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Climate Wisconsin: Temperature Change

Finn Ryan, Scott Pauli, Pitch Interactive, Wisconsin Educational Communications Board

This interactive visualization allows users to compare future projections of Wisconsin's average annual temperature with the actual changes of the last five decades. Text on the web page encourages students to think about the challenges Wisconsin could face if these changes occur.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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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Growing evidence shows that changes in many physical and biological systems are linked to human-caused global warming. Some changes resulting from human activities have decreased the capacity of the environment to support various species and have substantially reduced ecosystem biodiversity and ecological resilience.
About Teaching Principle 6
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Scientists and economists predict that there will be both positive and negative impacts from global climate change. If warming exceeds 2 to 3°C (3.6 to 5.4°F) over the next century, the consequences of the negative impacts are likely to be much greater than the consequences of the positive impacts.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

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

  • While this map is exclusively for Wisconsin, educators can either use it as a case study or as an example of how to create something similar for their own state.
  • There is a more advanced version of this map showing a range of future forecasts on this website: http://www.wicci.wisc.edu/climate-map.php.
  • Wisconsin students could graph average temperature data for each decade at their specific location in Wisconsin.

About the Science

  • A clear and easy-to-use interactive that students can use to compare average temperature change each decade, beginning with 1960, for selected cities in Wisconsin.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This document clearly discusses relevant temperature projections for the state of Wisconsin. It's a quality summary with a clear message. I like the length, citations, and the flow.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students are able to select two decades (from 1960 to 2090 ) and the location within Wisconsin to compare.
  • Focused strictly on Wisconsin but could be of interest to other Midwestern states.
  • There are teaching tips provided on this webpage.
  • Additional video segments that support this topic can found on the bottom of the page. Educator should be encouraged to scroll down to the bottom to show students the impact of temperature change across different industries.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The visualization does not require much support from a teacher.
  • Instructions at the top of the webpage are clear and easily understood.
  • Broken link to University of Wisconsin-Madison lakes researcher John Magnuson.

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