In this series of activities students investigate the effects of black carbon on snow and ice melt in the Arctic. The lesson begins with an activity that introduces students to the concept of thermal energy and how light and dark surfaces reflect and absorb radiant energy differently. To help quantify the relationship between carbon
and ice melt, the wet lab activity has students create ice samples both with and without black carbon and then compare how they respond to radiant energy while considering implications for the Arctic.
This video illustrates how atmospheric particles, or aerosols (such as black carbon, sulfates, dust, fog), can affect the energy balance of Earth regionally, and the implications for surface temperature warming and cooling.
This lesson explores El NiÃo by looking at sea surface temperature, sea surface height, and wind vectors in order to seek out any correlations there may be among these three variables using the My NASA Data Live Access Server. The lesson guides the students through data representing the strong El NiÃo from 1997 to 1998. In this way, students will model the methods of researchers who bring their expertise to study integrated science questions.
This video segment from 'Earth: The Operators' Manual' explores how we know that today's increased levels of CO2 are caused by humans burning fossil fuels and not by some natural process, such as volcanic out-gassing. Climate scientist Richard Alley provides a detailed step-by-step explanation that examines the physics and chemistry of different "flavors," or isotopes, of carbon in Earth's atmosphere.
This activity illustrates the carbon cycle using an age-appropriate hook, and it includes thorough discussion and hands-on experimentation. Students learn about the geological (ancient) carbon cycle; they investigate the role of dinosaurs in the carbon cycle, and the eventual storage of carbon in the form of chalk. Students discover how the carbon cycle has been occurring for millions of years and is necessary for life on Earth. Finally, they may extend their knowledge to the concept of global warming and how engineers are working to understand the carbon cycle and reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
This video highlights the work of climate scientists in the Amazon who research the relationship between deforestation, construction of new dams, and increased amounts of greenhouse gases being exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere.
This video highlights the Pentagon's focus on climate change as the military examines potential risks, strategic responses, and impacts of climate change on future military and humanitarian missions. In 2010, for the first time, the Pentagon focused on climate change as a significant factor in its Quadrennial Defense Review of potential risks and strategic responses. Rear Admiral David Titley, Oceanographer of the Navy, explains why the US military sees clear evidence of climate change and how those changes will affect future military and humanitarian missions.