The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 13

June 25, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory - READY: The Real-Time Environmental Applications and Display sYstem [pdf]

NOAA's Air Resource Laboratory (ARL) provides interactive transport and dispersion modeling at this website. Users can find instructions, trial versions, and a download for the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, which can be used to compute simple air parcel trajectories as well as complex dispersion and deposition simulations. The site also offers transport and dispersion models to assist with many air quality and meteorological problems including volcanic ash and smoke forecasting. Researchers can find current and archived meteorological data for the world. Users can discover how the models assist the United States government's emergency response activities. [RME]

USGS: Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies

This website discusses the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program's studies of the extent and causes of hurricanes' and extreme storms' coastal impacts in order to improve the ability to predict coastal change. Students can find a tutorial about hurricanes, El Nios, and Northeasters. The site provides a map of the current tropical storm tracks. Researchers can learn about the USGS's use of video and photographs to assess a hurricane's impact to the geomorphic features of the landscape that are not easily recognized in topographic data. The site also discusses USGS's use of lidar data and provides an interactive lidar mapping display. [RME]

NASA -- CODI: Center for Ozone Data and Information [pdf]

The Center for Ozone Data and Information was developed by NASA to provide support services for the ozone research community. Users can find materials, data, and links on many satellite, shuttle, ground-based, and other atmospheric-related missions. Researchers can learn about many data analysis tools and other software. The website provides downloads of important publications as well as information about upcoming conferences and meetings. Students and educators can find many links to information about the ozone and air quality. This well-organized site offers a great overview of the atmospheric research taking place by NASA and affiliated organizations. [RME]

University of Tennessee: Hydrogeology Research Program [pdf]

The hydrogeology research program at the University of Tennessee developed this website to promote its investigation related primarily to groundwater flow and contaminant transport. After reading an overview of the program and its facilities, visitors can discover the endeavors and successes of the numerous researchers. Users can find information and publications discussing the three featured research projects: Chattanooga Creek, Pathogen Transport, and Saprolite Pore Structure; as well as materials on other recent projects. Students can discover the program's three excellent field teaching sites and research opportunities. [RME]

National Research Council Canada: Institute for Microstructural Sciences [pdf]

At this website, the Institute for Microstructural Sciences discusses how it carries out its mission to provide leadership "in the development of enabling technologies related to future hardware requirements for information processing, transmission acquisition and display." Researchers can learn about the goals and facilities for the Institute's many research groups which are divided into three major categories: Components, Materials, and Application Technologies. The site features the Institute's many patents in photonics, acoustics, microelectronics, and more. Users can find out about past and upcoming workshops and conferences. [RME]

Australian Centre for Astrobiology

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology performs research in physics, astronomy, and cosmology, as well as investigates the possibility of life beyond Earth. After learning about the Centre's latest news and events, users can find summaries of the many current research projects including studies of ancient hydrothermal systems, remote sensing of the atmosphere of Venus, and varying constants. The website features the research, papers, and achievements of Professor Paul Davies and the Centre's other members. Students and educators can discover research and scholarship opportunities. [RME]


University of Minnesota Chemistry Outreach

At this website, the University of Minnesota supplies numerous chemistry experiments. The activities are divided into two categories: demos and recipe cards. The demonstrations, which usually require a chemistry lab setting and chemistry supplies, are helpful for chemistry teachers in a classroom environment. The recipe cards, however, can usually be easily performed in the home. For example, students can learn about osmosis with a simple demonstration using an egg, vinegar, and water. The website features a short checklist to help visitors become better scientists. With a quick visit to this site, users can find fun activities to enhance the chemistry learning experience. [RME]

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Whys Guy [Windows Media Player]

The Whys Guy, a.k.a. Mats Selen, a physics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, supplies archives of his weekly video clips of experiments on a weekly morning show. The experiments, which can best be viewed using Windows Media Player, cover an array of physics topics such as static electricity, buoyancy, and polarization. At this fun website, students and educators can observe the excitements of physics without having to worry about safety issues. Before viewing an experiment, users can contemplate the challenging questions provided by the author. [RME]

Natural Resources Canada: Educational Resources [jpeg]

At this website, Natural Resources of Canada provides six illustrative tutorials to present the splendor of Canada's physical environment. In the Canadian Landscapes link, users can view over one thousand images of landforms and learn how the geologic features were created. Students can discover how volcanoes, rivers, mountains, earthquakes, and other geologic phenomena affect the lives of Vancouver residents. The site offers posters and presentations of climate change, geologic and geomorphic history, and much more. [RME]

MetEd: Meteorology Education and Training [Macromedia Flash Player]

"The MetEd (Meteorology Education and Training) Website was established to provide education and training resources to benefit the operational forecaster community, university atmospheric scientists and students, and anyone interested in learning more deeply about meteorology and weather forecasting topics." Students and educators can find innumerable Macromedia Flash Player based modules covering aviation weather, climate, fire weather, satellite meteorology, hydrology and many more meteorological topics. Several of the modules include educational web casts. Acknowledging that users may not finish a module in one sitting, the website has an added bonus of allowing users to save their place within a module. Maintained by the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET), the site offers materials on training and other educational opportunities as well. With new modules added frequently, anyone interested in meteorology education should regularly visit this website. [RME]

NASA: Space Science Education Resource Directory [pdf]

