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Seasons In My Biome: February 2014 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 140207

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

How was January in your region? Not only here this month wasn't average: we didn't have a snow blanket and temperature was much above normal. In the southern part of Switzerland they have lots of snow ( http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/panorama/bedretto-tal-eine-woche-von-aussenwelt-abgeschnitten--1.1994198) as often air from south dammed up at the Alps, snowed out and came as warm fall wind (Föhn) to us. In other regions as Australia and Argentina unusual heat waves were reported whereas North America was hit by a severe cold - except Alaska where you would expect it in January: the newspaper reported that January was 9°C above the 107-years average.

This means that at Fairbanks it was about -10°C instead of -20°C. Can we be happy with only some degrees difference? - The temperature is a consequence of energy. Here you can see how the temperature changes if you heat a 1kg block of ice with -40°C steadily:

As you can see ice needs less energy to warm up than water. And there is a long buffer zone because it needs a lot of energy to bring 1kg ice of 0°C to 1kg water of 0°C (heat of fusion). This must be taken into account:

It shows that temperature changes depend also on the current humidity: the energy that is needed to heat up ice from -20°C to -10°C is swallowed by the heat of fusion which means: if the same energy change takes place around 0°C instead of at -20°C, there wouldn't be any observable temperature change. Which means that our change of several degrees C around the melting point means an even bigger difference in energy than what took place in the interior of Alaska. I suppose that the effect in temperature change is the bigger the drier the air is as then you need less energy to shift temperature.

So perhaps we should rather discuss energy changes than temperature changes...


> Enough of theory, let's get active, go outside and take the February 2014 SIMB picture. Thank you very much for drafting a comment and sending both to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch And perhaps observe how temperature changes depend on the current humidity: is there a correlation?

If you are from Switzerland you might be interested in some 2014 workshops:

http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/500development.html

To read all the other SIMB February 2014 news go to http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/620SIMB1402.html

Enjoy February: this is the last classic winter / summer month before we approach the equinox when nature comes into a state of flux...

Best wishes Markus

May each day bring you bright, happy hours. Old Irish Blessing

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.


Seasons In My Biome: December 2013 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 131208

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

I'm happy to tell you that I won the Swiss Award of Phenology and Seasonality 2013 with my webpage http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/index.html This means that many of you are also honored with this prize. And it is for sure a token to continue this collection, try to implement new ideas and make this page a place where you can share your knowledge, link to one another and find interesting and amazing news about seasons, how they affect life on Earth and how they change. Thank you for your further collaboration.

I'm sure that thereby you're motivated enough to head out and take your December 2013 SIMB picture, draft your personal comment and send both to me: markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch - thank you very much for your contribution.

Perhaps this award makes you put your plan to join us into action. You can start at any month. Sometimes it takes some time to find the best location and to arrange everything, so you would be ready to really start your series in 2014. If you plan to engage your students it would be best to organize it in advance.

The SIMB December 2013 news are here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/620SIMB1312.html


Naturbeobachtungen im Winter 2

Uzwil, 131127

Liebe ehemalige Kurs- und Workshop-Teilnehmerinnen und -Teilnehmer aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum

Vor einem Monat habe ich euch drei Beobachtungsthemen vorgeschlagen: Schnee, Eis und gefrorener Boden. Unterdessen hat sich die Natur jahreszeitlich stark verändert und wir sind zurzeit schon bei Schnee und Dauerfrost angekommen. Es gibt deshalb bereits erste Beobachtungsresultate für den Winter 2013/14.

Hier nun noch wie angekündigt die genaueren Infos zur Oberflächentemperatur-Messkampagne (Surface Temperature Campaign), die jeweils von Kevin Czajkowski organisiert wird und vom 1. Dezember bis ca. Weihnachten läuft.

Weltweit messen GLOBE Klassen nicht Luft-, sondern Oberflächentemperaturen auf Flächen ums Schulhaus herum. Einerseits sind die eigenen Resultate interessant, andererseits kann es Grund für weitere Diskussionen und auch Austausch zwischen Teilnehmern werden, wenn man die Resultate anderer Klassen in anderen Ländern anschaut und zu verstehen versucht.

Wie gesagt braucht man dazu ein Infrarot-Thermometer dieser Art: http://www.conrad.ch/ce/de/overview/0510034/IR-Thermometer?sort=Price-asc&page=2

Wenn man die Daten bei GLOBE eingeben will (nur für GLOBE-Schulen möglich), sollte man alle Angaben auf meinem Protokollblatt erheben. Wenn man es "nur" aus eigenem Interesse macht, ist man natürlich frei, was man genau messen will.

Um einen guten Durchschnittswert zu erhalten, definiert man auf einer bestimmten Oberfläche (z. B. Pausenplatz, Turnwiese, usw.) jeweils 9 Messpunkte. Aus diesen 9 Messungen berechnet man schliesslich den Durchschnittswert. Ich habe mein Protokollblatt so eingerichtet, dass eine Schülergruppe die Resultate von 1 Beobachtungsfläche von Montag bis Freitag notieren kann.

Das Blatt ist im Anhang und kann problemlos angepasst werden. Es kann auch hier unter "Protokoll Surface-T" heruntergeladen werden: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html

Die Homepage zu dieser Kampagne findet ihr hier: http://satellitesk12.org/ Kevin veröffentlicht während der Messkampagne auf dieser Seite jeweils aktuelle Kommentare (etwas herunterscrollen, bis Surface Temperature Field Campaign).

Die vollständige Beschreibung dieses Projekts findet ihr hier: http://www.globe.gov/documents/348614/348678/atmo_prot_surftemp.pdf

Hier noch ein zweiter aktueller Hinweis:

Das GLOBE Seasons and Biomes Projekt, bei dem ich dabei war, war gleichzeitig ein IPY (International Polar Year) -Projekt. Deshalb konnte ich es an Konferenzen, die es in der Folge gab, vorstellen. An der ersten solchen Konferenz in Oslo war Antony Jinman mein Zimmerkollege. Er kam gerade von einer Expedition (zu Fuss) zum Nordpol zurück. Seither hat übrigens niemand mehr ein solches Unternehmen geschafft.

Nun startet er zu einem noch gewagteren: Er will - wie damals Robert Scott, der zu den ersten 10 Menschen am Südpol zählt - zu Fuss die Antarktis durchqueren und an den Südpol gelangen. Zurzeit sitzt er in Punta Arenas in den Startlöchern und wartet auf besseres Wetter.

Er betreibt eine professionelle Homepage, die auch andere Expeditionen nutzen können, wenn sie während des Unternehmens mit Schulklassen in Kontakt treten wollen: http://www.eteteachers.org/

Wenn es euch interessiert, könnt ihr hier sein Abenteuer grob mitverfolgen. Falls jemand mit seiner Schulklasse dabei sein und live Fragen stellen will, muss man sich registrieren und in diesem Fall etwas bezahlen.


Naturbeobachtungen im Winter

Uzwil, 131027

Liebe ehemalige Kurs- und Workshop-Teilnehmerinnen und -Teilnehmer aus der Schweiz

Ich hoffe, ihr hattet ein paar erholsame Tage in den Herbstferien und habt nun das zweite Quartal gut begonnen.

Schöne Herbsttage gab es nicht übermässig viele, und nun beschleunigen die stürmischen Winde den herbstlichen Laubfall massiv. Das Ende der Sommerzeit bringt uns durch die frühe Dunkelheit am Abend auch gefühlsmässig dem Winter näher. Falls ihr nicht im Flachland wohnt, habt ihr bereits den ersten Schneefall erlebt.

Der Winter ist viel mehr als nur die dunkle Jahreszeit, in der das Leben pausiert. Einerseits hat sich unsere Natur in Jahrtausende langer Zeit so entwickelt, dass alles zu dieser Abfolge von Jahreszeiten passt, die wir heute immer noch - wenn auch nicht mehr so ausgeprägt - erleben können. Viele Vorgänge laufen nur dann "richtig" ab, wenn es zwischen den warmen jeweils kalte Jahreszeiten gibt, ja für gewisse Abläufe ist die Kälte sogar der Motor oder mindestens der Taktgeber, ohne den es nicht geht.

Andererseits lernen wir durch Winterbeobachtungen grundsätzliche Zusammenhänge und Naturgesetze kennen, die heute besonders wichtig sind im Zusammenhang mit der Erforschung der Polregionen und dem Verständnis des Klimawandels.

