From Greenland to our coasts: Learning about the Earth system with GIS and authentic data

Poster Session Part of Friday Poster Session


Alyse Thurber, University of Colorado at Boulder
Twila Moon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Lianna Nixon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Emily Geraghty Ward, University of Colorado at Boulder
An understanding of Arctic regions, which are warming faster than the rest of the world, is crucial for understanding the global climate system. Greenland is of particular global importance due to its large ice sheet, but the scale can be difficult to grasp. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help students visualize and engage with Greenland data in a concrete way. QGreenland is a free data environment that provides Greenland-focused data for use with the open-source QGIS software. Two new projects from the QGreenland team are designed to make it easy for beginners to learn GIS by conducting analysis using real data.
The QGreenland Beginner Tutorials is a series of 7 videos designed to familiarize users with both GIS and the QGreenland data package. This 1-hour series was adapted from the popular live beginner workshops designed for those who have little or no prior experience working with GIS. The tutorials have allowed several educators who are new to GIS to then successfully use QGreenland in their classrooms to analyze data and create publication-quality maps.
New Sea-Level Rise Curriculum brings GIS and QGreenland into the advanced high school and undergraduate classroom to investigate the importance of the Greenland Ice Sheet on a global scale. Students first explore the driving question 'How is the Greenland Ice Sheet changing?' Then, students utilize the beginner tutorial series to develop GIS skills that will enable them to analyze recent glacial retreats, and calculate the amount of global sea-level rise that can be attributed to melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet both in recent decades and in the near future. Finally, the curriculum addresses misconceptions about regional and global sea level rise. We are currently looking for curriculum testers who are interested to bring GIS into their classrooms and engage students in genuine analysis.