Saturday, November 13, 2010

Module VI - The View from Space

Explain - What new learning have I taken from this week's module?

I found the information on toxins and haze accumulating at the polar regions rather sobering.  Ever since moving to the Kenai Peninsula, I have noticed what seems to be an inordinate amount of cancer cases amongst the local population.  This observation is completely unscientific, but it does make me wonder whether it's an effect of the local refineries or of toxic accumulation in the arctic regions.  If this does have anything to do with regional accumulations, then this is potentially devastating for Native people who live farther north and get a higher percentage of their calories from locally hunted and gathered food.  Compare the age-adjusted cancer death rate on the North Slope to that of the entire state of Alaska at this Census website.  Is there a connection?

The Native pilots video took me back to living in Bush Alaska and needing to fly to cross-country meets at neighboring villages and the general flying conditions in the state.  I have immense respect for Bush pilots and am fascinated by Alaskan aviation history.  Check out the book "Wager With the Wind" for one pilot's exciting biography.

I was amazed by the amount of information that can be gleaned from the silent video of global water vapor circulation over the period of a year.  Watching the slow, westward flow of equatorial moisture pile up against the Andes during the (northern) winter months made the cause of the Amazon's wet and dry seasons crystal clear.  Likewise, when things piled up against the Himalayas in the late spring and summer, the cause of Asia Minor's monsoon season suddenly made sense.

Extend and Evaluate - How can I use this week's resources and how useful, insightful or relevant are this module's information resources to me?
Cyclonic cloud formation off east end of Cuba

Again, I enjoyed the Google Earth exercise and liked the weather overlay.  When I get to weather with my Earth Science class, I will definitely be incorporating this into my lesson plans.  I'll also be using the TD interactive resources for atmospheric structure and the anatomy of warm and cold fronts.

I will also use the You Tube video "Making Ice by Boiling Water" when talking about the energy of phase changes with my Physical Science classes and Earth Science classes.  Of course, the danger of watching You Tube is getting side-tracked on unrelated themes - I spent half an hour checking out videos on superfluids.

Three colleagues and comments

Janet's blog has a great link to the Skeptical Science website and she pointed out that you can find webcam shots from within the Google Earth screen capture.

Dan's blog had some great information to get even more use out of your TD file by adding external links.

Kevin's Blog pointed out the close correlation of pollutants in Greenlandic ice cores and the changing activities of mankind.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about the information about the toxins and haze accumulating at the polar regions being sobering. My initial assumption would have matched the scientists… and I wish it was still so…