In this activity, students examine pictures of pollen grains representing several species that show the structural differences that scientists use for identification. Students analyze model soil samples with material mixed in to represent pollen grains. They then determine the type and amount of 'pollen' in the samples and, using information provided to them, determine the type of vegetation and age of their samples. Finally, they make some conclusions about the likely climate at the time the pollen was shed.
This video features research conducted at University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, which studies isotopes of hydrogen trapped in ice cores to understand climate changes in the past.
In this video a scientist explains how DNA extracted from ancient tree remains provides insights about how trees/plants have adapted, over time, to changes in CO2 in the atmosphere. Her lab research investigates changes in plant genotypes under experimental conditions that simulate potential changes in CO2 levels in the future.
This short video describes how the compression of Antarctic snow into ice captures air from past atmospheres. It shows how ice cores are drilled from the Antarctic ice and prepared for shipment and subsequent analysis.
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 activity focuses on reconstructing the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) as an example of a relatively abrupt global warming period. Students access Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) sediment core data with Virtual Ocean software in order to display relevant marine sediments and their biostratigraphy.
This teaching activity is an introduction to how ice cores from the cryosphere are used as indicators and record-keepers of climate change as well as how climate change will affect the cryosphere. Students learn through a guided web exercise how scientists analyze ice cores to learn about past climate conditions, how melting sea and land ice will contribute to sea level rise, and what areas of the world would be at risk if Antarctic and/or Greenland ice sheets were to melt away.
This video, from ClimateCentral, features a team of scientists from the Northern Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling Project (NEEM), who study atmospheric air bubbles trapped in an ice core from a period in Greenland's ice sheet which began about 130,000 years ago and lasted about 10,000 years; a period known as the Eemian. The air bubbles from the ancient atmosphere - all aligned on the same time scale - reveal what happened with climate change over that period of time.
This gallery of ten temperature graphs shows global temperatures on different timescales from decades (recently measured temperatures) to centuries (reconstructed) to millions of years (modeled from ice cores).