In this activity, students investigate how scientists monitor changes in Earth's glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets. The activity is linked to 2009 PBS Nova program entitled Extreme Ice.

This video discusses how the populous areas west of the Andes are largely desert and rely on glacial meltwater as an important source of fresh water. Because the Peruvian glaciers high in the Andes are in rapid retreat, scientists are monitoring the steadily shrinking glaciers and the impact of their reduction on local populations.

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, and at the same time of year. These images illustrate 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.

With this simulation from the NASA Climate website, learners explore different examples of how ice is melting due to climate change in four places where large quantities of ice are found. The photo comparisons, graphs, animations, and especially the time lapse video clips of glaciers receding are astonishing and dramatic.

This humorous video suggests what might happen if a weather forecaster reported the weather in the context of climate change. There is a sharp contrast between the anchor focusing on short-term local concerns and the weather forecaster describing what is happening on a long-term global basis.

This video considers the current estimates of sea level rise as possibly too conservative and discusses more recent data on ice melt rates coming from Antarctica and Greenland, showing rates of melt at up to 5 times as rapid. Scientists discuss what levels and rates of sea level rise have occurred in the past, including the Pliocene, which demonstrated 1m rise every 20 years.

This web page from the National Snow and Ice Data Center contains two related visualizations and supporting information about them. The first visualization gives an estimate of the percent contribution to sea level change since the 1990s from three contributors - small glaciers and ice caps, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The second visualization shows the cumulative contribution to sea level from small glaciers and ice caps plotted with the annual global surface air temperature anomaly.

This classroom demonstration illustrates the amount of water stored in various parts of the Earth system in a straightforward manner. Students estimate the proportions of water in the oceans, icecaps and glaciers, groundwater, freshwater lakes, inland seas, soil moisture, atmosphere, and rivers. Then they fill beakers with the actual proportion and discuss what elements of the activity were surprising to them. Information on flash floods and flood preparedness and safety are included.

Learners research the effects of melting sea ice in the Bering Sea Ecosystem. They create research proposals to earn a place on the scientific research vessel Healy and present their findings and proposals to a Research Board committee.

This video and accompanying essay review the impacts of rising surface air temperatures and thawing permafrost on ecosystems, geology, and native populations in Alaska.

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