Global Temperatures

In this activity, students create graphs of real temperature data to analyze climate trends by analyzing the global temperature record from 1867 to the present. Long-term trends and shorter-term fluctuations are both evaluated. The data is examined for evidence of the impact of natural and anthropogenic climate forcing mechanisms on the global surface temperature variability. Students are prompted to determine the difficulties scientists face in using this data to make climate predictions.

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Robert MacKay
SERC Starting Point and Columbia University Earth and Environmental Science Faculty

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

It is recommended that educator do a dry run with the data first to understand it well.

It may be helpful to break the activities up with some in-class discussion instead of requiring the students to do all the activities at once. This will also likely increase student engagement in what could become a very monotonous set of assignments.

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