Archive | GIFT RSS feed for this section

Teachers at Sea: science, core drills, and buoys

19 Jun

In the next two weeks, GeoLog has the pleasure to host reports from Teachers at Sea. This educational programme, co-sponsored by the European Geosciences Union (EGU) and the French Polar Insitute (IPEV), gives school teachers the opportunity to take part in oceanographic cruises with scientists. This year, Sandrine Vivier and Ana Sánchez, teachers of Biology and Geology in Rodez (France) and Madrid (Spain), respectively, together with EGU’s Education Chair Carlo Laj, join scientists on board of the Marion Dufresne. The research vessel is navigating the South China Sea where teachers will work alongside scientists in collecting marine sediments to retrieve the secrets of deep ocean circulation and understand past variations of the Asian Monsoon. Check out the first post of this series here.

Report 2: The scientific adventure begins

Location of the Marion Dufresne

Hello everyone!

This morning [18/06] we had our first meeting with Catherine Kissel and Zhimin Jian, the two chief scientists, who outlined the main scientific objectives of the CIRCEA (CIRCulation East Asian regions) mission, and also told us about the difficulties encountered during the preparation of this cruise.

Catherine Kissel explains the scientific objectives of CIRCEA

We then listened to a technical introduction to the different coring systems available on the Marion Dufresne (the Calypso and Casq corers) by Yvan Réeaud of the French Polar Institute (IPEV).

In the afternoon, the Malaysian team from the University Sains Malaysia in Penang, presented some of their research programmes. First, Nithiyaa Nilamani, a PhD student, introduced us to the topic of ocean acidification, describing some of her first results and giving an overview on the impact of the decrease in pH in the ocean on calcareous organisms such as coral reefs. Then Foong Swee Yeok, a lecturer at the University, gave an overview of the situation of mangrove trees in Malaysia, with emphasis on the massive destruction of this habitat due to the 2004 tsunami, but also as a result of human activities.

Carlo and Yvan preparing Calypso

On board, people are getting their instruments ready for operating at the first site, which we will reach in two days. On the deck in the back of the Marion, Yvan tested the triggering mechanism for the Calipso corer, which is our main coring instrument; in front Sandrine tested a buoy built by her pupils in France, in the framework of an educational program sponsored by the French Space Agency (CNES). If all goes as planned, the buoy will be dropped into the South China Sea, will wander around pushed by surface currents, and transmit data on the temperature of the water and movement of waves, as well as the approximate state of the sea. Students and teachers in France will receive this information via satellite. Today Sandrine tested the batteries inside the buoy and so far so good. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of this project.

Aline, Aurélie and Sandrine test Neptune, a CNES-students buoy

We have also started a movie on the life on board, which we hope to be able to show at the 2013 GIFT Workshop in Vienna.

Keep checking this space for more updates on the life and work on board the Marion Dufresne!

By Sandrine Vivier, Ana Sánchez, and Carlo Laj

Advertisements

Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) at the 2012 General Assembly

20 Apr

The EGU’s Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) programme offers teachers the opportunity to hone their skills in EGU related subject areas. As one of GIFT’s most important activities, the General Assembly Workshop is organised annually and combines presentations on current research by leading scientists with hands-on activities presented by educators to roughly one hundred invited teachers.

Make sure to watch the video from last year's workshop on the EGU YouTube page!

Water! is the theme of this year’s GIFT Workshop series (Room 29, Monday, 23 April, 8:30-17:00; Tuesday, 24 April, 8:30-17:00; Wednesday, 25 April, 8:30-10:00) which kicks off with a guided visit to the Vienna Natural History Museum on the afternoon of 22 April.

Described in the preliminary programme, the series will provide a thorough introduction to the water cycle, with a focus on global freshwater availability and distribution, the over-exploitation of water, strategies for sustainable water use, and the threats of environmental change. As always, additional contributions from attending teachers are welcome.

Deadline approaching: applications for the GIFT Symposium

16 Nov

Applications for the 2012 GIFT Symposium should be received by November 30, 2011. Send your application via email to any of the members of the Committee on Education preferentially the member in your country if there is one. Details for the application are below.

The 2012-GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) symposium will take place on April 23-25, 2012 during the General Assembly of EGU in Vienna Austria. The general theme of the workshop is « Water!» and will be dedicated to the study of the hydrological problems of our planet.

The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. It also involves the exchange of heat energy, which leads to temperature changes. The water cycle figures significantly in the maintenance of life, society and ecosystems on Earth. However, several problems threaten water resources today, which are related to the unsustainable use of water and the lack of adequate supply of water in many parts of the world. Such problems are caused by an ever increasing population, consumerism, urbanization and changes in agricultural practice.

In addition, as the water cycle involves heat exchange, it has a two-way feedback with our climate as well. In particular, the effects of atmospheric global warming on the water cycle are significant. Observed warming over several decades has been linked to changes in the large-scale hydrological cycle such as:

• increasing atmospheric water vapor content;
• changing precipitation patterns, intensity and extremes;
• reduced snow cover and widespread melting of ice;
• and changes in soil moisture and runoff.

As a consequence, water resources have already been deeply affected by global warming: sea levels have risen, glaciers have retreated. The hydrological cycle is heavily affected by land use change which in turn affects groundwater recharge. The above problems cause concerns in almost every sector of everyday life, and geo-engineers are seeking ways of mitigation. All water bodies are going to be affected by global warming, making knowledge of the water cycle essential for any kind of human activity. Entire regions on Earth would face extreme temperatures eventually associated with torrential rainfalls whilst other regions would experience scarcity of water and droughts.

