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Investigating the Effect of Warmer Temperatures on Hurricanes

Serena Poli, On The Cutting Edge Collection/SERC

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

Activity takes 2 weeks outside of class and 1 to 2 class sessions to introduce and have a final discussion. Computers with internet access required.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7c

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
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A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
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C) Systems and connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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E) Environmental Issues.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Create directions and/or a worksheet for students to better guide them through the map creation and hypothesis testing.
  • Provide general assignment instructions to students.
  • Provide a rubric or checklist of grading criteria.

About the Science

  • Students create and analyze a Sea Surface Height (SSH) map to discover the relationship between hurricane intensity and surface temperatures during a recent gulf hurricane.
  • Students then formulate and test hypotheses about how the global warming of the last century may have affected hurricane intensity using historical data.
  • Data are provided from Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.
  • Activity is written in such a way that it can be updated to current date (and data sources are also updated).
  • Comments from expert scientist: Gives students the opportunity to use actual data collections to demonstrate the difficulties in detecting Hurricane trends for themselves. Has the student do a composite analysis providing training in independent data analysis.

About the Pedagogy

  • Hurricanes and climate change are topics that will likely engage students.
  • Links to types of student assessment are provided, but there is no specific assessment related to this lesson.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There are no student or teacher directions about how to specifically use the Center for Astrodynamics Research site and generate the map.
  • All data are provided in links and will be updated each year.
  • No handout is available to provide assignment instructions.

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