NASA's Space Science Education Resource Directory is a great website to find educational science websites and materials. The site offers three search methods: grade and subject, topic, or custom. The free resources, for grades kindergarten through twelfth, are primarily websites or pdf files. Users can find materials covering a wide range of topics in the subjects of space, physical, and earth science. The site offers helpful advice for users having difficulties finding appropriate materials. Although visitors do not need to log on to access the materials, registered users can save their search results and profile settings. [RME]

Humboldt State University: Petrography

This Humboldt State University website furnishes almost 200 photomicrographs of rocks and minerals. The site is divided into five categories: igneous minerals, metamorphic minerals, sedimentary minerals, rocks, and rock textures. Along with viewing the amazing images, students can learn about the specimens' optical properties and occurrences. Users can also discover how these images were created. While the site was created primarily as a tutorial for geology students, everyone can enjoy the magnificence of the minerals in polarized light. [RME]


Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau [zip, jpeg, gif]

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau supplies weather related data and information for Taiwan and the world. Under the Weather link, users can find weather forecasts for various areas throughout the world as well as satellite and radar images. The site provides animations of world sea level pressures, surface temperatures, winds, and other weather data. Researchers can find archived earthquake data and maps for Taiwan. The website features various climate data and typhoon prediction maps. While one link within the Marine section is not in English, users can find tidal prediction information and wave maps there. [RME]

NOAA Explorations: Submarine Ring of Fire 2004 [QuickTime, Windows Media Player, pdf]

NOAA's 2004 Submarine Ring of Fire expedition's goals are to examine over a 1,000 km stretch of submarine volcanoes and sea-floor hot springs in the Mariana Island Arc. At this website, users can find general information about the Mariana Arc, the research, and the scientists involved. Educators can find intriguing lesson plans about volcanoes and the chemistry of hydrothermal vents for grades fifth through twelfth. The site presents fascinating materials about seafloor mapping, volcanism, and vent chemistry. Visitors can view amazing satellite images of the overall Mariana Arc Volcanic Chain, its sea floor, and the NW Uracas and Ahyi submarine volcanoes. [RME]

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- Superfund: Cleaning up the Nation's Hazardous Waste Sites [pdf]

Citizen concern over the extent of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the United States "led Congress to establish the Superfund Program in 1980 to locate, investigate, and clean up the worst sites nationwide." At this website, users can discover the history of the program and its great accomplishments. Visitors can learn about safety tips, the emergency response program, and the hazards of exposure to contaminants. The Superfund for Kids link provides activities and stories aimed at educating children ages three and up about the basics of the program. With the EnviroMapper, individuals can locate and find information about finalized and proposed Superfund sites in their area. [RME] -- Red Planet Rovers: A New Era in Mars Exploration

This website is dedicated to covering the NASA rovers' Mars exploration. The site includes mission updates, the latest Martian news, and archived stories. Along with fantastic images of Mars, users can view a series of images of the night's sky and the earth and moon collected by Opportunity and Spirit. Individuals can discover how 3D photographs assist geologists in determining the nature of the Martian landscape. Although some links have ads alongside the materials, the remarkable content is well worth the small distraction. [RME]

National Science Foundation: Image Library

This Image Library was created by the National Science Foundation "to help the science, engineering, and education communities as well as the general public, obtain quality images for use in print and electronic media." After learning how to use the library, visitors can search the innumerable images by category or by decade. Visitors can also simply scan through all of the images. Regular visitors looking for the latest images can inspect images in the New Additions link. The topics covered at the website include: astronomy, chemistry, earth science, and physics, as well as topics in biology and engineering. Through the images, users can discover the kind of projects NSF funds. [RME]

European Space Agency (ESA) Aurora Programme [pdf]

The Aurora Programme intends to contribute to the European Space Agency's goals by exploring the solar system, Mars, the Moon, and asteroids with robotics and humans, as well as search for life beyond Earth. The website provides the executive summary, Aurora Programme brochure, and other directorial materials to introduce users to the organization. Visitors can learn why Mars exploration is important and how robotics will help in the mission. Researchers can discover how they can submit their research ideas and become involved with the Aurora Programme. Users can find materials and wonderful images of the Flagship and Arrow missions. [RME]

Topic In Depth


World Waterfall Database
Eastern Waterfall Guide
Facts About Niagara Falls
National Geographic: Lost Tibetan Waterfall
Waterfalls of Western North America

Some of the most fascinating natural phenomena in the world are waterfalls. Cascading over and through the geological remnants of the earth's history, the water of the world falls, creating the familiar sounds of gurgling, crashing water. This topic in depth takes you on a tour of a few great websites devoted to waterfalls around the world and the U.S.

The World Waterfall Database (1) site, from Bryan Swan and Dean Goss -- waterfall aficionados -- contains all sorts of great information about waterfalls of the world. They even include listings of the biggest falls, divided between the tallest and the most volume. The second (2) site, again from a waterfall aficionado, Robert Glaubitz, highlights the waterfalls of the eastern U.S. The third (3) site, from Niagarafallslive, features all sorts of great information about the several smaller falls that collectively make up Niagara Falls. Be sure to check out the live webcam of the falls. The fourth (4) site from National Geographic, includes a great story about a lost waterfall in Tibet. The final site, Waterfalls of Western North America, (5) website is offered by Dr. Stephen K. Wagner at Michigan State University. The site is an unbelievably well organized tour of the waterfalls of the U.S.

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