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.

Students gain experience using a spreadsheet and working with others to decide how to conduct their model 'experiments' with the NASA GEEBITT (Global Equilibrium Energy Balance Interactive Tinker Toy). This activity helps students become more familiar with the physical processes that made Earth's early climate so different from that of today. Students also acquire first-hand experience with a limitation in modeling, specifically, parameterization of critical processes.

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 beautifully filmed and produced video describes the changes that global warming is already bringing to Northern Canada and Greenland. Local people describe changes to ecosystems, impacts on culture and life styles, and the challenges of melting permafrost. Ship captains describe changes in navigational channels and fjords. Scientists describe changes in albedo and permafrost, as well as increased pollution transported from outside the Arctic (the Grasshopper effect).

This lesson sequence guides students to learn about the geography and the unique characteristics of the Arctic, including vegetation, and people who live there. Students use Google Earth to explore the Arctic and learn about meteorological observations in the Arctic, including collecting their own data in hands-on experiments. This is the first part of a three-part curriculum about Arctic climate.

In this activity for undergraduate students, learners build a highly simplified computer model of thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean and conduct a set of simulation experiments to understand the complex dynamics inherent in this simple model.

This short video examines the recent melting ice shelves in the Antarctica Peninsula; the potential collapse of West Antarctic ice shelf; and how global sea levels, coastal cities, and beaches would be affected.

This video highlights a variety of climate change research initiatives from scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder. It describes the changing dynamics of Antarctic ice sheets and the impacts of reduced Arctic sea ice. The video illustrates the excitement of this research through interviews and video clips of scientists in the field.

This NBC Learn video features climate scientists doing their research on Mt. Kilimanjaro to study the climate of the past. The scientists put the recently observed changes on the glacier into perspective by comparing past climate fluctuations, stressing that the current observed rate of change is unprecedented.
Note: you will need to scroll down the Changing Planet video page to get to this video.

An activity focusing on black carbon. This activity explores the impacts of the use of black carbon generating wood, dung, and charcoal for fuel in developing countries.

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