b. Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.

In this instructional lesson plan, students analyze data from a study on the effects of climate warming on a subalpine meadow in Gothic CO, called the "warming meadow". This long-term experiment provides a means of discovering the actual mechanisms governing ecosystem responses to climate warming.

In this lesson, students examine and interpret varied observational datasets and are asked to determine whether the data supports or does not support the statement: climate change is occurring in Colorado.

This is a graph of marine air temperature anomalies over the past 150 years. Five different marine air temperature anomaly datasets from different sources are compared on the one graph.

This graphic contains ocean heat content (OHC) anomaly trends from 1945 to 2009 for the top 700 meters of the ocean. It is composed of long-term datasets from seven different references. The graphic can be manipulated and downloaded as a picture.

This short video from Climate Central explains the technology used to monitor changes in Arctic sea ice. Long-term tracking (since the late 1970's) shows Arctic sea ice has been on a steady decline and this could have significant implications for global temperatures.

This interactive visualization from the NASA Earth Observatory website compares Arctic sea ice minimum extent from 1984 to that of 2012.

This is a graphic that illustrates anomalies in tropospheric temperatures over a 50-year time period and is based on 7 different datasets superimposed on each other. It is one of 9 climate indicators documented in the AMS State of the Climate report.

In this activity, students review techniques used by scientists, as they analyze a 50-year temperature time series dataset. The exercise helps students understand that data typically has considerable variability from year to year and to predict trends or forecast the future, there is value in long-term data collection.

In this activity, students explore how, in New England, the timing of color change and leaf drop of deciduous trees is changing.

In this video, a spokesperson for the National Climactic Data Center describes the methods of using satellites (originally designed for observing changes in the weather) to study changes in climate from decade to decade. The video clearly illustrates the value of satellite data and begins to address connections between weather and climate.

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