This is a fascinating activity developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry which details how ice cores are extracted and analysed, including a discussion of the importance of knowing and understanding the possible errors in the data.
Students will learn that the study of past climate data is useful in studying present climate changes. Students will see how ice core data is obtained and analyzed, which will help them understand the technical side of the study of climate change.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
The Royal Society of Chemistry designed this resource to explain how paleoclimatology, specifically through ice cores, is necessary to understand climate change.
This document contains a brief description on how ice core chemistry can help to understand climate change.
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
How science works
• Use theories, models, and ideas to develop scientific explanations
• Use knowledge and understanding to present scientific arguments and ideas
• Analyse and interpret data to provide evidence
• Evaluate methodology, evidence, and data
• Appreciate the ever expanding nature of scientific knowledge
• Communicate information and ideas using scientific terminology
A final assessment can be done with the set of questions and answers at the end of the PDF file. Students are required to conceptually answer the questions provided. Students will discuss what happens if data from the past shows that the climate is really changing and whether these changes are happening too quickly. An additional discussion question that can be asked is how effectively can the chemistry of ice cores predict climate change?
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
This resource explains how ice core chemistry and climate data from the past help to understand present climate change.
For more information about the British Antarctic Survey, who are part of the EPICA group drilling
ice cores, see www.antarctica.ac.uk.