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The Ecology of Climate Change
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isPGjChdby8

American Museum of Natural History

This video focuses on the conifer forest in Alaska to explore the carbon cycle and how the forest responds to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. Topics addressed in the video include wildfires, reflectivity, and the role of permafrost in the global carbon cycle.

Video length: 8:07 min.

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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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Individual organisms survive within specific ranges of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sunlight. Organisms exposed to climate conditions outside their normal range must adapt or migrate, or they will perish.
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Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
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Life—including microbes, plants, and animals and humans—is a major driver of the global carbon cycle and can influence global climate by modifying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. The geologic record shows that life has significantly altered the atmosphere during Earth’s history.
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Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

The world contains a wide diversity of physical conditions, which creates a wide variety of environments: freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others. In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions
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If a disturbance such as flood, fire, or the addition or loss of species occurs, the affected ecosystem may return to a system similar to the original one, or it may take a new direction, leading to a very different type of ecosystem. Changes in climate can produce very large changes in ecosystems.
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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

About the Science

  • Video examines research being conducted on the climate change in the boreal forests, its permafrost, carbon sinks and feedbacks.
  • Examines the impact of wildfires on boreal forests and the resulting shift from coniferous forests to deciduous forests, the latter acting as a larger carbon sink with increased biomass production and increased albedo.
  • Video notes the need to couple this emerging knowledge, such as knowledge about permafrost thaw, into climate models.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This is a beautifully made movie. However, the information is passed on very quickly. This movie has beautiful footage and is very good in showing the methods of measuring aspects important for future climate change.

About the Pedagogy

  • There is an essay that accompanies the video. In addition, there is a section for educators that outlines strategies for using the Science Bulletin videos at the American Museum of Natural History website.
  • This video might be best suited for college undergraduates or AP environmental science in high school.
  • There are a variety of data collection methods shown.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Great attention to detail.
  • Shows scientists in the field and in vignettes explaining the science.
  • Good embedded graphic visualization of coniferous boreal forests changing to deciduous forests.
  • The Ecology of Climate Change can be viewed in low, medium, or high resolution.
  • Auditory impaired text scroll on bottom during video helps to track storyline.

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