Wenn euch die Polgebiete interessieren, solltet ihr die Zeitschrift PolarNews? abonnieren (kostenlos): http://www.polarnews.ch/kontakt/nehmen-sie-kontakt-auf Ebenfalls sehr interessant sind die Berichte im WWF-Polarmagazin "The Circle": neueste Ausgabe: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=286cbaaa59eee678ca03e3a78&id=c6ea19eda0&e=23d42703a5 Abo: http://panda.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=286cbaaa59eee678ca03e3a78&id=1279fc16ce

Falls ihr mit euren Schülerinnen und Schülern den Verlauf den Winters untersuchen und festhalten wollt, mache ich euch hier ein paar einfache Vorschläge, wie man das tun könnte. Dies ist erst der Anfang eines Winterprojektes, das sich hoffentlich in den nächsten Jahren weiterentwickelt. Für weitere Ideen und Rückmeldungen bin ich immer dankbar.

Diese Beobachtungen kann man gut mit einzelenen interessierten Schülerinnen und Schülern durchführen. Sie eignen sich auch für Wahlfächer wie MNU und bei guter Organisation auch für ganze Klassen. Zeitlich finden sie in der Zeit vom ersten bis zum letzten Schnee / Frost statt, was je nach Höhenlage sehr unterschiedliche Daten sein können ("Winterhalbjahr").

Eine spezielle Beobachtungsphase gibt es jeweils im Dezember, wenn weltweit Schülerinnen und Schüler an der GLOBE Surface Temperature Campaign teilnehmen. Dazu später mehr. Was man auf jeden Fall dazu braucht, ist ein IR-Thermometer (Infrarot), denn bei diesen Beobachtungen misst man Oberflächentemperaturen und stellt manchmal Erstaunliches fest im Vergleich zu "normalen" Lufttemperaturen. Genügend genaue Geräte gibt es ab ca. 100Fr z. B. hier: http://www.conrad.ch/ce/de/overview/0510034/IR-Thermometer?sort=Price-asc&page=2

Wenn euch der Wechsel der Jahreszeiten auch fasziniert, findet ihr vielleicht hier eine passende Beobachtungsidee für euch oder eure Schülerinnen und Schüler: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/111simbprojekt.html

Link zur Bildersammlung: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/112pictures.php

Die drei Beobachtungsthemen, die ich euch jetzt vorschlage, sind: Schnee, Eis und gefrorener Boden:

1) Schnee: Wir notieren jeden Morgen / Vormittag die Gesamtschneehöhe. Zusätzlich kann man die Neuschneehöhe feststellen und die Schneedichte messen. Wer es genau machen will, verwendet das Beobachtungsprotokoll ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html Protokoll Schnee/Eis), wer nur das nötigste erheben will, füllt direkt die kalendarische Excel-Liste ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html Datenbl. Schnee/Eis) aus.

2) Eis: Ideal, wenn es einen Schulteich gibt. Auch ein naheliegendes stehendes Gewässer eignet sich, Fliessgewässer weniger, da sie bei uns selten gefrieren. Wir beobachten, ob eine Eisdecke vorhanden ist. Zusätzlich kann man die Eisdicke messen. Gleiche Unterlagen wie oben.

3) Boden: Mit Hilfe von Froströhrchen stellen wir fest, ob die Kälte ober- und vor allem unterhalb der Erdoberfläche Eis entstehen liess. Für Bau und Montage der Froströhrchen habe ich eine neue Beschreibung verfasst: ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html Bau Frost-tube) Das Datenblatt findet ihr hier: ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html Protokoll Frost-tube), die Excel-Liste hier: ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html Datenblatt Frost-tube)

Ich würde mich freuen, wenn ich im Verlauf oder am Ende des Winters eure Daten erhalten würde: entweder Protokolle direkt zusenden oder einscannen und als pdf senden oder ausgefüllte Excel-Listen zusenden. - Vielen Dank für euer Interesse und eure Mitarbeit als Lehrperson.

Ich wünsche euch viele spannende Entdeckungen und Erlebnisse in der Winterzeit und stehe für detailliertere Auskünfte gerne zur Verfügung.

Herzliche Grüsse Markus Eugster

Infos zum SIMB-Projekt unter http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/111simbprojekt.html oder e-Mail an markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch

Bitte eine entsprechende kurze e-Mail an markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch senden, falls deine / Ihre Adresse aus meiner Liste gelöscht werden soll.


Seasons In My Biome: April 2013 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 130407

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

Our planet has already passed the equinox point () but here you can't really feel it yet: we had one of the few exceptions that a month was cooler than the average over the last years. Even at the end of March we had days with snow and permanent frost which is unusual: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html

0) New front page picture

http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/index.html --> compare to this one: the crocuses were in full bloom more than 20 days earlier in 2012.

1) Seasonality


> It would be great to compare to other locations - how about a walk in your vicinity? If you are one of my SIMB photographers I invite you to visit your biome and send your April 2013 picture with your unique comment to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch - if you aren't a SIMB photographer yet go for a walk with open senses all the same and enjoy the many wonders we can discover time after time as our environment is in a permanent change, not only but very often due to seasonal changes - and perhaps this is the month you decide to start your own series of monthly pictures as many others already did: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/112pictures.php

Or perhaps you can propose this project to some of your students who have to work for a project independently - I will support them as best I can. Maybe it's something you might keep in mind for next school year and prepare to start it next August.

I tried to show the history of the whole winter in one single diagram: (provisional version) - if you have such data it would be interesting to compare. In my frost tube protocol I have a column "puddle frozen?" which can be filled in with the help of a simple saucer:

Do you know the web page of the National Snow and Ice Data Center? They provide a lot of interesting information, as for example:

A graphics of the northern hemisphere snow cover anomaly which shows that the last few years the snow covered area was bigger than during 1989-2002:

Here you can see how much sea ice we had in the Arctic in March during the last 35 years: this year it was less than 2012 but at least more than the sloping regression line shows:

An interesting map that shows the age of the Arctic sea ice; there isn't a lot of multi year ice remaining; of course it can occur only in the area that survives the Arctic summer:

The map of the Arctic sea ice thickness shows a similar distribution:

They provide also basic information about the cryosphere ( http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/ and for teachers: bottom right corner: educational resources [1]), glaciers ( http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/), snow ( http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/snow/) and sea ice ( http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/); I would like to have these pages in German...

2) Phenology

In mid February I saw the first primroses in bloom , but they got snow covered time and again and looked almost the same exactly one month later: Last year we had primrose flowers around spring equinox: , also the willows were blooming compared to this year: The site where the lungwort grows is still snow covered and the larch buds (picture from 2012: ) are swelling at the moment.

We plan to accomplish our CCES PhenoCam? project ( http://www.globe-swiss.ch/de/Angebote/GLOBE_Jahreszeiten/PhenoCam/) this spring. Here you can see another application: Investigating the crystallization of NaCl?:

We installed a second tree circumference tape on a cherry tree:

3) Atmosphere

We calculated the daily mean temperature by adding all 15min measurements and dividing this sum by 96. This graphics shows the daily mean temperatures in March 2013: The month's average is calculated by adding all the measurements and dividing them by about 2900; in March it was only 2.2°C. Here are the monthly mean temperatures of the last 12 months: The average temperature from February 2012 to January 2013 (a annual mean) was 9.3°C.

4) Climate

PEI Coimbra 2013:

From March 26th to 28th I attended an international workshop for Polar Educators in Coimbra ( at the University of Coimbra ), Portugal. During the 2012 IPY conference "From knowledge to action" in Montreal I spoke to José and Inga and during our conversation the idea of a European Polar Educators' workshop was born. José and Inga followed the motto of the conference and put the idea into action: This was the opening ceremony that took place in this wonderful building

We are organized as PEI = Polar Educators International (here during a discussion ); read more here http://www.arcus.org/witness-the-arctic/2012/3/article/19461, follow us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/groups/247660677828 or join us.

As I could travel during the weekends I had 1-2 days before / after the workshop to visit Lisboa, the Atlantic coast and the Serra da Lousã, a mountainous region near Coimbra. As it was raining almost without stop from Monday to Friday there were floodings, sometimes it looked like this on both sides of the train track: The Rio Mondego also flooded some areas at Coimbra

Below some more impressions of my visit to Portugal:

Storks: Each dark spot on the electricity pylon is a stork's nest:

This picture might be taken in the Swiss Alps, but I took it in the Serra da Lousã: There I found huge eucalyptus trees in the forests: Although it was a rainy day I enjoyed my trip This river was so red because of erosion in this area with reddish soil:

I visited the Oceanàrio de Lisboa on my way from Lisboa to Coimbra: fortunately the train station was at Lisboa Oriente where the Oceanario is: and inside there you can observe cute sea otters

I passed several places where I saw marks of wildfires:

Green-up: I was confused somehow as some trees just opened their buds as whereas others were still without leaves

 and at the same time some were in bloom as black elder or camellias 

I met quite a rough sea south of Porto on Good Friday: Although it was raining the strong wind blew wet sand across and tested my rain gear...

