How do the changing tides affect San Francisco Bay surface currents, water conditions, and ecosystems? Does the weather affect air quality in San Francisco? How do human activities and seasonal cycles affect carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and Bay waters?
At the Exploratorium, a suite of scientific instruments on the roof and in the water is gathering data to address these and other questions. Live data from these sensors shows what’s currently happening, and a growing data archive lets us observe short- and long-term changes, from recent weather history to seasonal phytoplankton blooms.
This project, called the Environmental Field Station, supports two of the gallery’s main goals: collecting and archiving data over time, and fostering observation skills. Visitors can explore the data on the Field Station website, and through a suite of data visualization exhibits in the gallery.
The Environmental Field Station also enables us to be a research site for scientists who study Bay, ocean, and atmospheric systems. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), UC Berkeley, and the Romberg-Tiburon Center are contributing expertise and instruments to the Field Station, and incorporating its data into their regional and transpacific observing networks.