GLOBE

A favorable forecast for Kenyan students

November 30, 2016 | As scientists expand a program to provide critically needed weather observations in developing countries, they are forging a partnership with local schoolchildren and their teachers.The students and teachers are helping to oversee and maintain innovative weather stations, built largely with 3D-printed parts, at four schools in Kenya. By transmitting information about temperature, rainfall, and other weather parameters, the stations can help alert communities to floods and other potential disasters, as well as provide improved weather forecasts to local farmers, who are deciding when to plant and fertilize crops.NCAR scientist Paul Kucera describes the various components of the 3D-PAWS at the Sirua Aulo Maasai High School. (©UCAR. Photo by Kristin Wegner. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The weather stations, known as 3D-PAWS (for 3D-Printed Automated Weather Stations), are built with components that can be easily replaced if they wear out in the field. They were designed by weather experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its managing entity, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)."In my 30 years of doing fieldwork, this is one of the best deployments I've ever had," said NCAR scientist Paul Kucera. "At every school, we were joined by hundreds of students and dozens of teachers who wanted to learn more about the weather stations and the value of these forecasts."The weather stations were installed as a partnership with the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, an international science and education initiative that encompasses tens of thousands of schools. This approach means that 3D-PAWS serves the dual purpose of educating students and improving forecasts."This is a great partnership to now extend our weather stations to schools," said Kristin Wegner, a project manager with the GLOBE Implementation Office, based at UCAR. "There is so much enthusiasm among the teachers and students because it's such a great learning tool as well as helping their communities."Students will learn about local weather and climate by comparing their weather observations to those taken at other schools using science protocols established by GLOBE. They can also assess the impacts of climate change on society and the environment, as well as see how the observations help with farming, flood prediction, and other applications.The installments took place during GLOBE's biannual Lake Victoria Learning Expedition, in which students and scientists from around the world explore the environment around the lake and discuss potential research collaborations. The expedition was coordinated by GLOBE Africa Regional Coordinator Mark Brettenny and  GLOBE Kenya Assistant Country Coordinator Charles Mwangi. Schools also received equipment donated from Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists.Needed: more stationsLike many developing countries, Kenya does not have detailed forecasts, partly because weather stations are scarce. The density of stations in Africa is eight times lower than recommended by the World Meteorological Organization. Building out a network can be prohibitively expensive, with a single commercial weather station often costing $10,000 to $20,000, plus ongoing funding for maintenance and replacing worn-out parts.To fill this need, UCAR and NCAR scientists have worked for years to come up with a weather station that is inexpensive and easy to fix and can be adapted to the needs of the host country. The resulting 3D-PAWS are constructed out of plastic parts that are custom designed and can be run off a 3D printer, along with off-the-shelf sensors and a basic, credit card-sized computer developed for schoolchildren.The total cost is about $300 per station. As the stations age, the host country can easily have replacement parts printed.Funding for the project comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the U.S. National Weather Service.Scientists installed the 3D-PAWS in Zambia earlier this year. Kenya is the second country to receive them."We're looking forward to installing more stations," Wegner said. "Additional schools are already asking about them."FundersU.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance U.S. National Weather Service.PartnerGlobal Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE)Writer/contact:David Hosansky, Manager of Media Relations

GLOBE Program Marks 20 Years of Global Earth Science Education

BOULDER—NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) join with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) on Earth Day today to celebrate 20 years of international cooperation and collaboration to engage students, scientists, and teachers in 114 countries in the scientific exploration of Earth’s environments and climate. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) science and education program, created on Earth Day in 1995, connects students, teachers, and professional and citizen scientists with opportunities to participate in science data collection by conducting real, hands-on science in their local communities. GLOBE students test water salinity at a tide pool off the Cape of Good Hope, at the 2008 GLOBE Learning Expedition in South Africa. (Photo by Janet Heiderer, UCAR.) “NASA has been one of the proud sponsors of GLOBE since its inception, and we’re pleased to be a part of a program that helps inspire future leaders and adds to knowledge of our planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “GLOBE provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the global environment and climate. The program not only engages students in learning about their local environment, it also empowers them to play an active role in adding to global data about our home planet.” "GLOBE's database contains more than 100 million environmental measurements collected by students around the world," said Tony Murphy, director of the NASA-sponsored GLOBE Implementation Office at UCAR. "The data collected by GLOBE students are used in students’ own scientific investigations and may also be used by the larger GLOBE community and scientists in research." This week, schools around the world are observing the program’s 20th anniversary and Earth Day with special science activities, including a data entry challenge to collect extensive Earth science data via a new mobile app. "The National Science Foundation knows the importance of training more students in the STEM fields," said France Córdova, director of the NSF in Arlington, Virginia. "We are excited and delighted at how GLOBE stimulates curiosity, sparks interest in STEM careers, and above all, inspires in so very many students a love of science that will last a lifetime." GLOBE program activities, developed by the scientific community and validated by teachers, focus on Earth science topics with research-quality methods. The interdisciplinary activities support current learning standards and yield data that are used by working scientists. Getting students involved in the project-based investigations encourages them to make connections between their local environment and the entire Earth system, providing a global perspective. Supported by the U.S. Department of State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, GLOBE also provides a platform for conducting NSF-sponsored STEM education research on new models for professional development of STEM educators and career technical education. Many GLOBE partners are sponsoring local activities to mark the anniversary. Students in Colorado are collecting soil, vegetation, water chemistry and stream flow data from Rocky Mountain National Park. West Virginia students are joining NASA’s Earth Day celebration at Washington’s Union Station on April 21-22 to present their hydrology research results from Four Pole Creek in Huntington, West Virginia. Participants in Thailand will conduct a workshop on using GLOBE research to understand and decrease mosquito populations. Learn more about GLOBE as NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr., National Science Foundation Director France Córdova, and GLOBE Implementation Office Director Tony Murphy of UCAR take you on a guided tour. Born on Earth Day 1995, the GLOBE Program suppports a worldwide community of students, teachers, and scientists collaborating to learn about our planet. (©UCAR. Produced by the GLOBE Implementation Office.)   Data on soil moisture and temperature being collected by GLOBE participants are contributing to the validation of the new space-based measurements from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. The GLOBE program soon will expand its reach with the launch of new tools such as apps for observing clouds, land cover, water color, and surface albedo to engage life-long learners worldwide in environmental and climate science. NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.  

