Measuring and Modeling Climate Resources

collapse Topic : Causes of Climate Change ‎(2)
Cyclical and Natural Changes
Human-Caused Changes
collapse Topic : Climate System ‎(12)
Atmospheric Circulation
Atmospheric Composition
Carbon Cycle
Climate Compared to Weather
Climate Feedbacks
Global Energy Balance
Greenhouse Effect
Ocean and Climate
Orbital Cycles
Regional Climates
Solar Radiation
Water Cycle
collapse Topic : Human Responses to Climate Change ‎(3)
Personal Responsibility
Risk Management
Social Values
collapse Topic : Impacts of Climate Change ‎(13)
Agricultural Changes
Economic Impacts
Ecosystem Changes
Extreme Weather
Freshwater Resources
Great Lakes Impacts
Melting Ice and Permafrost
Ocean Warming and Acidification
Plants and Animals
Public Health
Sea Level Rise
Surface Temperature Warming
collapse Topic : Measuring and Modeling Climate ‎(2)
Climate Modeling
Gathering and Measuring Climate Data

Gathering and Measuring Climate Data


Climate Change in the News. Climate Change: A Wisconsin Activity Guide. Wisconsin DNR. Grades 7-12. This section of the Activity Guide provides an activity and worksheets to help students synthesize how climate change is addressed in the media and how outlooks on climate change may vary by location.

Global Ozone (GO3) Project. Grades 6-12. In the GO3 Project high school students throughout the world measure ground-level ozone on a continuous basis and upload their results to the Google Earth map. Measurements are made with high accuracy using sophisticated ozone monitors constructed by the students from kits and tested and calibrated on a frequent basis using a transfer standard.

A Teacher's Guide to How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Lessons, Resources, and Guidelines about Global Warming by Carol N. Malnor. Dawn Publications/Nevada City, CA. (2008). Grades 5-8. Using the book How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate, this guide helps teachers explore global warming through engaging lessons and classroom activities. Suggestions are provided to differentiate instruction and conduct project-based learning. Lessons and activities are correlated to science standards.

How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming. Lynn Cherry and Gary Braasch. Dawn Publications (CA) 2010. Grades 9-12. Cherry and Braasch introduce readers to scientists around the world whose research contributes to an understanding of the causes and consequences of global warming. They also describe the work of citizen scientists, including children, whose observations contribute to knowledge about important changes that are occurring. Studies range from documenting bloom dates of trees and flowers to extracting mud cores from the ocean floor. Small color photographs show the fieldwork and experiments of scientists and students. Even though many findings indicate a grim outlook for plant and animal life, including humans, if the current trends continue, the authors consistently note ways in which students can have a positive impact by making personal choices and influencing public policy.

Ice Cores – Exploring the History of Climate Change. Climate Change: A Wisconsin Activity Guide. Wisconsin DNR. Grade 7-12. This section of the Activity Guide provides an activity and worksheets to help students gain an understanding of how the climate has changed over time and how scientists gain information about past climates.

Ecosystem Phenology. Climate Change: A Wisconsin Activity Guide. Wisconsin DNR. Grades 7-12. This section of the Activity Guide provides an activity and worksheets to help students understand the methods of phonological data collection and how these methods can help us better understand climate change.

The Leopold Legacy: Phenology of Plants and Birds. Paradise Lost. Grades 6-12. In this activity, students work in small groups to examine a set of data that includes 23 phenological events, and then share their findings with the rest of the class. They will look at 3 major “themes” within the data: 1) changes in plant phenology, 2) changes in bird phenology, and 3) relationships among events.

Climate Reconstruction using Foraminifera in Deep Sea Sediments. Tufts University. Grades 9-12. In this activity, students explore how deep sea sediments are collected and analyzed to identify various foraminifera species that are used to interpret global paleotemperature/climate change. Students use a hands-on model using pasta that represents foraminifera, which are collected and analyzed in order to develop a paleotemperature/climate change record. Video clips are incorporated that help students connect their work with the research of scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

U.S Historical Climate: Excel Statistics. SERC Starting Point. Grades 9-12. In this intermediate Excel activity, students import US Historical Climate Network mean temperature data into Excel from a station of their choice. They are then guided through the activity on how to use Excel for statistical calculations, graphing, and linear trend estimates. The activity assumes some familiarity with Excel and graphing in Excel. Global Temperatures.

SERC Starting Point and Columbia University Earth and Environmental Science Faculty. Grades 9-12. In this activity, students create graphs of real temperature data to analyze climate trends by analyzing the global temperature record from 1867 to the present. Long-term trends and shorter-term fluctuations are both evaluated. The data is examined for evidence of the impact of natural and anthropogenic climate forcing mechanisms on the global surface temperature variability. Students are prompted to determine the difficulties scientists face in using this data to make climate predictions.

