This is the first of nine lessons in the "Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change" website. This lesson is an introduction to Earth's climate and covers key principles regarding Earth's unique climate, atmosphere, and regional and temporal climate differences.

In this short video from ClimateCentral, host Jessica Harrop explains what evidence scientists have for claiming that recent global warming is caused by humans and is not just part of a natural cycle.

This music video features a rap song about some of the causes and effects of climate change with the goal of increasing awareness of climate change and how it will impact nature and humans. The website also includes links to short fact sheets with lyrics to the song that are annotated with the sources of the information in the lyrics.

In this activity, students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis. This exercise enables students to practice basic quantitative skills and understand how important sampling intervals can be when studying changes over time. A goal is to see how small sample size may give incomplete picture of data.

In this activity, students critically evaluate the arguments about climate change raised in a climate contrarian newspaper op-ed. This exercise is intended to strengthen student critical thinking and content knowledge at the end of unit on the climate system.

This interactive shows the different components of the ocean biological pump, i.e., how carbon in the form of either plankton or particles moves into the ocean's depths. It illustrates the situation at the surface, 0-100 meters, 100-500 meters, and below 500 meters.

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.

In this TED talk, Wall Street Journal science columnist Lee Hotz describes the research of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide project, in which scientists examine ice core records of climate change in the past to find clues to climate change in the future.

This video provides an overview of changes happening in the Arctic.

This short video examines the recent melting ice shelves in the Antarctica Peninsula; the potential collapse of West Antarctic ice shelf; and how global sea levels, coastal cities, and beaches would be affected.

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