GLOBE Activity: Exploring Connections
Students review a variety of images of the whole Earth in order to identify the major components of the Earth system at the global scale. The maps show solar energy, average temperature, cloud cover, precipitation, soil moisture, and vegetation, and the images are of the Earth from space. As a class, they discuss some ways that the components of the Earth system interact to form the whole Earth system. Next, students examine "A Year in the Life of the Earth System" to better understand the Earth as a system and how its components interact with each other. To do this, they consider change over time on short times scales, and seasonal and annual time scales. Changes on short times scales are related to the fact that the solar energy that drives the Earth system passes through an atmosphere that varies across space and time before reaching a spinning sphere. Across longer seasonal and annual time scales, these changes are more specifically related to the differential heating that results from the tilt of Earth.
Materials and Resources:
Earth System Poster - individual images (below):
|Insolation||Surface Temperature||Cloud Fraction||Precipitation||Aerosols||Biosphere|
|January, March||January, March||January, March||January, March||January, March||January, March|
|May, July||May, July||May, July||May, July||May, July||May, July|
|Sept, Nov||Sept, Nov||Sept, Nov||Sept, Nov||Sept, Nov||Sept, Nov|
Presenter: Kathy Ellins, PhD
Program Manager, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Background: Dr. Ellins' early training was in isotope hydrology and oceanography. She currently specializes in geoscience education. She received her Ph.D from Columbia University and her B.A. in Geology and Fine Art from Skidmore College in New York. Dr. Ellins was born in Jamaica and graduated from the Convent of the Immaculate Conception High School in Kingston.