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.

This graph, based on key ice core data sets and recent monitoring programs, shows the variations in concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere during the last 400,000 years.

This is a photo essay linked to a New York Times story about climate-related stressors on forests -- including mountain pine beetles, forest fires, forest clearance, and ice storms -- and the importance of protecting forests as an important carbon sink.

In this activity, students distinguish between direct and indirectly transmitted diseases and participate in a group game to simulate the spread of vector-borne diseases. They then research a particular pathogenic disease to learn how global warming and biodiversity loss can affect disease transmission.

This short video from NASA discusses the role that salinity plays in Earth's climate and ocean circulation, focusing on the observations of the Aquarius satellite.

This engaging activity introduces students to the concept of albedo and how albedo relates to Earth's energy balance.

In this 'Energy Education for the 21st Century' design challenge, students construct and evaluate a solar-powered model car. Students utilize the design process and undergo review by their peers to select an optimal gear ratio and components for their car. As a culminating activity, students compete in a Solar Sprint race modeled after the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Junior Solar Sprint competition.

This activity uses a mix of multimedia resources and hands-on activities to support a storyline of investigation into melting sea ice. The lesson begins with a group viewing of a video designed to get students to consider both the local and global effects of climate change. The class then divides into small groups for inquiry activities on related topics followed by a presentation of the findings to the entire class. A final class discussion reveals a more complex understanding of both the local and global impacts of melting sea ice.

In this video segment, a team of scientists seeks evidence to support their hypothesis that atmospheric warming -- either now or in the past -- may explain why water has formed beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, causing ice streams that flow much more quickly than the rest of the ice sheet. This phenomenon has important implications for potential sea level rise.

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

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