It’s Getting Hotter in Atlanta

Well, hot temperatures are arriving in the Atlanta area; but its been hot in Texas. What’s the fuss. It’s summer. Well last year, 2005, was the hottest year during a period of temperature measurements from 1860 to today. These measurements include combined annual land, air and sea surface temperatures. Take a look at the graph below.


High temperature records were set in Reno, Nevada (10 days >100 degrees F; Las Vegas, one day >117 degrees F; Tucson, AZ (39 days)>100 degrees F, and list goes on in the U.S. and around the world.

One of the issues that makes statements of global warming controversial is that people simply say that these high temperatures are just part of a larger cycle, where temperatures go up, and go down. That’s true. But when we look at the big picture with data, we see that the trend, since we started putting lots of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (around the beginning of the industrial revolution), temperatures around the world began to take off and rise.

There are several projects that have helped students learn how to monitor the environment and share data with students in other parts of the world. Historically, the Global Lab, the Global Thinking Project, and EnviroNet have done this. Currently, The Globe Program involves thousands of schools around the world in collecting data, not only on temperature, but many other variables as well including cloud cover, water vapor, air pressure, relative humidity, precipitation. The project also involves students in hydrology, soil and land cover/biology. In my experience working with middle and secondary school students with their teachers, especially in the U.S., Russia, and Spain, their dedication and involvement in collaborative environmental projects was amazing. They took the work they were doing seriously, and felt as if they were involved in important work. It’s that same level of dedication, and involvement that is needed to deal seriously with global warming.

About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University