A team made up of students from St Nicholas College Middle School, Rabat, and St Nicholas College Secondary School, Ħad-Dingli, classified amongst the best four Climate Detectives Teams in a project organised by the European Space Agency. Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici met with the heads of schools, the College principal together with the teachers and students who were involved in the project. He congratulated them on their success.
Minister Bonnici said that “small changes in their lifestyle can have a large impact on the problem of climate change if all were to follow suit. These students were able to raise more awareness on the subject by creating different promotional material to act as reminders for the students and they also created desktop images which were uploaded on all the school computers. I encourage more schools to follow suit by listening to the students and give them a helping hand when possible because, with their creative ideas, we can be able to make changes for the benefit of future generations.”
More than 450 students from around Europe participated in this project. Each team had to identify a local climate-related problem, collect data to investigate it and finally take action to address the problem.
The team from St Nicholas College explored how changes in climate mainly rainfall and temperature impacting water flow and farming in Qlejgħa Valley, in the limits of Rabat and Mtarfa and the impact of these changes on farming in the area.
Year 9 students studying geography option at St Nicholas College Secondary School analysed rainfall and temperature data for the Maltese islands for these last 50 years. They also used satellite photos from Landsat 5 and Sentinel 2 to observe the surface area of the water in the valley. They carried out fieldwork at Qlejgħa Valley during February 2020 to observe if there is any evidence that the level of water in the river was indeed higher in the past.
The analysis showed that rainfall seems to be decreasing in spring, but heavy rainstorms are becoming more frequent in autumn. The temperature also seems to be increasing. During the fieldwork, the students noted that the valley was almost completely dry but features typical of rivers were observed such as meanders that must have been formed during periods of higher water flow.