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Baking the Breadbasket: Persistent Drought in the Heartland

Deke Arndt, NOAA

In this video, NOAA’s Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, recaps the temperature and precipitation data for the continental US in summer 2012. It describes how these conditions have led to drought and reduced crop yields.

Video length is 2:02 min.

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Climate Literacy
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Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
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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

  • This short video provides great support for discussion of the new reports about recent extreme weather events in the US Plains states.
  • It could be used by teachers in the Midwest to explain how drought and excessive rainfall relate to global temperature increases.
  • Suggest watching the video twice, perhaps pausing at each of the indicator maps - drought monitor, air, temperature, precipitation, so students can read and apply the key provided with each.

About the Science

  • Video reports summer 2012 was the third hottest on record in the U.S. and all of 2012 was on track to being the warmest year in the U.S. (which has since been confirmed), and explains why intense heat and lack of rain leads to crop damage and failure. No explicit connection is made to climate change.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It does a very good job at explaining the link between above normal temperatures and rainfall deficits and crop stress/failure.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video is presented with a full transcript but no links to additional background material or data sources are provided. Narration is a nice way to introduce students to these climate indicator maps (and others like them) available from NOAA and others.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The maps and their explanation are clearly presented.
  • The resolution is sufficient for classroom projection.

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