Student Climate Change Research: Challenges and Opportunities. David R. Brooks, PhD President, Institute for Earth Science Research and Education email@example.com www.pages.drexel.edu/~brooksdr Thailand workshops, January, 2009. Introduction.
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Student Climate Change Research: Challenges and Opportunities
David R. Brooks, PhD
President, Institute for Earth Science Research and Education
● average meteorological conditions in a
particular place (30-year averages)
● global conditions (over 1000s of years and
(Describing a regional climate):
Thailand has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high relative humidity. It is dominated by the monsoon cycle. April and May are the hottest months. June brings the start of the monsoon season, a rainy period that lasts through October. Temperatures are somewhat cooler in November through February, with lower humidity and northeast breezes. The north and northeast are generally cooler than Bangkok between November and February, and hotter in summer. Temperatures in Thailand never fall below freezing (0°C).
(from Thailand Meteorological Office)
Temperature inferred from O18/O16 ratios. CO2 measured in trapped air bubbles.
CO2 and temperature are positively correlated, but which is the cause and which is the effect?
Most climate scientists believe that increasing levels of CO2 are now causing global temperatures to rise (the greenhouse effect).
(Data from Russian Vostok Station ice cores, east Antarctica,
a joint Russian, U.S., and French project.)
(Data from ice and sediment cores around the globe.)
(Since start of Industrial Revolution.)
Can students contribute to
climate change research?
Yes, but it is not easy!
Should students contribute to
climate change research?
Yes, because hands-on research is an essential part of the science process.
But, does research need to be an essential part of the science education process?
Countries, schools, teachers, and students must decide for themselves.
In this presentation, we will consider:
Weather and climate are controlled by the sun’s interaction
with Earth’s surface and atmosphere. This is a basic topic
for Earth science education. There are many measurements
students can make to improve understanding of these
So = E/(4π R2) = 1370 W/m2
Smax = So/(1 - e)2 = So/(0.983)2 = 1417 W/m2 in January
Smin = So/(1 + e)2 = So/(1.017)2 = 1324 W/m2 in July
Sunspots viewed through haze
from forest fires in southern
California, late 2003 (NASA)
Table 2.2. Composition of pure dry
air near Earth’s surface.
Table 2.3. Trace gases in the atmosphere.
incident energy = (πr2)So
absorbed energy = (πr2)So(1 – A)
emitted energy = (4πr2)σT4
Emitted energy must equal absorbed energy, on average:
(πr2)So(1 – A) = (4πr2)σT4
So(1 – A) = 4σT4
Solve for T, using A=0.3 (average global albedo):
T = [So(1 – A)/(4σ)](1/4) = [1370•(1 – 0.3)/(4•5.67×10-8)](1/4)
= 255 K = -18°C
So(1 - A) = 4σT4(1 – x)
where x is a “greenhouse parameter.” For Earth, a value of about 0.4 produces an equilibrium temperature of about 16°C.
● clouds (type and coverage)
● visibility (haziness)
● solar aureole (with a camera only!)
● water vapor
Do NOT look through
an optical viewfinder!!
Direct sun photos may
damage a digital
A530, F5.6 @ 1/1600 s.
Use the same F-stop
and shutter speed
for every photo.
ImageJ software, available as a free download
80 x 61 x 59 cm
50 x 28 x 20 cm
1-minute values of insolation…
integrated over 24 hours.
1-hr means and
standard deviations of
Smoke in the atmosphere reduces
UV radiation reaching Earth’s surface.
This can disrupt ecosystems and may
be associated with bird flu.* UV-A
radiation can be monitored with a
relatively inexpensive (~$150) radiometer.
It uses a blue LED that responds to
radiation with a strong peak around
*Mims, Forrest M. III.
Avian Influenza and UV-B Blocked by Biomass Smoke.
Environmental Health Perspectives, 113, 12, 806-807, December 2005.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss student/teacher roles in understanding and measuring climate change.I hope there are many questions!