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.
In this activity, students learn about the urban heat island effect by investigating which areas of their schoolyard have higher temperatures - trees, grass, asphalt, and other materials. Based on their results, they hypothesize how concentrations of surfaces that absorb heat might affect the temperature in cities - the urban heat island effect. Then they analyze data about the history of Los Angeles heat waves and look for patterns in the Los Angeles climate data and explore patterns.
This is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over the others.
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 lab activity students generate their own biomass gases by heating wood pellets or wood splints in a test tube. They collect the resulting gases and use the gas to roast a marshmallow. Students also evaluate which biomass fuel is the best by their own criteria or by examining the volume of gas produced by each type of fuel.
In this activity, students critically evaluate the arguments about climate change raised in a climate contrarian newspaper op-ed. This exercise is intended to strengthen student critical thinking and content knowledge at the end of unit on the climate system.
This lesson is a lab in which students use thermometers, white and dark paper, and lamps to measure differences in albedo between the light and dark materials. Connections are made to albedo in Antarctica.
This video profiles the Arctic Inuit community of Sachs Harbour and its collaboration with scientists studying climate change. Changes in the land, sea, and animals are readily apparent to the residents of Sachs Harbourâmany of whom hunt, trap, and fishâbecause of their long-standing and intimate connection with their ecosystem. Scientists from a climate change study project interview the residents and record their observations. The scientists can use these firsthand accounts along with their own collected data to deepen their understanding of climate change in the polar region.