Science education program launched

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Nov 13, 2013 - Page 4

A program that connects students, teachers and scientists worldwide to better understand and tackle environmental challenges was launched in Taipei yesterday, as Taiwan joined the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) science education network, which was initiated on Earth Day 1995.

The ceremony was held at the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University yesterday.

“These [environmental issues] are common challenges faced by the United States and Taiwan, and they cannot be resolved through politics alone,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Christopher Marut said, adding that he hopes the program will be expanded to more schools around Taiwan in the future.

On Sept. 6, the AIT in Washington and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office signed a GLOBE Program agreement in Washington on behalf of NASA and Taiwan’s National Science Council.

Six Taiwanese schools are participating in the GLOBE program; the Affiliated High School of National Taiwan Normal University, the Affiliated Jhongli Senior High School of National Central University, National Wu-Ling Senior High School, National Chia-Yi Girls’ Senior High School, Kaohsiung Municipal Girls’ Senior High School, and National Lo-Tung Senior High School.

Lin Pay-liam (林沛練), country coordinator of GLOBE-Taiwan and chairman of National Central University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, said that five more schools are expected to join the program by the end of the year, with a goal set at a total of 30 schools over the next three years.

The GLOBE Program has developed specific protocols for data collection in five main Earth science investigation areas: the atmosphere, hydrology, soil, land cover/biology and phenology.

Under the program, students will conduct scientific experiments and upload their findings to a central computer database, after which researchers and students all over the world will be able to use the data to study the effects of climate change.

Climatological data collected in Taiwan have been of great interest to many countries participating in the GLOBE Program because Taiwan has experienced a high frequency of extreme weather events and the western North Pacific is the area most frequently affected by tropical cyclones, Lin said.

Taiwan’s location makes it an important place to collect climate data, as it is affected by Chinese sandstorms and air pollutants from Japan when winds blow from the northeast, as well as by air pollution with biofuel in the southeastern region when winds blow from the southwest, Lin said.

Additional reporting by CNA