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Deforestation in the Amazon
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003600/a003637/index.html

NASA Visualization Studio

This NASA animation on land cover change zooms into Rondonia, Brazil. It starts with a Landsat satellite image taken in 1975 and dissolves into a second image of the same region taken in 2009 indicating that there has been a significant amount of land use change.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
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Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
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Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
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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

  • It is suggested that this be used as part of a unit on ecosystems and climate change.
  • There is no color key provided for the images. However, the images clearly indicate significant land cover change.

About the Science

  • Tropical forests act as major carbon 'sinks', places where ambient carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be absorbed by growing things and sequestered for years.
  • Data taken in 1975 and 2009 from the Landsat series of spacecraft shows enormous tracts of forest disappearing in Rondonia, Brazil.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Short and easy to read piece on a globally important topic. Visuals clearly show the effect of deforestation on land cover. There are a number of other similar NASA websites that seem more up to date.

About the Pedagogy

  • Scaffolding of the visualization is provided in accompanying text.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The visualization is very easy to use.
  • Multiple versions of the visualization are provided at different resolutions and formats.

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