Use the player if you like to listen to a fado song

Journey: We flew exactly over our capital Berne: Here you can see that there was still snow on the hills north of Lake Geneva: - it was almost the same when I came back more than one week later...

This picture of the Swiss Alps looks like one taken in the Rocky Mountains: Also in the Pyrenees I saw still many white summits:

5) Earth as a system

More severe floodings were reported from Argentina: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22010537 or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Argentina_floods Maria, a teacher from Argentina sent me pictures of an earlier flood last August: and

Links to this August 2012 flood: http://tn.com.ar/sociedad/bajo-el-agua-17-municipios-bonaerenses-siguen-en-emergencia-agropecuaria-por-las-inundaciones_270293 http://www.cronica.com.ar/diario/2012/09/07/32809-se-agravan-las-inundaciones-en-territorio-bonaerense.html http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/Millones-Provincia-Trenque-Saladillo-Olavarria_5_769173079.html

6) Life on Earth

7) Questions

8) Gallery

More seasonal and Portugal / Coimbra pictures are here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91303

9) School GLOBE

I could give two workshops during the 2013 SWiSE? innovation day on March 9th in St. Gall. As I was quite busy because of the many participants I couldn't take a picture during the workshop, but at least before:

Downloads from my web page: To make always the most recent version of some protocols and documents available I have started to provide them as downloads on my web page: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html At the moment there are German versions mainly for Swiss teachers; English versions will follow.

10) Projects

In my region we had a real winter and now everybody is longing for spring. You can see many signs that it is just around the corner whereas in the southern hemisphere it's a period of transition towards winter. Enjoy the exciting time of expecting spring.

Seasons In My Biome: March 2013 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 130303

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

Perhaps you remember our floating frost tube () - here you can see what happened: I suppose that here in Switzerland February 2013 will be one of the very few months in a long while that won't be warmer than the average (see http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html). Even now at the beginning of March we have a snow blanket (and the poorest gain in electricity with our solar power plant: ) and temperatures below zero. Hence you understand that my March front page picture shows a snowflake: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/index.html

Here is the first version of a diagram of the history of winter 2012-13: If you send your frost tube data to me we could compare different sites. You can download the protocol for the students ("Protokoll Frost-tube" - in German at the moment) and the file to fill in the data and send to me ("Datenblatt Frost-tube") here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/600links.html

We approach the end of winter (end of summer in the southern hemisphere): and as always nature knows the calendar as this picture proves:

This remembers us to take the next monthly SIMB picture to document the perhaps dramatic changes that occur around the Equinox: ---> Thank you very much for taking your March 2013 picture, writing your comment that nobody else can write and sending it to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch.

A big thank you to those of you who have already sent the March 2013 picture + comment.

Join us, start your own series of seasonal pictures now: this is a perfect time to do it. Or inspire your students: maybe some of them would like to do an extra job - and perhaps earn extra marks.

Arctic / Antarctic sea ice: Click on "next" and you can see how the ice covered area grew this year in the Arctic: and here how it shrank in the Antarctic:

 We have soon reached the maximum in the Arctic:
resp. the minimum in the Antarctic:

My February pictures will come later on gallery2.

Thank you for independently continue your series: I appreciate your collaboration very much and from time to time answer you personally - as many of you are teachers I'm sure you know that sometimes as mundane (and all the same important) things as marking homework consumes our time.

I wish you a fruitful March - the time around the Equinox is characterized by similar day length all over the world and at the same time looming differences where we head for.

Best wishes Markus

May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. Old Irish Blessing

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.


Seasons In My Biome: January 2013 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 130101

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

The announced December 2012 news never landed in your mailbox for a seasonal reason as you can see here:

Uninfluenced by human activities and traditions our planet passed the position where the poles are the most turned away / towards the sun which traditionally meant that the cold / warm season began:

Sometimes I doubt of this: we had far too warm weather in the second half of December and I saw that even in Fairbanks, Alaska, temperatures were above 0°C yesterday. I don't know whether this ever happened at the end of December.

We can't change it in the short term but we could try to live more and more sustainably - and we could document what happens by taking SIMB pictures:

---> Don't forget to take your January 2013 picture and write a short comment preferably on the same day. Thank you very much for sending both to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch

Meanwhile I have uploaded quite a lot of your pictures and comments (still not all of them, I know, but if you miss some of your pictures, please tell me because this could help me complete the collection sooner). Choose a site on the left (scroll down to see all the sites) and view and read: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/112pictures.php

I have written and uploaded the descriptions to my November 2012 pictures: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91211 and to my cloud pictures: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/820clouds.php?fold=simb71211 - thank you for any feedback to any of these pictures.

---> If you or some of your students thought about starting your own ---> SIMB series, this would be a very suitable time to do it because it's the beginning of a new year.

I wish you healthiness, devotion and good luck for every day of this new year.

Best wishes Markus

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night. Old Irish Blessing

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.


Seasons In My Biome: December 2012 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 121201

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

Thank you very much for all your pictures and comments you sent to me. I still haven't completed the upload but you can find many new pictures and also new sites as for example this on from Norway: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/112pictures.php?fold=simb01702

Our planet flies with about 107'000km/h on its orbit - it's not surprising that it's already December...

We are at this position now:

There won't be a big difference in day length any more as we are approaching the turning point: Our planet will arrive there on December 21st at 11.12am UTC. This will be the winter solstice, the shortest day and the beginning of winter in the north, the longest day and the beginning of summer in the south.

Strangely enough the sun will rise later every day of the month to the end of December, but it will set the earliest around December 13th and from then on the evenings will get brighter again.

Under these circumstances it might be difficult for some of you to take your SIMB picture in broad daylight.


> As much more I thank you for taking your December 2012 SIMB
> picture, writing your personal comment and sending both to me: markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch

Take the opportunity, choose your site and start your own series for our SIMB collection in January 2013 - welcome as a new SIMB photographer! Write me an e-mail if you have any questions, I will support you as best I can.

You could also propose this to one or some of your students as other teachers did. This is an example of a student's work: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/112pictures.php?fold=simb02001

I hope you can enjoy also this exceptional time of the year when most of the people are happy about some additional light (here in the north).

I will try to give you some additional light, too, in my SIMB news (some days later) and for some of you by mail (be patient...).


Seasons In My Biome: October 2012 news

Uzwil, 121007

Dear colleagues

I didn't read this article before but it made me smile that it starts with the same thought as my October reminder: A Wintry Tale of Two Seasons: Earth Images of the Week: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120914/ew120914x.html

1) Seasonality

This October I plan to upload all your SIMB pictures. If you have taken some SIMB pictures and not yet sent them to me, it would be great if you could do it within the next few days; it would be perfect if you could add a short comment to each picture and send them simply as an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) - thank you very much.

If you have thought about joining us as a SIMB photographer this would be an excellent moment to start your series: When I'm working on my website it would be the best moment to install new folders and to adapt the menus so everything would be prepared for your pictures. If you have any questions: don't hesitate and ask me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch).

We have the impression that there was an early turning this autumn - but sometimes you delude yourself - a multi year SIMB series can help you find the truth. For this reason I encourage you to continue your SIMB series even if you have completed 1 year. You surely know that weather is a snap-shot and climate an at least 15 years average. It's not the same but similar with our SIMB pictures: the landscape and vegetation somehow integrate the conditions of the bygone weeks, but all the same they show the conditions of the very moment when you took your picture. Therefore there is a lot of information in such a picture and we can learn to read it - another reason why your comments are so precious: they help to understand your picture and verify the viewer assumptions.

October is the month when the minimum / maximum sea ice extent is over and the frozen area in the Arctic restarts to grow / the Antarctic ice shelf begins to melt. The turning point is clearly visible in the Artic () and a little bit less in the Antarctic (). As in the Arctic we have about 2'500'000km2 less and in the Antarctic about 500'000km2 more than the 1979-2008 mean our planet has at the moment about 2'000'000km2 less sea ice than during the last 30 years (which is about 50 times the surface of Switzerland - hard to imagine that such a lot of ice is missing). As the total (Arctic + Antarctic) is about 17'000'000km2 this deficit is more than 10% of the total and about 15% of the Arctic Ocean. The last minimum was in 2007, but then there was 22% more ice than this year.

