Jump to this Video »
Changing Planet: Black Carbon

NBC Learn, Windows to the Universe

This video addresses two ways in which black carbon contributes to global warming - when in the atmosphere, it absorbs sunlight and generates heat, warming the air; when deposited on snow and ice, it changes the albedo of the surface. The video is effective in communicating about a problem frequently underrepresented in discussions of climate change and also public health.

Video length: 6:07 min.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Having students study the health consequences of breathing black carbon from stoves or other sources could be a worthwhile add-on to a discussion of the production and impact of black carbon.
  • Researching impacts of black carbon and whether or not these impacts are occurring in the students' region of the country could also be worthwhile. For example, monitoring towers are in place for gathering data on changes in snow albedo in Grand Mesa in Colorado.

About the Science

  • The resource reviews emissions of black carbon and its contribution to climate change and public health concerns through the work of Dr. "Ram" V. Ramanathan of Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
  • From his unmanned vehicles to measure black carbon in the atmosphere to the consequence of black carbon on snow (decreasing the albedo effect of snow-covered mountains and contributing to early snowmelt), the video covers black carbon's various causes and consequences.
  • The video describes efforts to reduce both environmental and health impacts of black carbon by developing and distributing cook stoves that do not burn coal to communities in rural India.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video describes the well-known health and climate impacts of black carbon in an accurate but general manner. I feel this video acted more as an outreach tool rather than being a simple, but yet scientific piece demonstrating the effects.

About the Pedagogy

  • This video covers an important piece of the climate change issue that is not often presented. It is important to provide appropriate context for this material.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent visuals accompany narration.

Jump to this Video »

Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion

Log in to reply