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Changing Planet: Warming Lakes

Windows to the Universe/NBC Learn, National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA)

The video addresses impact of warming temperatures on major lakes of the world with specific focus on Lake Superior and Lake Tanganyika. It discusses the science of water stratification and its impact on lake ecosystems and on human populations whose livelihoods depend on the lakes.

Video length: 5:13 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
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Growing evidence shows that changes in many physical and biological systems are linked to human-caused global warming. Some changes resulting from human activities have decreased the capacity of the environment to support various species and have substantially reduced ecosystem biodiversity and ecological resilience.
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Incidents of extreme weather are projected to increase as a result of climate change. Many locations will see a substantial increase in the number of heat waves they experience per year and a likely decrease in episodes of severe cold. Precipitation events are expected to become less frequent but more intense in many areas, and droughts will be more frequent and severe in areas where average precipitation is projected to decrease.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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The benefits of Earth's resources—such as fresh water, air, soil, and trees—can be reduced by deliberately or inadvertently polluting them. The atmosphere, the oceans, and the land have a limited capacity to absorb and recycle waste materials. In addition, some materials take a long time to degrade. Therefore, cleaning up polluted air, water, or soil can be difficult and costly.
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Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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 should ensure that they are familiar with any technical terminology.

About the Science

  • The video describes how atmospheric warming is contributing to lake warming. The results of this warming is water stratification, which impacts the food chain and water mixing.
  • Researchers use buoys to collect data such as wind speed, air and water temperature, and cloud cover.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Accurate information, qualified by appropriate disclaimers in most cases. Could have clearer identification of assumptions and other limiting factors or uncertainties.

About the Pedagogy

  • The vocabulary and conceptual level of the content is high with technical terms like stratification and upwelling.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video is high quality and easy to use.
  • A transcript is available, providing another avenue to access the content.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Related Windows to the Universe resource: http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/changing_planet/warming_lakes_intro.html

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