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How Do Ice Cores Allow Researchers to Look at Global Change?

Bess Koffman, Anya Rose, Karl Kreutz, Ron Lisnet, University of Maine

In this video, a PhD Student from the University of Maine explains how ice cores are used to study global climate change.

Video length: 4:54 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Role of aerosols in climate system
About Teaching Principle 2
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Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
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Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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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

  • Could be used as in a lesson or unit on Antarctica and climate change.
  • Effective brief framing tool for use as an introduction to a unit on paleoclimatology or "how do scientists know what they know?" - not a teaching tool for details of paleoclimatology.
  • Teachers could also use this video to have a discussion about young women in climate science.
  • Progression of time that is captured in the ice cores should be clarified by the educator.

About the Science

  • The video shows how ice cores are handled and measurements taken in an Antarctic lab.
  • The PhD student working with the ice cores discusses what variables of atmospheric chemistry are measured.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This video introduces the concepts of annual variations within ice cores, and gives the viewer a feeling for the methods involved in taking ice core measurements. It also describes why ice cores are useful as paleoclimate records, and briefly touches on the limitations of individual proxy records. The narrator states that global temperature can be determined from Antarctic ice cores, which isn't correct- only global temperature trends as indicated by sea level and greenhouse gas content can be approximated. Overall, this was one of the best videos on the cryosphere.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students will likely be able to connect to the two narrators of the video since they are young female researchers.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Technical quality is good.

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