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Contribution of the Cryosphere to Changes in Sea Level
http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_level.html

M.F. Meier, Mark Dyurgerov, National Snow and Ice Data Center

This web page from the National Snow and Ice Data Center contains two related visualizations and supporting information about them. The first visualization gives an estimate of the percent contribution to sea level change since the 1990s from three contributors - small glaciers and ice caps, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The second visualization shows the cumulative contribution to sea level from small glaciers and ice caps plotted with the annual global surface air temperature anomaly.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

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

  • Global sea level rise is a result of both ocean thermal expansion and glacier melt. This graphic could serve as a great introduction to help students identify how glaciers contribute to sea level rise via volume and area. An explanation of how scientists compute this is also provided.

About the Science

  • The surrounding text is written in clear but technical language. Details and references are included.
  • The network of lower latitude small glaciers and ice caps, although making up only about four percent of the total land ice area, may have provided as much as 60 percent of the total glacier contribution to sea level change since the 1990s.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Breaks down major contributors to modern and projected sea-level rise and assesses the contribution of each (2009 data). Includes a histogram and a plot each showing real data illustrating points covered.

About the Pedagogy

  • Since the supporting background is written scientifically, educators will need to develop their own context and inquiry questions for this resource.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • While these two visualizations convey important information about sea level rise, there are no supporting educational materials to make it easier for educators to present it to their students.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.

MS-ESS2.C3:Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

MS-ESS2.C5:Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations.

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 7

Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.2: Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural and human designed systems

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

MS-C2.3:Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.

MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.

MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Patterns, Cause and effect, Stability and Change

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.


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