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Melting Alps

National Geographic

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This video features Austria's Sonnblick Mountain Weather Station, which is the oldest high-elevation weather station in the world, and its structure is being threatened by permafrost melting beneath. It is important to preserve the weather station's integrity because it has been collecting weather data for over 100 years and provides important information about how climate is changing in the Alps.

Video length: 3:11 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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Climate change has consequences
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Science

  • The video highlights the importance of saving one of the oldest high-elevation weather stations in the world so that weather data can continue to be collected.
  • The station's integrity is in jeopardy because the permafrost on which it was built is thawing. Engineers/mountaineers must re-anchor the buildings into deeper more stable bedrock.
  • No data is referred to in the video, and no background information or references are given, but some data for the station is available here: http://www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Austria/Sonnblick-Mountain/climate-profile.aspx
  • The video introduces the issues of permafrost thawing, the importance of long-term data collection, and engineering solutions to adapt to change.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • In this engaging video, students are introduced to a unique and spectacular example of how the human enterprise is being threatened by climate change.
  • No prerequisites needed.
  • Nicely organized information.
  • Very general in nature. This could be used as an introduction to a unit on permafrost thawing or as an example of the effects of climate change.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy-to-use and free of technical problems.

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