Be a Climate Scientist for One Day

On November 6, 2019, the IBS Center for Climate Physics (ICCP) held its third ‘Climate Day’. A total of 57 students and teachers from Busan Foreign School, International School of Busan, Mandeok High School and Dongrae Girls High School participated in the program. Climate Day is an annual outreach event that ICCP organizes once a year with over 100 participants since 2017.

Axel Timmermann, Director of ICCP, giving a special lecture to the students

Axel Timmermann, Director of ICCP, welcomed all participants and gave a special lecture on ‘Global warming, sea level rise and ocean acidification’. Afterwards, the students participated in three activities designed to give them a hands-on experience with climate science.

The tree coring activity was led by Axel Timmermann and Dipayan Choudhury, Postdoctoral Researcher of ICCP. Groups of students drilled and collected cores from different trees, a process which does not harm the tree. A core provides a history of the tree’s growth, which can be used as indirect, or ‘proxy’, evidence of the climate the tree experienced over its lifetime. The students estimated the tree’s growth cycles from their cores and hypothesized possible weather patterns during the tree’s life. They also learned about other proxies that are used for inferring paleoclimate variations from thousands to million of years ago, such as marine sediments and ice cores, and discussed the various field work opportunities available to climate scientists.

Tree coring experiments by Axel Timmermann, Director of ICCP
Tree coring experiments by Dipayan Choudhury, Postdoctoral Researcher of ICCP

EunYoung Kwon, Associate Project Leader of ICCP, provided students with ocean acidification experiments. By creating a CO2-rich atmosphere in a cup with dry ice, students could watch how it changes the water beneath it. The experiment showed how CO2 dissolves into water, causing the water become more acidic. Future ocean acidification is main concern of climate scientists, because increased acidity makes it more difficult for many marine organisms to form shells.

JungEun Chu, Assistant Research Fellow of ICCP, led a student activity using the ‘Climate Explorer’ website. The students were taught about the analysis of climate data, including observations of the current climate and model output for future climate projections. Exercises including analyzing the seasonal patterns of rain in Busan and the global temperature change under differing scenarios for future concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Thereafter, all participants had a group discussion with ICCP scientists to address their questions about climate change and global warming, and to obtain expert advice for their future career in a field of science, especially climate physics. 

“I hope Climate Day gives students meaningful opportunities to learn about climate science. ICCP will continue to actively support local students to cultivate next-generation climate scientists in Busan”, says Axel Timmermann. 

Ocean acidification experiments by EunYoung Kwon, Associate Project Leader of ICCP

‘Climate Explorer’ activity by JungEun Chu, Assistant Research Fellow of ICCP

Group discussion
Group photo of 2019 Climate Day