This set of animations and interactive simulations from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University helps students develop an understanding of models used to understand the Earth system. Students consider the types of data that need to be included in a climate model, looking at inputs, outputs, and variables. The animations show how data is calculated for grid cells and assembled into a comprehensive model.

This video examines the thawing of permafrost due to changes in climate and shows examples of the impacts that warming temperatures have on permafrost in the Arctic, including the release of the greenhouse gas methane. Dramatic results are shown, including sink holes forming on the landscape and beneath buildings, roads, and other infrastructure, causing some communities to relocate.

In this activity, students use authentic Arctic climate data to unravel some causes and effects related to the seasonal melting of the snowpack and to further understand albedo.

An interactive simulation that allows the user to adjust mountain snowfall and temperature to see the glacier grow and shrink in response.

In this video segment, a team of scientists seeks evidence to support their hypothesis that atmospheric warming may cause water to form beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet. This water causes ice streams to flow much more quickly than the rest of the ice sheet, which has important implications for sea level rise.

This series of activities is designed to introduce students to the role of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the global carbon cycle. Students learn how stable carbon isotopes can be used to reconstruct ancient sedimentary environments. Students will make some simple calculations, formulate hypotheses, and think about the implications of their results. The activity includes an optional demonstration of the density separation of a sediment sample into a light, organic fraction and a heavier, mineral fraction.

This NASA animation depicts thermohaline circulation in the ocean and how it relates to salinity and water density. It illustrates the sinking of water in the cold, dense ocean near Iceland and Greenland. The surface of the ocean then fades away and the animation pulls back to show the global thermohaline circulation system.

In this jigsaw activity, students explore meteorological data collected from Eureka, Canada to try to decide when would be the best time for an Arctic visit.

Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. Students create and compare graphs of carbon dioxide and temperature data from one local (Mauna Loa, Hawaii) meteorological station and one NASA global data set. These graphs, as well as a global vegetation map and an atmospheric wind circulation patterns diagram, are used as evidence to support the scientific claims they develop through their analysis and interpretation.

In this video, a PhD Student from the University of Maine explains how ice cores are used to study global climate change.

Pages