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.
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.
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, Lithuania, 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, Lithuania, 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 ground measurements) and entries should point out the relation with climate. To ideas on how to access satellite data have a look here.
If you experience problems or have further questions, please contact the ESA Education Team by writing an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . When applicable, teams can also contact their national coordinators.
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
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.
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:
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.
• 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.
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