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How Do Ice Cores Allow Researchers to Look at Global Change?
http://www.waisdivide.unh.edu/multimedia/umaine.shtml

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

Airborne particulates, called "aerosols," have a complex effect on Earth’s energy balance: they can cause both cooling, by reflecting incoming sunlight back out to space, and warming, by absorbing and releasing heat energy in the atmosphere. Small solid and liquid particles can be lofted into the atmosphere through a variety of natural and man-made processes, including volcanic eruptions, sea spray, forest fires, and emissions generated through human activities.
About Teaching Principle 2
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Scientific observations indicate that global climate has changed in the past, is changing now, and will change in the future. The magnitude and direction of this change is not the same at all locations on Earth.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
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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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

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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The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
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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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