L.S. Gardiner's blog

The Wildest Supercomputer in the West

We spotted antelope, bison, and snow-capped peaks as our van traveled between Colorado and Wyoming. The area used to be known as the western frontier, but we were there to see something else - one of the fastest computers in the world – a technological frontier.

Last week, ten of us from the UCAR Center for Science Education and NCAR visited a supercomputer housed on the prairie west of Cheyenne at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center.

Learning About the Atmosphere

This week I got a message from Kimberley, a 7th grade student working on a science project to teach her classmates about the atmosphere. “I was wondering if you could give me any concepts, ideas, or activities that might interest my classmates,” she wrote. “Also if you know any websites I could look up that would be great.”

What’s the New Climate Normal?

In the scientific sense, climate normal is the average of the past 30 years of data about temperature, precipitation and other aspects of weather. Climate is what’s normal, what’s typical, what you’d expect. Yet, we now have a new normal for climate. If you average the past 30 years of temperature data you will have a higher number of degrees than if you average an earlier 30 years of data. Climate is changing, which means normal is changing, at least in the scientific sense. We have a new baseline.

Coming Soon: The Eclipse Megamovie!

Did you see the total solar eclipse on Tuesday? No? Why not? Was it because you weren't in Northern Australia? Yeah, that's where it could be seen. But wait! I saw it and I wasn't in Australia. In fact, I'm looking at it right now. Yes, I am boasting. And, no, it is not still going on. I can look at the eclipse by looking at my computer thanks to oodles of people who took photos and video of the eclipse happening and posted them online.

We're heading to the Colorado Science Conference! Are you?

Join UCAR Center for Science Education educators and the teachers we work with at the Colorado Science Conference for Professional Development, November 16, 2012 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. We'll be highlighting how weather and climate science from the National Center for Atmospheric Research can make its way into secondary education.