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Global Climate Dashboard: Climate Variability

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA

This interactive displays how climate variables are changing over time (temperature, CO2, Arctic sea ice, sun's energy, sea level, etc.) in graphical form. Students can easily examine over 50+ years of archived data.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate change vs. climate variability and patterns
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4c
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

  • The dashboard is on the bottom half of this page - scroll down to it.
  • Point out that students can click the parameters listed below into one of the 3 viewing slots above. Up/down arrows show which parameters are in the viewing slots.

About the Science

  • This site tracks real-time data from around the climate system. Nine different parameters are presented to give a snapshot of both the variability and the trends over time.
  • Graphs are presented in a manner that allows students to compare and contrast different climate variables such as El Niño, temperature, CO2, solar energy levels, on the same time scales.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The resource contains graphs of teleconnection indices that can be easily moved to view index changes in time (1950 to present). This is a really great concept and could be very useful in classroom settings to show students the variability of climate oscillations. The resource is also appropriately labeled as climate variability so that anyone who knows the difference between climate variability and climate change could easily find the indices if that is what they are looking for.

About the Pedagogy

  • Resource offers educators a creative way to compare climate variables and outcomes and read more about the changes scientists are observing.
  • The 'learn more' links describe how the data is collected and what it means.
  • The graphs on the 'learn more' pages are also interactive.
  • The 'learn more' pages do not always have up-to-date explanations for the data. They are best used for background information.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Online access only

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

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: 1


MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1


HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

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