Shakira Brown, right, a science teacher at New York's Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy, and Howard Koss, a graduate student at Queens College, CUNY, on a C-17 flight from New Zealand to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The project is researching climate conditions over millions of years and communicating with schools across the country so students can follow their progress.
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Image Courtesy of Stephen Pekar, Queens College, CUNY.

Unlocking Climate Mysteries and Engaging Students from Harlem to Antarctica
News story originally written on November 24, 2008

Shakira Brown, a middle school teacher from New York City, has gone to extremes to get her students interested in science. She is in Antarctica as a member of a scientific expedition that is trying to learn what conditions were like there millions of years ago. The project will help us understand what could happen to the Earth as the climate changes.

Scientists know that higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) can change our climate, and many experts think that this climate change may dramatically affect our lives. After staying almost the same for millions of years, the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere has climbed quickly in the last 100 years and scientists think it will climb even higher.

The last time CO2 levels were this high was between 25 and 40 million years ago. The research team hopes to collect data about the Earth's conditions during that period so they can better understand what happened the last time CO2 levels were so high. To do this, they will study the sediments deposited off the coast of Antarctica.

Brown hopes that in addition to reaching the project's scientific goals, this expedition will show students the possibilities science has to offer.

Visit the project's Web site to learn more about this expedition and track the team's progress.

Last modified December 17, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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