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Piecing Together the Temperature Puzzle
http://climate.nasa.gov/ClimateReel/video/Temperature_Puzzle_640x360.cfm

NASA-GISS

This NASA video discusses the impacts of the sun's energy, Earth's reflectance and greenhouse gases on the Earth System.

Video length: 5:48 min.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Earth's Energy balance
About Teaching Principle 1
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Sunlight warms the planet
About Teaching Principle 1
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Greenhouse effect
About Teaching Principle 2
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Role of aerosols in climate system
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Equilibrium and feedback loops in climate system
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Biosphere drives the global carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 3
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Global warming is "very likely" caused by human greenhouse gas emission
About Teaching Principle 6
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Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
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Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
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Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
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Energy Literacy

Sunlight, gravitational potential, decay of radioactive isotopes, and rotation of the Earth are the major sources of energy driving physical processes on Earth.
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2.2 Sources of energy on Earth.
Earth's weather and climate is mostly driven by energy from the Sun.
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2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.
The effects of changes in Earth's energy system are often not immediately apparent.
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2.7 Effects of changes in Earth's energy system .

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared light from the warmed surface of the earth. When greenhouse gases increase, more thermal energy is trapped in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the earth increases the light energy radiated into space until it again equals the light energy absorbed from the sun.
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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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Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
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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

  • Middle Level: show in class to introduce concepts, then follow on with more in-depth discussion/exercises.
  • High School: have students view as part of a homework assignment.

About the Science

  • This video focuses on NASA observations of solar variability, Earth's changing albedo, rising levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, and impacts on sea level, especially the Arctic.
  • Video integrates satellite imagery of polar ice, global temperatures, cloud cover, and solar activity. It uses computer animations to demonstrate the relationships between solar activity, albedo and global temperatures.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Clear and concise synopsis of factors that affect the Earth's temperature based on the state-of-the-science. Emphasizes uncertainty in models, but uses climate models to describe predictions of changes in Earth's temperature.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students watch the video to learn about the sun's energy output, albedo, greenhouse gases, and global temperatures.
  • No teacher support materials are provided and no further activities are recommended.
  • No prerequisite knowledge needed, although this can help summarize a variety of global change science concepts.
  • It will be up to the teacher to assist diverse learners and to engage students in the content.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to use and of excellent technical quality.

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