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Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather?

Above the Noise, KQED

This video provides a good introduction to the field of attribution science. Beginning with an introduction to weather and climate, it describes how severe weather might be linked to climate change and the science behind attribution studies. It gives a good explanation behind how scientists use climate models to study whether severe weather events were influenced by climate change. It also discusses the question, "does climate change cause extreme weather?" and provides an introduction to the concepts of probability, causation, and correlation in regards to attribution science (how much climate change influenced an event verses normal variations in weather).

Video length is 4:51 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Greenhouse effect
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Definition of climate and climatic regions
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Climate is not the same thing as weather – defining difference
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Climate change vs. climate variability and patterns
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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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Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
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Climate models are robust enough to be used for guiding decision and actions as response to climate change
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Our understanding of climate
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Global warming is "very likely" caused by human greenhouse gas emission
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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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Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
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Climate change has consequences
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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 be used for both engagement, an activity (with data exploration), or an extension activity.
  • The video can also be connected to a real-world example of an extreme weather event that is attributed to climate change. Educators can ask students to reflect on the causation and correlation between global climate change and the frequency of extreme weather.

About the Science

  • The video explains how attribution science helps scientists understand the connection between extreme weather events and climate change through the use of climate models. A general overview is presented and so are references to events but concepts are not explained in detail in this short video.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Explains that climate and weather are different and how they are different (timescales)
    - Explains that climate causes higher sea level and warmer waters, and those factors lead to stronger hurricanes and heavier rainfall
    - Clearly demonstrates what "attribution science" is
    - States that the scientific consensus is that if climate change continues at its current rate, extreme weather will only get more extreme

About the Pedagogy

  • The animations are well done and the video format allows for students with low reading levels to gain the information.
  • The video could be used in classrooms to introduce students to the topic of attribution.
  • The video is relatable: a man and woman are talking about these concepts using a conversational format.
  • Links are provided to source material as well as to teacher guides and other educational material from the parent organization (PBS). The video description contains annotations and links to supporting resources.
  • The video itself does not allow for an in-depth investigation of the topic, but would provide an engaging activity and the links included would help teachers who want to find more activities and resources on the topic of attribution.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video is viewable online and can be easily accessed on YouTube.
  • The pace of video can be slowed.
  • Transcript and captions are available for the video.

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


Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS3.C2:Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

HS-ESS3.D2:Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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