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Climate Events

American Museum of Natural History

This detailed animated map shows global weather and climate events from the beginning of 2009 to the present. As the animation plays, specific events are highlighted to provide context and details for the viewer.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

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

  • Educators can use this animation to provide an overview of recent global weather events.
  • Educators may want to have students switch off the highlighted events boxes at first to see if students can identify any patterns or events on their own.
  • These are weather events from recent years and cannot be attributed directly to human impacts on the climate system, but they can be used to help illustrate variability and impacts of climate on society.
  • Climate terms, events, and comparisons to weather are not differentiated on this visual, therefore the instructor can develop lessons that use this animation to help students learn climate concepts.
  • Students can research news articles or related videos or images about specific storm events, adding another dimension to the use of this visualization.

About the Science

  • Uses NOAA satellite data to show climate and weather events beginning in January 2009.
  • These images come from combining images from the five weather satellites that observe the Earth and its atmosphere every half-hour.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This module covers a wide range of weather events from space. For each small window that pops up, there is relevant scientific information provided. There is no explanations for the gaps in data, and there are no citations to the original data.

About the Pedagogy

  • This visual is meant to be embedded in a lesson on climate and weather. The pop-up information boxes identify mostly weather events such as hurricanes and areas of flooding etc. that might not necessarily be evident to the students. Students can pause and replay easily.
  • This animation is a compelling way to visualize the dynamics of Earth's atmosphere over recent years.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Great technical quality, although the quality of the stream may vary on bandwidth and traffic.
  • Animation automatically starts playing, but not with the most recent data. User will need to drag slider bar on timeline to start at the beginning of the data set.
  • The interface is easy to use. The user can play the display continuously from January 2009 - June 2011 (as of August, 2011) or jump to specific dates and events.
  • Layers (e.g., highlighted events, border and the part of the globe not covered by the satellites) can be turned off and on.

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