FHSU students take Earth's temperature

Fort Hays State University's chapter of the National Science Teachers Association and the Physics Club are working together to take Earth's temperature.

Their data will help Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment.

"GLOBE's project unites schools around the world in an effort to validate satellites' computing processes," said Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz Professor of Education, professor of physics and NSTA sponsor. "The information is for use with satellites as ground truth and also is being used to find out the temperature of land areas in and about schools."

Beginning on Oct. 16, students have gone outside one hour before solar noon and one hour after to collect data about the type of clouds in the sky, cloud cover and jet contrails -- all of which affect satellites' data collection processes.

They also use an infrared thermometer to measure surface temperatures of two specific sites on the FHSU campus. One site is located in the parking lot behind Tomanek Hall and the second is in the field behind that parking lot.

The thermometer detects surface temperature by collecting the amount of heat radiation and converting that reading into a temperature.

Students' observations are documented online.

"I've seen the graph for our data; it's very interesting to see the variations," said Eryn Norton, Hays sophomore. Norton, NSTA president, is the local coordinator for the project.

Wednesday, Nov. 23, will be the last day of data collection.

"It will be exciting to see the graphs the other groups come up with and learn more about Earth's surface temperature distribution," said Adams.

FHSU became involved in the project when Adams attended a GLOBE training session.

"They were looking for places to collect data, and I thought this was a good project," he said. "I just brought the idea back to the students. They took the initiative to follow through."

Schools from around the world, including such places as Lebanon, Thailand and Dominican Republic, are participating in the project.

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