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Steroids, Baseball and Climate

National Center for Atmospheric Research , Climate Central

This short cartoon video uses a simple baseball analogy (steroid use increases probability of hitting home runs) to explain how small increases in greenhouse gases can cause global temperature changes and increase the probability of extreme weather events.

Video length: 2:04 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Greenhouse effect
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Climate is complex
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Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
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Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
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Climate is variable
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Global warming is "very likely" caused by human greenhouse gas emission
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Increased GHG concentrations in atmosphere will remain high for centuries and affect future climate
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Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
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Humans affect climate
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Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

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 would be perfect for a high school classroom examining weather vs climate, extreme weather events, and human causes of climate change. This should be integrated into activities that define greenhouse gases and distinguish between natural and man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

About the Science

  • Explaining the relationship between extreme weather events, such as a record heat wave, and global climate change is challenging. Although emissions of greenhouse gases are making heat waves more common and more severe overall, one cannot attribute a specific event to global warming. This video uses a simple baseball analogy to explain how greenhouse gases have a similar impact as steroids do on a baseball player by increasing the chances of hitting a home run.
  • Video explains the role of greenhouse gases in increasing the probability of hot days versus cold days, and addresses the common misconception that record cold temperatures are evidence that the climate is not changing.
  • The ratio of record warmth and record cold varies with time. A NOAA summary of current information about record temperatures can be found here.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very nice metaphor. Easy to explain. Scientific concepts are measured, not exaggerated.

About the Pedagogy

  • Very engaging, student-friendly format.
  • Video could be very effective with younger audiences to make the connections between humans and impact on climate change.
  • Links to the data would be useful for additional activities.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Requires internet access - not currently available for download.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Related stories, articles and videos are supplied on this website: http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/steroids-baseball-and-climate-change

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

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