Webinar 2: How to use GLOBE Earth system science data in your research and teaching (GISN Panel Presentation)

Thursday, February 26, 11am MTN/1pm ET/6pm UTC

  • How to use GLOBE data and visualization system in their research
  • How to use GLOBE data and visualization system as a teaching tool for undergraduate science classes

Panelists:

New direction for GLOBE

September 25, 2012 | A nationally recognized innovator in teacher training and science education has been chosen as the new director of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, which is headquartered at UCAR. Anthony "Tony" Murphy Anthony “Tony” Murphy moved to UCAR on September 24 from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he served as executive director of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education. (The STEM acronym denotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.) Murphy’s expertise meshes well with the goals of GLOBE, which connects students, teachers, and scientists from around the world through hands-on learning to better understand, sustain, and improve Earth’s environment at local, regional, and global scales. More than 1.5 million students and 59,000 trained teachers from more than 25,000 schools in 112 countries have participated in GLOBE since the program began in 1995. “Tony Murphy represents a significant move forward,” says UCAR president Tom Bogdan. “He brings a powerful blend of experience and leadership in the fields of science, technology, and environmental education to GLOBE. His leadership will further ensure the continued success of the program, and we look forward to strengthening the ties between scientists and GLOBE students and teachers around the world.” Murphy succeeds Hanne Mauriello, who served as acting director following the death of Andy Tasker earlier this year. “As a longtime GLOBE partner, Tony is keenly aware of the value of GLOBE,” Mauriello says. “I have great confidence that he will provide GLOBE with distinguished leadership.” While at St. Catherine University, Murphy developed a model for pre-service teacher training that structures science teaching with age-appropriate investigations of atmosphere, hydrology, and soils that employ GLOBE protocols. In addition, Murphy played an integral role in developing the university’s STEM center into the nation’s only elementary education department that requires STEM certification of all graduates. A student takes soil temperature using GLOBE protocols at the GLOBE Annual Partner Meeting, held this July in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo courtesy the GLOBE Program.) Roots that run deep Murphy has been associated with GLOBE since the program’s inception, including through his role as a Knauss Policy Fellow with NOAA. “For more than 15 years, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to witness the tremendous growth of the GLOBE Program and its impact on both the education and science communities,” says Murphy. Funded primarily by NASA with support from NOAA and NSF,GLOBE is an innovative way for teachers to get students of all ages excited about scientific discovery, locally and globally. To date, more than 23 million measurements have been contributed to the GLOBE database, creating meaningful, standardized, global research-quality data sets that can be used in support of student and professional scientific research. GLOBE science investigations are divided into five themes: atmosphere, Earth as a system, hydrology, land cover/biology, and soil. The program incorporates extensive hands-on teacher training, an interactive website, social tools, and international partner support. GLOBE is also now in the midst of a two-year Student Climate Research Campaign. “I am honored to advance the important work of GLOBE and collaborate with its impressive network of international partners,” says Murphy. “Together we can expand the reach of the program and unite even more teachers, students, and scientists from around the world with common studies of Earth system science.”

Remembering Andy Tasker

On January 16, the UCAR community was saddened to hear that Andy Tasker, director of the GLOBE Program, passed away after a brief illness.

“We will always remember Andy for his humor, his joie de vivre and for his immense courage,” wrote the GLOBE staff in a letter to Andy’s family. “While only with us at GLOBE for a brief stay, he made an unforgettable impression and has left behind a remarkable legacy.”

The GLOBE Program—and why it needs your help

When I started work at UCAR in early June as the new director of the GLOBE Program, I knew that it would be a busy and exciting time. GLOBE was launched back in 1995, by then–Vice President Al Gore, to engage students around the world in scientifically recording their local environments and then sharing data over the Internet, to create visualizations of the planet measured by its children. It was a cool concept back in 1995, and it still resonates strongly today.

GLOBE celebrates 15th anniversary: Program aims to connect with 21st century students

I hate to admit this, but when I first learned of the GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment), I was not certain exactly what it was. As I encounter many of you throughout NCAR and UCAR, I hear a similar refrain: “I’ve heard of GLOBE but I’m not sure I understand what it is.” During the past year, I have come to learn much about the GLOBE Program and have discovered that it is a secret gem.

Ben Franklin drops in on GLOBE

The historical Ben Franklin, shown here with GLOBE’s Gary Randolph, made a surprise visit to the program’s booth at this year’s National Science Teachers Association conference, held in Philadelphia on March 17–20. Ben discussed his experiences with collecting sea surface temperature data and encouraged teachers to involve their students in hands-on science. GLOBE staff visited with thousands of educators during the conference and hosted a reception. For more, see GLOBE at NSTA 2010.

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