Last Updated: 05/17/2012

In the GO3 Project students at more than 80 schools in 25 countries around the world measure air pollutants on a continuous basis and upload their data to a public database for graphing and display on Google Earth. Ground level ozone is measured in the Global Ozone Project, black carbon or "soot" is measured in the Black Carbon Experiment, and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is measured in the CO2 Project. Together, GO3 students
are learning and practicing the science of atmospheric chemistry, building the world's first global database for air pollutants, and proposing solutions to global environmental problems.

Global Ozone (O3) Project

Simulated ozone data on Google Earth. Data at each station are encoded in column height and color
Simulated ozone data on Google Earth. Data at each station are encoded in column height and color
In the Global Ozone Project students measure ground level ozone outside their schools and continuously upload their measurements to the GO3 Database for online graphing and display on Google Earth. In this project students use sophisticated instruments, normally available only to scientists, to make accurate measurements of this toxic air pollutant. GO3 students around the world are building the first global ozone database with results available to anyone with an internet connection. The data are critically evaluated and are being reviewed for by the EPA's AIRNow program for use in real time to improve air pollution maps and forecasts. Using a meteorological station students also monitor other variables needed to understand ozone formation and transport, including temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind speed and direction. In addition to making ozone and meteorological measurements, students interpret their results and discuss their findings in blogs and forums on the GO3 Social Network. In the GO3 Curriculum middle and high school students learn about all of the atmospheric environmental problems and how they are interrelated, including: ground level ozone, stratospheric ozone depletion ("ozone hole"), acid rain and global warming.

Lesson Plans

The GO3 Curriculum consists of a Power Point presentation containing 159 slides with detailed notes. The GO3 Curriculum may also be accessed as an online "moodle" course for professional development of teachers and for students and others interested in learning more about ground level ozone and air pollution. Slides include lessons on the following topics:
  • Lesson 1: Air Pollution Basics
  • Lesson 2: Ozone Formation in the Troposphere
  • Lesson 3: Carbon Sources: Carbon Monoxide
  • Lesson 4: Methane
  • Lesson 5: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Lesson 6: Oxides of Nitrogen
  • Lesson 7: Sunlight and Weather
  • Lesson 8: The Effects of Ground Level Ozone
  • Lesson 9: Stratospheric Ozone
  • Lesson 10: How an Ozone Monitor Works
  • Lesson 11: Data Sharing and Interpretation
  • Lesson 12: Sustainable Technologies and Renewable Energies
  • Lesson 13: What Can You Do?

Black Carbon Experiment

In the Black Carbon Experiment students both visualize and quantify the amount of “soot” or “smoke” in the air they breathe. Black carbon, the elemental carbon component of atmospheric aerosols, is produced in incomplete combustion. It is found in the exhaust of diesel engines and in the smoke produced in agricultural burning and in cooking fires fueled by wood, coal or animal waste. The brown cloud that often hangs over urban areas and greatly reduces visibility is caused by a combination of light scattering by small atmospheric particles and light absorption by black carbon.

CO2 Experiment

In the CO2 Experiment, students at schools around the world measure the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide outside their schools and upload their data to the GO3 Database. Student-measured CO2 data may be plotted online and visualized on Google Earth by anyone having internet access. Carbon dioxide, which is produced in combustion of fossil fuels and through deforestation, is the most important greenhouse gas. Continued emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are expected to cause an additional warming of 1.5-4.5 oC by the end of this century. By measuring carbon dioxide at your school, you can see how your community is contributing to global warming.

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