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Investigating the Effect of Warmer Temperatures on Hurricanes

Serena Poli, On The Cutting Edge Collection/SERC

In this activity learners investigate the link between ocean temperatures and hurricane intensity, analyze instrumental and historical data, and explore possible future changes.

Activity takes 2 weeks outside of class and 1 to 2 class sessions to introduce and have a final discussion. Computers with internet access required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
Other materials addressing:
A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
Other materials addressing:
A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
Other materials addressing:
E) Environmental Issues.

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

  • Create directions and/or a worksheet for students to better guide them through the map creation and hypothesis testing.
  • Provide general assignment instructions to students.
  • Provide a rubric or checklist of grading criteria.

About the Content

  • Students create and analyze a Sea Surface Height (SSH) map to discover the relationship between hurricane intensity and surface temperatures during a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Students then formulate and test hypotheses about how the global warming of the last century may have affected hurricane intensity using historical data.
  • Data are provided from Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.
  • Activity is written in such a way that it can be updated to current date (and data sources are also updated).
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity gives students the opportunity to use actual data collections to demonstrate the difficulties in detecting Hurricane trends for themselves. Students do a composite analysis which provides training in independent data analysis.

About the Pedagogy

  • Hurricanes and climate change are topics that will likely engage students.
  • Links to types of student assessment are provided, but there is no specific assessment related to this lesson.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There are no student or teacher directions about how to specifically use the Center for Astrodynamics Research site and generate the map.
  • All data are provided in links and will be updated each year.
  • No handout is available to provide assignment instructions.
  • As of October 2016, the link to SSH data at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics was down as the site was hacked over the summer. If the link in the activity does not work, do a search for the data to either find a replacement, or to see if the same data exists with a new URL.
Entered the Collection: November 2012 Last Reviewed: April 2016

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