Instrumental measurements, proxy data, climate model projections
U.S. Drought Monitor
December 20, 2012
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 engages learners in examining data pertaining to the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park. After calculating percentage change of the number of glaciers from 1850 (150) to 1968 (50) and 2009 (26), students move on to the main glacier-monitoring content of the module--area vs. time data for the Grinnell Glacier, one of 26 glaciers that remain in the park.
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 NiÃo and La NiÃa are easily identified, as are the trends in decreasing polar sea ice.
This Flash-based simulation explores the relationship between carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide using two main displays: (1) graphs that show the level of human-generated CO2 emissions, CO2 removals, and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and (2) a bathtub animation that shows the same information as the graphs. The bathtub simulation illustrates the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
In this video, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) when a sudden, enormous influx of carbon flooded the ocean and atmosphere for reasons that are still unclear to scientists. The PTEM is used as an analog to the current warming occurring.
In this video the Pentagon's focus on climate change is described as a significant factor as the military examines potential risks, strategic responses, and impacts of climate change on future military and humanitarian missions. In 2010, for the first time, the Pentagon focused on climate change as a significant factor in its Quadrennial Defense Review of potential risks and strategic responses.
This interactive world map shows the impact of a global temperature rise of 4 degrees Celsius on a variety of factors including agriculture, marine life, fires, weather patterns, and health. Hot Spots can be clicked on to get more specific information about the problems in different regions.
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.
In this activity, students reconstruct past climates using lake varves as a proxy to interpret long-term climate patterns and to understand annual sediment deposition and how it relates to weather and climate patterns.