This module was developed by COMET - UCAR, Publish Date: 2009
- Languages: English, Spanish
- Skill Level: Upper High School and Undergraduate
- Completion Time: 1.00 - 2.00 hours
- Includes Audio: yes
- Required Plugins: Flash
- Requires sign in
This module discusses climate change, particularly as it is currently being affected by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities. It also covers signs of climate change, how scientists study climate, the current thinking on future changes, and what can be done to minimize the effects.
1. List factors that influence climate on Earth.
2. Identify greenhouse gases and their sources and define their role in climate.
3. Identify the countries that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Identify ways in which climate and climate change are studied.
5. Describe similarities and differences between weather and climate models.
6. Explain how the current rate of climate change compares with past episodes of climate change.
7. List various pieces of evidence for current climate change.
8. Describe evidence for human involvement in current climate change.
9. Explain the IPCC process.
10. List anticipated effects of future climate change, and determine which are considered most likely.
CONTEXT FOR USE
Global warming, the greenhouse effect, climate change...these buzzwords have been echoing through the media for years now. We're constantly bombarded with images and stories.
Melting glaciers all over the globe and sea ice that diminishes every summer...sea creatures that can't survive in warmer waters and decreasing fish stocks that threaten the livelihood of those who depend on them...raging wildfires and heat waves that kill or sicken thousands of people...changes in disease patterns that make humans more susceptible to serious illnesses...more devastating floods in some areas and longer droughts in others...
These events all have a dramatic impact on society and modern life, and projections by climate scientists suggest that topics like these will continue to be in the headlines.
However, as with much of science news, there are often stories that seem contradictory and confusing.
To sort this out and understand the background behind these stories, we need to answer questions like:
- Is climate change real? Can humans really alter Earth's climate, and how does that fit with our knowledge of how climate has changed naturally throughout history?
- How do we know? How have scientists come to their current understanding of climate change?
- Why should we care? What are the things that might change in the future that will affect us and future generations?
- How sure are the scientists? How much agreement is there among them?
- And, what steps can we take next?
Scientists have been working to answer these questions for decades.
In some ways, it's like putting together a giant puzzle. Each individual piece tells you little, but as the pieces are assembled, the puzzle becomes a recognizable picture, even if some parts are still unfinished. Today most climate scientists agree that the puzzle pieces clearly show that human-induced climate change is happening.
In this module, we'll dump all the pieces out on the table to let you look at them, explore how scientists are fitting them together, and see where a few are still missing.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
Online Quiz is provided
Note: At the request of COMET sponsors, this quiz is designed to demonstrate your successful completion of the module. Because the quiz is being administered online, upon completion you will be given only feedback on which questions you answered correctly and incorrectly. No additional instructional feedback is provided. However, should you need to, you can use this information to revisit the module to determine how to answer correctly and then attempt the quiz again.
References and Links of Interest
The source of this material is the COMET® Website at http://meted.ucar.edu/ of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), sponsored in part through cooperative agreement(s) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). ©1997-2011 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. All Rights Reserved.