Los Alamos High School Junior Coleman Kendrick earned Best of Show at the Northeastern New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair March 7 at New Mexico Highlands University.
The grand award also qualified Kendrick to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). The Intel International Fair is May 11-15 in Pittsburg, Pa. Kendrick will compete in the Physics and Astronomy category, the same category he placed 2nd in at the Intel International Fair last year in Los Angeles. This is Kendrick’s third time qualifying for the International Science and Engineering Fair.
Kendrick’s award winning project investigates the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and determines the effects it has on:
- rainfall rates;
- sea surface temperatures; and
- wind stress on the Pacific Ocean using a simple hydrodynamic model.
He wrote a C++ code, which couples the ocean and atmosphere and includes models for the surface wind stress, Ekman pumping, moisture evaporation and rainfall.
Kendrick’s El Niño simulation results showed warmer ocean surface temperatures and more rainfall and were consistent with the NOAA data and several professional models. The effects of global warming on El Niño over the next 100 years also were simulated and 40 percent increases in rainfall rates over the eastern equatorial Pacific were predicted (consistent with a NOAA climate model).
Kendrick plans to extend his model to include feedback effects from the ocean’s thermocline, which could allow his model to predict future El Niño events.
In addition to Kendrick’s coveted Intel ISEF award, LAHS garnered two ISEF alternate spots. LAHS team project, Senior’s Esteban Abeyta and Ashvini Vaidya took home the 1st alternate ISEF award and Junior EliseAnne Koskelo took home the 2nd ISEF alternate award.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. More than 1,700 high school students from more than 70 countries, regions and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in prizes.
Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in SSP-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF. Intel ISEF unites these top young scientific minds, showcasing their talents on an international stage, where doctoral level scientists review and judge their work.