This module contains five activities, in increasing complexity, that focus on understanding how to interpret and manipulate sea level data, using real data from NOAA.

Students first need to understand how to access and interpret sea surface height and tide data. To understand how to interpret these data, students will review and practice computing mean values. Along the way, they will learn how different factors, such as storms, affect tide levels and how to measure them. The goal is for students to become experienced with these kinds of data and the tools for accessing them so that, by the end of the module, they can continue to explore data sets driven by their own inquiry.

This activity involves plotting and comparing monthly data on atmospheric C02 concentrations over two years, as recorded in Mauna Loa and the South Pole, and postulating reasons for differences in their seasonal patterns. Longer-term data is then examined for both sites to see if seasonal variations from one site to the other carry over into longer term trends.

In this activity, students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis. This exercise enables students to practice basic quantitative skills and understand how important sampling intervals can be when studying changes over time. A goal is to see how small sample size may give incomplete picture of data.

This is a figure from the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report 4 on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels).

This is an animated interactive simulation that illustrates differential solar heating on a surface in full sunlight versus in the shade.

This NASA video provides a nice overview of Earth's water cycle from the perspective of looking at Earth from space.

This animation depicts real-time wind speed and direction at selected heights above Earth's surface, ocean surface currents, and ocean surface temperatures and anomalies.

This video features University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher John Magnuson, who studies the ecology of freshwater systems. He explains the difference between weather and climate using data on ice cover from Lake Mendota in Madison, WI. Analysis of the data indicates a long-term trend that can be connected to climate change.

C-Learn is a simplified version of a climate simulator. Its primary purpose is to help users understand the long-term climate effects (CO2 concentrations, global temperature, sea level rise) of various customized actions to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions, reduce deforestation, and grow more trees. Students can ask multiple, customized what-if questions and understand why the system reacts as it does.

This short NASA video focuses on the Aquarius satellite, which was launched in 2011 to observe how variations in ocean salinity relate to climatic changes. By measuring salinity globally, Aquarius shows the ocean's role in climate change and climate's effects on ocean circulation.

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