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The Case for Earth System Science Roberta Johnson Director, UCAR Education and Outreach.

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Presentation on theme: "The Case for Earth System Science Roberta Johnson Director, UCAR Education and Outreach."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Case for Earth System Science Roberta Johnson Director, UCAR Education and Outreach

2 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Boulder, Colorado Founded ~50 years ago Scientific research organization chartered by the US National Science Foundation to engage in state of the art atmospheric and related sciences research, in support of the university community and with a mission in research, education and service National center for research on Earth’s climate and weather prediction “I have a very strong feeling that science exists to serve human welfare. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity given us by society to do basic research, but in return, we have a very important moral responsibility to apply that research to benefiting humanity.” Walter Orr Roberts

3 A little about me… Scientist in High Altitude Observatory and Director of Education and Outreach program Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association BS, MS, and PhD in Earth and Space Science with a specialization in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA Research in isotope geochemistry, solar terrestrial relations, and upper atmospheric physics Added education and outreach activities to my efforts beginning in 1993 With staff of ~25 education specialists, work to develop and offer educational resources and programs at NCAR/UCAR –Science literacy/public programs –Professional development for educators –Educational resource development

4 “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” John Muir “My First Summer in the Sierra” 1911

5 What is “Geoscience”? The study of: –The solid Earth –The atmosphere –The ocean –Space and other planets Interactions among parts of the Earth system

6 How do these “spheres” interact? Through numerous physical, chemical, and biological processes… –Heat transfer, phase changes, thermal radiation, particle fluxes, diffusion,… –Transport, circulation, currents,… –Chemical reactions –Photosynthesis, respiration,… which operate in interacting cycles to form the Earth system –Water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, rock cycle,… Operates on many different temporal and spatial scales

7 What is Earth System Science? The study of the processes and interactions (cycles) among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and geosphere from a global to local point-of-view, and across the time scales (minutes to eons) in which these spheres interact. It requires the use of physical and chemical laws with mathematics to describe the physical, chemical and biological processes within each sphere and the interactions between the spheres.









16 An example of a deeply coupled system Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration leads to –Uptake of CO2 by the ocean through gas exchange, leading to Storage of atmospheric CO2, but Ocean acidification, harming marine organisms and associated food webs


18 In order to really understand Earth system science You need a background in physical science, chemistry, and biology You need to understand the structure of the components of the Earth system Therefore, Earth system science is the perfect capstone course at the high school level


20 An opportunity for leadership! Boulder/Denver has the largest population of PhD geoscientists in the world Geo-central in the US (NCAR, NREL, NOAA, USGS, GSA, LASP, CU, NSIDC,…) – we even have a science shopping mall! Boulder is probably the best place in the country to develop and implement the country’s best Earth system science capstone course! NSF/NASA/NOAA support for geoscience education efforts have led to development of many educational resources which BVSD could use in such a course.

21 Formal Education K-12 Students –Mesa Lab Classroom Tours K-12 Teachers –Climate and Global Change Workshop –Modeling in the Geosciences Workshop –Curriculum Development –Distance Learning –GLOBE Undergraduate –SOARS –Unidata –COMET –Undergraduate Leadership Workshop –Internships Graduate/Postgraduate Study –ASP, VSP, Graduate Fellowships, COMET, SOARS, Early Career Faculty Digital Libraries –DLESE, NSDL Informal Science Education Events –Super Science Saturday, Public Lectures, Conferences Tours ~ 15,000 people/yr –Customized Visits, Guided and Self- guided (Audio Tour) Exhibits ~ 90,000 visits/yr –Mesa Lab Lobby, Teacher’s Guide Web-Based Resources –Windows to the Universe –Web Weather for Kids –NCAR EO web site –Divisional EO web sites –Roberts’ Forum –Skymath, LEARN Outreach Resources –Scientist Outreach, Science Now UCAR Education and Outreach Programs

22 K-12 Professional Development NCAR Online Education Climate Discovery Courses –Introduction to Earth’s Climate –Earth System Science – A Climate Change Perspective –Understanding Climate Change Today Network of teachers developing Professional Development Workshops –At NSTA and other PD venues nationally and internationally, as well as in-house workshops at NCAR –Associated with UCAR EO programs –~3000 teachers per year GLOBE: Creating the next generation of environmental leaders and scientists by teaching children in 107 countries how to take environmental measurements, report them via the Internet, and address challenging environmental problems NSDL – Webinars National Earth Science Teachers Association

23 Educational Technology Solutions Building digital libraries with significant potential for broad education reform Unidata - providing data, tools, and community leadership for enhanced Earth-system education and research

24 Windows to the Universe Reach ~2500 teachers/yr through pd workshops at national and international venues Over 9000 interlinked web pages at three levels in English and Spanish ~20 million visits per year (~62 million page views) Free monthly newsletter reaches ~11,100 educators from 157 countries around the world (bilingual) Over 100 classroom activities for teachers, including 48 on weather and climate ~20K sessions* per week to Teacher Resources section 143,542 page views to pages with “climate” in title over the past month, 2,155,544 for “earth” Leaders in Earth and space science professional development for teachers * User session = period of continuous use from unique ip with no gap in activity longer than 2 hrs



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