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What is Ice Albedo Feedback?

University of Colorado Outreach

This video provides a good overview of ice-albedo feedback. Albedo-Climate feedback is a positive feedback that builds student understanding of climate change.

Video length is 2:08 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: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • This video could provide a nice introduction to the concept of positive feedbacks associated with climate change.

About the Science

  • Video features Dr. Julienne Stroeve from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who studies the reflectivity of snow and ice. She explains the ice albedo effect and how warmer temperatures and melting snow and ice can create a positive feedback that can increase planet warming.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very important concept that is responsible for changing energy balance of the planet in a non-linear manner. Explained through words, animations, and actual examples in the "field." Has the feel of something recently produced (rather than from the 1980s). This short video serves as a good introduction, but it is not a good stand-alone resource.

About the Pedagogy

  • Video includes simple visualizations to help students understand the concepts that Dr. Stroeve is discussing in the interview.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video plays easily from the website, and is fairly good quality.

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-PS4.B1:When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

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-PS4.B2:When light or longer wavelength electromagnetic radiation is absorbed in matter, it is generally converted into thermal energy (heat). Shorter wavelength electromagnetic radiation (ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays) can ionize atoms and cause damage to living cells

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