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.

In this activity, student teams research and develop a proposal to decrease the carbon footprint of their city's/town's public transportation system and then prepare a report that explains why their transportation plan is the best for their community.

This activity engages students in the analysis of climate data to first find areas in the southern United States that are now close to having conditions in which the malaria parasite and its mosquito hosts thrive and then attempt to forecast when areas might become climatically suitable.

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 activity engages students in learning about ways to become energy efficient consumers. Students examine how different countries and regions around the world use energy over time, as reflected in night light levels. They then track their own energy use, identify ways to reduce their individual energy consumption, and explore how community choices impact the carbon footprint.

This NASA video explores the relationship between climate and agriculture, including the variability of climate change impacts that may occur in different regions and the effects of population growth and higher demands for food in areas that already struggle to supply food for the people. The video highlights the need for accurate, continuous, and accessible data and computer models from NASA satellites to track and predict the challenges farmers face as they adjust to a changing climate.

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

This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electricity. It also discusses environmental impacts of the dam and others like it.

This interactive visualization provides a clear, well-documented snapshot of current and projected values of several climate variables for local areas in California. The climate variables include observed and projected temperatures, projected snowpack, areas vulnerable to flooding due to sea level rise, and projected increase in wildfires. The projected values come from expert sources and well-established climate models.

Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.

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