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Frozen Carbon
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/12/17/science/earth/1217-permafrost.html?ref=earth

Jonathan Corum, New York Times

This is a polar map of permafrost extent in the Northern Hemisphere. A sidebar explains how permafrost, as it forms and later thaws, serves as both a sink and source for carbon to the atmosphere. Related multimedia is a slideshow of permafrost scientists from U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, collecting permafrost data in the field.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
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Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change. Animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses will migrate to new areas with favorable climate conditions. Infectious diseases and certain species will be able to invade areas that they did not previously inhabit.
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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

  • Use with National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) website for much more extensive information on permafrost.

About the Science

  • This polar map shows the extent of permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere as well as the sea ice extent in September 2011.
  • Map units are percent area of permanently frozen ground.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Visually very pleasing. Requires further context. It is suggested to combine this resource with others to give a fuller picture.

About the Pedagogy

  • Polar view maps are always useful in countering the distortions of the common US-centric maps.
  • Brief text, illustrations, and photos of scientists help make the importance of permafrost clearer and more interesting to those in more southern latitudes.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Since this graphic comes from the New York Times, there are some commercial elements on this webpage. The map and graphical elements of this webpage can be downloaded from a web browser. Photos of scientists appear on a different page, which has ads for movies in the sidebar.

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