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Glacier Melt

National Geographic

This short video shows an example of melting alpine glaciers in the Austrian Alps (Goldberg Glacier). Disappearing alpine glaciers have social and environmental impacts, including the decline of fresh water supplies and contributions to sea level rise.

Video length: 2:41 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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

  • Video does not provide any background that connects global warming and glacial melt. It might be a good hook to serve as an introduction to a class period that covers this topic.

About the Science

  • Shows an overview of the observational evidence of ice melting in glaciers.
  • A scientist shows his field area and his research methods.
  • Video demonstrates use of scientific measurement procedures and the quantitative observational analysis of retreat of glaciers over last 100 years in Austrian Alps.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It highlights that glacier melt in the Alps and other regions has a major impact on seasonal water supply. This is a very pressing point and while the impact of glacier melt on sea level rise is very important, the impact on water resources is even more urgent. Decent visuals. Describes two types of measurements the scientist is making.

About the Pedagogy

  • Example of glacial melt comes from the Austrian Alps. Educator will have to make sure students understand that the problem is global and not local to Europe.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • National Geographic shows an advertisement at the beginning of the video. Educator can pause the video right after the advertisement to ensure that class only sees video or consider embedding the resource in a page without advertising.
  • High-quality visuals; though the voice of scientist is fairly quiet in comparison to narrator. The full-screen video quality is grainy and may not be suitable for classroom projection.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

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.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.

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

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.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

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-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

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