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Temperature from Ice Core Data (IRMS)

N. Mahaffy, K. Genius, B. Vandenbrink, P. Mahaffy, B. Martin, King's Center for Visualization in Science

This visualization shows in five steps how ice cores provide a measure of the temperature in the past.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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

  • This visualization was created as part of "Lesson 2" in a climate change module that can be seen at http://www.explainingclimatechange.ca/Climate%20Change/Lessons/Lesson%202/lesson2.html and also in the CLEAN collection.
  • Could be used as an introduction to how we know how global temperatures have changed over time to set up a comparison to how global temperatures have changed in recent years.
  • Teachers will have to provide questions students have to explore when reading through the webpages.

About the Science

  • Excellent step-by-step explanation of how ice core samples are used to determine historic temperature trends, including a breakdown of the biochemical processes that drive the process, the chemical equations and calculations used, and how the sampling process works in practice.

About the Pedagogy

  • The explanations are clear and straightforward and do an excellent job of communicating a complex process in simple terms.
  • Animation includes 5 nicely-designed webpages with a good explanation of the oxygen isotope dating method.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The animations and text are displayed very clearly. Can only be viewed online (need internet access).
  • Well-designed pages with little ability to interact with the content.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS1.B2:Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation, both occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on the earth. These phenomena cause a cycle of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.

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

HS-ESS2.A3:The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.

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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

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