Jump to this Video »
Arctic Tundra May Contribute to Warmer World
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?cntn_id=114865&org=NSF

University of Florida, National Science Foundation

In this audio slideshow, an ecologist from the University of Florida describes the radiocarbon dating technique that scientists use to determine the amount of carbon within the permafrost of the Arctic tundra. Understanding the rate of carbon released as permafrost thaws is necessary to understand how this positive feedback mechanism is contributing to climate change that may further increase global surface temperatures.

Each of the 3 videos is about 1 minute long.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Equilibrium and feedback loops in climate system
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2f
Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

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

  • Appropriate for environmental science biology or Earth science courses, grades 6 - 14.
  • Supporting materials more appropriate for upper high school and undergrad students.
  • The pieces provide rich materials for an in-depth unit of curriculum on carbon balance, which may include the Nature paper.
  • Illustrations can be made larger and downloaded or used as handouts.
  • Younger students could be encouraged to create a concept map illustrating the mechanisms, inputs, and outputs of this carbon cycle and how it contributes to climate change naturally.

About the Science

  • A review of Arctic ecologist Ted Schuur's research using radiocarbon dating to track current metabolism of old carbon in an area where permafrost thaw is increasing.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The study is based on the direct measurements of carbon using instruments and thus provides direct evidence of terrestrial carbon release following permafrost thaw.

About the Pedagogy

  • Accompanying the slideshow are two video clips and a wonderful background article along with two visual illustrations depicting the carbon cycle and changes in the carbon balance over time. All provide ample scaffolding.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Slideshow is excellent with beautiful photographs.
  • The inability to download the video encourages watching it on an individual laptop or projected onto a screen for larger audiences.
  • The accompanying pieces complement its effectiveness and ease of use.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

MS-ESS2.A2:The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future.

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.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-PS1.C2:Spontaneous radioactive decays follow a characteristic exponential decay law. Nuclear lifetimes allow radiometric dating to be used to determine the ages of rocks and other materials.

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

HS-ESS2.A3:The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.

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.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.


Jump to this Video »