Winners: 2013 Student Essay Contest on ‘Science Technology for Observing Earth’s Climate’

EarthzineEssay Contest 2013, Original

essay contestThis year’s Earthzine Essay Contest focused on technology for observing Earth’s climate. We received numerous contributions to the contest from around the globe. In the first phase of the contest, the essays were evaluated by a panel of four judges. Five contributions made it to the second phase of the contest. During the second phase, Earthzine readers had a chance to discuss the essays with the authors and express their opinions about the essays.
The overall winner of the contest is Sara LaFia, for her essay titled “The Power of Spatial information is its Tangibility.” LaFia is an undergraduate student at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, in the United States.  Her essay evolved out of a NASA DEVELOP project she was working on during the summer of 2013. She receives $750 (U.S.) for first place.
The second prize goes to Rebekah Esmaili, a Ph.D. student in atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland, also in the U.S. Esmaili promoted the support of open data initiatives in science. She receives $500 for second place.
Fouad Khan receives the third prize for his request to set up a global resource inventory. Khan is a Ph.D. student at the Environmental Science and Policy Department at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He receives $250 for third place.
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the participants in this year’s Earthzine Essay Contest. We are pleased with the global reach the contest had, and the quality of submissions and discussions. A special thanks to the contest sponsor, Northrop Grumman.

1st Place

essay 3

The Power of Spatial Information is its Tangibility

We live in an era of increasing interdisciplinary connectivity on every front, especially in the field of science and remote imagery. Where only specialists once understood disparate pieces of information, Earth science technology promises to reveal complex patterns underlying many natural and manmade phenomena. It is now possible to use the international constellation of satellites orbiting Earth to view our planet as one interconnected system.
By Sara LaFia , posted on October 18th, 2013 in Essay Contest 2013

2nd Place

Publication Without Representation: How Improving Satellite Data Dissemination Can Democratize and Advance Earth Science

The lone genius and mad scientist are archetypes that define scientists in popular culture. In reality, scientists are international and interdisciplinary; we are at our best when synergizing individual talent. Easy access to data makes these collaborations possible. Earth science is well within the “fourth paradigm” of research: an era driven by data, not equipment. However, there are still challenges to data availability.
By Rebekah Esmaili , posted on October 18th, 2013 in Essay Contest 2013

3rd Place

essay 2 picThe Time to Start Building a Live Global Resource Inventory is Now

One of the factors that led to enlightenment and the transformation of European nations from feudal societies to industrialized market economies was the standardization of the bushel size. The bushel was used as an instrument of exploitation by the feudal class. Nobody knew exactly how much a bushel was. Sometimes it was filled up to the brim, sometimes a lot more. Bushels of similar volume but greater base area would contain even more wheat when filled, compared to bushels with smaller base areas. The actual bushel size depended entirely on the whim of the feudal buyer and was used to subtly control prices. Standardization in bushel size was one of the peasant’s earlier demands and it freed them from a sort of economic slavery. And what was bushel size but information; the awareness of a certain fact that a critical mass of humanity seemed to agree on.
By Fouad Khan , posted on October 18th, 2013 in Essay Contest 2013


Using Big Data in Geographic Information Systems for Observing Earth’s Climate

big dataThe Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) at NASA Langley Research Center is responsible for the ingestion, archiving, and distribution of NASA Earth Science data in the areas of radiation budget, clouds, aerosols, and tropospheric chemistry. The ASDC specializes in atmospheric data that is important to understanding the causes and processes of global climate change and the consequences of human activities on the climate.
By Emily Northup, posted on October 18th, 2013 in Essay Contest 2013

Public Participation in Remote Sensing (PPRS): Integration of Local Knowledge and Technology-Based Surface Temperature Change Monitoring

Expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia has contributed to a total forest loss of about 8 million hectares over the past 25 years. This expansion is attributable to the conversion of primary, secondary, or log forests. It is well-understood that land-cover changes influence the surface temperature on local, regional, and global scales.
By Fatwa Ramdani , posted on October 18th, 2013 in Essay Contest 2013