Watch this animated map: New Arctic Ice Record: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120928/ew120928x.html

Dark Influence Could Cause Greater Arctic Melt: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120921/ew120921b.html

Frost tubes: If you have one or several frost tubes it would be great if you could write down all your readings this winter: I plan to install a page that shows a snow and ice overview for the whole winter for a certain location. It would be great if I got some frost tube, snow and ice data next winter. - Thank you very much.

Researchers have found out that 10 of the 14 last times the river Rhine froze up during the last 230 years (it didn't freeze any more during the last 50 years) were during times of minimal solar activity. - Another hint that the sun, our star, has an important impact on our climate system.

Seasonal sounds: Certain sounds are difficult to record as the frequencies are too high for my camera or sometimes you can hear a sound quite clearly outside but hardly on the record as there are sometimes a lot of other sounds resp. noises. Some September 2012 sounds: Autumnal wind: - raindrops - water after some heavy rains: - A funny sound is produced by the leaves of the trembling poplar:

2) Phenology

Here in Switzerland we are in the midst of green-down whereas some trees have already lost almost all their leaves while others are still quite green. I would like to know what you think about my idea that the beginning of the turning is more important than the date when the leaf falls off although this last date is much easier to determine than the beginning of the turning. This is something we will check in our PhenoCam? project: Perhaps we can easily find the day when the colour starts to change by viewing our time lapse videos or even by analyzing the leaves' colour.

(I wrote about this in my last e-mail: I think during a spell of quiet autumn weather we should observe exactly our trees: leaf fall can be the result of an adapted tree's activity but the process is much affected by frost, wind and heavy rain. Therefore it would be first priority to determine the beginning and second priority the time span of the turning. I think that the beginning of the turning marks the time when a tree starts to end its season's photosynthetic activity whereas the fall of the leaf can only tell us how long it took the tree to extract the storable substances resp. that there was an unusual weather event as a storm or frost. I suppose that a leaf doesn't produce any more many days before it falls, perhaps it stops to work already when it starts to turn its colour.)

GLOBE Switzerland organized a phenology workshop at Payerne that was well attended and very interesting (). We had both presentations about phenology, weather and climate and outdoor activities with experts. We were guests at the MeteoSwiss? weather station () where we could follow the start of a weather balloon ( ). They made a phenological garden there but only with trees to keep maintenance low.

PhenoCam?: We plan to write a manual and to prepare boxes that contain everything and can be borrowed by teachers for a project. From my point of view this is an exciting research project that offers uncountable possibilities for students. We will surely go on working with these cameras. I hope very much that we can lead our project to success until the end of 2012.

3) Atmosphere

September started very autumnal. We had spells of fine and of bad weather: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html The warmest day was September 10th with about 28°C, the deepest temperature was about 3°C on September 14th. The average temperature was (only) 0.4°C above the average, but we had more rain than usually.

I have uploaded some September cloud images: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/820clouds.php?fold=simb71209 If we have a strong down slope wind (Föhn) from the Alps we get sometimes unreal colours in the morning sky. These are such examples:

Additionally I have uploaded the first of your cloud pictures (from Minnesota) here: and

4) Climate

All the glaciers are retreating in the Alps. Therefore 500-600 new lakes will appear. This might be attractive but also threatening as they can produce flood waves with devastating consequences.

I read an article about oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic. They argued that it is too complicated and too expensive and therefore never will be very important. - As long as there are cheaper ways to get oil or gas they probably won't drill in the Arctic and thus save this extremely delicate habitat. (But I heard that Shell is about to drill in the Barrow Sea...)

Two researchers of the University of Delaware predict that in 2030 half the global population will use wind energy; 4'000'000 turbines would be necessary... - compare with this: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120914/ew120914a.html

Climate Change to Bring More Suffering from Allergies: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120914/ew120914c.html

Record Atlantic Warmth Creates 'Fisheries Disaster': http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120921/ew120921a.html

El Niño Likely to Return During October: WMO: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120928/ew120928c.html

5) Earth as a system

I'm not a member of PolarTREC?, but I was happy to learn that there are other people with similar ideas and interests as me. Have a look at their International Polar Week Collection: http://www.polartrec.com/collections/international-polar-week (scroll down and open the menus to find out more)

I finally joined the facebook group that was founded after the 2012 IPY teachers' workshop at Montreal - and see that it would take me days to catch up with reading all the interesting posts that have been made since spring...

Did you also hear that after the strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean last April scientists found out that the continental plate is breaking into two pieces there? I suppose that this is a very powerful long-term process and I hope it won't produce more tsunamis there.

In September the Fuego volcano erupted and blew a 3000m cloud of ash into the sky: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120907/ew120907d.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120921/ew120921d.html

Nicaraguan Volcanic Eruption Prompts Evacuations: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120914/ew120914d.html

Number of Erupting Indonesian Volcanoes Rises to Five: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120928/ew120928d.html

As an exception: not a record: Ozone Hole Not As Large This Year: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120921/ew120921c.html (with animated picture)

6) Life on Earth

In Switzerland peat extraction is prohibited since 1987 because since then all our fens are protected. But: Switzerland imports 150'000t of peat every year. I read an article about the Augstumal fen in Lithuania that is exploited and destroyed - have a look yourself (scroll down for the clip): http://www.pronatura.ch/torffrei

Fish stocks in the North and Baltic Sea are recovering slowly after new restrictions for the catch of fish according to a report of the German fishing association. All the same they report that about a quarter of the fishes still comes out of overfished populations.

I told you about a wolf that was in the region where I usually have my teachers' workshop. Now it was reported that a wolf cub went into a photo trap. It is the first time within the last 150 years that a wolf cub was certainly born in Switzerland.

Humpback Population Rebounds off Brazil Coast: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120907/ew120907b.html

7) Gallery

If you are interested in the seasonal changes in my region have a look at my September 2012 pictures: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91209

Do you also have blindworms in your region?

Look at this colourful caterpillar we found on a birch tree leaf:

8) School

You might have seen it in my October reminder - then skip this: We all like to teach very much but - as probably in most other jobs, too - we aren't often given thanks for our work. Therefore or just after a long and busy school day it's so beneficial to watch this video (thank you so much, "GLOBE"! - who produced it?): http://comm.globe.gov/link.php?M=81033&N=169&L=471&F=T

I started the green-down observations in September with my new class. As it is smaller than the last there were some trees without observer. I asked the other class whether they would like to do it again and was very surprised that 18 students put their hand up. Now I didn't have enough trees. So I decided to ask some of them to take pictures of the leaves of some of our trees. Normally cell phones are prohibited, but for this task it's very easy to use them, you get them automatically with time and date and the students will never ever forget their cell phones at home...

With my new class I participated in the Kilimanjaro webinar. GLOBE asked me to take some pictures during this event because they want to produce some short videos for the GLOBE website. Let's see whether they can use some of our pictures. I was happy to see that my new students can already communicate in English. This is the first time I got a class that had English in the primary level already. For me it's perfect to have students who already are used to English.

I introduced my second class to water studies. They learnt to run chemical tests () and to evaluate the water quality with the help of macro invertebrates ( ). When we went down to the river after a rainy night we were astonished that the water level was so high. At most of the places it was completely impossible to go down to the riverbank:

At the teachers' workshop during the Montreal IPY conference last spring I learnt about a method to determine water quality with the help of diatoms. We prepared for this interesting investigation and hopefully can do it later when the water level will be lower again.

During the GLOBE teachers' workshop in Eupen / Belgium last November the Belgian GLOBE country coordinator showed me an excellent esa (European Space Agency) atlas with satellite maps and pictures. Meanwhile I had a Swiss member of the ESA (Switzerland also participates and pays but we don't have any office here in my country) in my classroom. He showed me absolutely thrilling materials we can (should) use at school - and a lot of these materials would fit perfectly to GLOBE ideas and materials. They are still improving their educational material and I hope that they will also find some money to print and share it. I was for example introduced in satellite image software that can be used in the classroom, even with my secondary school students. The software is open source and can be used by everybody. I hope that I can tell you more about this next time.

Our MINT project has started and we are about to approve the road map. The school is involved as a whole more than I expected, but this is necessary to push it forward.

We collaborate with the neighbouring Buhler AG ( http://www.buhlergroup.com/global/de/home.htm); a team of them has won the European Solar Challenge ( http://www.solarenergyracers.ch/) - this might be very interesting for our students because it shows that they have very groundbreaking staff members.

Our school building will be renovated again next summer (staircase and physics laboratory). As I'm responsible for the physics lab I was invited to the first project planning conference and could explain my ideas (that were partly new for them). I hope that some of my ideas can be realized. There will be another conference at the end of October where I have to explain my ideas on site.

