the team heads from 2,438 m to 3,505 m above sea level.  This portion of the journey will take the team from rain forest to heath zone.  A rain forest is characterized by high rainfall, with annual totals ranging from 1750-2000 mm (68-78 in).  A heath zone is above the forest line, where porous soils and lower rainfall result in sparser vegetation. Leaving the rain forest heading to the heath zone ...


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/2012/09/23/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...


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...


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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 ...


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

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...


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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...


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

  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...


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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...


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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: Climate Climate Change General Science

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...


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: Climate General Science

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: Climate General Science

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

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 Climate Change 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: Climate General Science

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: GLOBE Protocols Earth System Science 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...


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...


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...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science Climate Climate Change 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 Climate Change 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...


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,...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: Backyard Science General 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...


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

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...


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 Climate Change 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: Climate Climate Change General Science 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...


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

This week we’ll continue our look at the climate summaries for each GLOBE region, with a focus on the Europe-Eurasia region.  Recall 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 Europe-Eurasia Region state of the climate is available from this website: ...


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

This week we’ll continue our look at the climate summaries for each GLOBE region, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.  Recall 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 Asia-Pacific Region state of the climate is available from this website: ...


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

In a recent blog post , we shared with you the NOAA State of the Climate report for 2010. These annual reports provide a summary of the global climatic conditions and are a great benchmark for monitoring climate. Along with the global summary, the report summarizes regions. The regions very closely overlap with the GLOBE Regions! We will go through the report and provide a summary for each GLOBE Region. A review of the Regional summaries is a great way for you to see how the climate of your region compared with the regions of other GLOBE Schools. We will start off with Africa. All...


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

Late last week, Pacific Ocean visitors near San Diego, California, USA were able to see an amazing sight that doesn’t happen very often… glowing waves! So what exactly is the process that causes the glowing waves? Algae!  This particular type of algae, Lingulodinium polyedrum , began blooming in late August.  During the day, the waters off the coast of California turn a brownish-red color, according to The University of California – San Diego scientists.  Take a look at what this microorganism looks like under a microscope: Image from The Smithsonian  ...


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