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Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1881 to 2009
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003600/a003674/index.html

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

This NASA animation of the Five-Year Average Global Temperature Anomalies from 1881 to 2009 shows how temperature anomalies have varied in the last 130 years. The color-coded map displays a long-term progression of changing global surface temperatures from 1881 to 2009. Dark red indicates the greatest warming and dark blue indicates the greatest cooling.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Based on evidence from tree rings, other natural records, and scientific observations made around the world, Earth’s average temperature is now warmer than it has been for at least the past 1,300 years. Average temperatures have increased markedly in the past 50 years, especially in the North Polar Region.
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Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models that represent the climate system and make predictions about its future behavior. Results from these models lead to better understanding of the linkages between the atmosphere-ocean system and climate conditions and inspire more observations and experiments. Over time, this iterative process will result in more reliable projections of future climate conditions.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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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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Computer modeling explores the logical consequences of a set of instructions and a set of data. The instructions and data input of a computer model try to represent the real world so the computer can show what would actually happen. In this way, computers assist people in making decisions by simulating the consequences of different possible decisions.
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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

  • Teacher may need to explain to students what "temperature anomaly" means. "Anomaly" is defined as the deviation of the global mean surface temperature from that for the base period. In this case the base period is the mean global temperature for 1951-1980.

About the Science

  • An authoritative and well-documented visualization of 130 years of global temperature anomalies.
  • For more information on the data used to generate these images, see http://giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
  • Comment from expert scientist: Very good animations of global temperature through time. The data are from respected scientists, and a respected/good dataset. It would be a good idea to include Fahrenheit temperatures for younger students.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animation clearly demonstrates how temperatures have changed in the last 130 years.
  • Associated explanation on the webpage help provide more background for both teachers and students.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The animation can be downloaded in a variety of formats and resolutions.
  • Very clear, easy to understand graphics.

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