Perhaps we'll remember this article next year during the GLOBE at Night campaign: Light Anthropology: Earth Image of the Week: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120921/ew120921x.html

9) Projects

The energy diagram of our photovoltaic power plant shows about the duration and intensity of sunshine for each day of the month:

It might be interesting to compare it with the temperature diagram ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html).

I know that I added her words before, but I find they match very well our topics (and ask all my south hemispherical readers to be lenient):

Susan Grace: Autumn

In the autumn the world is filled with color

The sunny gold of the birch and aspen trees

The tundra is a quilt of color on the mountain sides

And the berrys and rose hips call to me

The air is alive with the music

Of the song of the geese and sandhill crane

All around me I see changes ever growing on

It's impossible to keep them all outside

With my best wishes for many happy golden October days and - who knows - some lucky changes Markus


Seasons In My Biome: August 2012 picture - part 2

Uzwil, 120808

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

Here is some more information about seasonality, phenology and Earth systems:

I've made a few changes on my website:

1) I give a short description of the picture on the front page.

2) You can view the old front page pictures by clicking on Gallery2 and then on Front page ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php)

3) I have opened a gallery for clouds organized by months because some clouds might be seasonal, too. Click on Atmosphere and then on clouds ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/800atmosphere.html).

4) "Seasonal sounds" isn't a menu item in Seasonality any more because I have integrated the sounds in my galleries. The player appears always, even if there is no sound, the picture or the text indicates that you will hear something (hopefully). Please try and tell me if it works on your computer - thanks for a feedback. Example: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91203

As you can see the player also appears with your SIMB pictures (). So if you want to you can also send an audio file together with your picture and your comment. I use .mp3 files but other types as .wav are also ok if I can convert them. Many cameras allow you to record also sounds (often poor quality - but better than nothing).

1) Seasonality

After having made some updates in my webpage's software I will upload all your pictures - thank you for your patience.

There is more snow up in the Alps than in the last few years as we had a winter rich in snow. Therefore there is a lot of meltwater during these warm summer days and our rivers carry quite a lot of water. To give you an idea of how different the running waters are I have uploaded some seasonal sounds with some water pictures: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91207

2) Phenology

There was another CCES meeting in July in Zurich: None of the current projects is complete yet, but some of them have already prepared some units / lessons. Our project will have an internal meeting soon where we plan how to accomplish our phenocam project. I hope that it will be useful also for other students / teachers after we will have published it.

You can learn more about the state of phenology in my region by viewing some of my July 2012 pictures on "Gallery2": http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91207

3) Atmosphere

Clouds: it would be very interesting to have more cloud pictures. I invite you to send me also some cloud / atmosphere pictures, especially if you think that they are typically for your region / for the current season.

Our new temperature diagram looks like this: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html

We had quite a cold (about 7°C) but sunny morning on July 23rd - I was in the Alps: there was even some ice on meltwaters this morning:

The warmest day was July 27th with almost 34°C in the afternoon. The month was almost 1°C warmer than the average 1961-1990. The total precipitation was almost normal but we had many rainy days: 18. And we had five thunderstorms, some of them were heavy. We had one day with fog again - very unusual for summer in my region.

Surprisingly there was a water spout on the Lake Zurich in July. This is very exciting and unusual / new for Switzerland. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpx6vaHyviE&feature=related

More tornados in Europe, some of them were devastating as this one in Poland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF4FGk-qR8A&feature=endscreen&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVgs0zYrlRg&feature=endscreen&NR=1

4) Climate

Quite an unusual year for the U. S.: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120713/ew120713a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720c.html

In our newspaper there were several articles about the hot spell in the eastern U.S., followed by severe storms and subsequently power blackouts for several days. Later we saw pictures of cornfields almost completely shriveled.

The world meteorological organization decided to publish seasonal weather forecasts to facilitate the adaptation to climate change. "Seasonal climate predictions" - interesting for me to see how they refer to seasons, too.

Is the Arctic ice melting as never before? http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727x.html

And also Greenland? http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727c.html

Again more greenhouse gases: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727a.html

5) Earth as a system

Perhaps you have heard about the Grand Canyon-sized rift that has been discovered in Antarctica: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18959399

Scientists of the CERN in Geneva suppose that they have found the Higgs particle which would confirm the current theory of physics.

In the Grisons a village plans to fix photovoltaic elements on avalanche barriers. They say it would be a perfect place to use photovoltaic.

With the Hubble telescope astronomers found a fifth moon that circles around Pluto - which isn't a planet any more...

In June a rock fall has destroyed a part of the Gotthard railroad and unfortunately killed a young father of a family who was working there. With a blasting operation they made more rocks falling down wherewith there should be no more danger. The railroad line was reopened in July.

In southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Canary Island) we had many wildfires that even killed several persons and threaten holiday resorts.

Volcanic activities in Colombia, near the Canary Islands: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120713/ew120713d.html

Earthquakes in China, New Zealand (again), India, Sumatra: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706c.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706g.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720g.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727f.html

Does an aurora sound? http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120713/ew120713b.html Strong solar storm triggered brilliant auroras: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720x.html

Tropical storm in South Korea: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720e.html and near Hong Kong: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727e.html

Record floods in Beijing: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120727/ew120727g.html

6) Life on Earth

In the region that I will visit during my next teachers' workshop there has been a wolf - the first within the last 150 years.

Probably we all wish so much that all the whales will survive all the same: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706c.html

The smallest fly in the world: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120706/ew120706h.html

Swarms of desert locusts in Mali: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120720/ew120720b.html

Scientist found out that America was settled in a first wave of immigration about 15'000 years ago and in to following smaller waves. By comparing the genome they even could prove that there was a certain return migration from America to Siberia.

In a town in my neighborhood some Asian beetles that kill deciduous trees were found. They seem to be imported with stones coming from China (to Switzerland - as if we didn't have enough stones...). To be sure they removed many trees in the quarters where they were found.

7) Gallery

It was holiday time so I could take more pictures than usually... - I have uploaded pictures taken in my region as well as pictures in the Bernese / Grisons Alps.

Does anybody know these animals?

Compare these two pictures that show you the same glacier in 2003: and 2012:

On the Vorab glacier several areas are covered with plastic to prevent from melting - looks very technically:

This picture shows two famous things:

And finally a typical (?) Swiss image:

8) School

As we don't have enough engineers in Switzerland and to support scientific education there was founded a "MINT" initiative (= about STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in my region. I was asked to join it and I agreed. Now I wonder what possibilities we will have and I hope that we can really change and improve something.

Apart from that it was holiday time...

9) Projects

Happily the error in the photovoltaic data system has been found, so I should be able to download our data again. We should see whether it works next month.

Don't miss the falling stars: because of the comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle that crossed our orbit on December 11th 1992 there should be many falling starts during the first two weeks of August, with a maximum on August 12th. Don't forget to wish something...

I wish you the decision-making power to work on the fulfillment of some of your wishes.

May the sun shine, all day long, everything go right, and nothing wrong. May those you love bring love back to you, and may all the wishes you wish come true! Markus

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.

Seasons In My Biome: September 2012 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 120831

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

Tomorrow will be the first of September 2012: for us on the northern hemisphere the days get noticeably shorter, the nights are cooler, some birds have already left southbound, several trees have already a touch of yellow, the ice melt will finally reach its turning point (the 2007 record low is already broken: see http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ or below) when after three weeks our planet will reach the autumn equinox. And what about the southern hemisphere? Are people longing for spring? How was their wintertime?


> It's already time to take the September 2012 picture and send it with your personal comment to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch - thank you very much.

As you might have read last month you're also invited to take seasonal cloud pictures and to record seasonal sounds - I would post them on my website with pleasure.

September is a good month to get started: Take a decision and start your own series of pictures as a SIMB photographer or get your students involved in this new school year. I'm convinced that you won't have any regrets about it but that it will help you being more attentive and that it opens your eyes on many other things you don't think of at the moment. All my photographers who participate at least one year will get a personal reward.

My heartfelt thank to all my long-time photographers.

Best wishes Markus

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Warm Arctic sets record for summer sea ice melt by Seth Borenstein / Associated Press Aug 27, 2012 | 967 views | 6 6 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print WASHINGTON - Critical ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to record low levels this sweltering summer and that can make weather more extreme far away from the poles, scientists say.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.

The North Pole region is an ocean that mostly is crusted at the top with ice. In the winter, the frozen saltwater surface usually extends about 6 million square miles, shrinking in summer and growing back in the fall. That's different from Antarctica, which is land covered by ice and snow and then surrounded by sea ice.

Normally sea ice in the Arctic reaches its minimum in mid-September and then starts refreezing. But levels on Sunday shrank 27,000 square miles - about the size of West Virginia - beyond the old record.

Figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979. The ice center bases its figures on averages calculated over five days.

Data center scientist Ted Scambos said the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. There are natural factors involved too, including a storm that chewed up a significant amount ice earlier this month. But, he said, dramatic summer sea ice losses in all but one year since 2007, continuous thin ice, and warm air temperatures show a pattern that can only be explained by climate change.

"It really does imply that the Arctic is moving to a new state," said NASA ice systems program scientist Tom Wagner. "The Arctic is changing."

Wagner and Scambos said in 2007 some people thought it was just an odd year that caused the dramatic melt, but years like this one show something bigger is happening.

This milestone is a "substantial step" to the day when there will be no significant sea ice in the Arctic in the summer, said NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati.

"Why do we care?," Abdalati, an ice scientist, asked. "This ice has been an important factor in determining the climate and weather conditions under which modern civilization has evolved."

Scientists sometimes call the Arctic the world's refrigerator and this is like leaving the fridge door open, Scambos said.

"This is kind of a knob on global weather," Wagner said. "We don't know the impact yet" of fiddling with it.

Scientists say Arctic sea ice helps moderate temperatures further south in the winter and summer. A study earlier this year in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters linked some of the factors behind Arctic sea ice loss to higher probabilities of extreme weather "such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat waves."

Scientists also say sea ice is crucial for polar bears and other animals.

Wagner said the changes in Arctic sea ice fits with glacier loss in Al aska and Canada and ice loss in Greenland. Earlier this summer, NASA satellites reported a dramatic melt in Greenland, where nearly every part of its massive ice sheet started melting, something that last happened in 1889.

Ohio State University ice scientist Jason Box has been monitoring Greenland, where he said temperatures have sometimes been 9 to 18 degrees warmer than normal this summer and the ice is reflecting far less heat - and thus absorbing more energy - than ever before.

Global warming physics for years has been saying if greenhouse gases are causing climate change, the Arctic will feel it first with loss of sea ice and melt in snow and ice on land, Box said.

"We're in a declining trend because the Earth is getting warmer," Scambos said. "It's going to continue to be a series of shrinking ice extents year by year... We're not going back."


Seasons In My Biome: September 2012 news

Uzwil, 120911

Dear colleagues

1) Seasonality

In a fortnight we will be at the autumn equinox which means that for the next half year the nights will be longer than the days on the northern hemisphere. Many people don't like the dark time but for our planet's thermal equilibrium it's important that the northern hemisphere can cool down soon. At the moment the Arctic is still melting and there is as little ice left as never during the last ?? years. I would like to know when the frozen area of the Arctic Ocean was as small as now for the last time.

Here is a link to see how small the area is: and another to see how little ice is left compared to other years (1979-2008): http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html Read also here: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120831/ew120831d.html

As the earth flies faster when it's close to the sun our autumn (89d 20h) and winter (89d 0h) are shorter than spring (92d 18h) and summer (when we are farther from the sun and therefore slower) (93d 16h). This makes 186d 10h from spring to autumn and 178d 20h from autumn to spring. This means that our winter is about 7 days shorter than our summer. 7 days of 365d is about 2%. Do these 2% make a difference? With all the climate change observations we have learnt that tiny differences may cause huge changes over time. 2% isn't nothing. Can it be the reason for the faster melting in the Arctic / the colder Antarctica? (Compare and )

2) Phenology

It was some weeks ago when I noticed that some trees have already a yellowish touch. Although most of them are still green it's time to prepare for the green-down observations. Further north the colors have already started to change as I saw on some of your pictures. Colors can also change depending on the availability of water. Here we had enough rain so the turning must have another reason. Is it already day length or temperature?

GLOBE invites you to participate in a Phenology and Climate Project ( http://www.globe.gov/web/phenology-and-climate/overview). During a local Intensive Observing Period you can schedule yourself you have your students collect phenology, weather and soil data. Thus it should be possible to learn more about all the interactions between the different but interconnected systems. I plan to participate with my 2nd class using some of the MNU lessons.

We have still our phenocams that take pictures of some of our green-down trees, so we can compare our observations with the cameras' pictures and the picture analysis with the real observations.

3) Atmosphere

August was very sunny and warmer than normally as you can see on our temperature diagram: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html

We had several days with temperatures over 30°C even in August which is much more than we had normally.

We had more rain than normally, and for several times it was raining heavily. This explains how August could be also very sunny.

I have uploaded some cloud and atmosphere pictures here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/820clouds.php?fold=simb71208 I was surprised to see all the wonderful colors of the evening sky: I only changed the angle of my camera by about 10° from one picture to the next.

4) Climate

Have you seen Kevin's pictures of the Titlis glacier in his blog? ( http://satellitesk12.org/?p=1055 scroll down about half way) There was even an article in our newspaper about this glacier's sun block. Last month I posted a picture of another Swiss glacier that is protected by tarpaulins (). We all know: we can't stop the melting by this means.

August was sunny and hot also in other parts of Europe. In several south-eastern Europe's countries they had more than 40°C and sometimes even during the night more than 25°C. Also Egypt reports a record low water level of the Nile. This causes severe problems with the drinking water and for agriculture.

Recent Severe Heat and Drought Linked to Climate Change: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120810/ew120810a.html

Northwest Passage Melting Open: Earth Image of the Week: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120810/ew120810x.html

Unprecedented Arctic Vortex Breaking Up Sea Ice: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120817/ew120817g.html

Carbon Dioxide Emissions in U.S. Lowest Since 1992: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120824/ew120824a.html

5) Earth as a system

I was surprised to hear that again a hurricane is threatening New Orleans and we felt relieved when we heard that it wasn't such a catastrophe as last time. All the same there was a lot of damage in Louisiana.

There weren't many wildfires in Alaska this summer, but as much more in other regions of the world, as in Europe, on the Canary Islands, in Russia where the taiga is burning and in the U. S. where fires seem to have destroyed an area of half Switzerland.

Perhaps we'll learn more about the history of our planet by exploring Mars: after a nine month flight the Mars Rover Curiosity landed safely on our neighbour planet and started to explore it.

This August we had ideal conditions to observe the Perseid meteor shower. My son tried to take pictures in the (very) early morning, but it was quite tricky to catch them because you never know where the next one will be...

After 115 years the New Zealand volcano Mount Tongariro erupted. A big area of the northern island was covered by ash. The scientists were surprised by the eruption although they detected some earthquakes before. See http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120810/ew120810d.html and look also at these: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120817/ew120817d.html and http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120824/ew120824x.html

The typhoon Saola caused devastating floodings in the region of Manila / Philippines. At the same time the full moon caused a higher high tide which dammed up the canal's water in Manila's region. Many people died because of this flooding. See also http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120803/ew120803e.html

Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano Spews Ash, Gas and Lava: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120824/ew120824d.html

Hundreds of Tremors Rock Far Southern California: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120831/ew120831h.html

6) Life on Earth

At the end of August somebody posted this on an Alaskan blog page: it's true about the birds taking off for the south. dog woke me up wanting to go outside, while out there I could hear birds honking overhead as they are moving down to the southern U. S. or anyplace else that's warm. The birds are right on time for leaving along with other signs of winter coming also.

There are more locations where experts climb on trees to look for those Asian beetles that seem to have arrived with material from China and that are killing all the trees they lay eggs in. I read that each tree with suspect traces is cut down.

Tropical Plankton Found Living in the Arctic Ocean: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120803/ew120803a.html

Seahorses Being Killed to Extinction: Investigation: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120810/ew120810b.html

UV Radiation Through Ozone Hole Killing Marine Life: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120817/ew120817b.html

7) Gallery

I have uploaded some August 2012 pictures here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91208

Choose yourself what is of interest for you. Some pictures as for example these two are with sounds:

8) School

I mentioned above that it's time to start green-down observations and that GLOBE started a phenology-climate-campaign that might help reveal new coherences.

Perhaps you decide to use frost tubes this winter - then it's clever to produce them now. I can help you if you have any questions about that.

We are about to start our MINT project at school: next week we will write down the road map for this three year project. I'm confident that this will be very helpful for our school and offer more and exciting activities for our students - hopefully also in connection with GLOBE.

9) Projects

As I have finished my Spaceship Earth worksheets and the learning goals for each week I asked a printer's shop for an offer. If I would have printed 200 copies it would cost me more than 20Fr each which means that I would have to invest about 4000Fr totally. At the moment I don't know what to do, I didn't expect it to be so expensive, and there is probably no company that would bear these costs.

