This three-part, hands-on investigation explores how sunlight's angle of incidence at Earth's surface impacts the amount of solar radiation received in a given area. The activity is supported by PowerPoint slides and background information.
In this lesson, students explore several facets of the impact of volcanic eruptions on the atmosphere. Students analyze three types of visual information: a graph of aerosol optical depth v. global temperature, a global map with temperature anomalies, and an ash plume photograph. In the hands-on activity, students use math to determine the rate and estimated time of arrival of an ash plume at an airfield.
This is a short NASA video on the water cycle. The video shows the importance of the water cycle to nearly every natural process on Earth and illustrates how tightly coupled the water cycle is to climate.
In this activity, students learn how to read, analyze, and construct climographs. These climographs are a graphic way of displaying monthly average temperature and precipitation. Students also practice matching climographs to various locations and summarize global-scale climate patterns revealed by comparing climographs.
This narrated slide presentation shows the carbon cycle, looking at various parts of this biogeochemical sequence by examining carbon reservoirs and how carbon is exchanged among them and the atmosphere.
This activity introduces students to visualization capabilities available through NASA's Earth Observatory, global map collection, NASA NEO and ImageJ. Using these tools, students build several animations of satellite data that illustrate carbon pathways through the Earth system.
A simple click-through animation from Scripps Institute's Earthguide program breaks the complex topic of the global energy balance into separate concepts. Slides describe the different pathways for incoming and outgoing radiation.
In this activity, learners use the STELLA box modeling software to determine Earth's temperature based on incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. Starting with a simple black body model, the exercise gradually adds complexity by incorporating albedo, then a 1-layer atmosphere, then a 2-layer atmosphere, and finally a complex atmosphere with latent and sensible heat fluxes. With each step, students compare the modeled surface temperature to Earth's actual surface temperature, thereby providing a check on how well each increasingly complex model captures the physics of the actual system.