This is a classroom activity about the forcing mechanisms for the most recent cold period: the Little Ice Age (1350-1850). Students receive data about tree ring records, solar activity, and volcanic eruptions during this time period. By comparing and contrasting time intervals when tree growth was at a minimum, solar activity was low, and major volcanic eruptions occurred, they draw conclusions about possible natural causes of climate change and identify factors that may indicate climate change.

This qualitative graphic illustrates the various factors that affect the amount of solar radiation hitting or being absorbed by Earth's surface such as aerosols, clouds, and albedo.

This NASA video discusses the impacts of the sun's energy, Earth's reflectance and greenhouse gases on the Earth System.