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What is the Future of Earth's Climate?

The Concord Consortium

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2e
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2f
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5e

Energy Literacy

Other materials addressing:
2.5 Energy moves between reservoirs.
Other materials addressing:
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

  • Educator should run the interactive model in the second activity with the entire class before letting them use it by themselves. Use this time to discuss what the yellow and red arrows represent and their behavior. Educator will also need to have a discussion about aerosols from erupted volcanoes.
  • Good for professional development of teachers.
  • Activity 6 requires some math skills. Students who struggle with math may need to be partnered with another student who is possess math skill.

About the Science

  • Focus of activity is the interactions among temperature, GHG concentrations, solar energy, feedbacks, and change over time as key factors in determining Earth's climate.
  • No original data or links to the algorithms that went into the interactive model are provided.
  • In acivity 6, students explore how solar radiation, Earth's surface and oceans, and greenhouse gases interact to cause global warming through a simplified model. They can change variables to determine how much greenhouse gas emissions might need to fall to mitigate the temperature increase.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Detailed
    - Lots of great information
    - To the point, easy to follow
    - Very accurate graphics

About the Pedagogy

  • Activities are all online, and student responses to questions posed in each activity can be entered and saved as they go, provided student is registered in the project portal (free).
  • Working through the 5 activities, students explore interactions among factors that affect Earth's climate, using graphed data, an interactive model, and a taped interview with a climate scientist, to learn how scientists use historical data and Earth system interactions to make predictions about climate in the future.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This set of activities runs entirely in a Web browser. Preferred browsers are: Google Chrome (versions 5 and above), Safari (versions 4 and above), Firefox (version 3.6.10 and above), and Internet Explorer (version 7, 8, or higher; note that version 6 or below does not work).
  • In activity 6, "The Global Temperature Change Graph" is broken, all of the other three graphs work.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

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