In the GIFT workshop “Water!” all the different aspects of the water cycle will be described and discussed. Talks will focus on global freshwater availability and distribution, overexploitation of water, strategies for sustainable use of water in the future and the threats by environmental change. Particular regions where global warming will have a major impact, such as the regions depending on the water supply from the Himalayan, Alpine and Andes mountain glaciers will be used as exemplars. The use of naturally occurring isotopes to “fingerprint” sources of water in precipitation and rivers, and the presence of ‘ancient’ water beneath the deserts and other areas, will also be discussed..

Focus will also be put on climate model simulations for the 21st century, mitigation measures to reduce the magnitude of impacts of global warming on water resources, and water resources management and its impacts on other policy areas.

As in every GIFT Symposium, contributions by the attending teachers on particular “off-the-program” activities that they may have had in their classrooms are particularly welcomed, either as poster or oral presentations, even if their subject is not directly related to the theme of the workshop.

Also, a first step will be a guided visit to the Vienna Museum of Natural Sciences, on Sunday April 22 afternoon, followed by a small reception as an ice-breaker event.

Grants are available to support teachers to participate in the 2012 Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) Symposium at the 2012 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. Selected teachers will receive a travel /hotel stipend and free registration to the meeting.

Participating teachers will be selected based on their teaching experience and a supporting statement from their school administration. Selected teachers will be expected to attend the entire workshop and submit a statement within 1 year after the workshop on their impression of the workshop and how they plan to use this experience in their future teaching activities.

To apply please submit the following information:

• Applicant name, contact information, E-mail address
• School name and address
• List the subjects you teach, and the ages of students
• The workshop will be conducted in English. Please describe your capability to understand and speak English.
• A description of any leadership activities you have taken at your school or in national educational activities (examples: training new teachers, developing curriculum, etc.).
• A letter of recommendation from the senior administrator in your school supporting your application (by attached pdf document).
• (Optional) There will be opportunities for teachers to present any creative science activities they have developed for their classrooms to other teachers at the workshop. These presentations can be in the form of a talk, a poster or a demonstration. If you would like to present a science activity, please provide a title and description for inclusion in the program.

Applications should be received as soon as possible and in any case no later than November 30, 2011.

This information is also available in pdf format.

EGU General Assembly 2012 Call for Papers

9 Nov

Abstract submission for the EGU General Assembly 2012 (EGU2012) is now open. The General Assembly is being held from Sunday 22 Apr 2012 to Friday 27 Apr 2012 at the Austria Center Vienna, Austria.

You can browse through the Sessions online.

Each Session shows the link Abstract Submission. Using this link you are asked to log in to the Copernicus Office Meeting Organizer. You may submit the text of your contribution as plain text, LaTeX, or MS Word content. Please pay attention to the First Author Rule.

The deadline for the receipt of Abstracts is 17 January 2012. In case you would like to apply for support, please submit no later than 15 December 2011. Information about the financial support available can be found on the Support and Distinction part of the EGU GA 2012 website.

Further information about the EGU General Assembly 2012 on it’s webpages. If you have any questions email the meeting organisers Copernicus.

GIFT workshop on Ocean Acidification

5 Aug

A Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshop was held in Penang, Malaysia on the 23rd and 24th June 2011 on theme of ocean acidification. Over 40 teachers took part, participating in 8 lectures and a viewing of Tipping Point. The brochure, presentations and a video are available online on the GIFT pages on the EGU website.

Call for applications: 2012 GIFT Syposium

27 Jul

The 2012 GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) symposium will take place on April 23-25, 2012 during the EGU General Assembly 2012 in Vienna Austria. The general theme of the workshop is «Water!» and will be dedicated to the study of the hydrological problems of our planet. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2011. This pdf gives more details (also available on the EGU website.

In the GIFT workshop “Water!” all the different aspects of the water cycle will be described and discussed. Talks will focus on global freshwater availability and distribution, overexploitation of water, strategies for sustainable use of water in the future and the threats by environmental change. Particular regions where global warming will have a major impact, such as the regions depending on the water supply from the Himalayan, Alpine and Andes mountain glaciers will be used as exemplars. The use of naturally occurring isotopes to “fingerprint” sources of water in precipitation and rivers, and the presence of ‘ancient’ water beneath the deserts and other areas, will also be discussed.

GIFT presentations available online

1 Jul

The presentations from the GIFT workshops at past General Assemblies are now available online (where the author has given permission).

The GIFT programme offers teachers of elementary to high school the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge in geophysical themes and to shorten the time between new discoveries and textbook information. There are three main activities to the programme, one of which is The GIFT Workshop. This symposium (at the General Assembly each year) combines presentations on current research by leading scientists with hands-on activities presented by science educators for about 100 invited teachers.

A new part of the GIFT programme: GIFT Distinguished Lectures Series, is being inaugurated. For details of how apply see the PDF on the EGU homepage.

GIFT Distinguished Lecture Series

14 Jun

The EGU Committee on Education is going to inaugurate an annual series of Geosciences Information For Teachers (GIFT) Distinguished Lectures, to be given by top scientists who have previously participated as speakers in GIFT workshops during the EGU General assemblies. High school teachers, high school directors, educators for teachers from the European area are welcome to request a lecture, for which the EGU Committee on Education will cover the travel and subsistence costs of the speaker. Lecturers and topics should be selected among the ones given in the latest 5 years in EGU General Assembly GIFT Workshop, whose programs can be viewed on the GIFT webpages. Be aware that lectures will be offered in English only.

More information including event criteria and the application process is available on the EGU website at the top of the page.