Archive for the ‘Climate & Weather’ Category

Coming to Consensus on Classifying Cyclones

By November 8th, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Comment

Cyclone. Image Credit: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone#/media/File:Cyclone_Catarina_from_the_ISS_on_March_26_2004.JPG

Cyclone. Image Credit: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone#/media/File:Cyclone_Catarina_from_the_ISS_on_March_26_2004.JPG

For years,  weather-monitoring agencies around the globe have collected data to help determine whether and how tropical cyclones — called hurricanes in the US — change over time.

But another thing that changes over time is the technology used to record storm data. This, combined with changes in record keeping standards has created an inconsistent dataset that is difficult to analyze collectively. Climatologists are left with two options: limit their research to a subset of the data and risk of a less representative analysis, or reorganize the data into a consistent format, a time- consuming task.

Cyclone Center, a collaboration between academic, non-profit and government organizations, is enlisting citizen scientists to attempt the latter. Through its website, volunteers are helping Although image classification is a common task in crowdsourced projects across multiple science fields, Cyclone Center is the first project to tackle such a massive meteorological dataset.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Poetry of Science at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

By October 26th, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Comment

Carl Sandburg Home National Historical Site stretches over 246 rolling acres in Flat Rock, N.C. The writer and poet Sandburg moved to the property in 1945 for the solitude the natural landscape provides. Today, it is a place where nature, science, and creativity intertwine.

By measuring tree canopy cover, visitors to the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site citizen science trail contribute to research showing how differences in sunlight affect the ecosystem. Photo Credit: Russ Campbell

By measuring tree canopy cover, visitors to the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site citizen science trail contribute to research showing how differences in sunlight affect the ecosystem. Photo Credit: Russ Campbell

Five miles of trails meander throughout the site – some leisurely strolls on walking paths, others intense climbs that summit onto a bucolic overlooks. One trail in particular offers a new and innovative experience that marries the beauty of the setting with the investigative opportunity that inherently exists in nature. The first Kids in Parks Citizen Science TRACK Trail, a program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, was designed to create and interactive trail experience for children and the adults with them to stop, observe, and reflect on their surroundings.

A canopy of hemlock, maple, and pine shade the mile-long loop that encircles a lake. The citizen science trail guides participants through a series of interactive stations where visitors can measure the age of a tree by counting the rings, test the quality of the water, and observe the weather by reading a thermometer and making observations. Another station provides a bench for visitors to look out across the lake and simply record whatever nature they see. There’s also a place to record your own poem–a nod to Sandburg and the recognition of this site as a tribute to American literature and a reminder of the inexorable link between nature, science, and art.

The view from Little Glassy Mountain, part of the citizen science trail at Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Credit: Russ Campbell

The view from Little Glassy Mountain, part of the citizen science trail at Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Photo Credit: Russ Campbell

Administrators at Kids in Parks collect the data, explains director Jason Urroz. “It’s a great way to get kids to collect data and be involved in the science learning process,” he says.

As Carl Sandburg wrote, “Nothing happens unless first we dream.” Park staff themselves had a dream to create a new citizen science trail that would engage visitors in all aspects of what the park has to offer. Supported by the National Park Foundation, they turned this dream into an opportunity to discover the rich and unique environment of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.

 


Russ Campbell heads communication at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a private biomedical foundation located in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He is a volunteer with the Turtle Rescue Team, based out of the North Carolina State University Veterinary School. He is the cofounder of the Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC).

Whenever, wherever, you and citizen science are meant to be together

By October 13th, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Comment

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If you can see this, you can advance scientific research right now!
Below, our editors highlight five, digital citizen science projects you can do online now!  Find more with the Scistarter Project Finder.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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Climate Change Uncovers Our Past

By September 16th, 2016 at 9:50 am | Comment

When we think about climate change, we usually picture extreme temperatures, mega-storms, and rising seas disrupting our collective future.

But climate change is also erasing our past.

At our poles, melting ice is exposing and washing out new archeological discoveries. In the world’s arid regions, severe sandstorms are unearthing and eroding buried treasures. And on our coasts, rainstorms are revealing ancient reserves and wiping them out, often before scientists can study them. Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Science takes a bite out of Natural Disasters

By August 2nd, 2016 at 9:19 am | Comment

Photo:USFWS
Collectively, your small acts lead to big results.
Natural disasters, like earthquakes, tornados, and landslides, are frightening and deadly. There are small, but important, steps citizen scientists can take to help predict and respond to these occurrences.Our editors have selected five exemplary projects, below. Be sure to read the safety warnings when applicable.

Find even more projects with the SciStarter Global Project Finder.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »