This unit allows students to investigate past changes in Earth's climate. Students first explore relationships in climate data such as temperature, solar radiation, carbon dioxide, and biodiversity. They then investigate solar radiation in more depth to learn about changes over time such as seasonal shifts. Students then learn about mechanisms for exploring past changes in Earth's climate such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, etc. Finally, students tie all these together by considering the feedbacks throughout the Earth system and reviewing an article on a past mass extinction event.

Students use long term sea-level rise data set to create models and compare short-term trends to long-term trends. They then determine whether sea-level rise is occurring based on the data.

In this activity learners investigate the link between ocean temperatures and hurricane intensity, analyze instrumental and historical data, and explore possible future changes.

This activity allows students to examine graphs of sea level rise data as well as global temperature data. They calculate amounts and rates of sea level rise for various time periods and answer questions discussing the data. They then compare the sea level rise trends to those in a graph of temperature data.

The activity follows a progression that examines the CO2 content of various gases, explores the changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 from 1958 to 2000 from the Mauna Loa Keeling curve, and the relationship between CO2 and temperature over the past 160,000 years. This provides a foundation for examining individuals' input of CO2 to the atmosphere and how to reduce it.

Using real data from NASA's GRACE satellites, students will track water mass changes in the U.S., data that measures changes in ice, surface and especially groundwater. The background information includes an animated video about where water exists and how it moves around Earth, as well as short video clips to introduce the GRACE mission and explain how satellites collect data. Students will estimate water resources using heat-map data, create a line graph for a specific location, then assess trends and discuss implications.

This activity illustrates the importance of water resources and how changes in climate are closely linked to changes in water resources. The activity could fit into many parts of a science curriculum, for example a unit on water could be connected to climate change.

In this role-playing activity, learners are presented with a scenario in which they determine whether the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping northern Europe warm. They must also address the potential future of the Gulf Stream if polar ice were to continue melting. The students work in small groups to identify the issue, discuss the problem, and develop a problem statement. They are then asked what they need to know to solve the problem.

This model of ocean-atmosphere interaction shows how carbon dioxide gas diffuses into water, causing the water to become more acidic. The video demonstration and instruction provide an explanation of the chemistry behind this change and the consequences of ocean acidification. The video also addresses a misconception about how ocean acidification affects shelled organisms.

This teaching activity addresses regional variability as predicted in climate change models for the next century. Using real climatological data from climate models, students will obtain annual predictions for minimum temperature, maximum temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation for Minnesota and California to explore this regional variability. Students import the data into a spreadsheet application and analyze it to interpret regional differences. Finally, students download data for their state and compare them with other states to answer a series of questions about regional differences in climate change.

This activity covers the role that the oceans may play in climate change and how climate change may affect the oceans. It is lesson 8 in a nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

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