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Antarctic Ice Movement: Part 2
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.earthsys.icestreams/

WGBH Educational Foundation, NOVA, Teachers' Domain

In this video segment, a team of scientists seeks evidence to support their hypothesis that atmospheric warming -- either now or in the past -- may explain why water has formed beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, causing ice streams that flow much more quickly than the rest of the ice sheet. This phenomenon has important implications for potential sea level rise.

Video length: 5:15 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The interconnectedness of Earth’s systems means that a significant change in any one component of the climate system can influence the equilibrium of the entire Earth system. Positive feedback loops can amplify these effects and trigger abrupt changes in the climate system. These complex interactions may result in climate change that is more rapid and on a larger scale than projected by current climate models.
About Teaching Principle 2
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mate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system
About Teaching Principle C
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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.
About Teaching Principle 5
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Melting of ice sheets and glaciers, combined with the thermal expansion of seawater as the oceans warm, is causing sea level to rise. Seawater is beginning to move onto low-lying land and to contaminate coastal fresh water sources and beginning to submerge coastal facilities and barrier islands. Sea-level rise increases the risk of damage to homes and buildings from storm surges such as those that accompany hurricanes.
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mate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives
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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

  • Segment adapted from NOVA Warnings from the Ice. Might be useful to use this clip with other segments from that program.
  • Video could be easily implemented in discussion about climate warming and its affects on sea level rise or on glacial melt and how scientists measure change over time.
  • Suggestions of how to engage students: while watching video clip - note three hypothesis that scientists came up with to explain the described phenomenon.

About the Science

  • For the most part, an ice sheet moves downslope slowly because the ice is in direct contact with underlying bedrock. In some parts of the ice sheet, however, ice races along much faster than the rest of the sheet. These areas of fast-moving flow, called ice streams, are believed to be caused by a thin lubricating layer of water and mud between the ice and the land.
  • Very current science and clear discussion about the science.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Highlights an important aspect of ice flow in Antarctica, namely that a soft, deformable bed with ample meltwater contributes to the faster velocity of ice streams. Demonstrates how a combination of data sources (remote sensing, seismic and borehole) are utilized to better understand this phenomena. Resource needs to be updated.

About the Pedagogy

  • Includes background essay, discussion questions, and addresses standards.
  • Richard Alley, one of the scientists, uses analogies that make it easier for students to understand some of the phenomena he is explaining.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Downloading requires teacher to register before downloading. This is free and very simple.
  • Quality of some parts of the video are pixelated.

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