At school we have finally found the reason why I couldn't download the photovoltaic data any more. Now it works again. This was the sunniest August since 2006:

I wish you a good start into the new semester if you work at a university and many enlightening lesson with your students if you are a teacher.

I hope you will have a lot of happy September days.

Best wishes Markus

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.

Seasons In My Biome: October 2012 picture - reminder

Uzwil, 120930

As a reminder for the monthly pictures

Dear colleagues

At this time of the year the seasonal conditions on our planet change quickly. Three months ago it was summer resp. winter and there wasn't much change from day to day: it was just warm and bright (resp. cold and dark). It might sound illogical as the Earth's orbit is almost a circle: why should the conditions change differently depending on the Earth's position on the orbit? - It's because of the tilted earth's axis. Therefore the sun's height above the horizon at noon, the sun's declination, is changing from day to day. Mathematically the declination is a sinus function which gives small changes at the summit and in the valley (= end of June and December) and bigger changes between (= end of September and March). (The first derivation is almost 0 around June 21st and December 22nd and about 1 around the equinox).

We in the northern hemisphere are forced to say good-bye to summer and would like to slow down our planet whereas in the southern hemisphere people would accelerate our planet's journey if they could to welcome spring as soon as possible.

It's quite impressive how our trees answer to these changes. I have observed maple leaves that have turned from predominantly green to brown and fallen off during less than a week without heavy rain, wind or frost.

I think during a spell of quiet autumn weather we should observe exactly our trees: leaf fall can be the result of an adapted tree's activity but the process is much affected by frost, wind and heavy rain. Therefore it would be first priority to determine the beginning and second priority the time span of the turning. I think that the beginning of the turning marks the time when a tree starts to end its season's photosynthetic activity whereas the fall of the leaf can only tell us how long it took the tree to extract the storable substances resp. that there was an unusual weather event as a storm or frost. I suppose that a leaf doesn't produce any more many days before it falls, perhaps it stops to work already when it starts to turn its color.

I was happy to get some first pictures of southern hemisphere photographers from Argentina. On this occasion I saw that it is right and important to always think also of the southern hemisphere. I was quite astonished when I viewed the pictures of the spring flooding in Argentina.


> My e-mail should remind you of taking your October 2012 picture
> and send it together with your unique personal comment to markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch - thank you very much.

Now that probably all of us are working again after a short or long summer break it might be the ideal time to start taking pictures yourself or with your students. I would be very happy to welcome you in our circle of SIMB photographers.

In October I plan to update my webpage and to upload all your SIMB pictures. I might ask you for missing pictures or comments and will be very thankful for all your help.

There is another GLOBE expedition on the way up to the summit of Kilimanjaro. It's exciting to follow them on the internet, their webpage was richer from year to year. You can find all the information about and around this thrilling project here: http://xpeditiononline.com/ In fact they reached the summit today: http://xpeditiononline.com/2012journal/2012day8.html

More seasonal news and pictures will follow some days later.

Something you shouldn't miss: a very appropriate and also touching GLOBE video for all the GLOBE teachers. "For all of the things you do, for who you are and for who you inspire us to become, we offer our most sincere thank you.": http://comm.globe.gov/link.php?M=81033&N=169&L=471&F=T


Seasons In My Biome: November 2012 news

Uzwil, 121111

Dear colleagues

We all are in the midst of the semester, many things are running simultaneously and I hope that among other duties you always have moments you can enjoy in your work with the students. I have been working on my webpage and still haven't finished the upload of all your pictures - I'm grateful for you patience and hope you comprehend that always my job comes first.

At school the probation period will be over at the end of next week for my class which means that I must have ready all the assessments and evaluations, must have talked to the parents and so on. I consider it a gift to get new motivated and inquisitive students with different abilities time and again.

Probably you have already come to know that GLOBE has a new director: Tony Murphy. I met him at Boulder this spring and my impression is that this was an excellent choice: http://www.globe.gov/web/guest/news/newsdetail/globe/globe-welcomes-new-director-dr-tony-murphy

But now my SIMB news:

0) New front page picture

I took my new front page picture ( http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/) on a bright October day. I'm always fascinated how the cornel cherry develops the buds for next spring very early. It's interesting how the buds sprout out of the same shoot as the leaves that meanwhile have fallen. On the picture you can't see the spot where the leaf will be shed.

1) Seasonality

I have tried to visualize where on its orbit around the sun our planet is at the moment. As I announced in my November reminder I used a dial as an aid: for example 12 o'clock means December 1st, 3 o'clock means March 1st, and so on. The blue circle is the Earth, the yellow one the Sun. The other colors indicate the four seasons See

So far I have updated the pictures of photographer 1 to 16 and I will continue this work during this month.

I'm happy that I have some new photographers, among them a student from Latvia. I think it's a great idea for a teacher to propose such a long term study to your students. It's something they can do autonomously after instruction. And I try to support them as best I can.

In the Arctic region winter has arrived undoubtedly, but here it’s still autumn. All the same we should be prepared for winter. It would be great if some of you could protocol snow depth, ice cover and / or how deeply the soil is frozen (with a frost tube). I would like to collect your data and show it graphically. With that we could compare how winterly the winter was in different regions.

The early onset of winter we had at the end of October (see below, point 3) showed the wide range of possible conditions within one season and within one climatic zone. For some days you considered yourself to be in mid winter - but disturbing was that most of the trees still had leaves which made many of them break down. I realized how certain influences (as cold wind from the north) can change the conditions within a very short time (1-2 days). I saw how a steady climate means among others steady conditions in the atmosphere. But the fundamental changes depend on the incoming solar energy which is the motor of atmospheric processes and changes seasonally. - Interestingly enough I found this article; if an atmospheric belt shifts climatic zones will shift, too: http://earthweek.com/2012/ew121012/ew121012b.html + http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121019/ew121019c.html

Meanwhile the ice extent increases in the Arctic () and decreases (after a record that shall be - among other reasons - because of the ozone hole: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026x.html) distinctly in the Antarctic (). But still we have a deficit of about 1'400'000km2 (about 34 times the surface of Switzerland) compared to the 1979-2008 mean. See also http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120928/ew120928x.html and http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121005/ew121005c.html and http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121019/ew121019b.html

Seasonal sounds: Nature gets quieter towards winter, therefore many of my seasonal sounds are sounds of wind and water, as for example or or - or fallen leaves:

It made me smile when I read this post: "Ah, Alaska. How I do love thee. Let me count the ways. I love the summer, the spring, the winter, but oh how I love the fall. I shall never leave my beloved Alaska, ever, ever, ever. May my ashes wash onto the banks of your rivers and have life everlasting."

2) Phenology

I took some pictures of certain leaves this autumn to document the autumnal turning. I noticed that this process is very different from one species to another. Some leaves change slowly over weeks whereas others change color quickly and soon fall off. This process was disturbed by a spell of cold days at the end of October (see next item). Some days later I saw that some trees had brown rolled up leaves because of the early snow and frost. I wonder when and how they will be dropped this autumn as the plant couldn't regain the leaves' substances in time.

About fall colors in the U. S.: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121005/ew121005x.html

Interesting is that now, after the snow has melted and the temperatures are above zero again some trees have still green leaves as if nothing happened. Amazing. Pictures:

I have some very late apples in my garden and wonder how they survived these winterly days:

The early snow caused many leaves to fall within a short time. At certain places you couldn't see the ground any more: I used this occasion to get a collection of different colored leaves (as some trees lost almost all of their leaves: green, yellow and brown leaves at the same time) for my SAB workshops (last year I had a workshop in early March when you can't find any leaves except evergreen). I squeezed (?) some of them and - as an experiment - some others I laminated directly. I wonder whether they will decompose or not.

I'm happy that we have got the green light to acquire plants for our new phenological garden. This means that I can start planning with my new class to implement it next year.

And a second green light appears for the PhenoCam? project: It has overcome the next hurdle and the proposal was with some changes accepted by the CCES board. This means probably that we can accomplish our project as planned - wonderful.