Climographs: Temperature, Precipitation, and the Human Condition. National Geographic Society Xpeditions. Grades 6-12. Climographs are a graphic way of displaying climate information specifically with average temperature and precipitation. Students learn how to read, analyze, and construct climographs using climate data, and practice matching climographs to various locations. Investigations support understanding of regional climates of USA and Africa.

Normal Climate Patterns. Earthlabs from TERC. Grades 9-12. This teaching activity develops students' understanding of climate by having them make in-depth examinations of historical climate patterns using both graphical and map image formats rather than presenting a general definition of climate. Students explore local climate in order to inform a pen pal what type of weather to expect during an upcoming visit. Students generate and explore a variety of graphs, charts, and map images and interpret them to develop an understanding of climate.

Blooming Thermometers. National Center for Atmospheric Research. Grades 6-8. In this lesson, students develop an understanding of the relationship between natural phenomena, weather, and climate change: the study known as phenology. In addition, they learn how cultural events are tied to the timing of seasonal events. Students brainstorm annual natural phenomena that are tied to seasonal weather changes. Next, they receive information regarding the Japanese springtime festival of Hanami, celebrating the appearance of cherry blossoms. Students plot and interpret average bloom date data from over the past 1100 years.

Is Greenland Melting? Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter from SERC. Grades 9-12. Data-centric activity where students explore the connections between an observable change in the cryosphere and its potential impact in the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Students analyze the melt extents on the Greenland ice sheet from 1992-2003. Students also learn about how scientists collect the data.

Keeping Watch on Coral Reefs. NOAA Ocean Service Education. Grades 9-12. This activity identifies and explains the benefits of and threats to coral reef systems. Students read tutorials, describe the role of satellites, analyze oceanographic data and identify actions that can be undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats to coral reefs. As a culminating activity, students prepare a public education program.

Global Warming Webquest. Marian Koshland Science Museum – National Academy of Science. Grades 6-12. In this Webquest activity, students assume roles of scientist, business leader, or policy maker. The students then collaborate as part of a climate action team and learn how society and the environment might be impacted by global warming. They explore the decision making process regarding issues of climate change, energy use, and available policy options. Student teams investigate how and why climate is changing and how humans may have contributed to these changes. Upon completion of their individual tasks, student teams present their findings and make recommendations that address the situation.

Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean. My NASA Data. Grades 6-8. Students examine NASA satellite data to determine if sea surface temperature has reached a point that would cause coral bleaching in the Caribbean.


Scientific American Frontiers: Hot Planet - Cold Comfort by John Angies. PBS Home Video. (2005). Grades 6-12. This episode explores the freshening of the oceans and how this addition of freshwater could have an effect on global climate. It explains how ocean "conveyor belts" are currents that bring warm water up from the equator to cool in the northern latitudes, then to return to warmer waters. It also looks at some of the methods scientists use to gather evidence about the freshening of the oceans, such as sediment core samples, and measuring the melting of glaciers. Also, it discusses previous abrupt changes in global climate.


Discovery of Global Warming, The by Spencer Weart. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (2003). In 2001 an international panel of distinguished climate scientists announced that the world was warming at a rate without precedent during at least the last ten millennia, and that warming was caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases from human activity. The story of how scientists reached that conclusion—by way of unexpected twists and turns—was the story Spencer Weart told in The Discovery of Global Warming. Now he brings his award-winning account up to date, revised throughout to reflect the latest science and with a new conclusion that shows how the scientific consensus caught fire among the general world public, and how a new understanding of the human meaning of climate change spurred individuals and governments to action.

Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change by Yale University. Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change presents the results of a national study of Americans' level of understanding about how the climate system works, and the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to global warming. Among other findings, the study identifies a number of important gaps in public knowledge and common misconceptions about climate change.

General Web Resources

Vulcan Project. Purdue University. The Vulcan Project has created maps and analysis of CO2 emissions for the continental U.S. from power plants, industrial sources, roads and highways, and residential sources. Each projection shows the location and magnitude of emissions. Students can compare the who, what, and where of CO2 emissions. Ask students to analyze the plots and decide which regions' sources are the greatest contributors to CO2 in the atmosphere. They can then make comparisons and formulate questions and hypotheses. This is a great use of real/current data in class that helps students answer the question "how do they know this stuff?" The Vulcan (Roman God of fire) site also includes a video showing diurnal cycles of carbon emissions and a Google Earth application.

Back to the Future: The science of building scenarios. Vital Climate Change Graphics by UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Arendal, Norway. This section explains the use of scenarios in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) predictions for future climate impacts.

Global Climate Change Research Explorer. On this Web site, you can explore scientific data relating to the atmosphere, the oceans, the areas covered by ice and snow, and the living organisms in all these domains. You’ll also get a sense of how scientists study natural phenomena—how researchers gather evidence, test theories, and come to conclusions.

How do we know the climate is changing? Climate Kids: NASA’s eyes on the Earth. This section of NASA’s Climate Kids site provides a basic understanding of how scientists know that climate change is occurring.