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Tropical Ice Cores Measure Climate
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/clim10.sci.ess.earthsys.icecores/

NOVA scienceNOW, Teachers' Domain

This video profiles glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and his research into tropical mountain glaciers as a way to understand climate history. Beginning in the 1970s, Thompson recognized that tropical ice cores contain information relating to tropical climate phenomena, including El Niño events and monsoons. These phenomena are not archived in ice from polar regions. Thompson explains that his archive of ice cores is full of clues that, taken together with records collected from around the world, can help scientists create a timeline that tells Earth's climate story.

Video length: 2:02 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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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Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.
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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

About the Science

  • Tropical ice cores contain information relating to tropical climate phenomena, including El Niño events and monsoons, which are not archived in ice from polar regions.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Addresses basic paleoclimatological concepts. Notes the importance of tropical ice cores. Reviews important paleoclimate proxies, and how proxies are used to estimate past climate characteristics. All together, a very nice resource. Oxygen isotopes are mentioned twice, and both mentions do not clarify that the isotopes can be used only to "estimate" temperature, not "determine" temperature.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activities and related resources provided to help students better understand the science.
  • Uses a lot of higher-level terminology that may need to be defined.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video probably will not project well on a large screen.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/profile-thompson.html

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