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.
This video examines what will happen to crops as Earth's temperature rises and soils dry out because of changing climate. Students learn that a loss of soil moisture causes stress to plants, leading to crop withering. Since humans and animals depend directly or indirectly on plants for food, many societal problems can be expected to arise due to the impact of climate warming on crops and the societies that depend on them.
This graphic depicts evidence for a human fingerprint on climate change based on multiple sets of independent observations. The graphic is available to study at three levels - basic, intermediate, and advanced understanding, with substantial support for students to investigate the evidence themselves and draw their own conclusions.
With this simulation from the NASA Climate website, learners explore different examples of how ice is melting due to climate change in four places where large quantities of ice are found. The photo comparisons, graphs, animations, and especially the time lapse video clips of glaciers receding are astonishing and dramatic.
In this experiment, students will observe a natural process that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth's atmosphere. This process is a part of the carbon cycle and results in temperature suitable for life. Students will learn that the carbon cycle is a fundamental Earth process. Throughout Earth's history, the balance of carbon has kept the atmosphere's carbon dioxide (CO2) and Earth's temperature within relatively narrow ranges.
In this activity, learners use the STELLA box modeling software to determine Earth's temperature based on incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. Starting with a simple black body model, the exercise gradually adds complexity by incorporating albedo, then a 1-layer atmosphere, then a 2-layer atmosphere, and finally a complex atmosphere with latent and sensible heat fluxes. With each step, students compare the modeled surface temperature to Earth's actual surface temperature, thereby providing a check on how well each increasingly complex model captures the physics of the actual system.
This video from Earth: The Operators' Manual describes how fossil fuels are made, and it compares how long it takes to create coal, oil and natural gas (millions of years), with how fast we're using them (hundreds of years). Narrated by Dr. Richard Alley.
This narrated slide presentation shows the carbon cycle, looking at various parts of this biogeochemical sequence by examining carbon reservoirs and how carbon is exchanged among them and the atmosphere.