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Hot Topics in the Science Classroom: Extreme Heat Events and Our Nation’s Estuaries

September 15, 2022
Image of the US with water quality graphics.

As students and teachers settle into another school year this September, the extreme heat events that have impacted more than half of the U.S. population this summer are continuing, most recently in the West.  Last week, air temperatures in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay area reached 116 degrees, the highest temperature ever recorded in this region.

Since these events are so widespread and ongoing, extreme heat is a phenomenon that is both observable and relevant to students across the country. Investigations related to heat events can drive student learning in a variety of areas. For example, in San Francisco, environmental science students at a local high school are investigating the impact of the latest extreme heat event on the San Francisco Bay estuary using the user-friendly data tools in the Monitoring Estuarine Water Quality module. The module provides historic and real-time water quality data within each of the 30 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) in the United States. Go to the Water Quality module and click on the 'Get Data' tab to explore these real-time data resources.

NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserves are coastal sites designated to protect and study estuarine systems. Each reserve collects the weather and water quality monitoring data used in Data in the Classroom module, including the data referenced in this article from the San Francisco Bay National National Estuarine Research Reserve.