Students consider why the observed atmospheric CO2 increase rate is only ~60% of the CO2 loading rate due to fossil fuel combustion. They develop a box-model to simulate the atmospheric CO2 increase during the industrial era and compare it to the historic observations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The model is then used to forecast future concentrations of atmospheric CO2 during the next century.

This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

This Flash-based simulation explores the relationship between carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide using two main displays: (1) graphs that show the level of human-generated CO2 emissions, CO2 removals, and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and (2) a bathtub animation that shows the same information as the graphs. The bathtub simulation illustrates the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

This animated visualization was created for the planetarium film 'Dynamic Earth'. It illustrates the trail of energy that flows from atmospheric wind currents to ocean currents.

In this video, students learn that the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was not the sole cause of the decline of species in the local ecosystem. Rather, an explanation is posited for why some animal populations were already in decline when the spill occurred. Many of these animals share a common food: the sand lance, a fish whose populations have shrunk with the steady rise in ocean temperature that began in the late 1970s.

In this activity, students reconstruct past climates using lake varves as a proxy to interpret long-term climate patterns and to understand annual sediment deposition and how it relates to weather and climate patterns.

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 Webquest activity, students assume roles of scientist, business leader, or policy maker. The students then collaborate as part of a climate action team and learn how society and the environment might be impacted by global warming. They explore the decision making process regarding issues of climate change, energy use, and available policy options. Student teams investigate how and why climate is changing and how humans may have contributed to these changes. Upon completion of their individual tasks, student teams present their findings and make recommendations that address the situation.

October 6, 2014 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time

Our Featured speaker is Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at The Pennsylvania State University. He will be giving our main presentation Bungy Jumping off the Ice-Core Roller Coaster: Ice-Core Records of Global Warming and Abrupt Climate Change

Dr. Alley will discuss how ice cores provide remarkably accurate records of climate changes locally, regionally and globally. Ice-core records of ice age cycles contribute to our understanding that CO2 has been “the biggest control knob” of Earth’s overall climate, and thus that if we continue burning fossil fuels and releasing the CO2, we will have large impacts on climate. But, ice-core records also show how changes in ocean circulation have had large, rapid regional impacts. The existence of such abrupt climate changes contributes to our understanding that, if scientists are wrong about the influence of CO2 on climate, changes are likely to be more-damaging than expected rather than less-damaging. 

Please forward this invitation to all interested colleagues and networks

Teams gather to rapidly prototype game designs (online, pervasive, tabletop, or other formats) and to inject new ideas to help grow the game industry and make educational climate information accessible to a range of audiences.  This is a unique opportunity for students, educators, scientists, game designers and interested public members to work together on the development of climate game prototypes that span a range of platforms, topics, and audiences.

Interested in hosting a local site?   Sign up your site at

Recognition!  Each site will select a People’s Choice at the end of that site’s jam.  Teams can submit a 2-minute video via Dropbox for consideration and selection for National recognition including:

  • Selection for additional game development support from GlassLabs
  • Selection for inclusion in the Smithsonian Learning Lab – Excellent K-12 “classroom ready” entries that feature sound scientific concepts have the opportunity to be included on the Smithsonian’s new Learning Lab. As part of the Learning Lab, these games will be available to educators across the nation.
  • Selection for inclusion in the National Museum of Natural History’s showcase – Select finalists will be offered the opportunity to be showcased in an arcade on the grounds of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The showcase will take place in November.

Upcoming Pre-Jam Events:

Remake Learning Hang-out: Games in the Classroom, September 22, 2 pm EST

Extreme Event: River City Game Night, September 30, 6:30-8:30 pm EST, Koshland Science Museum, Washington, D.C. 

NOS’s Communications and Education Division is providing organizational leadership for this event and is working closely with NOAA’s Climate Program Office and other NOAA offices for subject matter expertise. Partners include Smithsonian Institution; Koshland Science Center; GlassLab; Entertainment Software Association; Wilson Center; California Academy of Science; STEMHero; Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership; University of Oklahoma; Paleontological Research Institute (Cornell); Harmony High School (FL); Barnard College; Michigan Technological University; BrainPOP; and Zulama.

Interested in more information?


Why games?

Games are increasingly used in educational and other settings to help inspire curiosity, creativity, collaboration, optimism, and problem-solving skills.  They provide a powerful opportunity for enhancing climate literacy. Serious games address real-world challenges, compress big problems into immediate experiences, encourage systems thinking, and promote active engagement, making them particularly well suited to climate change education.  The field of games focused on climate change is growing, yet there remain gaps in the type of content covered.  

In December 2014, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy launched the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative with the goal of connecting American students with best-availablescientificinformation about climate change. As a commitment in support of this effort, Federal and non-governmental experts are collaborating to harness the promise of educational games and interactive media to enhance understanding and awareness of climate change impacts and solutions.