Tag Archives: earth science

Happy GIS Day!

Our Outreach Officer and Geoscience expert, Dr. Pippa Cowles, explains everything you need to know about GIS for GIS Day.

Today is GIS Day, GIS I hear you say what is that? You may have heard of it in your geography class before. GIS stands for Geographic Information System and connects geography with data – lots and lots of data! It helps us understand what belongs where and looks at data connected to a particular location.

Data can be anything from maps, aerial photos, satellite imagery to spreadsheets. GIS allows all these data types to be laid on top of one another on a single map. It uses location as the common point to relate all these data set together.

GIS can help supermarkets plan where to open a new store, help the police analyse crime patterns, or help aid vehicles get to a location using the fastest route.

GIS lets us create, manage and analyse geospatial data and visualise the results on a map to help us make more informed decisions.

Explore the relationship between Earthquakes, Plate tectonics and Volcanoes using GIS here.

What does it show? What information is stored about the Earthquakes and Volcanoes?

Find out more about GIS day and how you can book a free Introduction to GIS workshop for your school.

 

 

#TryThisTuesday: Virtual Treasure Hunt

To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day we have put together a virtual treasure hunt that you can do from a phone or computer.

For this treasure hunt you will need to solve clues to find co-ordinates to the next stop . The first three people to make it to the end of the hunt will win the treasure of a Street Science Busking Kit which is filled with equipment to make amazing science demonstrations at home!

Using Co-ordinates

Geographic co-ordinates allow every place on Earth to be identified with a set of numbers. The system that we’re using for this treasure hunt gives every point a latitude number and a longitude number.

If you were to draw a line from your point on the globe into the centre of the Earth and another from the centre of the Earth to the Equator, the angle between these two lines gives you the Latitude.

Longitude is measured slightly differently.  There is an invisible line running from the North Pole to the South Pole through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, known as the Prime Meridian.  All points along this line have the longitude 0. The longitude of other points are calculated as the angle east or west from the Prime Meridian.

So Newcastle Upon Tyne, where we’re starting our treasure hunt from, has the co-ordinates 54.97, -1.61 because it is 54.97 degrees from the Equator and 1.61 degrees to the west of the Prime Meridian. Going west of the Prime Meridian or south of the Equator gives the co-ordinate a negative value.

 

The Treasure Hunt

Try to solve the clues to find the co-ordinates for the next place. Once you’ve got co-ordinates type them into Google maps (just like this: 54.97, -1.61 with latitude first) and make a note of where you’ve got to.

This will test your research skills as well as your maths skills, feel free to use Wikipedia and a calculator.

Destination One

The latitude for the first place is 57.14 divided by the number of universities in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The longitude is  equal to 10 – 90.65.

Where are you?

 

Destination Two

To find the latitude of our second destination, take the last two digits of the year the first man walked on the moon, half this number then add 3.32

The longitude can be found by taking the year Newcastle University became independent from Durham University away from the year that the oldest part of the university (the School of Medicine and Surgery) was established and adding 6.52.

What amazing feat of engineering are you near?

 

Destination Three

For the latitude of our next place, take away 3.1 from the distance that Destination Two stretches in miles.

The longitude can calculated by the number of different countries that students at Newcastle University have come from divided by -2.

Which wondrous forest have we arrived at?

 

Destination Four

The latitude of this place can be uncovered by multiplying the number of countries that share Destination Three by 5 then adding 1.234

The longitude is equal to the number of reptile species that have been discovered in our previous destination divided by 63 then add 0.053

What amazing discoveries were made here?

 

Destination Five

The above place is often known by an abbreviation of four letters. If you convert these letters to numbers (eg. a=1, b=2, c=3 etc.) and square the second number, then add 0.197 you will have the latitude of our next  destination.

To find the longitude, convert the first letter of the abbreviation to a number and take this away from 58.274.

Which incredible man made structure are you looking at now?

 

Destination Six

For the latitude of our final place – where the treasure is buried – you will need to divide the total height of the structure we just saw (in metres) by -46.1.

To find the longitude, simply take away 16 from the number of floors in this structure.

Where is our treasure buried?

If you think you’ve cracked it, either send us an email to stem@ncl.ac.uk or comment below with the six places the co-ordinates led you to!

 

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

The United Nations marks today, the 16th September, as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. In the 1970’s scientists discovered that the ozone layer was under threat from certain gases, such as chlorine and bromine, which had accumulated in the atmosphere. Then, in the 1980’s, a “hole” was discovered in the ozone layer above Antarctica – the region of the earth’s atmosphere which had suffered the severest ozone depletion. Read our fact sheet below for more information on the ozone layer and why the 16th September is such an important date.

Visit www.ozoneheroes.org to learn more about the ozone layer and become an ozone hero!

Earth Day 2017

It’s the planet that we live on and home to 7 billion people as well as billions of plants and animals. But with climate change and other issues such as pollution, we need to do more to look after our home. Earth Day gives the opportunity to come together and work toward a greener future, showing support for the environment. earth-day

Why is it important?

Humans are using resources at an alarmingly fast rate, currently using more resources than the Earth can produce. Today humans use 1.5 planets’ worth of resources every year!

Climate change is a huge problem for the future of our planet. It will lead to things like increased sea level and flooding, drought, and a rise in temperature. This will make it more difficult for plants and animals to survive and hence humans. Scientists agree that we can reduce the impacts of climate change, but we need to act as fast as we can.

There are lots of other environmental issues such as deforestation, pollution and ocean acidification that are affecting the environment.  These problems can lead to a loss in the number of animal and plant species causing the Earth to have reduced biodiversity (the number of species). Lots of plants and animals are interlinked in food chains, so losing one can have a knock on effect on other species. Biodiversity is vital to our survival, for supporting the ecosystem, finding things like new medicines and for providing humans with lots of raw materials.

coral

How can we help?

There are lots of things we can do to reduce our footprint on the Earth. These are just some things you could try and do:

  1. Shop for locally sourced produce
  2. Eat food that is in season
  3. Eat less meat
  4. Bring your own shopping bags
  5. Use a reusable water bottle rather than bottled water
  6. Don’t drive if there is an alternative
  7. Take holidays closer to home
  8. Recycle
  9. Use energy saving lights
  10. Unplug your electronics when not in use
  11. Plant a tree
  12. Use a reusable coffee cup