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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Climate Scientists and Students Come Together for Climate Day 2008
April 01, 2008

Link to a movie 'Hot Topic: Earth
Scientists and educators teach students about climate change and its impact on Earth.'

Watch the video - Hot Topic: EarthScientists and educators teach students about climate change and its impact on Earth.

Global climate change, and global warming in particular, is often making the headlines these days and it turns out that not only scientists and politicians are seeing the headlines... students are, too.

On 18 March 2008, JPL's Earth science public engagement team presented Climate Day 2008 in conjunction with the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence- (COSEE) West and the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program/Technical Center (ESGV ROP/TC). The goals of the event, hosted by the ROP on their Del Norte Campus in West Covina, California, were to bring high school students together with climate scientists to learn about the science of climate and climate change, and the important role that NASA satellites play in monitoring Earth and its climate. An important objective was to provide information that participants could use to personally play a part in reducing their own impacts on global climate. Another objective, according to Annie Richardson, Climate Day founder and Earth Science Public Engagement team member, was that the students "have fun". Remarked Richardson, "At the end of the day, I would really like for the students to be able to say, I learned what scientists are finding out about global warming, and I had fun learning it".

Approximately 950 students and 25 teachers participated in some part of the 5-hour event that included lectures by Climate Project scientist, JoBea Holt, JPL scientists Eric Fetzer, Chip Miller and Josh Willis, and JPL Public Engagement Manager, Karen Yuen. Rick Dickert, broadcast meteorologist for Fox 11 news and Tom Farr, JPL geologist/paleoclimatologist discussed careers with students.

JPL's Richard Shope, facilitated an activity in which students used theater arts to portray climate and climate change issues. Dr. Shope, a science educator and mime, who gets students to act out the science story, said having Climate Day was "a way to help the next generation realize that they are going to have to solve these problems as well."

Cosee-West and JPL staff presented workshops and hands-on activities, and facilitated career discussions with students. An exhibit area included information and spacecraft models (SRTM, Jason, Cloudsat and QuikSCAT) from JPL, Cosee-West, Citrus College, and the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.

Organizers hope to make Climate Day an annual event that will ultimately reach many people across the nation and the world.

Using a myriad of Earth orbiting satellites and missions, NASA and JPL are playing a significant role in our understanding of climate change. The Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite (OSTM/Jason-2) will launch on 15 June 2008 to measure sea surface topography, providing scientific data for monitoring sea level rise and global ocean circulation. Data from OSTM/Jason-2 and its predecessors Jason-1 and TOPEX/Poseidon, make a significant contribution to our understanding of the ocean's role in climate.

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