Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
December 27, 2012
Extreme weather and climate events, interacting with exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems, can lead to disasters. This special report explores the social as well as physical dimensions of weather- and climate-related disasters, and considers opportunities for managing risks at local to international scales. This “SREX” report was approved and accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in November 2011.
Drought is one of the most costly natural disasters affecting the United States. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) helps the nation and North America understand and proactively prepare for drought by providing data and information about the extent and potential impacts of drought and associated risks. The system provides a variety of decision support tools to help people prepare for and mitigate the effects of drought.
This activity uses a mix of multimedia resources and hands-on activities to support a storyline of investigation into melting sea ice. The lesson begins with a group viewing of a video designed to get students to consider both the local and global effects of climate change. The class then divides into small groups for inquiry activities on related topics followed by a presentation of the findings to the entire class. A final class discussion reveals a more complex understanding of both the local and global impacts of melting sea ice.
In this activity students explore recent changes in the Arctic's climate that have been observed and documented by indigenous Arctic residents. Students watch a video, take notes, and create a concept map. Students also examine and graph historical weather data and indigenous data for an Arctic community. Students explain why natives are critical observers.
In this activity, students use Google Earth and information from several websites to investigate some of the consequences of climate change in polar regions, including the shrinking of the ice cap at the North Pole, disintegration of ice shelves, melting of Greenland, opening of shipping routes, effects on polar bears, and possible secondary effects on climate in other regions due to changes in ocean currents. Students learn to use satellite and aerial imagery, maps, graphs, and statistics to interpret trends accompanying changes in the Earth system.
This video features changes in the land, sea, and animals that are being observed by the residents of Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada â many of whom hunt, trap, and fishâbecause of their long-standing and intimate connection with their ecosystem. Scientists interview the residents and record their observations in order to deepen our understanding of climate change in the polar region. Background essay and discussion questions are included.
This activity addresses climate change impacts that affect all states that are part of the Colorado River Basin and are dependent on its water. Students examine available data, the possible consequences of changes to various user groups, and suggest solutions to adapt to these changes.
This PBS video focuses on sea level rise in Norfolk, Virginia and how the residents are managing the logistical, financial and political implications. Science journalists who have been studying Norfolk's rising sea level problems are interviewed as well are local residents who are being impacted.
This video addresses acidification of the ocean and the ecological and economic implications of the resulting pH change on marine life. It includes information about how ocean acidification resulting from increased absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere is affecting ocean species such as sea urchins and oysters. Scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara discuss their experiments with sea creatures in acidic sea water. There is an associated lesson plan and classroom activity that has students test the effects of CO2 on water pH.
Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment
December 6, 2012
Global sea level has been steadily rising for decades and is expected to continue. Scientists have very high confidence that global sea level will rise at least another 8 inches and as much as 6.6 feet by 2100, causing significant impacts in U.S. coastal regions. This report lays out the science and describes possible scenarios to help planners and policy leaders assess the risks.