EarthLabs > Earth System Science > Lab 3: Discovering Local Data

Lab 3: Discovering Local Data

This lab was adapted from the Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter Using GLOBE Data to Study the Earth System


You probably pay attention to local weather reports, so you'll know if it's going to be a rainy day, or if it's going to snow or become very humid. If you spend enough time living in one place, you'll get to know what the seasons are like in a general way, what to expect, and what the common patterns are. For example, depending where you live, winter may mean frozen lakes, or a rainy season, or just no need for air conditioning.

In Lab 2, you made diagrams to illustrate interconnections among the four major components of the Earth system: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere, and biosphere. In this lab, you will explore interconnections in another way: by making graphs. You will continue learning about the Earth system by studying weather and other environmental data that has already been collected by students from the Reynolds Jr. Sr. High School in Greenville, Pennsylvania, and posted on the Internet for GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment).

The GLOBE Program is a hands-on, environmental science program. Students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the world participate by collecting local environmental data such as air temperature, cloud cover, or soil moisture content and posting that data on the GLOBE Web site. Reynolds students started collecting environmental data from the vicinity of their school and posting it on the GLOBE Program Web site in 1995. Since then they have posted more than 43,000 measurements on the site. Both scientists and students are now using the Reynolds data, as well as GLOBE data collected by students from all around the world, to learn more about Earth's natural system.

In this lab, you will learn how to find the data that Reynolds students have posted on the GLOBE Web site, and how to display that data using the GLOBE Graphing Tool. The graphs will help you to discover some basic environmental patterns, ones you may not have noticed or thought much about. These patterns will help you better understand some things about Earth's natural system and the way in which the parts of the system interact. Once you have learned something about the GLOBE Web site and Earth's natural system, you will have some new opportunities available to you:

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions. Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.

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