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Gallery of Temperature Change Data

Robert A. Rohde, Global Warming Art

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This gallery of ten temperature graphs shows global temperatures on different timescales from decades (recently measured temperatures) to centuries (reconstructed) to millions of years (modeled from ice cores).

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 3 Performance Expectations, 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Holocene is unusually stable – human infrastructure vulnerable to change
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3d
Climate change vs. climate variability and patterns
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4c
Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e

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

  • Instructor can use the graphs in a jigsaw approach to get at temperature change over time and climate variability, allowing students to explore the different methods used to collect data and consider reasons for the uncertainty in the data.
  • The link to "Predictions of Future Change Gallery" could serve as an entry point to discussing models.

About the Science

  • A series of 10 graphs that describe different sets of temperature change data, includes surface global and reconstructed temperatures, Holocene and ice age temperature variations.
  • Each graph is well-labeled, referenced and can be easily used in a classroom setting.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Well-designed, attractive, and easy to interpret data plots. Each figure provides a useful "Description" section with useful background and a lot of helpful links, including links to original datasets. There is a lot to explore here and the author has done careful work.

About the Pedagogy

  • Some of the graphs will need explanation by instructor.
  • The link to "Predictions of Future Change Gallery" provides model predictions to 2100. This could evolve with time as research proceeds.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy-to-use, scientifically sound graphs

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 6

Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

MS-C2.3:Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.

MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.

MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

MS-C7.4:Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P1.3:Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

High School

Performance Expectations: 3

HS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.

HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8


HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.


HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.


Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Patterns, Cause and effect, Stability and Change

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

HS-P4.2:Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.

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