Presentation at the 54th International Astronautical Congress

Starting in 2002, David Brooks began working with the Edmund Burke School in Washington, DC, USA, and Realschule Cuxhaven in Cuxhaven, Germany, to compare GLOBE sun photometer measurements with aerosol optical thickness retrievals from the MODIS instrument on EOS/Terra and Aqua and, at the Edmund Burke School, with data from the AERONET site at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The results of this work were presented in Bremen, Germany, in early October, 2003. Students from both schools participated in the presentation, which was well-attended even though it was the last paper in an afternoon session!

This work marks the first publication of aerosol optical thickness data generated by GLOBE students in support of ground validation efforts for the MODIS instrument. The work has also been published by the International Astronautical Federation:

Brooks, D. R., F. Niepold, G. D'Emilio, J. Glist, G. Hatterscheid, S. Martin, K. Dede, I. Neumann. Scientist-Teacher-Student Partnerships for Aerosol Optical Thickness Measurements in Support of Ground Validation Programs for Remote Sensing Spacecraft. IAC-03-P.4.07, International Astronautical Federation, 54th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen, Germany, Sept. 28 - Oct. 3, 2003.

Scientist, teachers, and students, plus Dr. Adena Williams Loston, NASA Associate Administrator for Education (in center). The local newspaper in Cuxhaven published this article about their students' participation in the conference. (See English translation below.)

(My thanks to Dagmar Niebur at Drexel University for providing this translation.)
Presentation of Results to an International Audience

Cuxhaven’s three female middle school students (second-tier students) agreed: “Learning is fun this way”

The three female students of Cuxhaven’s middle school, Katherine Dede, (15), Isabel Neumann, (15), and Sylvana Martin, (15), recently experienced an exciting day. Together with female and male students of the Edmund Burk School in Washington, DC, they presented data and results to an international audience at the 54th International Aeronautical Congress in Bremen.

In the context of the Globe project, in which the middle school participated, and under the guidance of Professor David. R. Brooks, Drexel University in Philadelphia, they had started in spring to collect solar-photometric measurements as part of a research project developed by NASA. For this purpose a device developed by Professor Brooks had to be pointed to the sunlight at predetermined times and the measured values as well as the cloud observations had to be recorded.

“During vacation times it was not very easy to maintain the schedule,” Isabel told us. “We had to coordinate this precisely among ourselves and keep the schedule,” Katherine added. “This way we have learned two very important things: Self-discipline and team work,” Sylvana noted as her personally most important experience during this project, qualities which will be extremely important in any professional life later on.

But, as Professor Brooks later emphasized at the congress, the effort was rewarding. The evaluation of data collected by satellites can now be better converted (calculated from other values?) by NASA’s scientists. The data collected by the two female students from Cuxhaven are of special value, because Cuxhaven is located directly at the sea and the transition from sea to land is taken into account during the calculations.

Better Weather Forecasting

Professor Brooks expects that the evaluation will lead to an improvement of the computational models, which finally could lead to a better weather prediction. [NOTE: Professor Brooks didn't actually say this! Studies such as this can lead to a better understanding of the global distribution of aerosols and their effects on climate, but not directly to better weather prediction.]

“Learning is fun this way!” That was the unanimous opinion of the three female students, whose presentation was well received by the scientists present in the audience.

Photo Captions:

1. Together with the students from Edmund Burk School from Washington, DC, the three citizens from Cuxhaven presented their results.

2. The three female middle school students together with Professor D. Brooks inside Bremen’s congress hall.