I attached a trunk circumference measuring tape to learn how it works before we use it at school. We want to see how much a tree is growing during the "growing season" and whether it really grows from green-up to green-down. Picture:

3) Atmosphere

Our October could be divided into four phases, each about one week: 1) sunny and warm 2) rainy and cooler 3) golden autumn weather 4) winterly cold with snow - I'm sure you can recognize these four phases here: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/810weather.html

It was an abrupt change from warmer than usually late October days (a record of 29°C in Vaduz FL about 1 week before the snow came) to our first snow: it looked as winterly as normally in January or February, it was snowing heavily, we had temperatures below zero and I was surprised how fast such a change can come:

Over all the month was 0.4°C warmer than the 1961-1990 average because of the two sunny weeks. The end of the month was several degrees below average. We had more rain than usually in October: 145% of the longtime average because of very intense rain in the second week. We had about 100hours of sunshine which is 110% of the long term mean. The incoming energy can also be seen on the diagram of our solar power plant:

If you are interested in clouds check my October 2012 pictures: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/820clouds.php?fold=simb71210

Because of the foehn we had again amazing sky colors in the morning: here is one example:

4) Climate

The early onset of winter showed once more how variable the weather (the current conditions) within one climatic zone can be. And how admirable the parts of a natural system fit together (normally): At this occasion we saw the consequences of snow on trees that still have leaves. Normally we only get snow during the period when trees have no leaves. They wouldn't be able to bear that load of snow: because of the leaves much more snow remains up in a tree:

A sad consequence of this early winterly weather was that several persons died of exposure, mainly in France and Poland.

Here is another collection of pictures that show you how much conditions can change within a short time: it's always the same hill in my region, and I took several pictures each month (click on "next"):

More reports about our real climate change: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121005/ew121005a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121019/ew121019a.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121102/ew121102a.html

And about historic changes: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121012/ew121012a.html

5) Earth as a system

We all hold our breath when we heard about the hurricane Sandy that aimed to the very populated eastern coast of the U. S. There were severe damages, above all near the coast. But also far inland the storm brought heavy rain and high winds as Kevin and even Greg told me. As far as I know it's quite unusual that such a massive storm hits the eastern coast so far north so late in the year. See also http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026e.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121102/ew121102e.html

But also in other regions of our world some violent storms caused damage and claim the lives of people: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121102/ew121102f.html

They almost seem to be inspired by our PhenoCam? project, but of course they had their ideas independently: Sometimes you will ask yourself whether it is real or not in this time-lapse video of Switzerland by night: http://helvetiabynight.com/

Matthias Huss and Daniel Farinotti have found a new method to calculate the volume of all the glaciers of the world much more precisely than before: http://www.unifr.ch/news/de/index.php?id=9023/ http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012JF002523.shtml Their result: the roughly 200'000 glaciers of the world have about 170'000km3 of ice which is about the volume of the Red Sea. If all of them melted the sea level would rise by 43cm which is less than expected before - compare with such news: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121005/ew121005b.html

Volcanic activities in October: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew120928/ew120928d.html http://earthweek.com/2012/ew121012/ew121012d.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121019/ew121019d.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026d.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121102/ew121102d.html

Earth quakes: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121019/ew121019f.html http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026f.html

Have you ever heard of ice quakes? http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121005/ew121005c.html

6) Life on Earth

In the last PolarNEWS? magazine ( http://www.polarnews.ch/images/stories/magazin/015/PolarNEWS_15_1_19.pdf, page 18) was an article about bird migration. Some (northern) wheatear [Oenanthe oenanthe] (Steinschmätzer) were equipped with 1.2g light data loggers. I didn't know that some birds that live in Alaska during summer fly to Africa over the Bering Street, across Russia, Kazakhstan, Arabia, East Africa; 160km per day in the average and on their way back in spring up to 250km per day. Some birds from the Baffin Island took the route to the east: the flew 3500km over the Atlantic Ocean to the British Islands, then south over western Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, the Sahara to Mauritania and finally turned to eastern Africa. This means about 29'000km per year - for this 28g light bird.

Did you hear that a new lizard species was discovered in western Australia - and seems to be threatened with extinction? See http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/fears-for-lizard-species-discovered-in-wa-20121029-28f3k.html or http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/neu-entdeckte-echse-ctenotus-ora-koennte-bald-aussterben-a-864002.html

This connects me with my Argentinean friends: In a magazine about birds ( http://www.birdlife.ch/ornis112, scroll to the bottom) I read an article about Los Esteros del Iberá. This marshland, 1 day north of Buenos Aires, seems to be a hotspot of biodiversity: I read that about a third of Argentina's biodiversity is concentrated here. I heard that you can find floating islands (embalsados) there which are typical for that habitat ( http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1f9dbb/ http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/universo/2009/01/10/110938). But as everywhere this paradise seems to be threatened by rice farmers and ranchers through water withdrawal, use of fertilizers, intense grazing and slash-and-burn.

The zoo of Zurich reported a success in the offspring of Java mouse-deer, the smallest hoofed animal of the world. Have you ever heard of this totally amazing animal? Read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_mouse-deer and watch this video (in German only, but pictures could be interesting for everybody): http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/startseite/das-kleinkantschil-1.17688686

In our newspaper was an article about food waste: I read that every year 2'000'000'000kg of untainted food end up in the trash and that a fifth of all food shopping is never used as food. I absolutely can't understand this.

In Switzerland the bearded vulture [Gypaetus barbatus] (Bartgeier) was extinct and some years ago a program to reintroduce it started. Now they seem to be successful (in the valley I visit with my teachers' workshop they released some of them, too) and want people to count this birds all over the Alps: http://www.wild.uzh.ch/bg/frame.php?bi=0&bg=0&ya=0&la=d&th=proj&st=2 and http://www.wild.uzh.ch/bg/frame.php?bi=0&bg=0&ya=0&la=d&th=proj&st=6

Another article made me realize that the deep-sea is the biggest living space on Earth - and is probably the most underexplored. See http://www.imax.com/deepsea/

I never heard before that even spiders threatened of extinction are reintroduced: http://earthweek.com/2012/ew121012/ew121012g.html

Additional dangers after flooding: http://earthweek.com/2012/ew121012/ew121012c.html

Dolphins are wonderful animals: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026c.html

Where our waste shouldn't arrive: http://www.earthweek.com/2012/ew121026/ew121026a.html

7) Questions

I implemented this new link (main menu here http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/index.html or directly here http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb99999) to start a collection of real questions: Questions I don't know the answer (questions that might be interesting for scientists) or that might have been answered already but could be beneficial to solve again by own research (questions that might be interesting for students). I also want to show my students time and again that there are still many questions that are unanswered - and last but not least that looking for answers can be thrilling and fun.

Of course I would be interested to know your or your students' answers to any of these questions.

And you are invited to contribute to this collection with your own questions (preferably with a picture but no problem if it’s only text).

8) Gallery

As this was such a rich month I have many pictures that tell you something about this season in my biome, about seasonality and phenology: http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91210

I took most pictures in my region, some of them however in the canton of Valais: I could refresh some childhood memories of the Loetschental and the Rhone valley and explore a southern tributary valley of the Rhone valley I never visited before.

Finally I uploaded some pictures of our wonderful journey to Estonia in July 2011: Enjoy! http://www.seasonsandbiomes.net/350gallery2.php?fold=simb91107 If you like music you should start the player of these pictures: - speaking of singing: my Estonian friends might be curious to know that during our last agricultural fair (OLMA) in St. Gallen there was for the first time a sing event similar to your song festivals: at least 700 singers form 26 choirs have practiced the same songs and were singing together: http://www.thurgauerzeitung.ch/dossiers/olma/art185375,3167508

9) School

GLOBE activities: at school I prepare our frost tubes (we must take them out in spring because the lawn mower sucks them out of the soil and chuffs them...) and explain my students how we will observe and protocol snow, ice and frozen soil.

As Kevin reminded me of the upcoming Surface Temperature Campaign I will tell my students about it next week.

MINT (STEM): We are about to bring the road map into its final wording. At the end of October we had a meeting with other teachers from my and the neighbouring canton who are in the same project. I suppose these are all teachers that love to teach sciences - this would be a great audience for GLOBE... (But I heard that many other institutions think the same). We are not only a MINT- but also a SWiSE? school (see http://www.swise.ch/): this covers even more cantons of Switzerland and seems to be a really promising way to improve scientific education.

When we studied the powers of ten one of my students came one morning to my desk and gave me a little piece of paper with an internet link and said that he found this page when he was looking for a game. As it is available in many languages it might be useful for you and your students as well, it's marvelous: http://htwins.net/scale2/lang.html

10) Projects

The diagram of our solar power plant shows not only the energy we could sell but also the intensity of the incoming solar radiation that could be used by plants (perhaps different wavelengths?). However it might be interesting to take a look at the diagram from this point of view: (snow covered the modules at the end of October)

Beyond all your (important) basic educational work I wish you time and again some exciting and gratifying moments with your students Markus

Please send an e-mail to me (markus.eugster@schule-uzwil.ch) if you want me to delete your address in my SIMB mailing list.

 
© A. Streiff, Oberstufenlehrer. Alle können eigenverantwortlich mitmachen, habt etwas Mut! last change: 7. Februar 2014