In this audio slideshow, an ecologist from the University of Florida describes the radiocarbon dating technique that scientists use to determine the amount of carbon within the permafrost of the Arctic tundra. Understanding the rate of carbon released as permafrost thaws is necessary to understand how this positive feedback mechanism is contributing to climate change that may further increase global surface temperatures.
Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.
This narrated slideshow describes the impact of sea level rise on Tuvalu, one of the low-lying island nations in the South Pacific. As the frequency and intensity of floods and cyclones increases, the island is shrinking and saltwater intrusion is affecting local food production on the plantations. As a result, many residents are moving off the island to New Zealand, where they face major cultural changes.
This video segment, adapted from NOVA scienceNOW, addresses how new technology can help monitor and modernize the infrastructure of the U.S. power grid, which is ill-equipped to handle our increasing demand for electricity. Video provides a great overview of how electricity is generated and how the grid works.
This video is narrated by climate scientist Richard Alley. It examines studies US Air Force conducted over 50 years ago on the warming effects of CO2 in the atmosphere and how that could impact missile warfare. The video then focuses on the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand; the glacier is used to demonstrate glaciers formation, depth of snow fall in the past, and understand atmospheric gases and composition during the last Ice Age. Supplemental resources are available through the website.
This simplified animation of a geothermal power plant from the U.S. Department of Energy illustrates commonalities with traditional power-generating stations. While there are many types of geothermal power plants, this animation shows a generic plant.
In this activity, students use a spreadsheet to calculate the net carbon sequestration in a set of trees; they will utilize an allometric approach based upon parameters measured on the individual trees. They determine the species of trees in the set, measure trunk diameter at a particular height, and use the spreadsheet to calculate carbon content of the tree using forestry research data.
This short video, is the fifth in the National Academies Climate Change, Lines of Evidence series. It focuses on greenhouse gases, climate forcing (natural and human-caused), and global energy balance.