This classroom activity is aimed at an understanding of different ecosystems by understanding the influence of temperature and precipitation. Students correlate graphs of vegetation vigor with those of temperature and precipitation data for four diverse ecosystems, ranging from near-equatorial to polar, and spanning both hemispheres to determine which climatic factor is limiting growth.
In this activity, students calculate temperatures during a time in the geologic record when rapid warming occurred using a well known method called 'leaf-margin analysis.' Students determine the percentage of the species that have leaves with smooth edges, as opposed to toothed, or jagged, edges. Facsimiles of fossil leaves from two collection sites are examined, categorized, and the data is plugged into an equation to provide an estimate of paleotemperature for two sites in the Bighorn Basin. It also introduces students to a Smithsonian scientist who worked on the excavation sites and did the analysis.
This video is accompanied by supporting materials including background essay and discussion questions. The focus is on changes happening to permafrost in the Arctic landscape, with Alaska Native peoples and Western scientists discussing both the causes of thawing and its impact on the ecosystem. The video shows the consequences of erosion, including mudslides and inland lakes being drained of water. An Inuit expresses his uncertainty about the ultimate effect this will have on his community and culture.
This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously, designing structures that can react to unforeseen changes. As sea levels continue to rise, architects design ways to live with the rising water.
This video takes viewers high into the Rocky Mountain snowpack, where researchers dig snow pits to explore the source of Colorado's water supply. Highlights how important snowpack is to the supply of fresh water available in western and southwestern states. Snowmelt dynamics are discussed, including the impact of a warming climate on these dynamics.
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.
This interactive map allows students to experiment with decadal average temperature projections. Overall temperatures are expected to rise throughout the century and this tool demonstrates those projected measurements.
With this simulation from the NASA Climate website, learners explore different examples of how ice is melting due to climate change in four places where large quantities of ice are found. The photo comparisons, graphs, animations, and especially the time lapse video clips of glaciers receding are astonishing and dramatic.
One of a suite of online climate interactive simulations, this Greenhouse Gas Simulator uses the bathtub model to demonstrate how atmospheric concentrations of CO2 will continue to rise unless they are lowered to match the amount of CO2 that can be removed through natural processes.