This activity introduces students to global climate patterns by having each student collect information about the climate in a particular region of the globe. After collecting information, students share data through posters in class and consider factors that lead to differences in climate in different parts of the world. Finally, students synthesize the information to see how climate varies around the world.
This series of visualizations show the annual Arctic sea ice minimum from 1979 to 2010. The decrease in Arctic sea ice over time is shown in an animation and a graph plotted simultaneously, but can be parsed so that the change in sea ice area can be shown without the graph.
This video features CU Boulder Professor Jeff Mitton and his research team, who study the effects of mountain pine beetle infestations on the forest ecology in the Rocky Mountains. They explain the pine beetle life cycle and how they attack trees. An outlook into the future is also provided.
This short cartoon video uses a simple baseball analogy (steroid use increases probability of hitting home runs) to explain how small increases in greenhouse gases can cause global temperature changes and increase the probability of extreme weather events.
This gallery of ten temperature graphs shows global temperatures on different timescales from decades (recently measured temperatures) to centuries (reconstructed) to millions of years (modeled from ice cores).
This color-coded map displays a progression of changing five-year average global surface temperatures anomalies from 1880 through 2010. The final frame represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2006 to 2010. The temperature anomalies are computed relative to the base period 1951-1980.
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. With each step, students compare the modeled surface temperature to Earth's actual surface temperature, thereby providing a check on how well each increasingly complex model captures the physics of the actual system.