This is the seventh of nine lessons in the 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change' website. This lesson addresses climate feedback loops and how these loops help drive and regulate Earth's unique climate system.
This video profiles glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and his research into tropical mountain glaciers as a way to understand climate history. Beginning in the 1970s, Thompson recognized that tropical ice cores contain information relating to tropical climate phenomena, including El NiÃo events and monsoons. These phenomena are not archived in ice from polar regions. Thompson explains that his archive of ice cores is full of clues that, taken together with records collected from around the world, can help scientists create a timeline that tells Earth's climate story.
In this activity, students estimate the drop in sea level during glacial maxima, when ice and snow in high latitudes and altitudes resulted in lower sea levels. Students estimate the surface area of the world's oceans, use ice volume data to approximate how much sea levels dropped, and determine the sea-level rise that would occur if the remaining ice melted.
In this activity, students will use oxygen isotope values of two species of modern coral to reconstruct ambient water temperature over a four-year period. They use Microsoft Excel, or similar application, to create a spreadsheet of temperature values calculated from the isotope values of the corals by means of an algebraic equation. Students then use correlation and regression techniques to determine whether isotope records can be considered to be good proxies for records of past temperatures.
This video describes how field research -- in this case, making water measurements in rugged mountain locations -- helps us to understand the complex relationships among changing climate, populations, and water usage.
The Electricity data browser allows individuals and organizations to create, download, or view graphs, reports and tables based on energy data sets for 2001-2013 from the US Energy Information Administration. Data sets include generation and consumption, sales, costs and quality. Can choose various ways to represent these data sets. Note: This site is being updated based on feedback from users.
A collection of repeat photography of glaciers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The photos are taken years apart at or near the same location, illustrating how dramatically glacier positions can change even over a relatively short period in geological time: 60 to 100 years. Background essay and discussion questions are included.
This image depicts a representative subset of the atmospheric processes related to aerosol lifecycles, cloud lifecycles, and aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions that must be understood to improve future climate predictions.