A science nerd on tour in Northern Ecuador

I’m such a science nerd. Yesterday I signed on for a full-day tour from Quito, north, to the town of Otavalo. Otavalo has one of South America’s most famous indigenous craft markets (if not THE most famous) – and Saturday is the big day, when the market takes over the entire town. But what was it that interested me most on this tour? Of course – the stop in the Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo) – The Equator!! A promised glimpse over the rim of the volcano Cuicocha into a crater lake was also a big draw. (Note: This blog post has bonus homework questions and mini-contest for Meteorology students!)


The modest sign marking the stop along the highway from Quito to Otavalo.

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GSA Resource Roundup

Alternate Post Title: Saving the Planet – One Website at a Time

I recently added Canada to the list of countries I’ve visited. (I know, of all the places I’ve been in this world, I had never been across the border just to the north.) Vancouver gave me a chance to experience truly cloudy skies, rain, lush green vegetation, and a rush of thousands of geoscience enthusiasts on their way to catch the next talk at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.


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Climate, Culture, and the Cauca River in Santa Fe, Colombia

Those of you carrying around an image of Colombia as a lush tropical haven are not far off when it comes to many parts of the country, I’m sure. But in a country with so many mountains, you’re bound to have a rain shadow somewhere. That would be where you would find the pueblo of Santa Fe. Resting in a topographic pocket between two cordilleras of the Andes, this place sees little rain. Surrounded by wilted vegetation and crispy golden grasses, I could almost imagine I was in California.

Santa Fe's landmark church in the Central Plaza.

Santa Fe’s landmark church in the Central Plaza.

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NASA’s Earth Exchange – Innovating ways to communicate climate change

I would love to see someone I know win $25,000 for designing an app to use data on NASA’s Earth Exchange (NEX). I’m so excited to see what’s happening with NASA’s Virtual Workshop and Challenge. One of the purposes of this blog is to keep track of really cool things I come across in my reading – online or otherwise – and share it with all of you. This particular opportunity is worth noting. (Note: This blog post will definitely be categorized under ‘Geeky Science’). Continue reading

An Introduction to South American Climate

Another title for this post: What It Is That Scientists Do at Those Meetings, Anyway?

Last winter, in the midst of a deep freeze, and up to my neck in class work, I came across an announcement for a meeting on South American climate change. Specifically, the focus of the conference was climate change and human interactions with climate over the last 2000 years (for more info see Lotred-SA Symposium). I had explicitly stated in my sabbatical proposal that I would attend a conference focusing on my new research direction in order to meet people and get a feel for what type of work is going on in the field. This was perfect. It combined my interest in pursuing research on South American climate change, with my experience studying paleoclimate. The meeting was in Medellín, Colombia – some place warm and tropical, and not far from where I will stay during my Fulbright (after all, Ecuador is just across the border) – the perfect sabbatical kick-off. Continue reading