This activity develops students' understanding of climate by having them make in-depth examinations of historical climate patterns using both graphical and map image formats rather than presenting a general definition of climate. Students explore local climate in order to inform a pen pal what type of weather to expect during an upcoming visit. Students generate and explore a variety of graphs, charts, and map images and interpret them to develop an understanding of climate.
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.
A simple click-through animation from Scripps Institute's Earthguide program breaks the complex topic of the global energy balance into separate concepts. Slides describe the different pathways for incoming and outgoing radiation.
This is a short NASA video on the water cycle. The video shows the importance of the water cycle to nearly every natural process on Earth and illustrates how tightly coupled the water cycle is to climate.
An interactive that illustrates the relationships between the axial tilt of the Earth, latitude, and temperature. Several data sets (including temperature, Sun-Earth distance, daylight hours) can be collected using this interactive.
This NASA video reviews the role of the sun in driving the climate system. It uses colorful animations to illustrate Earth's energy balance and how increased greenhouse gases are creating an imbalance in the energy budget, leading to warming. The video also reviews how the NASA satellite program collects data on the sun.
This short video, the sixth in the National Academies Climate Change, Lines of Evidence series, explores the hypothesis that changes in solar energy output may be responsible for observed global surface temperature rise. Several lines of evidence, such as direct satellite observations, are reviewed.
This animation demonstrates the changing declination of the sun with a time-lapse animation. It shows how the shadow of a building changes over the course of a year as the declination of the sun changes.