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As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/17/science/earth/warming-arctic-permafrost-fuels-climate-change-worries.html?ref=temperaturerising

Josh Haner, New York Times

This article and slide show from the New York Times, features several scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who study the effects of thawing permafrost in Alaska.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Biosphere drives the global carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3e
Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

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

  • The slide show, article, and graphic provided can easily be used in a unit/lesson on the carbon cycle and climate change, or a geography lesson/unit that includes the Arctic.

About the Science

  • Science focuses on the release of methane from decaying organic matter that thaws as the surrounding permafrost thaws, due to rising surface temperatures. Other related effects of thawing permafrost are mentioned as well.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This articles conveys an important process in the Arctic in a clear and articulate manner. It is engaging to read and the concepts are well explained. The article interviews relevant scientists in the field and provides links to source material.

About the Pedagogy

  • Article is entitled "As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks"; slide show entitled "Hunting for Clues to Global Warming"
  • related graphic shows the extent of permafrost in the Northern hemisphere

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Annoying ad appears when link is first accessed.
  • Excellent quality.
  • Article, graphic and slideshow print well if hard copies needed.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

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: 2

Energy and Matter, Cause and effect

MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

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

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

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.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

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.

HS-LS1.C4:As a result of these chemical reactions, energy is transferred from one system of interacting molecules to another. Cellular respiration is a chemical process in which the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and new compounds are formed that can transport energy to muscles. Cellular respiration also releases the energy needed to maintain body temperature despite ongoing energy transfer to the surrounding environment.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Patterns, Cause and effect, Energy and Matter

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-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.


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