I've been learning more and more about Arctic sea ice buoys and thought you too may be interested in learning alongside me. On our upcoming expedition in early April we will be deploying drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean that will be monitored through the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP). I've been exploring current buoy data to better understand where the buoys are located using the Observing System Monitoring Center (OSMC), an international data center as well as the IABP Daily Map. I'm not an expert yet by any means, but it has been super interesting digging into the data; especially because these data tools share the data spatially, on maps, and with .kml and .kmz files you can open on Google Earth and interact with.
So far, what I'm learning is that the data parameters are fairly simple and straightforward: air temperature, water temperature, air pressure, position and time of day. Yet it is the deployment to such remote locations that is rather complex. And I can imagine the process of sending the data points every 5 minutes through satellites to the international weather forecasting centers must be a bit complex.
While traveling to the Arctic with my expedition team April 1-11 and then again in the summer, I will be collecting land cover, tree, and cloud data for NASA's Globe Observer program. This is in addition to the International Arctic Buoy Program buoy deployment project. I would like to invite you to also collect land cover, tree, and cloud data.
NASA uses numerous satellites to constantly collect data on land cover, biomass (carbon), hydrological cycle, and more. They need people like you and me on the ground to verify their data by taking photos using a simple protocol through an app we can download to our smart phones. Our photos help scientists better understand what is really happening on the ground that the satellites may not be able to sense.
So, if you're up for it, please join me and many others around the world collecting Globe Observer data for NASA. Here's how.
A lead scientist for NASA's GLOBE Observer program reached out to me a few weeks ago to ask that I collect data from the Arctic when I go as they have so little data from the regions of Alaska where I'm going. When he found out we are also planning on teaching students in Whittier and Utqiagvik, we quickly made plans for me to create an hour long class for the students to learn how they can provide important data from their unique perspectives to help everyone better understand Earth's changing landscapes. I'm looking forward to be able to facilitate a learning opportunity that celebrates their long standing understanding and perspective of their home land and sea ice.
I do need to practice teaching this class; so please join me at a mini-workshop (details below). Also, I am in search of duplo bricks (large legos) to teach with and am guessing that some of you may have some old ones sitting around that no one plays with anymore. If so, please send them my way.
Looking for equipment to borrow; used gear is great as long as it works well:
I need everything by March 6, 2020 so I have adequate time to learn how to use it well before traveling. Contact me to let me know what you may be able to share.
Then plan to mail (or drop off) any items to Sarah Johnson, Wild Rose Education, 520 S. Third Street, Suite 16, Carbondale, CO 81623
Or, if you would like to send funding to help purchase this equipment, please do so with a check or through Venmo (@sarahrosejohnson)
Also, thought you may be interested in all else that I'm up to with Wild Rose Education. Read the latest news (sent 2/16/2020) here.
I love maps! And I love teaching others to use maps. Check out this Google Earth Project to see just where we're headed in early April. It'll work best on a desktop computer (not your smartphone) I've also put the proposed summer trip locations in the project as well. Have fun with this!
In addition to posting to this blog about my Arctic expedition experiences, I'm also posting to all of these social media channels. Please click on the black and white platform icons below (bottom of email) that you use and be sure to 'like' or 'follow' my pages. You'll find more short updates, photos, quips, and maybe even a map or two.
Hashtags to follow:
February 12, 2020
For Immediate Release
Colorado Educator Embarks on Polar Research Experience
Educator research experiences improve and enliven science education by connecting educators, researchers, students, and the public around the globe.
Going Polar! Sarah Johnson, civic watershed education specialist and founder of Wild Rose Education in Carbondale, Colorado is always looking to explore new landscapes and learn from cutting edge scientists. She will be doing just this by joining the Utqiaġvik Buoy Exercise 2020 led by the University of Washington and the United States Office of Naval Research in the furthest north town in the United States, Utqiaġvik, Alaska for 10 days. The expedition team will be deploying arctic buoys in coordination with the International Arctic Buoy Programme, that maintains a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean providing meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme.
Beginning in early April, Sarah will participate as a research team member (research assistant and public relations officer) during an authentic scientific expedition in the Arctic, joining other educators who will be working in research locations from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, as part of a program that allows educators to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct scientific research in some of the most remote locations on earth.
A significant part of the Utqiaġvik Buoy Exercise 2020 is a STEM education experience for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps that includes STEM training while building buoys for the International Arctic Buoy Program. They are engaging in three training Saturdays before the April expedition. Then they will send two representatives from their group to join the Arctic expedition to deploy the buoys they build. Read one of the Cadet's reflections from the training day here.
So, their first training class was this past Saturday and I was fortunate to be able to 'zoom in' via video conferencing and be the fly on the wall during their entire class (8am-noon EST). Below are some screen shots from the training that helped me understand what the buoys look like and the instrumentation inside. These instruments measure surface temperature, atmospheric temperature, and barometric pressure as well as date and position.
It was also great to get an Arctic introduction from Dr. Ignatius Rigor, our expedition's lead PI (Primary Investigator).
The buoys remind me of gigantic fishing bobbers that open like an easter egg. The creative juices are flowing on how to create effective education and outreach experiences about buoy data.... stay tuned.
Also, enjoy the video below.
I love learning places. It's important to me to learn about places from a broad scope and on many scales; one way to think about this is 'from from the rocks to the politics'. To learn a place requires giving a bit of yourself to a place so you can become part of it and it can become part of you.
One way to begin to learn a place is to explore its culture And for me, music is a rich inroad to learning about culture. Music celebrates nearly every experience of the human condition and it occurs in a place or is influenced by a place. So I began to think about some songs and even a poem or two I already knew. Then with a bit of further pondering I realized these songs written by men of European descent, did not even begin to represent the music of the Arctic. So with the help of google, an entire evening was spent diving in to the native peoples' music of their homeland.
What I have learned thus far, is the traditional throat-singing of the Inuit people is still alive today in some millennial musicians. Throat singing mimics the natural sounds of the Arctic landscape: wind, ice, sea birds and more. Listen to a few songs and watch one of the videos below.