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Climate Events

American Museum of Natural History

This detailed animated map shows global weather and climate events from the beginning of 2009 to the present. As the animation plays, specific events are highlighted to provide context and details for the viewer.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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

  • Educators can use this animation to provide an overview of recent global weather events.
  • Educators may want to have students switch off the highlighted events boxes at first to see if students can identify any patterns or events on their own.
  • Climate terms, events, and comparisons to weather are not differentiated on this visual, therefore the instructor can develop lessons that use this animation to help students learn climate concepts.
  • Students can research news articles or related videos or images about specific storm events, adding another dimension to the use of this visualization.

About the Science

  • Uses NOAA satellite data to show climate and weather events beginning in January 2009.
  • These images come from combining images from the five weather satellites that observe the Earth and its atmosphere every half-hour.
  • These are weather events from recent years and may or may not be attributed directly to human influence on the climate system. Nonetheless, these events can be used to help illustrate variability and impacts of climate on society.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This module covers a wide range of weather events from space. For each small window that pops up, there is relevant scientific information provided. There are no explanations for the gaps in data, and there are no citations to the original data.

About the Pedagogy

  • This visual is meant to be embedded in a lesson on climate and weather. The pop-up information boxes identify mostly weather events such as hurricanes and areas of flooding, etc., that might not necessarily be evident to the students. Students can pause and replay easily.
  • This animation is a compelling way to visualize the dynamics of Earth's atmosphere over recent years.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Great technical quality, although the quality of the stream may vary on bandwidth and traffic.
  • Animation automatically starts playing, but not with the most recent data. User will need to drag slider bar on timeline to start at the beginning of the data set.
  • The interface is easy to use. The user can play the display continuously from January 2009 to the present or jump to specific dates and events.
  • Layers (e.g., highlighted events, border and the part of the globe not covered by the satellites) can be turned off and on.
  • Based on our periodic reviews, it appears that this resource gets updated with current data and events (as of 2016).

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

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.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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Systems and System Models, Patterns

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-C4.3:Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study.

High School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

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