Welcome to the blog page for Breakout 2B:  Essential Principles!  We look forward to your comments during this breakout session.

Facilitator:  Becca Hatheway;  Online Participant Liaison:  Rob Payo;  Recorder:  Roberta Johnson

Participants in Attendance:  Sarah Schoedinger, James Rattling Leaf, Joseph Moran, Roberta Johnson, David Anderson, Mary Batten, Mark Francek, Cindy Hamen

Note:  Be sure to refresh your browser using the F5 key every 30 to 60 seconds or so in order to view the changing blog and comments. 

 10:52 am MT

Session begins.

Roberta: Think about this in terms of a larger umbrella of atmospheric sciences with subsets nested underneath that (e.g. climate change). Within each of these are essential principles and fundamental concepts. We do not necessarily need to adopt the climate literacy framework--which serves as a good guideline and will undoubtedly present crossovers in our discussion. This allows for a broader group of people to provide feedback.

NSF is charging us with addressing the larger atmospheric sciences as a part of this process. There is discussion to understand this charge and that distinction of framework related to both atmospheric science and climate literacy together.

Ocean Literacy frameworks:  have many earth system science themes.  To the extent of finding uniting threads within all these different frameworks is helpful.

Brainstorming EPs:

  • The atmos, co-evolved w life
  • Life has shaped climate
  • Latitude, altitude, continental, maritime, ocean currents, winds all impact climate
  • Weather and climate vary in time and space

Roberta:  Many perspectives derive looking at climate:  planetary, long-term weather

David:  May need to define climate more in a way that crosses disciplines better

Joe:  We have many definitions about climate.  Asking a student to define weather:  what will they tell you?  Most people would say if its cloudy, clear, sunny, they would use descriptive terms--not really a def.  Weather is a state of the atm in time and space.  Defining the elephant by the parts....same can be said about climate by simply describing the weather.

  •  climate is the average weather for some period of time and space
  • Earth has radiative balance

Are other atm of other planets important?  Venus:  atm is imbalanced.  Students are interested in this and provides further study of our influence on atm

  • Planets have atmospheres as a more gen statement

Mary:  Drawing picture of the earth and the currents around the earth, basic way to start discussion of fluids on the earth and its gradients

  • Fluid + motion + rotation = winds, currents, weather

Making good decisions, dispelling misconceptions: ozone depletion and greenhouse effect.  Do we want to distinguish similarities or differences as a principle?  No, getting too specific, remember to stay broader

  • Presence of Atm makes the earth habitable, thin atm taht sustains life

James:  The role of humans important:  relationships and interdependencies, the role that humans have in atm science and climate

  • Relationships and interdepencies:  the interaction of humans and the atm

Sarah:  Ocean Lit #6:  Ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected addresses this

Roberta:  Where do we capture effects of pollution?  Is that included in #6?

Joe: Where do you draw the line in acceptable and unacceptable levels of pollution?  Gets complicated quickly.

  • Atm is fragile and sensitive

Joan's comment:  discussion of inclusion of some of the things from the ESSE guidelines:  sustainability, temporal and spatial relationships

 David:  Are we at a point where we should defend the main ideas and boil these down?  What's not on here?

  • Atm composition (gases) have changed over time

Joe:  What is the "tipping point" where there are elements in a system that create great catalytic change?  What is that called?  e.g. what level of carbon dioxide in the air causes dramatic effect?

Roberta:  not really addressed composition of gases

James:  the dynamic of these and their effects across the globe, the interdependence of effects

  • Dynamics are non-linear; tipping and leverage points of change
  • atm consists of layers

David:  What filters to choose the essential:

  1. Should stand alone, big picture
  2. Things people should know
  3. Less is more, no wordsmithing
  4. inclusion of science principles

David:  Science principles included

Sarah:  Not necessarily, ocean lit standards address social aspects of these issues

Roberta:  Be careful about advocacy

Essential Principles:  coming to agreement and putting some of these as subsets of the larger ideas

1.  Earth is surrounded by a thin fragile atm that sustains life

           a.  it has layers

2.  Weather climate variews in space and time

           a. scales of variability

3.  Humans and atmosphere and climate systems are interconnected

Sarah:  Can use fundamental concepts to illustrate how these are interconnected in more detail

3. Revised for a simpler statement:  The atm and life and interconnected

4.  Atm, hydrosphere, biosphere, cyrosphere interact

    Joan's inclusion:  Evol of the atm is linked to other subsystems

5.  The Sun and Earth's rotation drives atms circulation

      a.  primary source of energy

Joe:  Climate is the product of the interaction of a variety of factors.  Misconception:  climate is affected by only one thing.  It is a multivariate system.  Group decided this is a concept underneath EPs

Final Essential Principles:  Group is ordering and numbering the final principles and Roberta is putting them on the ppt. that will be attached to this blog

Session ends:  12:08 pm, break for lunch and resume with plenary at 1pm MT to share and discuss lists from breakout groups 

Online Viewers:  Please use the "Add Comments" button below to add your comments and suggestions.
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  1. The ESSE community identified five over-arching themes for Earth System Science Education that connect with the discussion of principles.  The first three lie more in the content area while the last two may have more of an applications focus.  

    1)  Integrated interdisciplinary system

    2) Humanity is a part of the system

    3) Temporal and spatial scales of the system

    4) ESS is a source of information for moving toward a more sustainable system.

    5) Relevance and inspirational value

    ESSE refers to the Earth System Science Education program sponsored by NASA and managed by USRA.  Its design guide is online at http://essedesignguide.org

    -- Joan Aron

    1. Thanks Joan.  Using these themes, is there something that you would like to pull out further as a statement that has not been addressed?

      1. On the interdisciplinary aspect, a principle is that the evolution of the atmosphere is linked to other subsystems.  I'm not yet seeing that in this discussion (although it is the centerpiece of Earth System Science discussion).

        The principle of sustainability or sustainable development can be introduced as part of the link with humans and decision-making. 

        Relevance and inspirational value of earth system science are also linked to humans.  The relevance is tied to the pragmatic decision-making aspect as well as student interest.  The inspirational value addresses how to generate student interest in STEM, which may be beyond the scope of this workshop.

        The other topics of multiple scales and the link with humanity have already appeared in the discussion.  The ESSE themes underscore that these could and should be distinct principles.  

        -- Joan Aron