Climate Detectives Projects 2018-2019

Project topic: Global warming

Project title: The climate of the city of Heraklion, Crete and how drought and African winds impact ecosystems and communities.

Team: climate-busters!

2018-2019   Experimental High School of Heraklion, Crete, Greece   Heraklion   Greece   15 Student’s age: 12-13

Summary of the project

We investigate the problem of drought and the problems that occur from south winds in our hometown Heraklion, in the island of Crete in Greece. For this purpose we analyze data of temperature and precipitation for thirty years taken from Hellenic National Meteorological Service. Additionally we analyze data from Sentinel satellites via EO browser in the region of Heraklion and surroundings. The mean air temperature of the region of Heraklion increases while the amount of precipitation decreases showing that the climate of our region changes during the last thirty years. We also observe that winds from Sahara desert affect the region of Crete. The land of Africa is getting warmer, therefore hot winds circulate more often in the region of Mediterranean sea. We also ask grandparents that give us very interesting information about changes that have happened over their lifetimes. Finally we mention the importance to have data in order to study the climate, thus EO browser is the ultimate tool for this purpose. Citizens of the Earth have to be aware to climate change and all students have to be educated for this crucial issue.

Main results

We collect data of the mean temperature and precipitation for the Heraklion from Hellenic National Meteorological Service during the years 1974-2004. During these thirty years, the mean temperature in Heraklion has an increasing tendency while precipitation has a decreasing tendency. Combining these observations from the data of temperature and precipitation we understand that the climate in the region of Heraklion becomes more hotter in time and why drought is a serious problem. We take data from the EO browser (Sentinel-3 satellite). We observe strong winds from Sahara desert coming often in the region of Crete affecting humans, animals as well as affecting the crops of the local agriculture. These winds carry particles of dust and other harmful particles reducing visibility and the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface. While most of the particles reflect sunlight, dust absorbs infrared radiation and cause local warming. Finally, the dry vegetation in Crete is obvious using images from Sentinel-3 (images taken in the summer and in the winter). We also ask our grandparents how they experience the change in the climate. They said that the summers used to be milder and not as hot as they are now with more rainfall. They also observed that local rivers have changed dramatically. They recall swimming in the rivers in the summer, where there used to be eels, turtles, crabs and small fish which have now disappeared. Additionally the phenomenon of African dust storms was not so frequent or so extreme. We also observe typical images from Proba-V one day before African winds and the day where African winds occurred in our region.

Actions to help lessen the problem

We propose specific actions in order to reduce the amount of water in every house. For example a family has to have full load in the washers (both in washer of clothes and dishes). Installation of adjustable toilet flapper, as well as shorter in time showers for every member of the family. Check pipes for leaks. In general we have to buy less products, and reduce the time that we spent in our cars if it is possible (less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere). We discuss our findings with our teachers and our parents.

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