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NOVA ScienceNOW profile on Lonnie Thompson - Tropical Glaciologist

NovaNow/WGBH Boston

This video describes why tropical ice cores are important and provide different information than polar ice cores, why getting them now is important (they are disappearing), and how scientists get them. The work of glaciologist Lonnie Thompson is featured, with a focus on his work collecting cores of ice from high mountain glaciers that contain significant data about past climate change.

Video length: 11:47 min.

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Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
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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

  • There are links on this web page to other videos for students to explore.
  • Additionally teachers might want to link to the CLEAN collection to find activities on ice cores that this video can be paired with.

About the Science

  • The use of the video should be supported by additional science information.
  • To study past climate, it is important to obtain ice cores from the equatorial regions as soon as possible because warming temperatures are causing the equatorial glaciers to melt away.
  • This is a profile of the tropical glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and his work on ice core analysis.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This material is very interesting and is an excellent presentation of the history of Thompson's work, but it doesn't really present any results of his work.

About the Pedagogy

  • Teachers can pair this with activities on ice cores, such as these CLEAN selected resources: http://cleanet.org/clean/educational_resources/index.html?search_text=ice+core&Search=search
  • By profiling the scientist and how he came to be a scientist, students interested in science can start to see the possibilities for themselves.
  • There is a transcript included, providing an alternate avenue for accessing the material.
  • The scientist career profile provides a good role model for students, particularly for those interested in science.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There is a short 10-second advertisement in the beginning of the video, which some viewers may find distracting.
  • When playing at full-screen resolution, the video is a little grainy.

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