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AK-03 ALASKA: AK-03 Columbia Glacier “Cliff” (Narrated)

James Balog, Tad Pfeffer , Extreme Ice Survey

A video from the Extreme Ice Survey in which Dr. Tad Pfeffer and photographer Jim Balog discuss the dynamics of the Columbia glacier's retreat in recent years through this time-lapse movie. Key point: glacier size is being reduced not just by glacial melting but due to a shift in glacial dynamics brought on by climate change.

Video length: 1:20 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The interconnectedness of Earth’s systems means that a significant change in any one component of the climate system can influence the equilibrium of the entire Earth system. Positive feedback loops can amplify these effects and trigger abrupt changes in the climate system. These complex interactions may result in climate change that is more rapid and on a larger scale than projected by current climate models.
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mate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes
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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.
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man activities are impacting the climate system
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Melting of ice sheets and glaciers, combined with the thermal expansion of seawater as the oceans warm, is causing sea level to rise. Seawater is beginning to move onto low-lying land and to contaminate coastal fresh water sources and beginning to submerge coastal facilities and barrier islands. Sea-level rise increases the risk of damage to homes and buildings from storm surges such as those that accompany hurricanes.
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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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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

  • Should be used in conjunction with other time lapse videos and related background materials on glacier retreat as evidence of climate change.

About the Science

  • Dr. Pfeffer and Jim Balog touch on the combination of human climate change pushing the glacier and natural dynamics taking over.
  • In addition to warming temperatures, topography plays a role in the rapid flow speeds at Columbia Glacier.
  • The Extreme Ice Survey is the most wide-ranging glacier study ever conducted using ground-based real-time photography to document the rapid changes now occurring on the Earth's glacial ice.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • While there are other background materials on the EIS website, this and related narrated videos provide an overview of the time-lapse movies of Arctic glaciers retreating due to natural process coupled with human impacts on the climate system.
  • No pedagogy is provided.
  • This video is a short 1.20 minutes of time lapse photography/video, yet conveys key points quite powerfully nonetheless.
  • Video would have to be accompanied by lessons on glacier retreat and impact on climate change.
  • Very good website for students to check out, with other similar clips available on the Extreme Ice Survey website.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

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