This is a sequence of 5 classroom activities focusing on the El Niño climate variability. The activities increase in complexity and student-directedness. The focus of the activities is on accessing and manipulating real data to help students understand El Niño as an interaction of Earth systems.
This lesson explores El Nino by looking at sea surface temperature, sea surface height, and wind vectors in order to seek out any correlations there may be among these three variables, using the My NASA Data Live Access Server. The lesson guides the students through data representing the strong El Nino from 1997 to 1998. In this way, students will model the methods of researchers who bring their expertise to study integrated science questions.
This multi-part activity introduces users to normal seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) variation as well as extreme variation, as in the case of El Nino and La Nina events, in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Via a THREDDS server, users learn how to download seasonal SST data for the years 1982 to 1998. Using a geographic information system (GIS), they visualize and analyze that data, looking for the tell-tale SST signature of El Nino and La Nina events that occurred during that time period.
Two graphs from the NASA Climate website illustrate the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The NASA plot is annotated with temperature-impacting historic events, which nicely connect an otherwise challenging graphic to real-world events.
This NOAA visualization video on YouTube shows the seasonal variations in sea surface temperatures and ice cover for the 22 years prior to 2007 based on data collected by NOAA polar-orbiting satellites (POES). El Niño and La Niña are easily identified, as are the trends in decreasing polar sea ice.
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2009)
May 1, 2009
Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow. Consequently, crops and livestock production will be increasingly challenged and threats to human health will increase. These are two key findings presented in this 2009 assessment report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The report gives an overview of climate-related issues and impacts for seven geographical regions and seven sectors of society.
An international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment evaluates and synthesizes knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences for the Arctic region.