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FAQ’s – Climate detectives
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FAQ’s

About Climate Detectives

Climate Detectives is an ESA school project for students between 8 and 15 years old. Teams of students are called to ‘make a difference’: identify a local climate problem, investigate it by using data from ground measurements and/or data from Earth observation satellites, and then decide on the actions they want to take to help reduce and raise awareness of the problem. At the end, all participating teams share their research findings on the Climate Detectives  platform.

The Climate Detectives project features three phases. See below the deadlines:

• Phase 1 – Identify a climate problem and submit your investigation plan, from 17 September to 24 November 2020

• Phase 2 – Investigate the climate problem, from December 2020 to 18 April 2021

• Phase 3 – Share results and make a difference, from 19 April to 19 May 2021

To join the Climate Detectives you must be part of a team (2 students up to the whole class) and supported by a teacher or educator.  If there is a national coordinator in our country you have to apply to the project through it. Check if there is a project being run in your country here.

If there is no national coordinator, teams have to apply to the project through the ESA Education office. The investigation plans must be submitted here.

Teams should read carefully the guidelines of the project before joining it.

Yes. One teacher can sign up maximum three student teams.

Participation is open to teams of school students from 8 up to (and including) 15 years old. Students must be from a school located in an ESA Member State, Canada, Latvia, Malta and Slovenia. ESA will also accept entries from primary or secondary schools located outside of Europe and Canada if such schools are officially authorised and/or certified by the official Education authorities of an ESA Member State, Canada, Latvia, Malta and Slovenia (for instance, French school outside Europe officially recognised by French Ministry of Education or delegated authority).

Teams from a country with a National Coordinator can submit their investigation plan (phase 1) in their national language. Teams have to submit their final projects (phase 3) in English through the Climate Detectives platform.

If there is no National Coordinator, teams have to apply to the project through the ESA Education office. Both, investigation plan and final project must be submitted in English.

Yes.  The project must include the use of data (from Earth Observation satellites or local ground measurements) and entries should point out the relation with climate.  Teams can access satellite data making use of the online tool EO Browser. EO Browser’s Education mode gives the option to access  specific satellite data tailored to a selected theme. Themes cover different topics, from agriculture to atmosphere and water bodies.

Yes. All teams that share their final projects on the Climate Detectives platform will receive a certificate of participation by email.

If you experience problems or have further questions, please contact the ESA Education Team by writing an e-mail to climate.detectives@esa.int . When applicable,  teams can also contact their national coordinators.

 

I want to investigate…

If you want to investigate weather and climate, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • Start by reading some general climate documents (do not go into detailed reports) of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). There is a summary for teachers available here.
  • Find your local/regional/national meteorological institute or weather service in this list. You can also collect historical weather data.
  • The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) provides monthly climate bulletins and information about the past, present and future climate in Europe and the rest of the World.
  • The C3S Climate & Energy Education demo displays four climate variables (air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and global horizontal irradiance) graphically for Europe.
  • This classroom resource explains the difference between weather and climate and how scientists predict what Earth’s climate will be like in the future.

 

Do you want to collect your own data?

Keep a register of local weather that could include measurements of:

  • Air Temperature
  • Precipitation
  • Wind
  • Humidity

 

Interview parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. asking them if they think the weather has changed.

If you want to investigate (extreme) weather, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • Find your local/regional/national meterological institute or weather service in this list.
  • Get more background information about storms and tornadoes here.
  • The products available in this link could help to determine the relationship between extreme weather events and the state of the atmosphere beforehand.
  • You can investigate cloud and weather patterns making use of EO Data available in EO Browser. The true colour imagery in Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite products as well as the cloud products available in Copernicus Sentinel-5P data can be particularly useful.
  • Wind can tell us so much about how air masses move and how large storms move from being over the Atlantic to over Europe – as an example. This tool can often help visualise wind patterns, as well as atmosphere and ocean conditions.
  • This classroom resource uses the example of Hurricane Matthew to explore the applications of Earth observation data in tracking hurricanes.

 

Do you want to collect your data?

Keep a register of local weather that could include measurements of:

  • Air Temperature
  • Precipitation
  • Wind
  • Humidity

Interview parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. asking them if they remember the occurrence of extreme weather events.

If you want to investigate floods & droughts, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • Find your local/regional/national meteorological institute or weather service in this list.
  • Look for historical maps to see how rivers have changed
  • The European Drought Observatory provides drought-relevant information such as mapsof indicators. Different tools, like graphs and compare Layers, allow for displaying and analysing the information and irregularly published “Drought News” give an overview of the situation in case of imminent droughts.
  • EO Browser offers a “Floods & Droughts” theme in Education mode with preselected satellite and visualization options.
  • The Copernicus Emergency Management System provides maps about floods.

If you want to investigate water bodies, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • EO Browser offers an “Oceans and water bodies” theme in Education mode with preselected satellite and visualization options.
  • • The BlueDot Water Observatory platform is based on the Copernicus satellite imagery and provides information about water levels of lakes, dams, reservoirs, wetlands and similar water bodies globally.
  • • The classroom resource “Highways of the oceans“ explains sea currents and their importance for understanding local climates.

 

Do you want to collect your data?

Keep a register for local water bodies that could include measurements of:

  • • Salinity
  • • Acidity
  • • Organisms
  • • Flora

If you want to investigate air pollution, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data. When investigating air pollution don’t forget to point out the relation with climate.

  • • The European Environmental Agency (EEA) provides a lot of information on Air Quality.
  • • National environmental agencies can also be a good source of information.
  • • The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is measuring NO2 and other pollutants from space. You can find data from this and other satellites in EO Browser. Select the theme Atmosphere and Pollution.
  • • This ESA EO Browser tutorial explains how to use satellite data to measure air pollution
  • • The Atmospheric monitoring service from the Copernicus programme provides a European and global forecast daily.

 

Do you want to collect your data?

  • • You can find many ideas to build your own air quality sensor online. It is important to compare your measurements with official measurements to ensure accuracy. Whenever possible talk to experts from a local university or city officials in charge of air pollution measurements.
  • • Weather plays an important role in air quality. Therefore, you can also keep a register of local weather.
  • • Interview parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. asking them if they remember how the air quality used to be.

If you want to investigate flora & fauna, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • EO Browser offers a “Vegetation” theme in Education mode with preselected satellite and visualization options.
  • • The ESA Education classroom resource “Infrared webcam hack” explains why we can see vegetation so well in satellite images.
  • • The Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests. You can access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world.

 

Do you want to collect your data?

Keep a register of local your local environment that could include:

  • • Vegetation maps 
  • •  Plant types
  • • Plants per area
  • • Seasonal changes
  • • Analysis of bio indicators e.g. lichens. They can provide you with information regarding the health of vegetation. 

If you want to investigate wildfires, the following list may provide you with ideas on where you can find data.

  • EO Browser offers a “Wildfires” theme in Education mode with preselected satellite and visualization options.
  • • This ESA EO Browser tutorial explores how to use satellite data to investigate wildfires.
  • • You can also have a look to what some Climate Detectives teams have done in past editions. Check here.

 

Do you want to collect your data?

Keep a register of the local environment that could include measurements of the health state of vegetation after the fire and how the vegetation is recovering.

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