Mt. Pinatubo and the Atmosphere

In this lesson, students explore several facets of the impact of volcanic eruptions on the atmosphere. Students analyze three types of visual information: a graph of aerosol optical depth v. global temperature, a global map with temperature anomalies, and an ash plume photograph. In the hands-on activity, students use math to determine the rate and estimated time of arrival of an ash plume at an airfield.

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April King
Shane Berry
Bruce Howard
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
One or two 50-minute class periods, depending on whether background article and questions are done in or out of class.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Plethora of additional background resource are provided for the educator on volcanoes and climate change. Well-organized teacher version, outlined with student worksheet.

Literacy and Resources