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In a Forest's Breath, Deciphering Climate Clues
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17332316

NPR (National Public Radio)

This podcast features current research of Harvard scientists monitoring the flow of carbon through the forest, an accompanying essay, and an audio slideshow that focuses on land changes in the region over the past centuries.

Podcast length: 5:52 min.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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.
About Teaching Principle 2
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Natural processes driving Earth’s long-term climate variability do not explain the rapid climate change observed in recent decades. The only explanation that is consistent with all available evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change. Future changes in climate may be rapid compared to historical changes.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Natural processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere operate slowly when compared to the processes that are now adding it to the atmosphere. Thus, carbon dioxide introduced into the atmosphere today may remain there for a century or more. Other greenhouse gases, including some created by humans, may remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4g
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.
About Teaching Principle 5
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
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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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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

  • This resource can be used to introduce carbon storage and forests. Have students listen to podcast and read essay and/or view slide show that illustrates how forest landscape has changed over time.
  • Students could do their own research on how their local landscape has change over time and relate to carbon storage.
  • Could be part of a middle school geography lesson.
  • This could be used in a variety of climate investigations.

About the Science

  • Resource presents on interesting story of how scientists measure carbon flow in a forest as well as a history of changes in land use in the region that occurred due to social changes and agricultural practices.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video is part of an NPR interview. It is accompanied by a transcript of the interview and a slide show.
  • Good also for illustrating different careers in science to students.
  • Good for visual and auditory learners.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent technical quality.

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