From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

AccessData: Creating an Educational Module Using the Air Quality Cluster’s Data

Breakout Session – ESIP Federation Meeting
July 17, 2008

The goal of this session is to identify datasets and analysis tools, used by the Air Quality Cluster used in their work, that could be effectively be brought into educational contexts.

The session began with an overview of
1) the Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET, – an online resource with chapters each of which focuses on a dataset and analysis tool and gives teachers step-by-step instructions on how to conduct an analysis of that data in an educational context
2) DataSheets, educationally relevant metadata about datasets (
3) the process of the AccessData Workshops ( – which focus on bringing together teams of with diverse expertise (data provider, tool specialist, scientist, curriculum developer, and educator) to develop new EET chapters.

Discussions moved onto identifying the topics and various datasets that might be considered for the educational module. Some of these include
1. Fires and associated impacts
...Locations – ground based observations
...Plumes in satellite data
...Particulate matter data
...Model simulations
2. Aerosols (dust and volcano)
3. Trace Gases
4. Biomass burning
5. Cooking fires in Africa
6. Mercury deposition

Each EET chapters has a case study which makes a case for caring about the particular dataset. This case study could utilize several datasets. Take a fire event and look at it from several sensors – such as the Georgia/Florida fire in May 2007. The data that might be used for this case study include
1. NOAA Hazards Fire Mapping (point data)
2. AIRNOW particulate matter < 2.5 microns (pm <2.5) (point data) (note we used the following terms interchangeably – aerosols/pm2.5/particles)
3. OMRI satellite – Ozone Monitoring Instrument (image, grid data) – this was used in the currently live EET chapter
4. VIEWS chemical dataset (point data), Visibility Information This provides chemical speciation to distinguish between smoke from fires and pollution
5. Blue Sky smoke forecast – (model)

Tools that might be used.
1. Giovanni -displays AURA, AIRS, CLOUDSAT, CALIPSO, and MODIS data. You can also download data and look at it with other tools
2. DataFed – site for effective use of aerosol data,
3. IDEA – Infusing satellite Data into Environmental Applications

Another idea was to put the data first into Google Earth as a hook to the activity.

Since fire data is sporadic it was suggested that there be a guided investigation and then a series of investigations of well studied fire events from which the teacher or student could choose the one that most interests them to investigate. Two good possibilities for these events are the Southern California fires and the Georgia fires as they have been worked on extensively.

It was also suggested that the materials we create, especially with respect to accessing the data and using the tools be available for reuse for other audiences

Next Steps
1. Air Quality Cluster will put together in their wiki a set of links/demonstrations that address the ideas discussed above that the EET Air Quality Cluster team can explore for possible use in the EET chapter
2. Members of the team that will carry the Air Quality Cluster EET chapter forward will be identified. The Air Quality Cluster will identify the data provider, tools specialist, and scientist who will participate (one person can have multiple expertise). Brian Rogan from the Museum of Science Boston will serve as the curriculum developer and will joint the Air Quality Cluster in that role. The AccessData team from TERC will identify another educator to participate.
3. A few Air Quality Cluster telecoms will be dedicated to the development of the EET chapter. Through this mechanism and email DataSheets (educationally relevant metadata about datasets be developed about each of the datasets to be used. These will be incorporated into the DataSheet collection by the AccessData team at TERC.
4. A Funding Friday proposal will be developed to bring the curriculum developer and educator to the next ESIP Federation meeting to participate in a day long meeting of the EET Air Quality Cluster team to formulate the case study and outline the step-by-step instructions for the EET chapter. These funds will also be used to pay the curriculum developer to complete the EET chapter after that meeting (by the following ESIP Federation meeting).

Session Participants
Tamara Ledley, TERC
Marty Landsfeld, TNMS
Steve Kempler, NASA/GSFC
David McCabe, EPA
Stefan Falke, Washington University/Northrup Grumman
LuAnn Dahlman, TERC
Nina L Jackson, NOAA
Margaret Mooney, CIMSS/SSEC/University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brian Rogan, Museum of Science Boston
Bruce Caron, TNMS
Steve Kluge, Independent
Katelyn Dolan, University of New Hampshire
Erin Robinson, Washington University
Pat Reiff, Rice University
Rudolf Husar, Washington University